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How does colour psychology and image consultancy really work?

How does colour psychology and image consultancy really work?
Contributed by
Suzy Miller

Bernay Laity is a Colour Psychologist and Image Consultant. She brings her expertise to Wikizine...

Growing up with a Dad who was a gardener and keen outdoors enthusiast gave me a great appreciation of the natural world and I became fascinated with the changes in shapes, colours and textures of nature as each season passed from one to the next. But my work as interior designer really cemented my passion for colour as I began to notice that it could have a profound effect on a person's wellbeing. I became curious about why clients picked the colours that they did and noticed that they seemed also to pick colours that reflected their personality.

While most of us understand that softer colours can be relaxing, and that bold, vibrant colours energising, I couldn't help thinking that there was more to it than that. Studying and working with renowned colour psychologist Angela Wright enabled me to understand further the power of colour on one's own well-being, as well as in the environment where the effects from projects we had worked on were astounding.

Colour evokes in us memories, feelings and emotions. In the natural world colour essentially serves as a signalling system. We have evolved to recognise what something is by its colour; is it safe to approach, to touch or even to eat? In the animal kingdom the different colours of fur feathers or skin will express who is male or female, who is dangerous or angry, who is trying to hide and even who is looking for a mate! And as in the animal kingdom, we too choose colours to dress ourselves with on a daily basis that express how we are feeling although largely this happens subconsciously.

However in our own world where uncertainty and emotional fall-out can accompany periods of change and in a culture where youth and beauty are often prized above wisdom and experience, we can appear susceptible to the belief that how we look can be a measure of our success or social acceptance. A fair proportion of the clients I work with feel that they are unsure about what suits them. They may find clothes shopping both uncomfortable and confusing; we are offered so much choice.

The colours that you wear have a profound effect on how you feel and how others respond to you. But a colour psychology consultation is so much more than just how you look; it offers a very gentle yet powerful tool for self-acceptance by revealing through the medium of colour unique insights in to one's own personality. The visual impact of seeing yourself surrounded by colours that harmonise and appear to blend as if they were a natural part of or extension to you can help to unlock the true potential of your appearance and also your wellbeing. You'll appear more co-ordinated and feel more comfortable in your own skin. Each individual colour has a different effect, gives a different message and we show you how to harness that power for yourself.

Many of our clients report a renewed feeling of confidence following their consultation. Former client Anna decided to come for a personal colour analysis session as well as seeking advice on colours for her business communications. She felt that as a personal coach she therefore was the ‘product' that her company sells and so felt that the colours she was going to use needed to be congruent with her business message as well as herself. Anna had this to say after her consultation

"I could feel something click into place. I felt somehow more justified to be who I am, and make no excuses for it. I started to wear the colours recommended to me, and feel that I look better and somehow lighter".

And it's not just for the girls - many guys benefit from understanding how colour can work for them too! Mark has this to say about his colour psychology consultation and experience of using colour to affect how he felt and how others responded to him.

"I found the consultation very enlightening. Not only have I been shopping, I have actually tried my `pink approachable' shirt out.

I went out with my friend into town. Instead of my normal black shirt, I wore my new pink one. The result was that unlike normal, women approached me all night, just as Bernay had said!

Up until my consultation my wardrobe consisted of mainly black and white but I now use my colour palette all the time; not only for approachability, my wardrobe now consists of a variety of colours, blues, browns, violet, yellow .........and pink! It's true: there are colours to help you relax and some to perk you up, some to feel more confident and some to make you blend in. I know, I've tried them all.

This has been a life changing experience for me as I said I would never wear PINK!!!"

So when you are ready to shake your tail feathers again which signals will you want to be giving? Will you want to present yourself as confident, warm and engaging or perhaps reliable, trustworthy and caring? Which colours would you wear to make you feel more confident, relaxed or energised or even attract a partner?

Hear Bernay being interviewed about the value of her work to those of us who are starting over......

"Our aim is to help you work consciously with colour to improve your well-being and communicate the right messages to the world."

A little more about Bernay......

Bernay originally trained as an interior designer and built up several years’ experience as a freelance design consultant undertaking commissions from residential and commercial clients before her personal interest in the effects of colour led her to study the subject of colour psychology with colour psychologist Angela Wright. Bernay then went on to study colour specification at the NCS Colour Centre UK and has worked on projects specifying colour to enhance interior environments for clients including the Surrey Probation Service, the Rainbow Trust, the National Autistic Society, Surrey County Council and also several school environments.

Bernay founded in:colour colour and design consultancy in 2004 offering colour psychology consultancy for interior design, business communications, electronic, print and product design and colour for personal use. She has developed training courses and workshops in colour psychology for professional designers, marketers, personal colourists and stylists on the understanding and use of colour psychology and its applications.

As an experienced speaker on the subject of colour psychology in the U.K. and abroad, Bernay also gives talks and leads seminars for many business groups and private clients. Bernay has appeared on BBC radio, has been a guest for UKTV Style’s interior decorating programme Real Rooms and also writes and contributes to articles on colour for newspapers and leading magazines.

Come and meet Bernay at the Starting Over Show in London Sunday 7 March 2009

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