Orange You Creative? Color and Creativity


“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.” – William Cullen Bryant

I will admit, nearly half of my closet is black…and I have recently developed a new fondness for gray. It seems to have this wonderful way of making colors pop. That aside, I love color. I honestly can’t think of a single color that I don’t like, and it’s equally as hard for me to pick a favorite. I usually lean towards warm colors though – sunshine yellow, fuschia, poppy red, Clemson orange, but on the flip side, I’m also a fan of celery green, teal, emerald and cobalt. See… I just named 7 without even thinking about it…

On Saturday, a bunch of friends were gathering at Crayton and Mel’s for the Clemson game. I was inspired by this beautiful tree in their front yard. Just breathtaking isn’t it?

Tree at Mel and CP's by Lauren Ashe Carlisle

On Sunday, on my way to have some Auntie L and Viv QT, I went by way of Clemson. I parked behind Sikes Hall, in the heart of campus, and walked around for about an hour admiring the trees, the foliage, the handful of students who were up and about on a Sunday morning, snapping pictures and being completely nostalgic about the many, many hours I’ve spent on that lovely campus.

Here are some of my favorites:








You can find the rest here if you want to see more!

One of the reasons that I’m so drawn to fall is because of my magnetic pull to warm colors. I am simply amazed by the countless shades of yellow, red, orange and purple the leaves – varying in greens the entire rest of the year – are able to turn for just a short stint before making their journey from the branches to the earth to rest in peace. It got me thinking though – are there particular colors that inspire creativity? I asked the question while we were watching the game – how many college football teams use orange in their official colors? Granted they are all particular oranges for their particular school, but still orange… Clemson, Tennesse, Virginia Tech, the U, UVA, Syracuse… I think Crayton said after we’d all be naming them for a while that it was about 13 or 14 different major schools that use orange. Orange is also frequently used in restaurant and fast food marketing because it is supposed to ignite hunger. I’ve heard that blue, green, and lavender are good choices for bedrooms because they are calming. But back to creativity…what colors make you more creative?

After a little research…

Yellow is the first color that the human eye learns to recognize. It inspires the mind (makes sense now why the tree got me thinking now, huh?). It encourages creativity, problem solving, and positive thinking. It uplifts us and is said to inspire “original thought”.

Orange is a very stimulating color, inspiring joy, creativity, happiness, and both balance and change.

The color blue “boosts creativity” while red enhances focus according to a study published by Science Express which compares the effects of both blue and red on cognitive processes.

Green is also a creative color, shown by a recent study done at the University of Munich, as featured in Prevention magazine:

“Turns out that visual cues are tied to your thoughts and behaviors, says study author Stephanie Lichtenfeld, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Munich. Our brains associate the color green—which is so prevalent in nature—with growth and development. And simply thinking about growth has been shown to spur our desire for self-improvement and mastering tasks, says Dr. Lichtenfeld.”

So there’s a little food for thought…I hope everyone has had a great Monday!

à bientôt j'espère

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” – Lauren De Stefano, Wither

Sources on color and creativity:

Empower Yourself With Color Psychology

Blue or Red? Exploring the Effect of Color on Cognitive Task Performance (full .pdf on Scribd)

Color Meaning: Meaning of the Color Orange

Boost Your Creativity in 2 Seconds

The Life Cycle of a Leaf

{Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.}
Lauren is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Please subscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

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