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See it to believe it: How color shapes our world
01:19 - Source: CNN

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Color shapes how we perceive the world, and it benefits our health and mind

Green, pink and yellow can help with calm

CNN  — 

Color permeates all aspects of our lives. It shapes how we perceive the world, it’s an essential part of our cultural identity, and it benefits our health and mind.

But we often are hesitant about incorporating color into our lives, says Lauren Rosenberg, an interior designer and CEO of Elaine Ryan LLC home decor company.

Rosenberg discovered that it was nearly impossible to talk to her clients about color. They loved the spectacular colors of the outdoors and their gardens but believed that, in their home lives, they could not actually live with “so much color” and thought they’d grow tired of it.

Sound familiar?

Even if we don’t realize it, color has a significant impact on our lives. For starters, it can make us less violent.

The color pink has been found to calm those experiencing violent episodes. This is why a number of prisons in Switzerland and the United States are painted pink.

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But it is also at the center of debates about gender, masculinity and femininity. Pink is strongly associated with femininity and delicacy, which is why it’s easy to conjure an image of a girl in a pink tutu playing with a pink Disney Princess Barbie but it may be harder to grasp the idea of a boy dressed head to toe in the color.

However, the gendering of pink is changing, with more boys and men wearing the color. Companies like Pink in London and Ralph Lauren’s pink polo shirts have made it a more popular color among men. Rapper Tyler, the Creator has been outspoken about his love for the color, getting his male fan base and other stars such as Drake to follow in his footsteps.

But attitudes won’t fully change until men stop justifying or defending wearing pink, believes Jo Paoletti, academic and author of “Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys in America.”

Being comforted – and confident

When you need some comforting, the color orange is what you need.

“It combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow,” said Sara Petitt, a member of the faculty of fabric styling at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

Singer Frank Sinatra called orange the happiest color, and Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky described it as “red brought nearer to humanity by yellow.”

Imagine a stressful day at work and the relief you feel when coming home to snuggle up with a book next to the warmth of a fireplace, with its orange glow – or soaking in the beauty of a dramatic sunset. That is the power of orange.


If you are striving to be a more confident person, orange can also help you do that.

Petitt says the color is associated with inner magnetism. “I don’t think shy people wear orange. You want to be noticed if you wear orange,” she said.

Removing fear

It doesn’t take much to realize that the color black is linked to darkness, but it has many dimensions. It is associated with grief, through experiences of death, but also sophistication in fashion.

Experts argue that we need black to make our wardrobes radiate sophistication but also to overcome our fears.

But most human cultures dislike the color of darkness, which is why in language, black often refers to negative things such as witches, unlucky cats and the Grim Reaper.

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