Hue cues: the feeling of different colours

Maud Webster explains the phenomenon of colour psychology, and delves into how each colour makes us feel

Maud Webster
22nd February 2021
Colour psychology explores the phenomenon of particular colours inciting a particular emotional response or feeling in individuals; companies hacked how to use this to sell, sell, sell to consumers decades ago. Aside from this, however, if you are aware of how different colours make you feel, then you can start consciously surrounding yourself with colours that help shape you and the people around you’s mood.

As we’re now all spending significant amounts of time inside, colour psychology could help you feel better when you’re stuck indoors - choose brighter, yellow, or orange tones when decorating your space. 

The effects of colours can be categoried into functional (fulfills a need, for example, yellow tends to convey something that is cheaper, or black more expensive) and sensory-social (suggests attitude or feeling, such as yellow invoking happiness). 

Without further ado, we’ll explore four key colours’ and their potential effects on you:


Red invokes love, aggression, and excitement; research has shown looking at a red object can cause elevated blood pressure and heart rate, physical reactions which can be linked to these three feelings. Therefore it’s a stimulating colour, and interior designers recommend using red in entrance spaces, or communal areas such as living rooms.

Pixabay @diegodiezperez123


Blue is the colour associated with calm and tranquility, although it can also invoke feelings of sadness or aloofness. One study found that individuals tend to be more productive in a blue-green room, as opposed to a red or white one. Psychologists even suggest ‘feeling blue’ extends beyond metaphor, and that as well as colour affecting our moods, that feeling sad can impact our ability to view certain colours.


Lots of research aligns the colour green with a feeling of restfulness; its abundance in nature creates this link which encourages individuals to think of freshness and health when encountering the colour.

Pixabay @jplenio


This colour often represents happiness or hope; additionally yellow is very warm and energetic. On the other hand, it's been found that babies are more likely to cry in yellow rooms. Though it's hard to read, yellow is used extensively in logo branding because it's so noticeable and eye-catching.

Feature Image: Maud Webster

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AUTHOR: Maud Webster
she/they | third year architecture & urban planning student @ newcastle | co-head of culture for the 21/22 academic year

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