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Sunday, March 10, 2024

Temperature in Colors


Where colors are present, temperature also comes into play. Because of the way they normally appear in nature, certain colors can be more associated with coldness (as cool) than with hotness (as warm) and vice-versa. With some being somewhere in and near the middle. And because of this association, they can evoke a sense of temperature in us. In some cases, for those sensitive enough, they may even “trick” their brains into experiencing these temperatures.

That’s right, if you are cold and you expose yourself to what would be called cool colors, you could feel even colder. And if you’re hot and focus on cool colors, they may take your mind off the hot degrees and make it cooler for you. Likewise when it comes to warm colors.

Furthermore, cold temperatures tend to be tied to a state of relaxation and stillness, while hot temperatures tend to be tied to a state of agitation and rush. Resembling and inducing the differences of passive and receptive versus active and imposing. Could also refer to how closed off or lifeless someone or something is.


An icy blue is the epitome of a cold color, with turquoise and mint following close, while a burning red is the epitome of a hot color, with orange and yellow following close. But that’s just keeping it simple. The colors adjacent to these in the color wheel can fall into their respective categories. Along with more colors and “technically, not really a color” that simply make sense for each category. It's not completely clear-cut.


You could create a piece from scratch and select the colors for it with this concept in mind. Or you can choose an already existing piece and tweak its colors to achieve a more defined temperature with them (though some may not translate as well because of the contradicting values they may already contain).

To be safe in utilizing colors for your artwork in an attempt to transmit temperature with them, don’t only mind the colors you are choosing, but also the objects and other components around that they are applied to. Unless you are going for something surreal with the intent of having clashing elements and manage to gracefully pull it off.

Overall, whether made conscious or not, temperature plays a significant role in how a piece will be perceived and interpreted, along with what kind of effect and level of impact it will have. Whether for metaphorical meaning or for literal sensation. Especially on artistic fellows who are particularly able to pick up on this.

CREDIT: AI-Generated Examples done on Leonardo.AI