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Color Research

We believe wholeheartedly that color can makes a strong, lasting impact on its environment and the people within it, but we’re not the only ones. Keep reading to find out what the research says about the use

(or misuse) of color.


The Impact of Color on Learning

by Kathie Engelbrecht, Assoc. IIDA



“When color is transmitted through the human eye, the brain releases a hormone which affects our moods, mental clarity and energy level.”

“Color’s demonstrated effectiveness on improving student’s attention span as well as both student and

teacher’s sense of time, is a further reason as to how color can increase the productivity in a classroom. The mental stimulation passively received by the color in a room, helps the student and teacher stay focused on

the task at hand.”

“Humans were also found to turn inward in monotone environments, which may induce feelings of anxiety, fear and distress resulting from under stimulation. This lack of stimulation further creates a sense of restlessness, excessive emotional response, difficulty in concentration and irritation.”

“Color can create a system of order and help to distinguish important and unimportant elements in the environment.”

“Businesses have credited the use of functional color with a decrease in worker absenteeism, an improved quality of work and an increase in productivity. Color psychologists have linked color with brain development and the human transition from child to adult.”

The impact of light and colour on psychological mood:

a cross-cultural study of indoor work environments

by Kuller, Mikellides, & Janssens

“One practical implication is that a moderate use of good color design will serve to improve the overall mood and well-being of people.”

“Light and color should be treated as part of a more complex system making up the totality of a healthy building.”

International Association of Color Consultants – North America (IACC-NA)

“A school’s physical environment has a powerful psycho-physiological impact on its students. Appropriate color design is important in protecting eyesight, in creating surroundings that are conducive to studying, and in promoting physical and mental health.’ …premature fatigue, lack of interest and behavioral problems can be attributed directly to incorrect environmental conditions involving poorly planned color and lighting.”

“Brightly colored corridors encourage people to move from place to place.”


Color is an Optimum Learning Environment

by Dr. Willard R. Daggett. International Center for Leadership in Education

Jeffrey E. Cobble, Executive Vice President and Director of Educational Design, and Steven J. Gertel, Senior Project Architect, Harvard Jolly, Inc.

“Color is an important factor in the physical learning environment and is a major element in interior design that impacts student achievement, as well as teacher effectiveness and staff efficiency. Research has demonstrated that specific colors and patterns directly influence the health, morale, emotions, behavior, and performance of learners.”

“Color in the learning environment provides an unthreatening environment that improves visual processing, reduces stress, and challenges brain development through visual stimulation / relationships and patterns seeking. Visual stimulation actually rewires the brain, making stronger connections while fostering visual thinking, problem solving, and creativity. Color variety reduces boredom and passivity.”

“Color improves attention span by avoiding a monotonous environment and helping the student stay focused through mental stimulation, thereby increasing productivity and accuracy. Eyestrain, contrast, glare, minimal distraction, degree of stimulation and degree of concentration are impacted directly by color. Color can alter perception of time, increase school pride, reduce disruptive behavior and aggression, reduce vandalism, reduce absenteeism, and provide a supportive background for the activities being performed.”

Learning, Lighting, and Color

by Randall Fielding

“Research shows that learning benefits from a stimulus-rich environment, which is not supported by a palette that is dominated by gray, beige, white or off-white; this applies to both building interiors and exteriors. There is rarely a good reason to take a neutral approach with educational architecture.”

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