Sunday, December 25, 2011
Colour Psychology -- Personality Types
There are just four personality types and each has its own distinctive characteristics and typical responses to a variety of situations. Each individual personality will be best supported and expressed with a specific palette of colours. Working in California, USA, in the early 1980s, Angela Wright realised the links between patterns of colour and patterns of human behaviour, when she put the four personality types together with the four colour families that Johannes Itten (an artist at the Bauhaus, earlier in the twentieth century) had noticed. This began to explain why individuals have such different responses to the same colour.
People say it is impossible to classify all the millions of people in the world into just four types. Yet the grand designer only divided humanity into two. The basic patterns are absolute, just as the basic male/female patterns, but equally, there are probably as many variations as there are people. Each of us contains elements of one or more of the other three, but understanding the archetype is the key to understanding ourselves and others.
These classifications indicate where humanity fits into the natural world. Human colour patterns are a reflection of nature's patterns, and the constant play of light shows us wonderful colours and harmonies that change consistently. We rely on the colour signals in our environment to orient ourselves, so for example, in many parts of the world, when the leaves change colour and go through golds, reds, purples and browns before they fall off the trees, we know that the natural cycle is drawing to a close. We prepare for nature to shut down and hibernate, as regeneration begins under the earth. We ourselves instinctively draw in. As long as this happens in October and November, we are quite comfortable; but can you imagine how deeply disturbed we would be if it happened in June? We depend on the natural order more than we realise.
These patterns are fundamental to nature and are demonstrated in a variety of ways: for example, the play of light in any one day gives us four distinct moods - at sunrise, noon, sunset and night. The most spectacular and readily identifiable manifestation is in the four seasons of the year, in many parts of the world. Although this does not occur in the same way everywhere, the yearly cycle is recognisable everywhere and we react in similar ways.
It is important to understand that all four personality types can be found all over the world; however, Group 3 predominates, worldwide, in the indigenous populations of Australia, New Zealand, the Americas and Africa - as well as most of Europe. Group 4 personalities predominate in the Orient and parts of the Middle East. Group 1 people are particularly to be found in Scandinavia, but they are everywhere. Group 2 personalities are rare, but they can be found everywhere - oddly, they predominate in Norway. (It is interesting that, at the time of writing, Norway has been making tremendous diplomatic efforts for some years to bring peace to the Middle East).
1. The archetypal Group 1 personality reflects the patterns of springtime.
If you go out and look at nature in spring, it has a very specific colour scheme and an unmistakable personality. Everything is coming back to life after the long dark winter months and it is very lively. Birds make a lot of noise and the whole animal kingdom is busy; bright warm colours burst forth and spirits lift. The melting snow and ice fill the earth with water and create a sparkling awareness of the fresh and the new.
The personality that reflects all this is externally motivated and eternally young. They can be blonde, brunette or redhead, but they will never be very dark or heavy - even when they put on too much weight, they are light on their feet, love to dance and have an indefinable quality of lightness to their being. Their features tend to be rounded and delicate. They need plenty of light in their lives and are particularly prone to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). They have great charm and the kind of career that this type should ideally pursue will be working with many people - nursing, caring, communications and media, sales, entertainment (particularly musical comedy). They have a natural affinity with the young and they love the outdoors, so they make wonderful PE and sports teachers. They are often very clever, but not interested in heavy, deep academic debate. They like to get on with things; they have a strong practical streak and inexhaustible energy. They do not respond well, for example, to the beauty of linen, as it never looks properly ironed (unless their subordinate influence is autumnal). They like, and suit, crisp fresh fabrics and small patterns, such as polka dots.
The challenge for this type is single-mindedness; they have the gift of attending to many things simultaneously, but might be accused of being superficial and frivolous. Their emotions can be very fragile.
Examples of famous people who appear to reflect this pattern are: Tony Blair, the late Princess Diana and Bill Clinton.
The colours that reflect and express these characteristics are warm and clear; they can be bright, but not necessarily. Just as everyone does, the spring personality needs ease as well as stimulus, so their ideal palette of colours will include soft peach, cream or turquoise, alongside the brighter scarlets, cobalt or sky blues, warm emerald greens and pure yellows that express their varying moods. Neutral colours to support them are light camel, French navy and light warm greys.
The archetypal Group 2 personality is linked to the natural patterns of the summertime in many parts of the world.
As the year progresses and the earth begins to dry out, a softening process sets in. The vivid green leaves tone down to a cooler, darker green that perfectly enhances the soft colours of roses, sweet peas and wisteria. Our instinct is to break off and relax after so much energy has been expended. When the sun beats down, the colours are bleached out; the concept of coolness becomes very attractive and the colours of summer flowers echo that feeling. Imagine a quiet summer afternoon sitting under a tree, contemplating the peaceful countryside and the heat haze in the distance.
2. The archetypal Group 2 personality is cool, calm and collected.
This person is internally motivated, but equally very sensitive to what others are feeling.Their features are gently curved and their eyes have a misty quality to them - they are most often blue, with no flecks or lacy patterns in them, but they can be grey, cool green or brown. Group 2 eyes do not dance, as Group 1 eyes so often do - they are still and serene. Their hair is unlikely to be predominantly red, although there could be warm lights in it; it will probably be cool brown or blond. Summer related people abhor vulgarity and their humour is subtle and often dry; they can be very witty. Ideal careers for this type are any that involve creating order out of chaos, and keeping the peace - diplomats, administrators, human resources - and, since they have an acute sense of touch, particularly in their fingertips, they are often gifted artists or musicians. Their gentle nature and keen analytical skills also make them good general practitioners (medical). They need order. They are very uncomfortable with poor-quality fabrics and love pure silk jersey (with its slight sheen and the flowing lines it creates), chiffon and cashmere.
The challenge for the summer personality is in appearing aloof and unfriendly - and the need to resist the efforts of their livelier friends to jazz them up!
The Group 2 personality does not seek the limelight, but some famous people who appear to demonstrate these characteristics are HM The Queen and Prince Charles (who had it thrust upon them), the late Princess Grace of Monaco and Nelson Mandela.
The colours of the Group 2 palette are cool and subtle; they can be dark, but never heavy. Some typical Group 2 colours are maroon, raspberry, oyster, rose pink, grapefruit, powder blue, lavender, viridian and sage green. Good neutrals to support them are mushroom, taupe, dove grey and cool navy.
3. Archetypal Group 3 personalities are linked to the autumnal pattern.
Go back again to the countryside and see how things have changed since the first warmth of spring. The temperature might be the same, but nature's mood is quite different and so is her apparel. The bright, perky spring flowers, in warm blue, lilac, orange, and yellow, have been replaced by rich golds, fiery reds, purples, burnt orange and brown - and not in flowers, but in the leaves. Autumn is abundant, as we harvest all the fruits of the year's cycle; it is mature and ripe, with great drama in the landscape.
The Group 3 personality is, like Group 1, externally motivated. However, there are great differences - autumnal people are intense and strong. They are all fiery, to a greater or lesser degree (depending on their subordinate influences); if they have a strong summer influence, this might not be apparent, but it is there; they can also be flamboyant. They could be blond, brunette or redhead and their eyes could be blue, brown or green and almost invariably have flecks of gold or tan in them. However, the Group 3 eyes are more often brown or green; hazel eyes do not occur in any other type. The textures that appeal to the Group 3 personality are those where the interest is inherent, rather than printed on a smooth finish - raw silk, linen, and tweed. Group 3 personalities have a strong sense of justice and are constantly fascinated with academic questions and how things work. They are very aware of environmental issues. Good careers for them are anything requiring detection and digging beneath the surface - police officers, psychiatrists and archaeologists and lawyers. They are attracted to the armed forces. They are often good writers, particularly in investigative journalism. Physical comfort and solid substance are important to them and they abhor anything flimsy, whether ideas or physical objects (such as furniture).
The challenge for Group 3 personalities is to keep their wish to save the world in proportion. They might be perceived as bossy and tedious.
Famous personalities who appear to be linked to Group 3 abound: they include Sir David Frost, Germaine Greer and Bob Geldof.
The autumnal palette is offbeat - there are no pure primary colours. Examples are vermilion, tomato, burnt orange, olive green, moss green, golden yellow, terracotta, petrel blue, and aubergine. Good neutrals to support these colours are most shades of brown.
4. Archetypal Group 4 personalities are an expression of the natural pattern of winter.
The winter landscape is hushed and when snow falls heavily, it is virtually achromatic - everything disappears under a blanket of pure white. But under the surface there is powerful energy as the regeneration process develops. Without leaves on the trees, outlines are stark and minimal, with strong contrasts. Imagine a snowy field, where you see an expanse of white and the apparently black shape of a leafless tree, its bare branches etched against an icy blue, or cold grey, sky. We treat the winter with respect, and when a storm breaks out, we run for cover. We view dramatic snow-covered mountain peaks or a majestic icy terrain with awe.
Similarly, Group 4 personalities automatically command respect. Physically, their features are usually well defined and their eyes compelling, whether they are blond or brunette; redheads rarely occur in this type. They areinternally motivated and have a gift for seeing the broader picture and for delegation. They set their sights on the objective and they are not easily diverted. They are often very efficient, and precise in everything they do. They can't stand clutter, or cluttered minds and they do not suffer fools. Their response to foolishness will often be sarcastic and, unlike Group 3 - who will stop and explain, fifty ways if necessary - they will simply move on. In difficult times they are very stoical. They do care, but they are unsentimental and do not get bogged down with emotional issues. They are self-assured and ideal careers for them are usually at the top - they are very effective in government and finance. They also shine in the theatre and films, as well as PR, and in fashion (they do not follow fashion - they are usually arbiters of it), they are perfectly suited to the catwalk. If they choose to pursue a medical career, they will be wonderful surgeons. If they decide to pursue a legal career, they make brilliant barristers. The textures that echo this pattern are shiny - glass and chrome in interiors, pure silk and satin for themselves. They never need to create a drama, as they are innately dramatic - but it is the drama of a frozen snowflake, or a flawless diamond on a black velvet cushion.
The challenge for Group 4 personalities is to pay attention to other people's feelings. They can be perceived as elitist, cold and uncaring.
Famous personalities who appear to embody the winter pattern are Sean Connery, Gordon Brown, Margaret Thatcher and Diana Ross.
The colours of winter in the natural world are few - and a winter personality instinctively recognises this. They often favour simply wearing black all winter and white all summer. They are the only type who look good, and are supported by, unrelieved black or white. Other colours in the tonal family are crimson, lemon yellow, Persian orange, jade green, cold emerald, magenta, royal purple, midnight blue and flag blue. These colours work particularly well in strong contrasts and the best neutrals for this palette are black, white and clerical grey.