Blue Color Psychology and Meaning

The color blue is one of the most universally-appealing colors on the spectrum. It is a versatile color that, in its various shades, can indicate a wide range of emotions or feelings. Many people find blue to be a calming or soothing color, some feel that it inspires creativity, others feel that it helps to indicate trust – it is amazing how much can be “said” with just a humble color. Blue is also often associated with intelligence, calmness, coolness, and even aloofness or a lack of emotional response. This widely varied interpretation of a simple color just goes to show the psychological power that color has on our minds and life.

When asked what comes to mind when they see the color blue, many people report that they associate the color with words like ‘trust’, ‘dependability’, and much more. Let’s take a look at the amazing color blue and its associations in a little more detail.

Asked what words people most often associate with the color blue, people respond commonly with the following:

  • Trust
  • Dependability
  • Calmness
  • Intelligence
  • Confidence/Aptitude
  • Coolness
  • Unappetizing

Let’s take a closer look at each of these in turn.

Trust and Dependability

For a long time, many have associated the color blue with trust, respect, dependability, and the like. Just think of all the important jobs where blue is a commonly-used color. Police and security often use the color blue. Many corporations, having learned from research into color psychology, understand this association, and thus have chosen blue as the color for their logo. Facebook, Ford, Dell, and many more companies use blue in their logos for this very reason.

Calmness

Just think of the most tranquil scene you can visualize. Chances are, you see some sort of body of water – blue. The color blue has long been associated with calmness and tranquility. There has been a wide range of studies that show the calming power of the color blue. Research also indicates that the color blue may help lower heart rate and even slow down metabolism, which will lead to greater feelings of calm, peace, and serenity. Many meditation studios take advantage of this fact and use the color blue to increase the effects of the practice.

Intelligence

Blue has long been associated with both emotional and general intelligence. Much research indicates that the color blue can help enhance communication and understanding. Blue can also help concentration, improve the ability to study and retain what is learned, and can enhance mental clarity. There is research that indicates that working in a blue room can make you more productive and have an easier time concentrating. It seems that blue can stimulate the mind, while also relaxing the body.

Confidence

Blue is also linked with confidence without aggression. Unlike the color red, which is closely associated with power and aggression, blue gives off a feeling of authority, but calmly and confidently. Blue doesn’t indicate bluster, anger, or a short temper like the color red, but it still has an authoritative feel.

Coolness

The color blue, as noted above, often leads to feelings of calm and tranquility, but it can also have the effect of coolness or even aloofness. This isn’t hard to understand when you simply think about water. Yes, it can be calming, refreshing, and serene, but it can also be hauntingly cold and even dangerous. Lighter colors of blue are most often associated with coolness or aloofness and for some, it can give off a feeling of emotional bluntness.

Unappetizing

Blue is one of the more unappetizing colors. Outside of candy and blueberries, there isn’t much food – especially that found in nature – that is pure blue. This is why most people who run businesses that sell food will stay away from the color blue. Our minds just don’t associate it with good things to eat.

Personality Traits of Blue

In Summary

The color blue is a versatile and highly-varied color that enhances mood and can evoke a range of different emotions. It makes people feel safe and secure and can give the impression of a calming authority. It can provide a calming and soothing feeling that will provide peace of mind and reduce stress. Blue is often associated with intelligence because research has shown that this color helps to stimulate thought, enhance concentration, and make it easier to pursue academic or mentally-strenuous endeavors. Blue often gives a feeling of trust and honesty and is, for that reason, used in many industries in their uniforms or logos to take advantage of this unique response to this color.

It should be noted that not all associations with the color blue are necessarily positive. Some shades of blue evoke feelings of coolness, aloofness, or even emotional bluntness that can give people the feeling that someone isn’t a warm and caring person. It can also be a poor color choice for certain areas of business, such as the food industry. This versatile color in its myriad of shades can enhance several positive feelings and can even lead to a more productive work or home environment as well.

About the Author: Dena Przybyla

32 Comments

  1. I consider myself to be a blue, but romance is something I do not have in me. So am I still a blue? And for those wondering, lack of romance has been and will be quite convenient for me, due to constant hard work (filming, teaching, researching, editing, philosophy, and a make-the-world-a-better-place project). On a side note, the psychology of colors is quite interesting to me, and I hope to incorporate it into more of my work.

      1. Hello Matthew C,
        It I true, we are struggling with the same thing, I’ve had three break-ups, I’ve been accused of being more formal than romantic, and that is interpreted as not being in love or as not being caring.
        I have my projects to make the world a better place, but it is not an excuse for not being romantic, I just find it proper that there’s time for everything, and I don’t know how to act except to be cool and orderly.
        Being blue is fun except when you do a mistake of falling in love.

  2. Hello. I am in 9th grade. I have been researching about color psychology for 2 years. There is this one thing that I am deeply curious about, that I cannot find the answer to.

    When I went around information (your site as well), I found many saying that the color blue showed emotions of peace and trust, and I agree with it since blue is the color a lot of insurance and bank companies use.

    However, when I surveyed 60 people from my school, almost all of them answered that when they see blue, it reminds them sadness and restless. They also said green gives them the feeling of safety and trust.

    Could you tell me why there is a huge difference as written above between professional researches and individual ideas?

    I need to make a report to submit for school.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Mona,

      I think the main factor is context. In terms of logos and brand identities, blue reflects a cool professionalism. However, if it is just on its own or used as the main color in a painting or larger work of art, that “sedating” effect can be amplified and it can cause a more serene, solemn or in some cases sad feeling. In fact, the word “blue” is sometimes used as a synonym for sad.

      The saturation level of color plays a role, too. Bright blue or a pleasant sky blue tend to have a more cheerful effect, while a muted or grayish-blue can be more sedating and introspective.

      Hope this helps!

  3. Thanks for the article on blue, which is one of my favorite colors. I noticed that a lot of companies in the pharmaceutical and medical industry use blue, green, and white. I’m guessing this is because they all have such a strong connotation with being related to healthcare in someway. However, I’d be interested to know if there are any clinical tests that show how people positively respond to these different colors.

    1. Hi Blissful,

      Yes, numerous studies have been done about human color responses. One marketing study found that color helps to improve brand recognition by up to 80 percent. Studies about the color blue have linked it with creativity and tranquility. Researchers believe this is due to the associations of blue with the sky, the sea and relaxing feelings. Blue is also perceived as “competent,” which would be valuable to a healthcare company’s image.

      Also, numerous studies have shown people experience green as calming and connected with nature, health, sustainability and durability, while white is associated with freshness, cleanliness and hope. It’s no wonder that these colors are so often used in healthcare industry marketing.

  4. A study says that with blue rooms you have better sleep quality. But which blue? Sky blue? Navy blue? Royal blue? Or any blue?

    Thanks

  5. WELL IM ALWAYS BLUE SINCE I WAS A KID BUT I SEE MYSELF 3 OR FOUR DIFFERENT COLORS CAN I BE VARIETY OF COLORS AND OF COURSE DO YOU BELIEVE IN GOD. ALSO I AGREE WITH A LOT OF THE MEANING BUT I HAVE ANGER AND IM VERY PROTECTIVE OF MY LOVED ONES IF THATS FRIENDS FAMILY EXT. AND IM NOT AFRAID TO GIVE UP MY LIFE TO SAVE OTHERS OR DO ALL PEOPLE HAVE THAT TRAIT. QUESTION I TEND TO GET ENERGY OR BOOST OF ENERGY THROUGH THE DAYS BUT EVEN AT WORK WHEN PEOPLE GET TIRED I GET MORE ENERGY NOT ALL THE TIME BUT WHEN I NEED IT I SOMETIMES CAN GET IT LIKE IM SUMMONS THIS ENERGY OR CALLING IT OR AWAKENING IT

  6. I have read that only 7% of receptors in our eyes are blue sensitive which are S Cones and other L and M cones are Red and Green sensitive.

    The question is if our eyes are only 7% sensitive to blue how do we see every blue so loud and clear. Why don’t we miss any?

    Does this practically make all humans dichromatic?

  7. Thanks it’s very usefull for me to know my friend personality so i want to say thanks for the good information

    Sorry if my english is not so good
    Couse i from indonesia(14 years old)

  8. I love blue and always have. This definition sums me up almost completely except for the social aspect and having close friends. Besides my lover/husband/best friend, I need my good friends and love to socialize a few times a month. Otherwise blue is me!!!!!

  9. Well, my favorite color is Blue and Gray and I also found out what color gray means in your site from your article color blue is what really my personality is, I often use in my things and in my room is the Sky blue color. But then I search for Gray because it’s my favorite color too and I always match it with my things and clothes, and even furniture. Then I fount out as I analyze it that the personality of color gray is contradiction to the personality of color blue. Lol hahah! But then psychologically I conclude that I am naturally a person who is blue but trying hard to be a gray? And yeah i found myself like this…

    Im sociable but sometimes I am admiring those people who are not sociable. I’m a person always surrounded by my friends and I can’t live without it. But then sometimes I just want to be alone and be quiet for some reasons. Most of the time I am open to everyone but again there’s area in my life that I don’t want to share, need of privacy. I envious the people like gray because they can be alone, but I can too if I will. but most of the time I’m not.

    Therefore I conclude. I’m a person who is Blue and want to have a person in my side like Gray. ^_^

    I will find a person like Gray. This is my totally opposite character. hahah!! Thank you for this, my friend. It helps a lot! ^_^ Godbless you!

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