Below is a simple listing of the meanings behind the basic colour range.

Passion, romance, fire, violence, aggression. Power, energy, warmth, passions, love, aggression, danger Red means stop or signals warning or forbidden actions in many cultures. Red, for instance, is a very stimulating color and has been shown to produce increased heart and respiratory rates. Thus, red works as an excellent attention grabber and accent but could easily overstimulate when used as a background color. Red changes meaning in the presence of other colors. With green, it becomes a symbol of Christmas. When combined with white, it means joy in many Eastern cultures.

Brightness, illumination, illness, cowardice. yellow also demands attention, but since it is highly reflective, it creates eye fatigue and aggravation. Optimism, hope, philosophy, dishonesty, cowardice (a coward can be described as “yellow”), betrayal. Yellow is a sacred color to Hindus.

Energy, balance, warmth. Orange is a combination of red and yellow, so it takes on many of the characteristics of both colors. It is vibrant and warm, like the autumn leaves. Orange has the physical force of red, but it is less intense, less passionate.

Nature, fertility, growth, envy. In North American cultures, green means go, is associated with environmental awareness, and is often linked to fiscal matters. Nature, healthy, good luck, jealousy (“green with envy”), renewal. Doesn’t do well in a global market. There are problems associated with green packaging in China and France. Green has been successful in attracting investors in the Middle East.

Loyalty, security, conservatism, tranquility, coldness, sadness. Trust, conservative, security, technology, cleanliness, order the color blue has a relaxing effect on the nervous system, and some studies have shown that it increases productivity when used as a background color. However, don’t use blue in your color scheme if your product is food-related, as blue is a natural appetite suppressant. Used in the U.S. by many banks to symbolize trust. The color of tranquility and peace, blue tends to be the most preferred color universally.

Creativity, mystery, royalty, mysticism, rarity. Spirituality, mystery, royalty, transformation, cruelty, arrogance Purple is associated with death in some cultures. Purple appears very rarely in nature. This hue has an aura of mystery and intrigue.

Neutral, Intellect, futurism, modesty, sadness, decay. Gray is the easiest color for the eye to see.

Power, sophistication, contemporary style, death, morbidity, evil. Power, sexuality, sophistication, death, mystery, fear, unhappiness, elegance. Signifies death and mourning in many Western cultures. In packaging, conveys elegance, wealth, and sophistication.

Purity, innocence, cleanliness, truth, peace, coldness, sterility. Purity, cleanliness, precision, innocence, sterility, death White is also the color of death in Chinese culture. Signifies marriage in most westernised cultures, but death in India and other Eastern cultures.


of Colour

Why are things coloured? Why is the sky blue? Why are flamingos
pink? This site explains these and many more colour questions.

and Vision

What is colour? Light, colour and vision,
simultaneous contrast, peripheral vision, luminance and equiluminance.

through the Ages

Looks at the use of colour by artists throughout history.

Colour Matters

Useful site that covers topics such as colour and the brain,
design, vision, science, colour theory…


The pantone site includes some interesting articles on colour
trends for fashion, digital colour, architecture,etc.

Colour museum

Feautures lots of colour info.

in Motion

An animated and interactive experience of colour communication
and colour symbolism.

Colour scheme generator

Colour Contrast Analyser for Web Pages – contains a tool for checking foreground & background colour combinations to determine if they provide good colour visibility


Back to top