Neutral Colors – Color Psychology Questionnaire Results 1


The following post is part of a series on how colors affect us. Much of the information contained is thanks to my wonderful readers who took the time to think about how they feel about various colors, submitting their opinions into my questionnaire. My hope is that it will cause you to think about colors in your own life, and inspire you in how you decide which colors you choose to wear each day.

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Series Contents:

Spectrum of Truth: Food for Thought | Is Truth Really Black and White?
Questionnaire Post
Overview Post

Before We Begin:
Information About Questionnaire
Categorizing Associations
Color Questionnaire Results (Contents):
Warm Colors
Red
Orange
Yellow
Pink
Cool Colors
Green
Blue
Purple
Neutral Colors
Black
White
-⇒Grey
⇒Beige
Brown
References

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*This post may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make any purchases through my affiliate links, i’ll earn a commission at no extra cost to you. 

Black

With 15 mentions of style or fashion items, the questionnaire results point to black being considered the most fashionable color. It’s sleek and it’s versatile.
*See below, in the “Additional Comments” section? Everybody mentioned it!

Though, it also commonly brings about fearful, sad, and angry thoughts. Nightmares, evil, and loneliness are just a few negative associations mentioned. Experienced emotions came out to be excessively negative, with all of the negative emotions present in the final results, and an overwhelming agreement in the association of emotions such as Depression, Fear, and Insecurity (which ranked in the top 5 experienced emotions).

One participant beautifully, and painfully, stated: “It makes me angry cause it reminds me of the racism that exists; but it makes me happy because of the great progress by black people, as well as Africans, over the years. …”

Additional Comments:
“… I also love it because black goes with anything when it comes to fashion ;).”
“I use black as a secondary or emphasis to my clothing.”
“I like wearing black leggings like every other basic girl.”
“It’s my favorite… there [is] nowhere in life you can go wrong with black. Which color car should I buy?- Black. What color should I paint that accent wall?-Black. What color should I wear today?-Black. The list goes on an on Black is a never-fail-me color.”
“I love to wear it.”

Do you like the color black

“Do you like the color black?”: 13 said “Yes”, 1 said “No”, 0 said “Only certain shades”.

What are your feelings associated with the color black

“What are your feelings associated with the color black?”: 5 said “Positive”, 2 said “Negative”, 2 said “Neutral”, 5 said “Mixed”.

Emotions experienced with the color black

Mysteriousness ranked highest with 12 answers; Depression and Fear with 8; Confidence with 6; and Insecurity with 5.
0 selected: Compassion, Amusement, Playfulness, and None.

Associations:

Direct – Fashion (5) (“Clothing”, “Clothes”, “Fashion”, “Black Boots”, “Cloak”), Night (3), Darkness (2), Electronics (1), “My Dog” (1), Bats (1), Shadows (1), Space (1).
In Between – Being African (1), Nightmares (1), Funerals (1).
Indirect – Sophistication (3) (“Sophistication”, “Elegance”, “Class”), Minimalism (2)(“Minimalism”, “Simplicity”), Evil (1),”My Heart” (1), Scary (1), Strength (1), Being Lost (1), Helplessness (1), Loneliness (1).

Visual representations of associations:

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White

Being another neutral, white had similar comments as black about it’s versatility and ability to go with a wide variety of colors. One participant stated that “It can go with really anything, no matter if the color is dark or light”.

Peace topped the list of experienced emotions and soft, clean things most easily came to mind. But many reported that they find it boring. One said: “Even though I think of light and comfort with this color it can also be very plain and unexciting”, and boredom ranked as the second most experienced emotion, chosen by 5.

Additional Comments:
“White confuses me; it makes me feel mixed emotions: happy/sad, confident/worried, etc.”
“I just don’t have much at all to say about white; it’s just so boring to me.”

Do you like the color white

“Do you like the color white?”: 8 said “Yes”, 5 said “No”, 0 said “Only certain shades”.

What are your feelings associated with the color white

“What are your feelings associated with the color white?”: 5 said “Positive”, 1 said “Negative”, 3 said “Neutral”, 4 said “Mixed”.

Emotions experienced with the color white

Peace ranked highest with 8; Boredom with 5; Happiness, Security, and Trust with 4.
0 selected: Depression, Fear, Anger, Amusement, Disgust, Sensuality, Suspicion, Laziness, and None.

Associations:

Direct – Clouds (3), Snow (3), Cotton (1), Aprons (1), Cotton Balls (1), Yogurt (1), White Roses (1), White Chocolate (1), Whipped Cream (1).
In Between – Angels (2), Death (1), Light (1).
Indirect – Purity (3) (“Purity” x2, “Clean”), Emptiness (2) (“Emptiness”, “Blankness”), Boredom (1), Deadlines (1), Isolation (1).

Visual representations of associations:

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Grey/Gray

Rain, rain, rain. Stormy weather and gloomy days were the themes of nearly every answer for this color. Depression topped the list of experienced emotions with 66.7% (eight people) choosing it, and Sadness, Boredom, and Stress followed.

Though, all additional comments mentioned its aesthetic and fashionable appeal. One respondent stated that “If black doesn’t serve you, Gray will!” and another contemplated various shades, saying:
“The color grey is extremely varied for me. I feel as though the darker it is, the more I like it. Charcoal grey is one of my favorite colors for how relaxing it is to look at. Medium grey stresses me out. However, the lightest shades of grey do break this. If it’s practically off-white, it’s not stressful at all.”

One participant had an interesting observation about sportswear, which caused her to associate the color grey with motivation: “Sporty attire [comes to her mind]; because a number of sporting outfits are grey.”

Do you like the color grey

“Do you like the color grey?”: 4 said “Yes”, 3 said “No”, 5 said “Only certain shades”.

What are your feelings associated with the color grey

“What are your feelings associated with the color grey?”: 1 said “Positive”, 3 said “Negative”, 7 said “Neutral”, 1 said “Mixed”.

Emotions experienced with the color grey

0 selected: Compassion, Anger, Excitement, Admiration, Disgust, Sensuality, Passion, Playfulness, Trust, Comfort, and None.

Associations:

Direct – Cloudy Skies (4) (“Cloudy Skies” x2, “Clouds”, “Overcast Days”), Rain (3) (“Rain” x2, “Rainy Days”), Metal Objects (1), Sporty Attire (1).
In Between – Seasonal Depression (2) (“Seasonal Depression”, “Gloomy Days”).
Indirect – Low Energy (1), Balance (1), Loneliness (1), Sadness (1), Versatility (1).

Visual representations of associations:

Bonus question -“Grey” or “Gray”?: Which is the correct spelling? Many people have wondered this. Personally, i’ve found myself switching between usage of both, without a thought. Opinions were split in this questionnaire with the top choice taking up 2/3rds. 33.3% (4 people) chose “Gray”, 66.7% (8 people) chose “Grey”. Both spellings are correct. “Grey” is most commonly accepted in British English, while “Gray” is the common American English spelling. But almost as long as the variation has existed, and especially thanks to globalization and the internet connecting people all over the world, these lines have been blurred and either spelling might be used, no matter where you live. It’s a matter of preference.
A few may argue, though, that “Gray” is the scale of value between black and white, and “Grey” leans more towards silver.

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Beige

I want to try to remain as objective and unbiased as possible when writing things like this (things that go over a variety of perspectives). But honestly, seeing the results for this color made me a little sad. Call me crazy, but i love beige! Maybe it’s in part because i look like i’m dying when i wear white, so beige is my alternative–but i really love it. Sweedish interior design blogger, Maria Ljungström, thinks it’s a beautiful color too. Of course, i’m being silly and biased and passionate. I truly think the honesty in the answers is great!–I understand it, and i certainly wouldn’t ask for different:

“It just freaks me out, to be honest. There are very few things I like that are this color. Certain articles of clothing are okay.”
– Participant who only likes certain shades of beige, experiences negative emotions (Bitterness, Stress, Disgust) with it, and associates it with “Old furniture, imperfection, [and] pasta.”

“Just there; not happy/sad, just there; calm/ alright/ okay … Uhh it doesn’t really bring out strong feelings for me; it’s just..it just makes me think.. ‘okay'”
– Participant who likes it and experiences neutral (calm) emotions with it.

“I’m so much more attracted to highly saturated, rich tones.”
– Participant who does not like it, experiences negative emotions (Boredom) with it, and associates it with “Blah”.

After reading these, though, i felt the need to dedicate a Pinterest board to clothing in this color i find so appealing:

What i love about beige: It’s reminiscent, gentle, humble, care-free, and immaterial. It remembers the beauty of the past and exalts the inner-self over the outer-self. It doesn’t try too hard. That’s how i feel about it.

My favorite response was from an individual who said that beige reminds them of Cake and that they experience positive emotions of Compassion and Comfort.

Do you like the color beige

“Do you like the color beige?”: 3 said “Yes”, 3 said “No”, 4 said “Only certain shades”.

What are your feelings associated with the color beige

“What are your feelings associated with the color beige?”: 2 said “Positive”, 2 said “Negative”, 5 said “Neutral”, 1 said “Mixed”.

Emotions experienced with the color beige

Boredom ranked highest with 6; then Comfort with 3.
0 selected: Sadness, Fear, Anger, Excitement, Sensuality, Passion, Playfulness, Trust, Suspicion, Mysteriousness, Motivation, and None.

Associations:

Direct – Eggs (1), Cute Shoes (1), Cake (1), Little Toy Army Men (1), Pasta (1), “Your Blanket” (1) (As in Alissa’s blanket–result from my younger sister), Old Furniture (1).
In Between – Neutral (1), Muted (1).
Indirect – Boring (2) (“Boring”, “Blah”), Just There (1), Imperfection (1).

Visual representations of associations:

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Brown

The color of chocolate, brownies, wildlife…
But also the color of mud and poop.

Brown had mixed results, but mostly leaned toward being highly negative, with boredom as the top result. (I honestly think that this was largely attributed to the questionnaire getting too long…Most of the respondents checked out before this point. All of you who patiently stayed–I apologize for how tiring this must have been, and i promise it was a learning experience that i’ll apply in the future: *No more crazy long questionnaires, all at once! I hope you enjoyed the majority of it and learned something about yourself). It’s understandably unappealing if filth and feces are what first come to mind at the thought of brown. But there are some beautiful things in brown, and it can be a great color to wear as well.

A participant who experiences pride over the thought of brown beautifully said, “It makes me happy because it makes me think of wildlife; which is the pride of Africa.”
And another, who likes brown, is reminded of both her skin and chocolate. I like this healthy pride!

Do you like the color brown

“Do you like the color brown?”: 1 said “Yes”, 7 said “No”, 4 said “Only certain shades”.

What are your feelings associated with the color brown

“What are your feelings associated with the color brown?”: 2 said “Positive”, 4 said “Negative”, 5 said “Neutral”, 1 said “Mixed”.

Emotions experienced with the color brown

Boredom ranked highest with 7; Laziness and None with 3; Bitterness with 2.
0 selected: Happiness, Fear, Compassion, Anger, Excitement, Amusement, Stress, Admiration, Sensuality, Passion, Playfulness, Confidence, Insecurity, Trust, Mysteriousness, and Motivation.

Associations:

Direct – Dirt (3) (“Dirt”, “Dirty”, “Mud”), Poop (2) (“Poop”, “Feces”), Chocolate (2), Brownies (2), Bears (1), Doorways (1), Trees (1), Wildlife (1), Wood (1), “My Skin” (1), Hair (1).
In Between – Africa (1), Fall (1), Filth (1), Safaris (1).
Indirect – Consistency (1).

Visual representations of associations:

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References and Additional Reading:

All quotes from “Participants” or “Respondents” (interchangeable meaning), as well as answers shown in charts, come from the thoughts and opinions submitted by readers to my Color Psychology Questionnaires.

Birren, Faber: “Color Psychology and Color Therapy”.

Ljungström, Maria: “Beige Färg = Boring ??? / BEIGE = BORING???” Blog post. Inredningsvis. December 29, 2015.

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About Alissa Ackerman

Hello! My name is Alissa and i love all things creative--whether i'm getting to be part of the creative process myself, or just watching in admiration of the creativity of another. I adore people, stories, cultures and adventures and want to capture the beauty of it all! I'll also mention: i don't capitalize "i", except for emphasis, as a statement of equality--i'm no greater than you, him, her or them...so why should i capitalize "I" and not "You"?


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