Business psychology

Choosing colours to alter perception

- January 21, 2008 3 MIN READ

If you’re feeling full of life and bubbling with creativity and confidence, chances are you’re wearing red. If you’re feeling indifferent, or distant, you are probably dressed in black. This article looks at choosing colours to alter perception.

The colours you wear can influence how clients perceive you and how you perceive yourself. They affect your mood and reveal personality traits. For instance bright colours make you feel happier and convey a positive attitude, so soloists who want to lighten up, should brighten up! Once you know their different qualities, choosing colours to alter perception becomes easy.

WHITE traditionally symbolises innocence and purity and is often considered a summer colour. It clears away old thoughts, stimulates new growth and opens up new ideas. When wearing white, people are often described as looking fresh or crisp. White is light, neutral and goes with everything. However if you have warm-toned skin, choose off-white clothing as white is considered a cool colour.


PURPLE implies royalty, dignity and spirituality. It is also associated with wealth, luxury and elegance. It’s a balancing colour. Wear purple when you feel stressed or sad as it promotes peace and restfulness. Purple is calming to look at and be around. It is said to stimulate intuition and creativity.

GREEN calms your emotions and helps with relaxation. Performers and people waiting to appear on TV sit in ‘green rooms’ to calm their nerves. Green is a refreshing colour and symbolises nature and fertility. Dark green is masculine, conservative and implies wealth.


BLUE is known as the executive colour. Blue enhances wisdom and stimulates self-awareness, so wear it when you are discussing important issues. Dark blue says you are a person who knows who you are and where you are going. Blue stimulates the mind but can be seen as a cold colour. It is also the colour of the sky and the ocean and is one of the most popular colours.

RED says success. Wear red to express power and stand out in a crowd. A person who wears red is not afraid of showing a strong image. Red is stimulating and romantic. Red boosts physical energy and helps overcome negative thinking and feelings of rejection. Since it is an extreme colour, red clothing might not be helpful in negotiations or confrontations.

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YELLOW is an excellent colour to wear when you’re feeling down. Yellow stimulates your desires, promotes positivity and prevents depression. It is a welcoming colour and good for communicating, so wear it when you want to sell yourself and your skills. It is cheery, optimistic and an attention getter. Although eye catching, it is a difficult colour for the eye to take in, so it can be overpowering if overused.

ORANGE promotes spontaneity and warmth. Orange is bold and cheerful and improves social behaviour. If you need some added motivation and fun wear orange; it’s said to be an anti-depressant. It’s a colour that is lively and active, helping to exude a dynamic or extroverted personality.


BROWN is solid and reliable. It is the colour of earth. People who wear a lot of brown are natural, casual, reliable and genuine and often Mother Earth types. Brown is a warm colour and is said to promote restfulness and tranquillity. Brown can also be seen as a dull colour, very safe and conservative. To offset boring brown, wear with an accent colour like orange or turquoise.

BLACK is a colour of authority and power. Always popular in fashion, it is stylish, timeless, elegant and slimming. Totally black outfits can sometimes be overpowering or make the wearer seem aloof. If you want to evoke mystery or you’re not in the mood to talk, wear black. Black keeps you hidden and distances people. To be more approachable, wear a different coloured shirt or top with an all black suit.

How do you respond to different colours? What about your clients? Why not experiment with choosing colours to alter perception and post a comment about the results.

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"