Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Color and Your Age

The Sherwin-Williams' magazine STIR has an interesting article you can read here entitled, "Age-Related Color Bias" which asks the question, "Are there actual age-related color preferences, or are they the result of generations of accumulated cultural and age bias?"

I have always noticed that age plays a big part in the color my clients prefer.  There are exceptions, of course, but I can usually guess what colors a client will or won't like based on their age.  Most people over 65 don't see the value of grey like I do ;)  For them, grey is a sad, dreary color reminding them of a color palette from the 30s and 40s when the Depression and war made its impact on their youth.  Most people over 30 stay away from avocado green when used with orange and yellow because it reminds them of an aunt or grandma's (or their own!) house which has been stuck in a time bubble from the 60s and 70s.

The article explores that there aren't only associations we make along the way with colors that will affect our taste at a certain age but that our psychological development will change our perception of color.  Babies and young children prefer bold stimulting primary colors, where busy and stressed adults prefer something more calming in the greens, blues and browns.

Do you like warm colors like orange and tan

Do you like something flashy and vibrant like red?

Do you prefer the crisp and cool colors of blue and green?
So let me ask you this: What's your favorite color and has it changed with age?  Mine has!  When I was young my favorite color was yellow, then purple and now grey.

 As an aside, I would like to say that an important fact to note when considering color and age is that our eyes and perception of color and the ability to see the full spectrum of color diminishes with age.  One also needs to consider what it's like for the percentage of the population who are color-blind. They will have drastically different opinions on what colors they prefer.

Photos by Rebecca Ward


Sarah said...

Great post Rebecca - this is a very interesting question. It goes with how differently you design or decorate different houses too (if you move around). I'm not sure what my favorite color was as a child, but I love yellow now. I love so many colors, I'm not sure I have a favorite! :0

Julia said...

I've had several different favorite colors through out the years. When I was little it was pink and then white, and when I was 16-17-18 it was purple and black.

Right now my favorites are turquoise and orange-y yellow. Pink is another color I'm coming back to. And I like grey a lot too.

And speaking of age, I'm 28. Maybe helps if I mention that :)