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National Color Day

Take a look around. What colors are you wearing and what are the colors of the things that are nearby? National Color Day is about learning how colors can affect both body and mind—the day encourages us to learn about how colors can influence mood, emotions, productivity, and behavior. After learning about colors, observers of the day use what they have learned when picking what they wear when they decorate, and when they make other decisions involving colors. Although some sources say the day was specifically created to learn about colors, the day may have stemmed from something else. On October 22, 2009, General Motors launched a National Color Day, which coincided with an online petition to name the color of the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid car that was about to go into production. It appears the day stuck and National Color Day began being celebrated afterward.

Perceptions of colors are shaped in part by past experiences and by culture. Past experiences help us associate colors like red with fire and green with nature. Because of cultural differences, colors may mean different things in different parts of the world. Western culture has associated blue with boys and pink with girls. Some views of colors have been shaped for millennia, while others are more recent. What colors mean also may shift over time. Some perceptions of color are based on biology. For instance, brightly colored plants and animals are often poisonous, so their colors stick out to us. Red symbolizes ripeness and sweetness, so red fruit stands out to us more than green fruit. Some colors can raise blood pressure and some can increase metabolism. Red and yellow are stimulating, and are used in famous brand logos like McDonald's, KFC, Netflix, and Target, while blue skies and green fields can be calming. Colors may have a general meaning or elicit a general feeling, but different shades or tones—lighter or darker—may have more specific meanings. Today we explore all colors and learn about how they can impact us differently.

How to Observe National Color Day

Celebrate the day by learning about what different colors signify and are associated with, and how they can affect your body and mind and elicit different feelings and responses. Then apply what you have learned when making decisions about colors, whether it be what color to paint a room, or something as simple as picking out what to wear. The following are colors and what they signify or are associated with:

  • Black: grief, fear, death, power, sophistication, elegance, mystery, evil, anonymity, unhappiness, style, sadness, remorse, anger.
  • Blue: trust, strength, peace, calmness, serenity, cool or cold, relaxing, tranquility, suppresses appetite, harmony, unity, confidence, security, order, sky, water, conservatism, professionalism, technology, depression, cleanliness, immortality, loyalty, stability, masculinity, protection, intelligence, responsibility, light baby blue is peaceful, dark blue may mean depth and power, the most popular color when it comes to preferences and usage, used by corporations, used by IT companies, used by social networks.
  • Brown: earth, home, outdoors, trees, nature, autumn, comfort, endurance, reliability, stability, simplicity, wholesomeness, naturalness, honesty, associated with things that are old fashioned and well-established.
  • Gray: safety, melancholy, modesty, reliability, intelligence, dignity, maturity, soundness, functionality, old age, grief, professionalism, conventional, maturity, responsibility, formal, dependable, conservative, lacking emotion, safe, serious, subdued.
  • Green: balance, virtue, cool and relaxed under pressure, nature, environment, good luck, health, vigor, youth, renewal, spring, generosity, fertility, jealousy, envy, misfortune, inexperience, St. Patrick's Day and Christmas, growth, harmony, wealth, stability, renewal, action, dark green is associated with money in the United States—which represents stability and prosperity, dark green also has a calming effect, light green creates an atmosphere of joy.
  • Orange: approachable, fun, good-natured, power, warmth, energy, balance, enthusiasm, brings health and vitality, expansion, flamboyance, autumn, Halloween, creativity, youth, enthusiasm, combines qualities of red and yellow.
  • Pink: shows sophistication and sincerity, represents femininity, playfulness, romance, tenderness, sweetness, cuteness, charm.
  • Purple: royalty, nobility, spirituality, ceremony, mystery, wisdom, power, enlightenment, transformation, luxury, religion, spirituality, combines qualities of red and blue.
  • Red: stimulating, increases appetite, power, confidence, love, excitement, speed, desire, passion, high energy, heat, aggression, danger, strength, blood, violence, war, fire, intensity, celebration, luck, anger, associated with Christmas and Valentine's Day.
  • White: happiness, purity, innocence, virginity, mourning (in Eastern European countries), reverence, goodness, birth, youth, marriage, cleanliness, nothingness, precision, winter, snow, cold, clinical, sterility, minimalism.
  • Yellow: stimulating, happiness, approachable, fun, joy, good-natured, purity, positivity, power, optimism, sunshine, danger, imagination, hope, summer, gold, dishonesty, philosophy, cowardice, betrayal, deceit, jealousy, disease, spontaneity, warning, youthful.

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