Colours in Cultures – Information Is Beautiful

My earlier post on the possibilities of different light, dark and colour choices reminded me of one of my favorite data visualizations. More exciting than a Venn diagram, the Information Is Beautiful site has some amazing work available, and one of my favorites is the Colours in Cultures print.

"Colours in Culture" by AlwaysWithHonor.com and David McCandless via InformationIsBeautiful.net


This goes hand in hand with the Psychological Impact of Colours, however it is much harder to find hard scientific research about the effects of colour. As a company intimately connected to the science of color, Pantone provides the following quote on their website’s “How does color affect us?” page on color psychology.

Although red, yellow and orange are in general considered high-arousal colors and blue, green and most violets are low-arousal hues, the brilliance, darkness and lightness of a color can alter the psychological message. While a light blue-green appears to be tranquil, wet and cool, a brilliant turquoise, often associated with a lush tropical ocean setting, will be more exciting to the eye. The psychological association of a color is often more meaningful than the visual experience.

Colors act upon the body as well as the mind. Red has been shown to stimulate the senses and raise the blood pressure, while blue has the opposite effect and calms the mind.

Color is light and light is energy. Scientists have found that actual physiological changes take place in human beings when they are exposed to certain colors. Colors can stimulate, excite, depress, tranquillize, increase appetite and create a feeling of warmth or coolness. This is known as chromodynamics.

Proper use of color to influence the viewer is an essential aspect of the project, and should be a consideration.

Why “Colour” and not “Color”? Although I tend to stick with the Americanized “Color”, the author of the image went with the British “Colour” version. In this case I consider it proper to stick with the alternate he chose, and would most likely do the same if discussing a title or work containing one of the other words split “across the pond” into different versions, such as “grey and “gray”.

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