Scientific research suggest that blue stimulates creativity, red promotes concentration and black produces aggressive behavior.
The color of walls seems to influence employee creativity. Scientific research actually suggests that working in an office with blue walls stimulates creativity. On the other hand, red walls make individuals more attentive to detail and promote short-term memory. Researchers offer the following explanation: blue is associated with the sky, freedom and peace, which evokes happy memories and promotes the desire to explore, whilst red is associated with danger and encourages individuals to slow down and be more alert.
Researchers at the University of British Colombia in Canada put 600 people through cognitive tests on screens with neutral, red or blue backgrounds. The results were surprising: participants using the red background managed to remember figures better than those using the blue background. However, they proved less successful at more creative tasks. Encouraged to think about the different uses of bricks, they managed to produce a list featuring only obvious elements such as “building a house”. Given the same problem, those subjects using the blue background generated twice as many ideas.
Other research suggests that whilst blue promotes innovation, red is the color of winners. The anthropologist Russell Hill, from Durham University in the UK, analyzed the results of boxers and wrestlers at the Olympic Games according to the color of their clothing. Those wearing red won their rounds much more often than those wearing blue. He also showed that the English football teams in the top three divisions who win the most matches all wear red. This effect seems to disappear however when they do not play at home, as they have to wear a different color.
A scientist at Cornell University in the US studied the properties of dark colors. By consulting the archives of American football and hockey matches, he discovered that teams wearing black tended to commit more fouls than the others. He then asked a team of volunteers to wear black kits and another team to wear white, and described different sports to them asking them which they liked best. The team wearing dark colors systematically chose the most aggressive sports.
Sources: Imagine: How Creativity Works, Jonah Lehrer, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and links opposite.