Why colour matters in learning

On Friday 4th July, Find My Style was invited to lead a series of ‘Colour Talks’ workshops at Westminster Kingsway Staff Conference at their campus in Kings Cross London. We looked at why colour was important in the learning and how the way we use colours personally can make us look and feel good in our working environment. Here are a few of our top tips for the session…

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 16.52.48

Why is colour important?

Amazingly the human eye can distinguish 17 million different colours. Our eyes have red, green and blue receptors that detect electromagnetic waves; and these are interpreted by the brain as colours. The associations we have with colour are formed as a result of psychological, cultural and historical reasoning. Within the brain, visual is our dominant sense as it takes up 40% of our brain space, compared to just 8% for touch and 3% for hearing. Therefore colour is an important part of our visual experience.

How does the eye react to colour and how does it trigger our brain response?

Red is the first colour we recognise due to the dominance of red cone receptors in our eyes; hence it is associated with power, action and taps into our need for action. It reduces thinking time and has been associated with love/attraction – think ‘Lady in Red’ song, red roses etc, and in China it is also the colour of celebration. Several studies have been done into how red is the colour for winners in sport, however it is also worth noting that it can be a disadvantage in martial arts where it helps the opponent to anticipate the next move and also on the football pitch when the referee is more likely to pick up if a player wearing red makes a wrong move (BBC).

Colour circle

Orange is a great mix of the strength of red and the fun of yellow. It is typically associated with creativity, cheerfulness and friendliness. Easyjet is a great example of a company that uses orange within its branding to this effect, to associate with fun and accessible travel. Interestingly it is also the easiest colour to see in dim light or foggy conditions, think of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, life boats and astronauts.

Yellow is the colour that stimulates the mind – remember traditionally post-its were always yellow! For many of us it represents sunshine, happiness and positivity, however it is also a colour that some people can get tired of seeing consistently. One example that came up in our workshop was that using yellow paper stimulated young people with learning disabilities; equally it can also be a difficult colour to have in a bedroom as children find it difficult to sleep.

Green is the colour of harmony and relaxes the mind, this is because it travels on the middle wavelengths and the eye has to do very little to interpret it. This means it is restful for the mind and is thus associated with being calming and stress-free, and if you look that the colour of nature and growth, you can see how this works. Interestingly it was often used in Victorian hospital wards and equally nowadays, TV production companies have the ‘green room’ to welcome guests and calm their nerves before going in front of the camera. It has also been linked to illness, envy or jealous with cultural links too.

Blue is the colour of calm and peace. Pre-historically we were coded to look for the colour as life giving, as we searched for water holes as part of our survival. It is linked to trust and darker shades are associated with authority, hence the prevalence of navy in the corporate world and with uniforms. It is also said to reduce heart rate and blood pressure, hence it is often used in hospitals on cardiac units, however it also acts as an appetite suppressant and can make people feel cold when used in interior decoration.

Purple represents royalty, wealth and prestige. Until the 1850s, purple was the most expensive colour dye to make, as you needed many thousands of shellfish to create the colour. William Henry Perkin turned the fashion world on its head in 1856 when he was just 18, by creating an artificial dye which made the colour ‘mauve’ accessible to the masses. It is associated with mystery, older age and luxury, and it is a colour which is very popular with pre-adolescents. On the minus side, it can also represent disease, loneliness and funerals.

White represents the presence of all colours as white light represents. It is both a safe and exciting colour, as it blends in with all other colours but equally it represents a blank canvas that you can create anything with – hence the preference for white table tops for learning. It is also associated with cleanliness, innocence, cowardice, peace, heaven and purity. In some cultures it represents mourning.

Black is the essence of glamour, sophistication and sleekness, equally it is associated with death, despair and bad moods. In colour preference tests, black is often actively disliked and rarely selected. Black can represent both conformity in terms of black tie events and also rebellion with some groups. Some people use black to hide and also to slim as it absorbs light, rather than reflecting, thus making them appear smaller.

Tips for personal impact and how to analyse your visual communication

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 23.05.14

Ideas for ways to use colour within your working practice can include -
• what you wear
• presentation/teaching materials
• screen savers
• room colours
• wall decoration/displays
• colour pens for writing and marking.

Application: Think about what colours inspire you -
Are they conducive for learning in your environment?
Are you inspired to be there? What works and what could you change?
Get feedback from others and innovate your style!

If you want to know more about what colours suit you, then click here to book to speak with Hannah directly



Our #STYLEHUNTERS event at The Guildhall Shopping Centre from 30-31st May in collaboration with Stafford FM and Go Ape has proved ‘extremely popular’ with customers in Stafford and ‘hugely successful’ with the centre’s management team.  

 #stylehunters team copyright

Last weekend #STYLEHUNTERS arrived at the Guildhall Shopping Centre where the team ran a treasure hunt and invited customers to follow a series of clues around the shopping centre that took them into twenty-four shops across the centre to seek the answers.

Anne Graham, Marketing Manager at the Guildhall said “We were absolutely thrilled with the response to the event. Over the course of the 2 days over 400 people followed the clues around the shops. The feedback from our store managers and our customers has been extremely positive and I think everyone has had a good time. We are very grateful for the support shown by Stafford FM who joined us for the 2 days and also to Go Ape who sponsored the event”.

First prize went to Kelly Bradley who completed the trail with her son Tyler and won the top prize of £100 of shopping vouchers. Two runner-up prizes of £50 of shopping vouchers went to Mark Davys and Kelly Griffiths and 4 prizes of £25 voucher went to each of people putting the best photos on the Guildhall’s Facebook page. They were Daisy Heys, Grace Hawkins, Aidan Doran and Holly. All of our winners come from Stafford and Stone.

Every participant received a free gift and there were spot prizes throughout the day including over £450 worth of vouchers to the Go Ape Forest Adventure and other prizes donated by Guildhall stores. A full gallery of the images from the event and snapshots of some of our spot prize winners can be seen here.

The #STYLEHUNTERS concept was developed by Hannah Jean of Find My Style and Laraine Robathan-Field of LRF Style as part of their Only On The High Street consultancy . We would like to thank everyone who make the event a success!

Mia Still: Intu Watford Style Hero

In recent weeks Hannah has been out supporting her friend and stylist Lisa Talbot at Intu Watford as a style scout for the national Style Hero event. It was great to meet so many people and be inspired by seeing everyone’s personal style! 

We were really excited to hear that Mia Still who we scouted in the first week of the competition went on win her week and also win the entire month’s competition for Intu Watford! Now the national heats are on and we are wishing Mia all the very best for the final round!!

The ultimate national Style Hero will become the face of an intu campaign, a cool photo shoot and a VIP trip to the Elite Model Look Grand Final, plus £500 to spend on intu’s website where they can indulge in designer treats from the likes of Alexander McQueen, Isabel Marant and Michael Kors and a £500 gift card to spend at their intu centre.

We saw Mia in the centre while we were out style scouting a week later and took this picture of her sporting her yellow Zara bag that she was wearing in the original image for Intu Watford. It was the combination of the pink jumper and the bright yellow bag that caught our eye with the style spotting – and Hannah even ended up running down the centre after Mia to take her picture!

To vote for Mia simply click here - all votes must be made by 10am on Monday 19th May 2014!

Mimi Still Intu Watford

Five Tips for Summer Style

This month a lovely lady called Hazel (who heard of me through our shared friend Jo Payton) asked for some style tips to contribute to the Daily Telegraph. Having decided it was a good idea to share them, here is a quick summary to get your wardrobe on track for summer. Enjoy!

Wardrobe Ethos for Spring/Summer 2014 – Try New Things…

April is simply one of the best times of year – you know you are headed towards days that never end and the promise of sunshine that makes everyone feel good. This year with the fashion trends, it is all about freedom and expressing yourself, so it’s definitely time to embrace the ethos of ‘try new things’.

Tip 1: Set your wardrobe free!

This summer’s fashion is all about freedom – so go on, embrace it! Experiment with your style and be daring in the way you put your outfits together. The best way to find your perfect summer style is to try new things, so experiment by dressing up in the craziest outfits that you can find in your wardrobe and see what works. We dare you!

Summer clothes can be very versatile, so get creative and find new ways to wear your clothes. Remember a strapless top can double up as a skirt and vice versus. A scarf can become a glam strapless top. Jumpsuits and playsuits can be rolled up or down as the case may be. Necklaces can be layered up to give a statement look.

The summer scarf is the queen of chameleons – it can become a headscarf, strapless top, beach sarong, knotted shoulder bag, evening belt or even a shrug cardigan. Have a look for inspiration online and get styling!

Tip 2: Walk on the bright side come rain or shine

Forget those winter blues and greys, and welcome colour into your wardrobe! Step out in brightly coloured shoes to give your style the edge or pick up a pair of vibrant trousers to create a new look. A colourful jacket in a can be equally useful, as being realistic, we are talking about a summer wardrobe in the UK, therefore we need to factor in a few items that will allow you to survive the temperature variations! The finish of your look should always come down to a good fit and quality fabric, and remember to keep all your key items in good repair so they are always ready to wear.

Tip 3: Discover the style that works for you

Preppy pleats, candy colours and floral print bombers are all great trends, however that doesn’t mean that they work on everyone. Fashion isn’t a one style fits all option; so it’s important to know what works for you first, so that you can choose which trends to buy. Finding the colours that compliment your skin tone and knowing which shapes flatter your figure, means that you know exactly which clothes to choose and shopping becomes easier.

You can tell if a colour suits you by placing an article of clothing in that colour over one shoulder and comparing it with what you are wearing. Look at the two sides of your face in a mirror to see the effect. Pay attention to under your eyes, cheeks, jaw line and neck to see which colour gives you a fresh glowing complexion!

Shape is important too – a good way to tell what works for you is going through your Facebook photos with a close eye and identify what you think works, and equally what you think could change. Make a note of your favourite looks and you will see a pattern emerging.

Tip 4: Simplify your wardrobe

Simple is best! Everyone gets overwhelmed with too many choices in life and your wardrobe is no different. Take the time to go through your summer wardrobe and pick out your favourite items and place them on a separate rail to start your personal wardrobe edit. Step away and go for a cup of tea (or your equivalent).

Come back to your wardrobe with fresh eyes and evaluate the rest of your clothes – how do they measure up against your favourite items? If they work well with them, then it would be worth keeping them and if they don’t, then you will may be better off without them. The likelihood is that your favourite items work really well for you, so you want to make sure that the rest of the items in your closet are earning the right to stay in your closet too!

Tip 5: Buy what you love

Everyone has their own innate sense of personal style. Personal style can be almost intangible yet this is what makes you stand out from the crowd. As Coco Chanel said, ‘look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress.’ The same is equally true for men’s style; it’s all about dressing for you and being true to your look.

Picking up a new fashion magazine and taking out the pictures from this season that inspire you can be a great way to find the style you love. Why not pin them up inside your wardrobe to inspire your look. Try it and let us know how you get on. Until next time, enjoy your style!