We all live in spaces we consider our homes and we all experience different feelings created by the colours in our homes 

However, have we ever wondered why a colour have different effects on different people? 

Most of us are under the impression that we all see the same colour. We seldom, if ever think about why and how do we see colours and how it can not only influence us, but why does a colour in a space affect our impression of that space and consequently the character or mood created in the space? But what is disturbing is that we can’t believe and accept that a colour can influence our health. 

Through history, our attitude towards colour, has been shaped by prevailing tastes and norms. 

Unfortunately, people think that the colour we “see” is the complete process of colour happening. They believe whatever they see, and accept the characteristics and influences attached to it by Trends, Decorators, and the Commercial market. 

But we are all scientifically different, and therefore different colour responses are evoked in different people through the way we live and experience colour, through not only our lives but also through our historical past. 

Without the understanding of colour, it is no wonder we like to believe that the information on colour palettes and from interior decorators is the best guide to colour decisions. 


The human being is genetically adapted to function at an average level in response to the sun’s pattern of energy emission. However, through our evolutionary development, we have inherited reactions to colour that we cannot objectively explain and that we cannot escape. These images, called primordial images refers to the earliest development of the psyche. 

Man inherits these images from his ancestral past, a past that includes all his human ancestors. 


The human EYE is an organ that is adapted to detect different strengths of light. 

However, the colour that we “see” is influenced by different light qualities. It visually interprets the light rays by an interaction of the optic nerves and the brain. Light entering our eyes is imaged onto the back of the eyeball, the RETINA, where the photo-light-receptors RODS and CONES absorb some of them. Humans have TRICHROMATIC colour vision which means that the eye sees colours from the interaction between three types of CONES(photoreceptors), three distinct sets of nerve fibers. However, we know that human beings are all different, and that no person’s CONES and RODS can ever be the same and therefore colours can never be perceived the same. 

But the biggest influence on VISION is the quality of light that differ every second of the day resulting that different viewers, different light quality and different times will prevent the same colour perceiving. 

We also know that we don’t see colour, we experience colour and we already posses a certain amount of experience and preconception in our memory which also influence our colour perception. 

It is important to realize that we don’t start our lives as an empty pace, from the beginning of our lives we carry with us the inherited memories of mankind’s entire experience. 


Believe it or not, perception of colour starts in the womb, where we begin to detect light about three months before we are born. It is logic that during this period of pregnancy. The mothers constant contact with a particular colour environment, can eventually influence the unborn babies colour feelings later in life, and may also have an influence on their health. 

Colour will affect us, most of the time we don’t even realize it. Our bodies don’t forget what those influences have done to it over time, and will eventually react to it, maybe not immediately, but eventually. 

Too much or too little of a colour and no variation in colours can cause eye fatigue and eventual unconscious stress. 

People, nowadays, especially in our urban societies are influenced to create beautiful and striking living environments. However, the commercial market has turned this home-colour-beauty approach into a new form of colour-palette-trend, supported by not only global trends, but also by their unique colour of the year, and even colour of the month campaigns. These trends have have now become the new and popular “social-beauty-design” decorative design process. 


Unfortunately, because of our colour indecisiveness, we tend to rely on commercial colour design rules on which colours to use, how much of a colour should be used and where to use it according to the commercial basis of social beauty acceptable colour use. We are accustomed to buy into the culture of social accepted places to fit into the social designed environments.                                                                                                              

However, knowledge of the scientifically working of colour on the psyche of the human being, has finally become an acceptable reality. People now realize that the social beauty design approach is about “decoration” of a space for aesthetical impression of a space and not about the effect of colours on the human body. 


A design where neuroscience and design meet, and it is all about how our brain responds to our surroundings and how we subconsciously react through all our senses and on a physiological level. Where interior design is about transforming interiors, Neuro-design is about transforming ourselves through our interiors, and how this ultimately affects our health.. Scientists are now starting to study this relationship and it is putting Neuro-design at the vanguard of design. 

At last people realized that colour must work for you and your WELL-BEING. The creation of HUMANE COLOUR(neuro-psycho design) approach is a holistic design approach, and the only personal (psycho) experience that will be experienced differently from person to person. It considers the Body-Mind-Soul (physical-emotional-interplay) connections and therefore, the designer should: 

  • Refrain from subjective personal design opinions and distance itself from fixed preconceived design notions. 
  • Consider the occupant of the space’s environmental needs and necessities. 
  • Make sure it is in line with the scientific use of colour’s social qualities. 
  • Consider the functional aspects of the environment. 
  • Make sure it is an expression of artistic competence and quality, confirming the importance of colour’s effect on the human being’s social  quality.

Humane colour design is the only design process to consider the health influences of colour. It humanizes the physical environment (space). The human being is the center of its concern and purpose. 


Choosing a colour for any space is usually an emotional process for anyone.  It cannot be decided on by anyone else because a space can envelop you in beautiful colours, but what do the chosen colours do to the space, and how does the area affect you? 

Humane colour design extend the borders of colour design beyond commercial rules and regulations. 

Not only is the psyche of people different, but the influence of an environment and light quality, causes people to approach colour use differently.  

During our life, colours play their role. Each colour has special importance and all together help to guarantee a normal life. A special colour stimulation is accompanied by a specific response pattern of our entire organism. 

Research proofed that the strong influence of light and especially reflected light through the way a surface reflects light received, may cause unconscious stress on our vison system. The reflection of light is known as LRV (Light Reflection Value). LRV is a measurement of reflected light that not only tells you how much light a “colour” surface reflects, but is also an indication of how your body can react to it. LRV is measured from 0% to 100%. Zero is assumed to be an absolute black and 100% being assumed a perfectly white. An absolute black and white does not exist in our everyday terms. 

However, LRV is an important guideline, a relative point of reference for predicting how light or dark colours will look under normal light conditions in a space. This reflection of light is a measurement, a piece of data, and is the one thing about colour that is a constant factor, it does not go away. 

It is not a standard by which to choose colours because the daylight source is uncontrolled. It is an indicator to help you find the best colour in the available light of a space and to create an acceptable WELL-BEING. 

In everyday life, you will not easily be aware of the light reflection, but it will affect you unconsciously, and physiologically over prolonged times. Be assured that eyestrain can occur, mostly unconsciously, when white and light colours are viewed continuously. 

But LRV is probably one of the most supporting aids in the process of colour choices and the prevention of the use of wrong colours that may affect the health of people over time. 


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