Holly Ann Scoggins
The world's favorite color
Updated: Feb 9, 2022
Take a look at the following chart, which color is your favorite?
During adolescence we find our identity in our favorite color. If possible, my 4 year old son would choose to wear bright red every single day. The color red is fast, loud, and screams power. If you ask him about color, ”Red is everything!” Red might remain his favorite color for many years or change with life experience. As much as people love red…. it is not the collective favorite.
The world's favorite color is one that is easily trusted, inspires its onlookers and heals the soul. The globes largest brands use this color to communicate a calm and fresh relatability. This color can transport us to the beach or on top of a mountain. It’s rare In nature yet common in man made objects. This color is above us and below us, it can be hot or cold. It is a color for the masses.
What color did you choose? Do you love fiery reds or soft blues? Do you like bright orange or deep purple? If you had to surround yourself with one color what would it be? Has your favorite color changed over the years? Are you influenced by trends in modern design or do you like the classics? Is your favorite color connected to specific time periods, subcultures, sports teams or schools?
We know colors can change in popularity based on the time period and current trends. Pantones Color of the Year uses color analysts and forecasters to select a color that is representative of the current visual, economic, philosophic and emotional climate. The annual color chosen by Pantone embodies the current state of the world from a design perspective. This color is then used in major design campaigns in products, fashion, and influences trends in art and design.
Multiple studies have been conducted worldwide to determine which color is favorite. In a study on gender norms, University of Maryland sociologist Philip Cohen asked 2,000 people a simple question: "What's your favorite color?" Every country agreed that some form of blue was best. Note that Red was often second, and Green second or third.
Other studies, such as the global research completed by YouGov included more participants and polled many countries. The results were similar, people love Blue. These particular studies were very simplistic in delivery, not necessarily accounting for subtleties of tint, tone or shade...... There are even global studies, and highly specific demographic surveys that also show a preference for white, especially in interior design ( this is likely a dying trend). Studies in Asia have shown a strong preference for white, but white was often left out of many other surveys. Brown and yellow are most often discarded as our least favorite colors. As we age, our favorite color changes.... this can be due to life experience, trends, or our failing eyesight.
Research says that an average person can see 10 million colors... so can we get more specific than this???
The UK paper company GF Smith , decided to take on a more thorough version of this research with more subtleties of color choice. They compiled the results of 30,000 people in 100 countries. The numbers were combined to find out which was the most popular, and the shade of Marrs Green was closest to the overall consensus. But color experts say although the shade has been called green, it is not wrong to see it as blue. So we can conclude that Blue-Green is likely the world’s favorite color. Most people would classify this as teal, turquoise, or aqua ( these are slightly different than Marrs green, but in the same family). Why is it called Marrs green? Mars is red, but the planets thin atmosphere has a soft green glow.....ok ..not that Mars. Marrs green was identified by Annie Marrs, a UNESCO worker from Dundee, who was inspired by the River Tay in Scotland.
We love a color that is cool, more blue than green, the color of sky and sea. Peter Giles, the color advisor of Farrow & Ball, said: “ It’s almost colored teal...you can almost say it (Marrs Green) is more an aqua color. “It’s one that can be green or blue depending on who you’re asking”.“We all have one idea of what the color blue is, but pressed to describe it specifically, there are so many ways: the ocean, lapis lazuli, the sky, someone’s eyes. Our definitions are as different as we are ourselves.” – Sarah Dessen
Caroline Till, director of Franklin Till Studio and editor of Viewpoint Colour Magazine states "As the contemporary condition of 'nature deficit' rises in the context of increasingly urban and digital lifestyles, we seek to reconnect with the natural world, hence the current global popularity of the color green. In these uncertain times, where political and social upheaval has become the norm, we crave the calming tranquillity of green and its association with the reassuring certainty of nature's cycles." Caroline is right, but if this color gets too green, we do not like it quite as much. This means that if our favorite blue-green shifts too much towards yellow, we are turned off. Shift our green more towards blue, and we are pleased!
Many cultural artifacts are evidence to how much people love this color. The Hippos shown below were created almost 4000 years apart. The oldest, created in Ancient Egypt around 2000 BCE. This teal color was significant for the ancient Egyptians, likely referencing the Nile River, a source of livelihood. The Egyptian Hippo is made of faience (fay-AHNCE), a ceramic medium that turns out this bluish color.
“Blue color is everlastingly appointed by the deity to be a source of delight.” – John Ruskin
So there you have it. The world loves Teal. They love the sky, the sea, the earth. They love a color that sings of the heavens, vibrant and trustworthy.