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Psychology of colour in the workplace and pantone of 2021

The Psychology of Colour in the Workplace and Pantone’s Picks of 2021

If you’ve ever bought paint for DIY or artwork, you’ve probably come across the name ‘Pantone’, which is the name of an institute that predicts colour trends and creates international standards for colours. But, did you know that they actually choose a ‘colour of the year’ that they predict will trend over the next 12 months? For the past 25 years they’ve done just that. As a result of this, they have influenced everything from design and fashion through to entertainment, marketing, architecture, office design and consumer products. 

The psychology of colour is a fascinating topic. Whether you walk into a room and notice the wallpaper or see someone wearing a bright blue shirt, you will make associations in your subconscious. And, since you spend so much time at a workplace or home office, the colours around you may be affecting you more than you might think.

So, let’s take a close look and Pantone’s colour of the year and how you can tailor your environment to create the best mood for your productivity.

Ultimate Grey and Yellow – Colours of 2021

By traveling around the world and analysing trends in everything from the entertainment industry to new art collections and fashion, Pantone gets an understanding of what’s in, and what’s not. In an unusual move for 2021, they’ve selected two colours. Enter Ultimate Grey, and Yellow.

Pantone Colours of 2021 - Ultimate Grey and Illuminating Yellow

To talk about this year’s choice, Leatrice Eiseman, a colour specialist and the executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute said that “Grey is dependable and practical. It gives us a solid foundation: the pebbles on the beach, the granite, the rock, the stone — those things that have been around for eons.” And as for the yellow. Well, it’s simple. “I think people are really hungering for that glimmer of sunshine. From the time we’re little kids, we always have a positive association with that.

Meaning of different colours in the workplace

The colours we see can have a subconscious impact on our thoughts and feelings. While we all have our favourites and subjective opinions, we do make certain associations. Broadly, colours in the ‘red’ area of the spectrum are generally known as ‘warm colours’. They can mean anything from feelings of warmth through to anger and passion. ‘Blue’ colours, including green and purple, can have a calming or melancholy effect.

Bright Colours in the Workplace

Red typically captures attention and is typically associated with passion, danger, action, and energy. However, it’s also about context. Red notes scribbled over your school paper were not a good feeling. However, if you see a valentine’s or Christmas card, you’re going to make a more positive association.

Green is typically connected to money, nature, generosity and wellbeing. Green is ‘go’ and generally conjures a safe feeling and is also connected to nature and money. But, it can have some negative connotations tied to sickness, nausea, and envy.

Blue fits in nicely with feelings of harmony, stability, peace and calm – probably thanks to a clear sky and waters. But, on the flip side it can be associated with depression (AKA – ‘feeling blue’) and coldness.

Purple generally makes people think of lavishness, royalty and luxury. However, it is a very distinctive colour and needs to be used sparingly or people may feel that you are being pretentious.

Pink is generally regarded as a colour of health and playfulness. However, if used in the wrong manner can be regarded as childish and not to be taken seriously.

Yellow can be bright and intense, which is why it can often produce strong feelings. It can quickly grab attention, but it can also be abrasive when overused. It can appear warm and bright, yet it can also lead to visual fatigue.

Monochrome Colours in the Workplace

White is technically not a colour as such, but can also be impactful. In European and North American cultures it is associated with goodness, humility and cleanliness. For other cultures, it could represent oblivion or a sense of cold and sterility, even death.

Black can conjure up a sense of elegance, sophistication, mystery and power. It can also characterize darkness and a sense of ‘the void’ or oppression. 

Grey (one of this year’s Pantone choices) represents a feeling of balance and neutrality as it sits between white a black. However, it can also bring up feelings of depression (grey skies) because of its absence of colour.

Make your workplace a better space

We all spend large amounts of time in a workplace, so it’s important to make it ‘feel’ as good as possible. The colours you see around you will have profound impact on this. For instance, in this study, ‘The impact of light and colour on psychological mood: A cross-cultural study of indoor work environments’, a range of industries across different countries were studied. Amongst other results, it was found that the mood was better throughout the year for those who had the most colourful work environment.

Take a look around your workplace. Are you seeing lots of reds and blacks? Blues and greens? Or, is it a neutral grey or white? 

Different industries will use colours differently. For instance, a creative environment such as an advertising agency will typically use lots of bright yellows, reds and blues to create a sense of brightness, concentration and dynamism. But, other industries that position themselves as ‘serious’ or ‘powerful are more likely to use blacks and greys for a subtle feeling of power, minimalism and quality. Just look at high-end clothes shops and banks to see what we mean.

If you feel like your workplace is dull or doesn’t make you feel motivated, you could consider using colours to improve the environment around you. While painting the walls or changing up the wallpaper can have a huge impact, most of us won’t have that option. Well, that’s where we come in.

Colour your world with ESCREO’s clear writable paint

Ever wanted to paint, draw or just make a room, desk or object more colourful without having a permanent effect? Well, ESCREO has you covered. Our clear or transparent whiteboard paint can be applied to any surface, allowing you to express yourself without putting the original surface in danger.

For instance with ESCREO’s dry erase paints you can:

  • Create a more positive office area
  • Decorate homes or creative spaces
  • Create fun schedules and games
  • Express yourself without consequences

To find out more, check out our transparent whiteboard paint to see how it all works. And, if you’re looking for inspiration, you can read this post on how to Transform Your Home and Office with ESCREO’s Transparent Whiteboard Paint. And finally, if you love learning about colour, check out this piece on The unusual history of colours through time.