What Does the Color Blue Mean in Psychology?

Blue is often the color with the most fans, thanks to all the positive qualities it transmits. Here are the most popular meanings of blue, according to psychology.
What Does the Color Blue Mean in Psychology?

Last update: 01 July, 2021

Did you know that colors affect our mental and emotional states? It’s true that each tone can produce many different effects, even contradictory ones. It all depends on the context. In this article, we’ll discuss the different states that the color blue can evoke in us, according to psychology.

Sociologist and psychologist Eva Heller, a specialist in color psychology, found that blue is usually many people’s favorite color. It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like it! That’s because, unknowingly, we tend to associate it with a variety of positive qualities, such as trust, loyalty, sympathy, tranquility, and rationality.

Let’s take a closer look.

What does the color blue mean in psychology?

The color blue’s often associated with water (especially the sea) and the sky. The associations with these elements are what give it a symbolism of calm and peace, especially when the tones are light, such as light blue.

It’s also one of the colors that’s been most associated with the ability to control. Tolerance, introspection, and understanding are qualities that it also tends to transmit.

In turn, it’s linked to trust, care for others, credibility, power, seriousness, creativity, physical energy, cordiality, and technological development.

In light of all these positive feelings, many collective entities have borrowed the color blue to transmit them. For example, we can mention the following:

  • The uniforms of security forces evoke confidence and seriousness.
  • In political campaigns, it inspires authority, credibility, and peace.
  • Banks, insurance, and pharmaceutical companies try to convey security, trust, and care.
  • In marketing, it’s intended to influence consumer purchases.

Experts have found that the color blue is ideal for promoting diet foods or for decorating the kitchen, as it helps us to feel less hungry and, therefore, eat less. This is because this color tends to be uncommon in foods.

Finally, it’s also been associated with negative qualities, such as sadness, melancholy, and nostalgia. This may be due to its opposition to warm colors.

According to color psychology, blue is the coldest color and is based on our experiences with low temperatures. Skin takes on a bluish hue in these conditions and ice and snow are associated with these tones.

A blue-toned photo of a man and a woman playing in the snow on the top of a ski slope, with a chairlift in the background.
The color blue’ is preponderant in cold climates, which is why it’s associated with snow and winter.

Also read: The Color of Food and Its Nutritional Value

Meaning of the different shades of blue

According to Eva Heller, there are 111 shades of blue. But only 23 varieties of this color carry specific psychological perceptions. Here are the most common shades and the meaning usually associated with them.

Light blue or sky blue

This tone’s associated with feelings of stillness, tranquility, protection, and generosity. Lighter shades are usually associated with recollection, introspection, and communication with oneself.

Therefore, it’s ideal for promoting states of relaxation and concentration. It’s often recommended in bedrooms to combat insomnia.

Dark blue color

Dark blue’s associated with truth, moderation, stability, order, and seriousness. It’s very common to use this color in police or security uniforms.

This shade’s usually linked to fidelity, commitment, infinity, that which is sacred, and royalty. This may be because the night sky, where the gods dwell, is perceived as navy blue. It was also widely used by pharaohs and virgins.

At the same time, it’s also associated with elegance and economic power. In the past, it was very representative of high society. That’s because it was hard to fabricate, which made it expensive. Today, it’s a color widely used to make elegant suits.

Navy blue also arouses feelings of tranquility and relaxation, as it evokes the depths of the sea.

Turquoise blue

This is a color that lies between blue and green, so it conveys the qualities of both. For example, tranquility and growth. We also associate it with mental clarity, creativity, introspection, balance, and emotional control.

So, if you’re looking to undertake a creative project, you can decorate spaces with this tone. As a result, inspiration and creativity will flow more easily.

Fresh blueberries in a wooden bowl, surrounded by more fresh blueberries.
We eat very few blue foods, so we link them to states of satiety and the possibility of reducing our hunger.

The color blue in other cultures

It’s important to keep in mind that the meaning of the color blue may vary depending on the culture. Remember that the effect it has on us will depend, to a large extent, on the context.

For example, the Chinese sometimes frown upon the color blue because they associate it with pornography. That’s because they often call these films “blue movies” there. In Belgium, blue is often a color for girls. And in South Korea, they associate the color with death, making it the shade of mourning for Koreans.

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