Is there any relationship between colour preference, personality and jobs?

Car Colours

One survey suggests that men prefer red cars (12% more than women), black (+10%) and white (+7%) whereas women prefer silver cars (10% more than men), brown (+9%), gold (+7.3%) and beige (+5%). Highest used car prices were for black, white and brown cars whereas lowest were for green, beige and gold cars. The author suggests that women may be more practical in their choices wanting a fairly priced safe car whereas men may be more idealistic, preferring fast, fun models.

Black is the least safe car colour: 47% more likely to be involved in road accidents than vehicles of other colours. White, gold, and yellow are the safest. Black vehicles are harder to see as they don't stand out so well against the road. In daylight, black cars were 12% more likely be involved in crashes than white vehicles and at dawn and dusk this rose to 47%. Younger people tend to prefer black cars whereas older people prefer silver and this may also affect accident rates as drivers over the age of 55 have the least accidents.

Certainly not a strong one but there has been some fascinating research in this area which suggests tentative links between your colour preference, your personality and your career!

Warm and cool colours

Colours can be described in terms of temperature, such as "warm" or "cool" according to the dominant wavelength of the colour.

The cool colours (blue, green and purple) are of low wavelength and energy and are considered to be restful and quiet. They are associated with sedate mood states, low arousal, soothing, relaxation and contemplation. selective in responses to stimuli, less distracted by noise detached, cold, reserved, difficulty adapting to new circumstances.

Blue is the lowest wavelength colour and is the opposite to red. Experiments have found that blood pressure decreases under blue light and increases under red light. The same applies to speed of respiration, blinking and brain waves. Blue is the colour most preferred by men.

The warm colours (red, orange yellow) are of high wavelength and high energy. They are active and stimulating. People who like these colours tend to have shorter reaction times, and are more open and responsive to stimuli. They need to have their needs gratified and can be more aggressive.Preferec for the colour yellow declines with age with less older people preferring yellow.

Bright colours elicit mainly positive emotional associations, while dark, drab colours elicit negative emotional associations - they weaken spirits, morale, health, and may lead to crime, inferiority, and inhibit optimism, inspiration, and success.

Favourite colour of a group of 80 University of Kent graduates

Blue 27.0%
Purple 20.0%
Green 14.0%
Red 13.0%

Black 7.0%
Pink 7%
Yellow 4.0%
White 4.0%

Orange 1.0%
Brown 1%
Silver 1%
Burgundy 1%


Professor Geoffrey Beattie's book "Get The Edge" suggests a correlation between the use of a green pen and success!

Cultural bias

Staff prefer to work in blue or white offices

A survey by Create a Wall suggests that British workers prefer to work in blue or white offices to maximise productivity. 22.4% of workers preferring to work in a blue office. Blue creates a calming ambience and research has linked blue rooms with improved cognitive performance. If staff are calm and focused, productivity will increase. White was second most popular (22.1%) - white reflects light around the room, which is ideal if it’s small. White can help to make your room appear bright, vibrant and bigger than it actually is. Light is also important to boost your employees productivity. Studies have highlighted a direct correlation between levels of employee performance and the amount of natural light they are exposed to.

Certain colours have been found to be preferred regardless of age, race, or culture but colour preference may be culturally-based: red and blue were the most preferred colours among Americans, but less preferred in other cultures (Choungourian 1968). In the West black is the colour associated with funerals but in the East, white is the predominant colour at funerals. According to research at Oxford University desserts served on white plates are perceived to taste sweeter than those served on black plates!

Colours are rich with symbolism. This symbolism can be apparent in how an individual associates colours with things, objects or physical space.


Colour Popularity(% of positive responses) Personality traits associated with colours Careers loosely related to colours (based on research at the University of Westminster)
Red 64.3% Active, adventurous, energetic, assertive, rebellious, uncontrolled, happy, restless, agitated, stimulating, exciting, aggressive, risk-taking, intense, strong, powerful, arousing, warm.
  • "Passion, danger, love, anger. All the best emotions!"
  • "The colour of passion and love."

Leadership. Goal-oriented, determined, demanding and results driven individuals. They can have an ego problem sometimes being intolerant of others’ ideas. and may lack compassion. They do well in management and leadership roles and also selling.

Orange - Happy, exciting, stimulating, warm, merry.  
Yellow 93.9%

Associated with the sun, flowers, and summer.
Positive emotions: cheerful, lively and fun.

Sociable, enthusiastic and persuasive.

High performers, goal directed, outgoing but well controlled. Sales, medical sales, marketing, consultancy, Human Resource Management, Training manager.

Green 95.9% Associated with nature and trees: feelings of soothing emotions and freshness. Secure, peaceful, serene, leisurely, controlled, naturalness, relaxation, happiness, comfort, peace, hope, calmness.

Caring and helping careers such as teacher, nurse or social worker. Coordinating roles such as administrator, HR, PA. Receptionist and customer service roles.


79.6% Associated with ocean, beach, water, sky: quiet, calming, relaxing, tranquility.
Soothing, deep, secure, comfortable, dignity, happiness, comfort, peace. Controlled emotions and suppression of feelings.
  • Blue is clean and joyful
  • Blue is the same colour as the sea in the Mediterranean. It is tranquil.

Analytical. Cautious, deliberate, committed and loyal. Questioning and creative: ideas driven.
Mathematics and data management: finance, engineering and computing careers. Project management.


64.3% Vigour, excitement, power, dignity, comfort, depth, anxiety, tension.  
White 61.2 Soothing, solemn, innocence, peace, hope, purity, simplicity.
  • I have always loved white, for some crazy reason but I'm not very tidy. Every thing which I bought for university was white. White sheets, white plates, white towels! I like organising things
  • White - the colour that reflects all other colours.

Peaceful, avoiding confrontation. Kind, considerate, patient and accepting. Devoid of ego, spiritual, simplicity. Idealistic
Like having different options available. Often good organisers.

Black 19.4 Powerful, strong, old, dignified, hidden, mystery, darkness and night. Richness, wealth, power, intense, anxious, sad.
  • "Black goes with everything and looks serious."
  • "The colour of mystery and you can hide yourself in it."
  • "Black is pure, clean and solid."
Conservative, money but also sometimes creativity.
Brown - Secure, comfortable, honest, down-to-earth and wholesome, sad.
  • Earthy colours look very rich and have an exclusivity to them.
Practical. implementation and accomplishment of tasks.
Grey 7.1 Caution, compromise and neutrality  

Links and Further reading