Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Apple #10: Purple


One of the things I do for my job is give balloons to kids. I let them choose which color they want, and if it's available, the color they choose most often is purple. Boys as well as girls. So I thought, what is it about purple that appeals to kids so much?

I'm having trouble finding an answer to this one. But I did discover that Heinz agrees with me about purple's popularity with kids. In 2001, they launched a ketchup colored purple because kids like purple so much. But judging from the fact that I can't remember seeing purple ketchup at the grocery store, maybe it didn't do as well as they'd hoped.

Looking at a chart that shows wavelengths of the various ROY G BIV colors, purple reaches its peak absorbency in our vision at the lowest wavelength of all the colors. I wonder if this has something to do with it. Like maybe kids' vision prefers lower wavelengths?

According to Crayola, America's favorite color is blue. Plain old basic blue, introduced in 1903. But the US's third favorite color is purple. Officially called Purple Heart, this color was introduced in 1997. According to Crayola, these are some of the "personality traits" associated with this color:
  • magical, mysterious, intriguing
  • creative, intuitive, imaginative
  • powerful, wise, royal
  • charming, sentimental, introspective

I've also read elsewhere that people who like purple tend to be egotistical.

Making connections between a person's favorite color and his or her personality is sometimes referred to as color psychology. I'm tempted to dismiss this as one of those not-so-scientific ways of pigeonholing people. But I just took a quiz that asked me 10 questions about things I like to do, and then it told me what my favorite color is, based on my answers, and the color it came up with was correct. (If you want to try it, go here. Sorry about all the pop-ups.)

Also, Pantone, a company that specializes in color (they advise Crayola) has studied the connections between color and personality and mood. Blues and greens tend to be perceived as "cool" while reds and oranges are perceived as "hot." Some colors are "high-arousal," like red, which stimulates the senses and raises the blood pressure. The fact that people will take more risks under red light is why casinos are bathed in neon and red carpeting.

I'm not finding the answer I want. In lieu of that, here's a different kind of color quiz: www.colorquiz.com Choose your favorite color, and it will go away. Choose your next favorite color. Keep doing this until the screen is blank. The test will then tell you all about yourself.

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