Should businesses be happy when employees are feeling blue? And what’s the Virgin Mary got to do with it?
According to Karen Haller, a colour and design consultant, brands that choose blue for their logos are trying to convey trust, integrity and communication. However ,she warns that choosing the wrong shade of blue might make a company look cold and unapproachable.
It seems like Haller thinks dark blues are more about authority and conservatism. I assume that lighter blues are a bit friendlier and welcoming – just look Twitter’s logo for an example.
Your Blue Room
A study looked at whether seeing different colours affects how people perform on cognitive tests. The research suggests that blue’s association with peace, tranquility and openness might actually help with creativity and free-thinking tasks. So if you have to hold a brainstorming meeting, make sure there’s some blue in the room.
From Caves to Paintings
Medieval and renaissance artists got a deep and rich blue (ultramarine) by grinding up a mineral called lapis lazuli and mixing it with oil. Florentian painters couldn’t just pop down to the local art supply shop either – the stuff had to come all the way from mines in Afghanistan. Because it was so expensive, it was used for important subjects like the Virgin Mary.
Masaccio’s Virgin Mary. 1426.
Are you Feeling Blue or Thinking It?
Unlike the English, Russians makes an ‘obligatory distinction’ between light blues (‘goluboy’) and darker blues (‘siniy’). An experiment found Russian speakers were a bit faster than English speakers in being able to identify different shades of the colour in a special test. This suggests it’s not just what we see that’s important, but how we talk about it.
Remember that you don’t have to repaint the office if you want your own blue room. Set up your computers with blue screen savers, buy some blue posters for the walls or, even simpler, just buy some blue stationery and make sure it’s on people’s desks.