We all know that the dearly-departed musician, Prince, loved the color purple. It was part of his personal branding. Purple is mysterious, androgynous, and as inextricably linked with his Princely-ness as the symbol he once went by. Purple is a color we associate with royalty, both of the pop variety and the non-pop variety.
While there are no universal psychological associations with specific colors, there is only a small body of research on the effects of color on the mind. Most of this research pertains to branding within marketing. This research doesn’t offer concrete facts aside from determining that color is a contributing factor in purchasing decisions.
We have our favorite colors, and these are usually based on our personal experiences and associations. One person might like red because he associates it with the soda he always had as an after-school treat. Another person might dislike red because it reminds her of a rival team’s jerseys.
Not everyone’s color associations are the same, but there are still come connotations that are familiar. We all know what it means to be “feeling blue.” We understand what someone is talking about when they say “he was really seeing red that night” or “they were battling the little green-eyed monster.”
Sometimes as a society we even create unique cultural associations with color. We know that red, white, and blue are associated with American democracy. Pink has come to be associated with solidarity for breast cancer victims and survivors. Every year the Pantone Company, the industry standard for color matching in print and fashion, declares a color that they see as being symbolic for the year. The color which will serve as the zeitgeist for an era. 2016’s color(s) are Rose Quartz and Serenity.
While not everyone associates yellow with happiness, a large number of people may. Some might do this because they think of a yellow smiley face, or emoji, or even McDonald’s golden arches (which may look, to some, like an upside down smile). They may associate these colors with certain brands and/or specific feelings.
So what color would be most likely to be associated with you and your personality? If you were to create a personal brand, like Prince, which color would fit you best?
DISC personality styles have distinct traits, and like their distinct traits, they have predictable internal motivators. DISC teaches us that each person is different, but predictably so. This means that their predictable traits can be associated with specific color associations. So which color best fits your DISC style?
D- VIBRANT RED
Red is an active color. Red gets things done. It isn’t afraid to take risks. It doesn’t accept the status quo. Red moves forward and takes no prisoners. Red doesn’t look back and ruminate, it is already on to the next thing. It is fearless. It’s like a D. Dominant, decisive, and confident. Red is a power color, and the color of love. It is a stimulant, and it draws attention to itself.
Red is task-oriented, like the bullseye on a target. This is not the color for wallflowers. Red stands out, like the active D style personality. Red is in it to win it. It is the color of blood, of life force. It will keep you moving and breathing. It is exciting and passionate. It is never quiet or reserved. It is bold and energetic. Red is competitive, aggressive, and youthful. Red is a color for leaders rather than followers. It is dynamic, not static, like a D style personality.
I- ORANGE or YELLOW
Yellow is often associated with happiness and optimism. I style personalities are the most optimistic of the four. Like the color yellow, Is are warm, friendly, cheerful, and confident. Yellow is not a color for introverts, it puts itself out there. Just like those active and people-oriented Is. Yellow and orange are the colors for spontaneous people.
Yellow isn’t associated with caution (except when it is on a traffic light). It isn’t demure or practical. It is idealistic, bold, friendly, creative, enthusiastic, and fun. No one would ever say that purchasing a yellow car was the practical or predictable choice. And Is love that! They get bored by routine, and hate the idea of being just another face in the crowd.
Is need social time and attention. Yellow and orange are the colors that get them that attention. Unlike red, yellow is not associated with blood boiling or anger. Yellow is sunny and open-minded, not bold and headstrong. Yellow sees the glass as half full. Yellow is symbolic of life-sustaining sunrays. It is the color of hope, of a promise for a better future. This is the way a high I thinks, as well. Is see the potential positive outcomes, and refuse to dwell in the logistics and potential pitfalls. These happy-go-lucky Is just want to be like the colors yellow and orange, a ray of sunshine, and they frequently are.
S- BLUE or PINK (aka Pantone’s colors of the year, ROSE QUARTZ and SERENITY)
S style personalities have numerous things in common with the sentiments commonly associated with blue and pink tones.
This is why the Pantone color of the year is quintessentially S. From Pantone’s color of the year announcement:
“For the first time, the blending of two shades – Rose Quartz and Serenity are chosen as the PANTONE Color of the Year. As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent. Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.”
S style personalities want stability and peace. In a time when constant connectivity and the pressures of modernity increase our sense of instability, they seek calm and security. Blue (or Serenity) is associated with trust, dependability, strength and determination. Like the cool waters of the Colorado River wearing away at sedimentary rock to create the Grand Canyon, blue is persistent, slow, steady, and hard-working, much like an S style personality.
Pink (or Rose-Quartz) is associated with nurturing and unconditional love. Ss are very people-oriented and they typically are very team and family-oriented as well. While pink is a color associated with femininity, sure, it is also a color associated with young children. And Ss are all about their kids. Pink is associated with intuition and care. These are things that S style personalities value, as well. Ss are naturally very in tune with the purported values of 2016, stability and reassurance. They’d be best personified as the unity between two colors as in Rose Quartz and Serenity.
C- Blue or Gray
Cs are extremely practical people. Blue and gray are colors that are associated with order and practicality. Blue is associated with awareness and purposefulness and masculinity. Blue is also associated with integrity. Cs have an excellent work-ethic and are honest and direct communicators, the cornerstones of integrity.
Cs aren’t looking to make bold statements about their personalities with their color choices. They want something that won’t distract from the task at hand. Or perhaps they just aren’t interested in projecting their identities onto objects by using bold color. They prefer to have their excellent work speak for itself.
A C personality would be best personified by a color which is innocuous, like the ubiquitous gray utilized in the first personal computers. This isn’t to say that they don’t have a sense of aesthetics or personal flair, it’s more that they end up choosing something utilitarian, like inoffensive grays or blues, over potentially bold choices.
Cs fear criticism, and they like to do things correctly. If they make the wrong color choice, this could affect the perception of their work. And since color preferences are so purely subjective, there isn’t really a “correct” color to choose. This could lead to decision paralysis in a C, as they would research all potential options so as to make an informed choice. Since there isn’t a correct answer, they’ll just choose something that doesn’t bother anyone. Generally speaking, cool toned colors are preferable, so that seems like the logical choice. Grays and blues are perfect to describe the hard-working and detail oriented C personality.