Gray is too a color
Have you ever been asked, “what is your favorite color?” and you didn’t know what to say? I’ve had it happen a few times. It made me feel like I was one of the characters from Monty Python trying to cross the bridge of death:
Have you ever had a moment like that, where you blurt out an answer without fully considering the question’s purpose and then retract the answer because you feel there is a deeper meaning to it? I often feel this way when asked what my favorite color is. Is there a purpose behind the question? A deeper meaning or ulterior motive? Is it okay to change my answer based on the circumstance or intended use? On the surface, choosing a favorite color seems inconsequential. However, I would argue that color choice can have an impact on how we (or our work) is perceived.
When it comes to simple preference, I would say my favorite color is blue. I like it because it reminds me of nice weather (blue skies) and tropical vacations (crystal clear blue water). However, if you asked me what my favorite color to wear is, I’d answer gray. My husband insists gray is not a real color, and won’t let me go shopping unless I promise not to buy any more gray stuff. In web design and graphics, I tend to like colors like green and orange; bright, festive and trendy feeling. I look awful in both green and orange, as it doesn’t compliment my pasty white…er…beautiful porcelain skin tone. But I sometimes wish I could wear those colors. This is why I always list several colors as my ‘favorites’ when asked.
If we go a level deeper, we could find that color psychology suggests I like these colors due to the way they make me feel, or because they are indicative of a certain personality trait. Blue is a cool and calming color, and is associated with loyalty, stability, confidence, cleanliness and order. I don’t think there is any causality here, but it may say something about my personality in the process. Gray, on the other hand, is the color of knowledge, wisdom and intellect. It is viewed as classic, refined and authoritative. It also suggests reliability and compromise. As for orange, it conveys energy, enthusiasm and demands attention. Green evokes a sense of health, the environment and generosity.
When I designed this website, I knew I wanted to use black, white, grey and green. I knew I wanted a light, clean, simple design, and an accent color that would be bright but not imposing. It was only after I selected these colors that I looked into the color psychology behind it. I think the choices ended up supporting my overall goals, mission and design philosophy and I’m happy with the end product.
If I have to answer “what is your favorite color?” when attempting to cross the Bridge of Death, I’ll respond with “in what circumstance?” and hopefully the bridge keeper will be launched into oblivion. Perhaps the question “what is your favorite color?” should always be asked with a follow up of “…and why?”. Maybe there is a deeper meaning behind it, and we should pause to reflect before answering.
- Nate Berkus on What Your Favorite Hue Says About You (casasugar.com)
Written by: Brinn Miracle