Interior design hues have become a red-hot topic in the corporate world.
Whether bold, flamboyant, psychedelic, or translucent, the average human is able to distinguish ten million colours. We encounter this kaleidoscope of shades every single day, most notably in the office. The psychology of colour is critical to an office – the right combination can create work place harmony, and boost productivity. A bad ensemble can have the opposite effect – with truly terrible consequences for the success of a business.
If we look at weather, it is obvious that dark, grey, white, and general bland colours invoke sadness, depression, lethargy, and other emotions that hardly bode well for productive and happy employees. Take a sunny day that illuminates nature in its bold and brightest however, and apply that to an office in the right way, and the results will be conducive to business success.
Colours on a low-wavelength, such as green and blue, are said to boost focus and effectiveness, and yellow can improve creativity and innovation, but beware of red. Evoking passion, alarm, conflict and aggression, red amplifies urgency and should be used with care.
But all things must be applied in a fine balance. Too bright or aggressive hues could result in unintended results.
It's why employing a defined system is the best idea. Developed by colour psychologist Angela Wright, The Colour Affects System looks at not only hues, but also intensity. When designing offices it is key to understand that colours are important, but even more paramount is their intensity and the combinations in which they are used.
You might decide to employ colours for an intended effect – Blue (affecting mind), Yellow (impacting mood), Green (boosting harmony), Grey (promoting neutrality), and Red (invigorating the body). Be aware that colours also have negative implications. If selecting White for simplicity or Black for sophistication, keep in mind the former can also be read as sterile, while the latter could be oppressive (who really wants to work in a black painted office?).
These can be useful in a workplace where there are strict corporate guidelines on colour use, or if revamping the office design is simply just not realistic (no budget! Bosses can’t decide!). Adding elements can also be a great way to experiment with the impact on team performance – document the results to build a business case for your favourite colour (as long as your teammates don’t think you are too sneaky).
The key thing to remember when examining colour psychology is that there are not necessarily any incorrect combinations, but rather the correct outcomes from your choices. And if you can’t change anything, well you can always rely on a cup of coffee, delicious cupcake or after work drink to boost productivity – but isn’t that just too boring?
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