The Emotional Language of Colors

In this fascinating (to me) video, Adam Alter, author of the book Drunk Tank Pink, says that “Drunk Tank Pink” is a shade of color that’s found to be very calming. I love bits of knowledge like this, and I got the book from my local library. But you can read in the “About Notes” on the YouTube video that jailers started putting aggressive prisoners in cells painted pink, and it turned out that the pink color calmed them. The color pink also works in schools to calm students and to keep them more engaged. It doesn’t say this next bit in the book or the video, but a few years ago, I read that if you’re wearing pink, people are more likely to like you. I wonder if that’s why so many young girls instinctively prefer the color pink.

According to the book, blue is a favorite because it’s the color of the sky and the oceans. And men and women wearing red are rated to be “more sexually attractive and worthy of sexual attention.” So if you’re sending pictures of yourself to an online dating site, wear red for your picture. And if you’re going anywhere for the purpose of meeting people of the opposite sex (or the same sex, if that’s your preference), wear red for that, too.

Color makes a difference in sports, too. In individual sports (one-on-one, like tae kwon do and boxing matches), “red competitors won 55% of their bouts overall.” Teams that wear black are more aggressive than other teams and are more likely to end up in penalty boxes. Though it doesn’t say so in the book, I think yellow is cheerful. It’s the color of sunlight. Whereas gray is more sophisticated and understated. Edie Miracle Box 2d 239x350dofd4233x350 For book covers, horror genre covers are likely to be stark black and red. Romantic suspense books usually have darker colors, and so do many paranormal suspense and urban fantasies. For other books, anything goes. You can see the difference between my MIRACLE INTERRUPTED SET, which is contemporary romance/women’s fiction, and the DARLINGS OF DARKNESS, with 10 vampire novels by 10 different authors, including Magical Musings’ blogger, Dale Mayer. (Mine is $7.99 now, and I plan on putting it on sale soon. The one Dale is in is only 99¢! Buy hers now, and sign up for my newsletter to find out when I’m putting mine on sale for the bargain price 99¢.)

I wondered if certain colors for book covers sold more than others. I Googled and found out Jim, a PHD candidate in astronomy, has done a study of book covers. His study was posted almost a year ago, and he put together bestselling covers from 2000-2012. Then he combined them to see what color would be dominant. You can see the color on his post, but he says it looks like “an ancient piece of parchment.” So that didn’t tell me much.

A couple months ago, other writers and I were talking about what colors we mostly wore. I said if you looked in my closet, you would see a lot of tops with colors in all shades of blues, pinks, purples and reds. (I like yellow and green, but don’t look good in them.)

What colors are in your closets?

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18 Responses to The Emotional Language of Colors

  1. Amy says:

    That is very interesting to think about, Edie. While my favorite color is blue (any shade of blue), I find that for work I wear a lot of black and beige. Maybe because I am fashion-challenged and those colors match just about anything. :) For my weekend wear I tend to wear a lot more colors such as pinks, reds, blues, yellows, etc. I guess I am worried about standing out at work and want to blend in more? I am curious what people’s rooms in their homes are painted, specifically their bedroom? Ours is an olive green (which seemed to be a popular color when we painted it) but I don’t like it. Maybe I should paint it pink, right? Or maybe red? Oh wait, I think some book as a red room of pain and I don’t want to channel that. So, my mind always goes back to blue. Serene. Calm like the ocean. :)

  2. Edie Ramer says:

    Amy, it sounds like we have the same color palette (except for the yellow, lol). My jeans and shorts tend to be mostly black, blue or beige. Neutral colors that I can wear with my more colorful tops. And I do have a few neutral-colored tops, too.

    In the book, it said a red room or red walls affected people adversely, some more than others. So that would definitely not be a good idea for your bedroom walls. We have a blue carpet in our bedroom and navy drapes, so we painted our walls silver. We didn’t take into account that the other blues would reflect in the silver, making it a light blue. So the room is way too blue. We should have gone for a solid gray that wouldn’t change. Another bedroom is painted a blue-gray. It otherwise doesn’t have a lot of blue, and the walls are a very serene color. Good luck!

  3. I have a lot of brown, green and red in my cupboard. I like pink, though. I should wear it more often.
    Michelle Diener`s last blog was …Contest: Last Advance Reading Copy of Banquet of Lies Up For Grabs

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Michelle, I’d thought I remembered you in brown, and it’s a great color for you. And of course, red! I used to have a very rich brown sweater that I loved, a darker pecan shade. The lighter shades of brown don’t do a lot for me.

  4. Very interesting topic today, Edie. Thanks. I love your new Miracle Interrupted cover. I mentioned that series several times last week at the author event I participated in. Hope you see some sales.
    Casey Clifford`s last blog was …An Author Event

  5. Misty Evans says:

    I wear a lot of pink, purple, and white. Black too. People tell me I look nice in red, but I don’t like to wear it. LOL. My blues tend to be ocean-y or bright teal shades.

    Interesting post, Edie. I’ll look at my next cover art a little differently!

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Misty, you and I wear a lot of the same colors – except white. I can wear cream, but I white leeches the color out of my face. I love teal and turquoise shades!

  6. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Edie,

    Thanks for the shout out on the new bundle. :) As for colors – I wear a lot of yellow, blue and reds. I look good in bright colors but prefer to wear calming shades. My bedroom is in luminescent creamy yellow. :)
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Promo, deals and more promo

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Dale, my pleasure! A luminescent creamy yellow would be a lovely color to wake up to. I’d love it in a kitchen, too. Or, really, the living room and hall walls, too.

  7. marilynbrant says:

    Edie,
    This was fascinating!
    I like to wear various shades of reds and purples (I should definitely wear more pink, given the research you quoted!) — and I am, in fact, wearing purple right now. I also tend to wear a fair bit of black, but I always thought these choices were because they went best with my skin tone (I’m a “winter”).
    Love your new book bundle and Dale’s collection, too! :)
    marilynbrant`s last blog was …Goodreads Giveaway!

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Marilyn, thanks! I think I’m spring or summer. It’s been awhile. I can see that you would look great in black! And red and purple are my colors, too. Love them both.

  8. Great post, Edie!
    I have a lot of jewel tones in my closet. Ruby, sapphire, emerald, turquoise is one of my faves.

  9. Liz Kreger says:

    Hi Edie. I tend to wear a lot of black and gray. Mostly for work. I’ll often top black pants with red or teal blue for that splash of color. When we first moved into our house, we painted everything white. Over the years we’ve painted the walls a series of pale colors. The living room is a light gold, the kitchen a pale green, my office is Margharita green (a gorgeous color, IMO). Haven’t managed to do much of anything with the bedroom, but I’m leaning toward golds and browns. Bolder shades.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Liz, you always look sophisticated with an edge. And I love the colors in your house! So you’re definitely not afraid of color. Golds and browns are very earthy. That should be good in your bedroom.

  10. Love this post and discussion, Edie! I’ve never really given too much thought to color this way. I do love to wear pink! (My hubby says he likes it on me, too.) And I’ll almost always pair it or another color (I love shades of blue) with black or white. I also love gray – both dark and light. I recently bought a top in orange, a color I never buy, but I thought it would be fun to wear with the spirit of Halloween (my favorite holiday) in mind.

    I love both your covers! You know right away what’s inside.
    Robin Bielman`s last blog was …Cover Love: Her Accidental Boyfriend

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Robin, I love pink, too! I actually have a coral top on right now, and I love it. A cross between orange and pink. And I like gray, too. It’s a good color.

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