The Mysterious Power of ColorBy Laura Jackson

Whether you are looking at endless paint swatches for your new home, designing a major ad campaign, picking out a cocktail dress, or deciding to cut either the bright
blue or red wire to defuse the ticking time bomb, finding the right color is important—and not always an easy choice.

Research shows that most color decisions are based on our past experiences. If you have fond memories of soft, swirling cotton candy at the state fair, you may love its frolicking pastel color. If, however, you still remember how sick it made you afterwards, you might avoid it like the plague.

Each year, Pantone Inc.®, considered the global authority on color, conducts a lengthy process pulling from current trends, polling designers, consulting color experts, and studying the national mood to select their eagerly anticipated color of the year. For 2013, Pantone selected the luscious emerald green—and this bold, lively color is showing up all over the fashion world, as well as in home interiors, product designs and much more.

Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®, has built a successful career around understanding how people react to color and sharing that expertise with all sorts of clients, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. She explains some of the reasoning behind this year’s choice, “Green is the most abundant hue in nature. The human eye sees more green than any other color in the spectrum.”

Green is certainly a color supercharged with emotion in numerous ways. You can be green with envy, turn several shades of green when you’re queasy, feel lucky green and even be a fired up environmentalist with a go green attitude. Historically, green is also associated with growth, fertility, healing and prosperity.

New research shows yet another fascinating aspect of this versatile color—green may actually spark creativity. In a study published by the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, German researchers at the University of Munich found that when people looked at the color green before performing a creative task, it boosted their creative output when compared to other colors. Dr. Stephanie Lichtenfel explained their “green effect” as a link to an unconscious signal of growth, not only physical growth as with plants, but psychological growth as well.
And it’s not just Dorothy and Toto who envision emerald paired with a magical land of harmony and beauty, “As it has throughout history, multifaceted emerald continues to sparkle and fascinate. Symbolically, emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation, which is so important in today’s complex world,“ said Eiseman.

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