- Favorite Color
Our preference for a specific
color can be related to how we feel in any situation,
how we want to feel, and even how we remember certain experiences
(to name a few). This section, which is closely associated
with the previous section color
Associations, presents the survey participants preferences
and how they vary between age groups and gender. This first
section examines the question of favorite color for all
participants regardless or gender or age. Figure 6.1 below
presents this information in graphical form.
Figure 6.1 - Favorite Color
Blue, for this group of people,
is the most favored choice of the 8 colors available.
Blue is an interesting color in that people tend to choose
it as a favorite, but it is usually associated with sadness
and depression. Birren notes that blue is commonly associated
with adjectives like cold, subduing, sober, gloom and fearfulness
Psychology and Color Therapy, 143). Although
some studies have suggested that blue can represent feelings
that are sad or not happy, people tend to like the hue
of blue (and like colors) because they have a calming
and relaxing affect.
Color by Gender
When this data is examined further
and filters of gender and age are applied, some interesting
results surface. The two pie charts below represent
favorite colors of each gender.
6.2 - Female Favorite Color
Figure 6.3 - Male Favorite Color
A review of color studies
by Eysenck in the early 1940’s notes that St. George
(1938) maintained that blue for men stands our far more
than for women. Related to different colors, Eysenck’s
study also found that the most significant gender difference
is yellow being preferred to orange by women and orange
to yellow by men. Natalia Khouw states, “this
finding was reinforced later by Birren in 1952 who found
men preferred orange to yellow; while women placed orange
at the bottom” (The
Meaning of Color for Gender, 1). Both
these published results correlate to the survey results
collected in this study.
Color by Age Group
differ by the age of the participant. Birren states
in his book that blue and red maintain a high preference
throughout life, but colors seem to drop down the
list while other colors become more preferred. Yellow,
for example, is well liked by children, but begins
to drop away by people as they become adults. Birren
states, “With maturity comes a greater liking
for hues of shorter wave length (blue, green, purple)
than for hues of longer wave length (red, orange, and
Psychology and Color Therapy, 176).
Below is a graphical representation of the survey results
for a favorite color by age group.
6.4 - Favorite Color by Age Group
As you can see, blue, green,
and purple make up the majority of responses. What’s
interesting is the preference of green in the younger age
the preference of purple in the older age groups. One could
say, by looking at this graph alone, that as people become
older their preference for purple increases, while their
preference for green decreases. Previous academic or research
publications regarding this specific anomaly were not found
during this project so the ability to compare and contrast
these results with other results isn’t possible at
this time. M. M. Terwogy and J. B. Hoeksma did a research
study on colors and emotions with regards to preferences
and they noted that as people get older, their preferences
are likely to change as a result of social and cultural influences.
They state, “As children grow up they learn that the
expression of anger is often punished. They also learn that
the color black (within Western culture) is associated with
and Emotions, 7) They also state
that the effects of color preferences are still present
stages of life, but these preferences are outweighed by other
(as yet unidentified) factors (Color
and Emotions, 16).
The least favorite color graph (shown below) was mentioned on the “color
Associations” page along with what people tend to associate cheap
and inexpensive. Below is a graphical representation of the survey results
least favorite color for all ages and both sexes.
6.5 - Least Favorite Color
As you can see orange,
brown, and yellow comprise the majority of responses.
As you’ve already read,
yellow (according to Birren) tends to drop from preferred
to disliked as a person grows older. Also, Birren stated
in 1951 that women tend to put orange at the bottom of
their preference list. Brown, being a darker hue of orange
may share some similarities with orange. An interesting
detail about orange is the love / hate relationship people
have with it as a color. According to the survey results,
orange took 28% of the votes when associated with “Fun.” Also,
according to Birren the adjectives that his participants
gave to orange are: bright, luminous, glowing, warm, metallic,
autumnal, jovial, lively, energetic, hilarity and exuberance.
All of these adjectives, to me, seem positive. One hypothesis
could be that the dislike of the color orange is of stylistic
consequence. That is, orange may be going through a period
of being out of style, at least in comparison to blue or
Color by Gender
The two pie charts below represent favorite colors of each gender.
6.6 - Female - Least Favorite Color
6.7 - Male - Least Favorite Color
aforementioned issues with orange, brown and yellow
by the pie charts for both Females
and Males. The male participants gave 22% of their
vote to purple which I found interesting because
20.4% of males stated that purple represented courage
bravery. This shows some inconsistency between the
members of the Male participants. Women, on the other
hand, only gave 8% of their vote to purple as their
least favorite color. And 34.3% of women associated
purple with courage or bravery. This gender difference
is interesting and I believe it's caused by cultural
changes in color association. Birren wrote his book
in 1951 and then revised it in 1962; he notes that
the participants in his study associated dignity
as one of the adjectives in defining purple. This
be related to the “Purple Heart Medal” which
is given by the US Military to any member who is
wounded or killed in the line of duty.
Color by Age Group
In the “Favorite color by Age Group” section
above, I wrote about Birren’s comments about age
and color. Subsequent to the bar chart below, I examine
this studies results with Birren’s notes regarding
age and color.
6.9 - Least Favorite Color by Age Group
Birren seems to be correct
about the color orange and its lack of popularity among
older people. The bar chart shows orange increasing as part
the whole throughout the age groups of the participants.
This survey’s results regarding the color yellow also
correlate well with Birren’s data. As you can see,
yellow slowly becomes less popular as age increases. (Note – the
age group of 70+ participants only consists of 5 people.
That might be why the graph seems to lose consistency near
the upper age groups.)