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Visualizing the Psychology of Color

Psychology of Color [Infographic]


At National Geographic, we are dedicated to unique and engaging forms of visual storytelling. Colors, of course, can be a powerful medium to convey meaning and trigger emotions.

Think of the little girl in the red dress in the otherwise black and white Schindler’s List, or the captivating color of the young women’s eyes in the iconic National Geographic magazine cover. The invention of color photography was an important milestone in our shared visual language.

Now, when a photographer or designer chooses black and white, absence of color often conveys meaning.

Scientists have known for a long time that colors affect our emotions. Blue or lavender are often calming, red seems to stimulate our appetites, and so on.

A friend of mine who works for Nowsourcing produced this new infographic on the psychology of color. Since we spend a lot of time thinking about color here I thought it was interesting.

What’s your favorite color, and why?



1. Fall Colors

2. Light Bulb Savings Calculator

3. Tropical Rainforests Gallery


Brian Clark Howard is a writer and editor with NationalGeographic.com. He was formerly an editor at The Daily Green and E/The Environmental Magazine and has contributed to many publications, including TheAtlantic.com, FastCompany.com, MailOnline.com, PopularMechanics.com, Yahoo!, MSN and elsewhere. His latest book, with Kevin Shea, is Build Your Own Small Wind Power System.


  1. midya
    April 6, 2015, 3:15 am

    BLUE is my Favourite color ,because effect color

  2. Geof Kirby
    Cape Town
    December 25, 2014, 4:11 am

    A more comprehensive look at colour theory and practice is :
    “Colour, A Marshall Edition, by Mitchell Beasley Artists House ,London, 1980 ISBN 0 86134 024 8”

  3. Anonymous
    Charlotte, NC
    October 7, 2013, 5:42 pm

    People, don’t say bad things about this article. They worked really hard on it. Plus if you don’t like it then don’t read it!
    Kids read this. I’m 13 and I need this info for my science fair project.

  4. Rachel Kling
    August 21, 2012, 3:33 pm

    Did you know , red stimulate appetite ?

  5. david lincoln brooks
    boerne, texas
    January 23, 2012, 11:24 pm

    My two favorite colors are deep persimmon (orange-red) and a dirty chartreuse or “brass” gold (yellow-greens tinged with black or brown).

    I actually rather dislike many blues.

  6. […] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } newswatch.nationalgeographic.com – Today, 9:48 […]

  7. Kathleen McGregor
    Los Angeles
    January 23, 2012, 11:41 am

    My favorite color is red. I am very passionate about anti-racism work, and I believe it is wrong to perpetuate white is good/black is evil dichotomy.

  8. […] National Geographic Share this:StumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  9. […] no end to the fascinating implications of how color influences our mood and behavior.  National Geographic just profiled the following infographic created by the team at CertaPro Painters of […]

  10. Craig
    January 21, 2012, 3:20 am

    Yellow gives me energy, red encourages appetite. What a load of crap! People, I give you permission to paint your house using whatever colors you prefer! No, thank you!

  11. leatrice eiseman
    executive director Pantone Color Institute, www.colorexpert.com
    January 21, 2012, 12:41 am

    Sorry, as attractive as the graphics are, there are two blatant urban legends included that have no proof to back them up and come from a non-credible source. Babies do not cry more in yellow rooms and blue does not kill the appetite.

  12. Nic Bisch
    January 20, 2012, 11:57 pm

    Blue. No color better describes the planet on which we live.

  13. Arthur Dent
    Ottawa, Canada
    January 20, 2012, 5:45 pm

    Green is my favourite colour, because green is the best colour.