Our colourful world

Throughout the ages colours have become rich with meaning and influence. Different cultures use, and define, colour in different ways. In many places green is the colour of nature. It symbolises growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety. Dark green is also commonly associated with money.

In New Zealand’s landscape green is a dominant colour. No surprise therefore that Permanent Green and Mist Green form part of the COLORSTEEL® palette. Blue symbolises that which is ‘beyond reach or illustrious’. In some Middle Eastern cultures it is the colour of heaven and spirituality, and is also used for mourning. Black is associated with death and mourning while red is often associated with happiness and celebration, particularly in Asian cultures. Worn as a wedding dress it brings the promise of luck and a long life to followers of feng shui.

For those with a real passion for delving into the deep and meaningful, there is a whole body of literature that relates to the psychology of colour. Ironically the ‘father’ of these ideas wasn’t a painter but German poet, artist, and politician Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. In 1810 he published Theory of Colours. The work, and the on-going body of knowledge, identifies the positive (and sometimes negative) influences of colour. 


Red – physical

Positive: Physical courage, strength, warmth, energy, basic survival, 'fight or flight', stimulation, masculinity, excitement. 
Negative: Defiance, aggression, visual impact, strain.

Blue – intellectual

Positive: Intelligence, communication, trust, efficiency, serenity, duty, logic, coolness, reflection, calm.
Negative: Coldness, aloofness, lack of emotion, unfriendliness.

Orange – happiness

Positive: Physical comfort, food, warmth, security, sensuality, passion, abundance, fun. 
Negative: Deprivation, frustration, frivolity, immaturity.

Yellow – emotion

Positive: Optimism, confidence, self-esteem, extraversion, emotional strength, friendliness, creativity. 
Negative: Irrationality, fear, emotional fragility, depression, anxiety, suicide.

Green – balance

Positive: Harmony, balance, refreshment, universal love, rest, restoration, reassurance, environmental awareness, equilibrium, peace. 
Negative: Boredom, stagnation, blandness, enervation.

Violet – spiritual

Positive: Spiritual awareness, containment, vision, luxury, authenticity, truth, quality. 
Negative: Introversion, decadence, suppression, inferiority.

Pink – compassion

Positive: Physical tranquillity, nurture, warmth, femininity, love, sexuality, survival of the species. 
Negative: Inhibition, emotional claustrophobia, emasculation, physical weakness.

Grey – conservative

Positive: Psychological neutrality. 
Negative: Lack of confidence, dampness, depression, hibernation, lack of energy.

Black – power

Positive: Sophistication, glamour, security, emotional safety, efficiency, substance. 
Negative: Oppression, coldness, menace, heaviness.



In the end, whatever colour you choose is, like colour itself, a reflection of you. There are a number of resources available on this site designed to make the job of colour selection as seamless as possible. 

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