Can you imagine a life without colors? Most people will answer “no” since life is very colorful! 30.000 years ago, humans already made colors of natural resources. And at this time, colors were not at all used arbitrary, but for specific purposes. This attitude has lasted until today.
Those colors easily won from natural resources were regarded as less worthy than those won through a complicated process. For instance, because the color red was scarce, it was reserved for Pharaohs only. Until today, red is associated with regalness and nobleness, especially in Asia. In China, red is used for festivities, as it conveys happiness and richness.
As described in history, colors are carriers of meaning. But what does this mean for our life?
Colors evoke associations and convey symbolism
We associate colors with meaning because we learned that through ancient impressions and cultural heritage. Cultural associations are passed on from generation to generation but might be transformed. Ancient impressions, on the other hand, are ubiquitous and consistent. Hence, we associate blood and fire with the color red. Whenever we “see red”, the danger is at hand. The red traffic light signalizes halt, the red stop sign danger, and vigilance.
What do you link to a red pencil?
Colors can also evoke personal associations. Thus, many people back off from red pencils, as they evoke bad memories about school. Most teachers mark homework with a red pencil.
Can we exchange bad memories with good ones? Recently I have read that it helps to link the red pencil to a new, good experience. For instance, you could write a love letter to your beloved one with a red pencil. Immediately, you have new memories about red letters and pencils; the old memories will gradually fade away.
Colors support transparency and overview!
Vera F. Birkenbihl talked about the inner meaning of colors in her DVD seminars. She used colors to organize herself and enhance orderliness. Whenever she had produced a word association (as shown in picture 1), she used the same colors for the letters and the corresponding associations. This provides an easy overview. By means of colors, your subconscious notices the type of content. Later on, we are able to apply the learned material intuitively.
For learning foreign languages (especially when the Birkenbihl Approach is used), or in case you want to learn special technical terms, the use of colors is highly effective.
Profit from colors in different learning situations:
- Mark new foreign words (see Active Listening picture 1)
- Mark terms with similar meaning
- Highlight words that you just cannot memorize in signal colors
- Display links and associations (see word association picture 2)