One of the greatest minds to have studied the history of color was Aristotle (330 BC). He concluded from his experiments with blue and yellow glass that green could be formed by mixing together yellow and blue lights. The Greeks later presented the world with the theory that any system of colors ranges from white through black. Isaac Newton also presented his New Theory of light and colors in 1672. His famous prism experiment brought forth the concept that all colors are not modifications; rather they are components of white light.
Other clever scientists who have studied the history of colors include Goethe, Thomas Young, physicist James Maxwell and astronomer Johann Lambert.
Color psychology and popular colors in history
Colors are all around us but many people do not know how they affect us. For example:
• Why do we feel relaxed in rooms that are painted green?
• Why are weightlifters known to perform best in gyms painted blue?
• Why do colors have different meanings across various cultures?
In the developed countries, a great deal of research has been done on color psychology and the meaning as well as popularity of colors and how it has changed or remained the same through the ages. In general the most popular colors and meanings associated with them are given below:
1. Blue – A survey conducted by color companies has shown that Blue is one of the most popular colors today. It is seen in everything from clothes to corporate logos and is present in 53% of the flags in the world! Dark blue represents professionalism and the Hindu God Krishna has blue skin. Feeling blue or singing the blues represents sorrow or depression. Blue has various meanings and symbolisms but that does not stop it from being used the most.
2. Green is the second most popular color in the world. It is the color of money and represents ecological wellbeing and love for the environment. Green harmonizes and balances. Ancient Egyptians used green eyeliners which are still popular today and Green jade is a sacred Asian stone.
3. Red is a warm color and it is the third most used color today. It symbolizes passion, temper and anger, but in China it stands for luck and prosperity.
4. Purple is the fourth most popular color of all time. It is rare in nature and may be considered artificial. It is considered the color of royalty, luxury and sophistication.
5. Black – Black is considered a color of power and authority. In women’s fashion, a little black dress is a must have. Priests wear black to show their submission to God. Black is the color of mourning and evil.
6. Orange – Orange follows Black in popularity. It is a powerful color associated with vitality and healing.
7. White – White is the most popular color for wedding dresses since the recorded history of colors. It symbolizes purity and innocence. Doctors wear white to show sterility. White is the most popular color for cars as well.