Effects of lightness and saturation on color associations in the Mexican population

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Fehrman and Ferhman (2001), mention that blue is associated with tranquility, security, comfort, depression, melancholy, relaxation, isolation, infinitude and cold. However, these data do not indicate specifications for saturation and lightness of the hue in question. Is it a dark blue of low saturation or a very saturated light blue? Which type of blue actually evokes the stated meanings? Basing itself on such questions, a cross-sectional paper and pencil survey (of nine colors in three different intensities and lightnesses) was conducted with 622 subjects. The results showed different meanings associated with the same hue when there were variations in lightness and saturation. All of the foregoing results indicate the importance of continued research into the attributes that cause a color’s associated meanings to vary. Knowing how (and perhaps why) these meanings vary with saturation and lightness should enable color to be used more effectively in all kinds of design applications.


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