Symbolism and Color Theory: Creating Meaning with Color

Color and emotions are inexplicably intertwined. Even if we’re not keenly aware of it, the colors around us can make us feel calm, sad, excited or even sad.

In fact, colors have such an impact on our emotions that we often refer to them when expressing our thoughts and feelings:

  • I was so angry that I saw red.
  • I've been feeling blue.
  • He was green with envy.

When it comes to loss and grief, colors can bring us comfort, reflect our pain, or serve as a reminder of our lost loved one.

 

How Does Color Affect How You Feel?

Did you know that 80% of your sensory impressions come from your visual system? That explains why color is such a potent stimulus for the brain. It also helps explain why some colors make us feel certain ways.

While the study of color and its psychological impacts is relatively new, ancient civilizations were well aware of their effects. For example, the ancient Egyptians and Chinese practiced chromotherapy, which uses colors to heal.

In chromotherapy:

  • Red is believed to stimulate circulation, the mind, and the body.
  • Orange is believed to help increase energy levels and lung function.
  • Yellow is believed to purify the body.
  • Purple or indigo is believed to help with skin issues.
  • Blue is believed to help with pain and illness.

What’s interesting is that many of these beliefs carry over into spiritual associations with colors (more on that soon).

Generally, when we see certain colors, it evokes certain emotions, and those emotions can also impact our physical and mental health.

Let’s take a closer look at how certain groups of colors can make us feel.

 

Warm Colors

Warm Colors

 

Warm colors, like yellow, red, and orange, tend to make us feel happy, energized, and optimistic. That’s why autumn colors bring us comfort and sunflowers seem so cheerful.

The brighter and lighter a warm color is, the happier and more optimistic it can make us feel.

Warm colors can also have other effects on our emotions. They can put us on guard and warn us of danger, or they can encourage us to take action. 

 

Cool Colors

Cool Colors

 

Cool colors, like blue, green, and purple, can make us feel a variety of emotions, depending on the shade and brightness of the hue. They can make us feel more relaxed, or they can evoke sadness.

Dark and muted colors can make us feel melancholy, while sea blue can create a more serene environment.

 

Energizing Colors

Energizing Colors

 

Sometimes, it’s not the temperature of the color (warm or cool) that affects our emotions – it's the brightness.

For example, bright, bold, neon colors are considered energizing. Think of a bright red stop sign or neon green lights. Both can make us more alert and aware of our surroundings.

Energizing colors stand out in the environment, but they can also be stimulating. These strong colors can make us feel more refreshed and ready to take on the day.

 

Colors and Emotions are Often Influenced by Culture

It’s important to remember that different colors can evoke different meanings for people and may be culturally or spiritually connected. For example, many people in Western cultures associate colors like cool gray and black with mourning or death, but East Asian cultures associate white with these meanings.

 

Spiritual Meaning Behind Colors

Colors can make us feel a wide range of emotions, but they can also have deeper spiritual connections that can evoke feelings of peace, grief or joy.

Red

Red

 

Red is a bright, bold color that can make us feel a wide range of emotions, depending on the brightness and saturation. It’s associated with passion, anger, excitement, and love – the most extreme emotions.

On a spiritual level, red can be associated with the blood of martyrs in Christianity or the base chakra in Eastern religions. In Africa, red is associated with mourning, while in Native American cultures, it offers spiritual protection from injuries.

 

Yellow

Yellow

 

The color yellow – and its many variations – is often associated with joy and happiness. But it can also make us feel hopeful, optimistic, and courageous.

Many religions around the world associate yellow with purity and renewal. Others believe this color represents learning, knowledge, and peace. 

 

Orange

Orange

 

Like the color red, orange can make you feel more energized and happier. Orange attracts our attention, but without feeling too aggressive.

In many Eastern religions, orange is a sacred color. Buddhist monks, for example, wear orange robes. In Hinduism, this color represents fire and purity.

 

Green

Green

 

The color green can make us feel refreshed, relaxed, and optimistic. It’s often associated with health, wealth, and growth. It is, after all, one of the most abundant colors in nature.

Spiritually, green is associated with the heart chakra, peace, healing, and the cycle of life. In many religions, this color is linked with fertility, the coming of spring and the lush greenery of Paradise.

In some Christian denominations, green is the liturgical color for the Trinity season. In Judaism, greens can be found on the Passover Seder plate to symbolize the renewal of plants.

 

Blue

Blue

 

The color blue is universally associated with peace and serenity. The rolling waves of the blue ocean or the sound of a running stream can bring us great comfort and help us feel more relaxed. Water is, after all, fundamental to all life.

Blue can also be associated with trust and security.

When it comes to spirituality and religion, blue can take on many meanings. It is associated with the throat chakra in Eastern religions. In Christianity, blue is the color of heaven and truth. In Judaism, blue has significant spiritual significance and is also associated with heaven.

 

Purple

Purple

 

Throughout history, purple has been a color that’s been difficult to create. For this reason, it’s associated with royalty, nobility, and spirituality.

In Japan, the color purple is reserved for the highest-ranking Buddhist monks. In Christianity, purple is the color for mourning and penitence.

In other religions, purple is the color of enlightenment and sacred wisdom.

 

White 

White

White is the color of the “highest spirit” and is routinely used to symbolize purity. Many people view white as part of the divine and it has long been associated with angels, the Holy Spirit and God.

White is also used to symbolize:

  • Purity
  • Innocence
  • New life
  • Peace

Due to its purity, white is considered “flawless.”

Gray

Gray

 

Gray is often associated with respect and dignity, and it’s an interesting option that is somewhere between black and white. In scripture, gray is also a color that represents honor and integrity and is associated with wisdom.

In other forms of symbology, you’ll find gray associated with life after death and resurrection.

Family members often opt for gray urns when a family matriarch passes on or someone in the family who is known for their wisdom and intelligence.

 

Pink

Pink

 

Pink is an interesting color that has been gaining popularity in recent years. This color is meant to provide a balance between the spiritual and material world. Pink is also a color that is associated with:

  • Friendship
  • Unconditional love
  • Tenderness

Tenderness and love are two spiritual meanings of the color pink, but this color is also a symbol of the heart chakra.

Black

Black

 

Black is an interesting color that is said to invoke mystery and the unconscious. Void of any color, black can be seen as sinister, but it can also mean that something is hidden away. Urns, caskets, and attire are often black because it is a representation of mourning and the unknown.

You'll find that black has also been associated with:

  • Rebirth
  • Warding off negativity
  • Protection

Power and elegance are also traits that the color black exhibits.

 

Color, Emotion and Loss

Now that you have a deeper understanding of the connection between color and emotion, you can see why we tend to use certain colors in certain situations. In Western cultures, it’s common to wear black to funerals and associate this color with loss and feelings of grief.

But we can also use colors to remind us of the joy our lost loved ones brought us. For example, we offer metal cremation urns in a variety of colors, so you can choose one that you associate with your loved one.

Our wooden cremation urns have a more traditional look and can be associated with the earth and feelings of comfort.

Now, thanks to the addition of UV-printed urns, we’re finding urns in a wide range of vibrant colors and designs.

 

HD Color Impression / UV-Printed Cremation Urns

UV-Printed Cremation Urns

High-Definition Ultraviolet printing technology allows us to push the limits of urns in ways that weren’t possible in the past. UV-printing allows you to remember your loved ones with:

  • Full HD color images
  • Direct urn bonding

Today, so much of our lives are captured in photos, images which say so much. Since hundreds, if not thousands, of photos travel about with us on tablets and smart phones, it makes sense to place a photo of our beloved, or a picture that spoke to them, onto a photo urn. We can bond your loved one’s photo or image right onto their urn without the need for glue or tape. Personalizing cremation urns for ashes with this level of detail is empowering, ensuring that vibrant colors embody the personality of your loved one perfectly.

UV printing allows urns to have printing on them directly, with specialty ink that uses ultraviolet light to dry immediately on the urn’s exterior.

Please do not hesitate to contact us about custom UV-Printing designs if we do not have the artwork you are looking for. We can bring most any vision to life with our limitless capabilities!

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