Well, that is an interesting question. Are colors scary? Are they even capable of being scary all by themselves and simply because they exist?
Well apparently, under certain circumstances, they can.
There is an illness called chromatophobia, which is actually the fear of colors. Some people fear a few colors; others all colors, but their fear has them against the wall because it is impossible to escape colors. One aspect of this condition is the fear of only one color. People with chromatophobia can experience this fear at all times or it can be brought on as some kind of reaction. Many times this fear is caused by a childhood trauma that is associated with a particular color.
Still for most of us, colors are not scary, nor do they deserve the title “scary”. But there are certainly scary objects that can be associated with certain colors.
The Problem of Associations
For instance, Halloween with its array of black and orange pumpkins, headless horsemen, ghouls, witches, goblins, black cats, and sorcerer’s capes can give us quite a scare under the proper circumstances. Then there is the touch of white that scares the bejeebers out of us in the form of ghosts and spirits. And all because of a fun celebration called Halloween.
Of course, if one has enjoyed a good shark movie of late, such as “Jaws”, then they may find the color blue disturbing, along with the gray and black of the shark itself. An eerie gray blue water scene with white mists can conjure up a shark in one’s minds eye almost immediately. Just the thought can raise the hair on the back of your neck.
The color red is terrifying if it is used as drops of blood in a film that is essentially black and white – or as the color for the coat of a little girl in the black and white “Schindler’s List”.
The use of green in the colorization of film scenes can add a sense of foreboding, such as the machine world in The Matrix. Green is a color that is usually associated with life, however in this particular film, it was a symbol of imprisonment.
Also, colors used in untraditional ways can sometimes be downright uncomfortable, if not altogether scary. Think about how the sight of a or red green sky or a deep red lake might affect us. It could be pretty upsetting.
Other items that can be scary or repulsive because of placement of color are things like green teeth, orange hair, black toenails, purple skin, gray milk, and of course, green cheese.
In the use of color for a website, it is smart to understand colors and what they signify to people. The predominate use of orange and black might not be a good idea on a church website while pink is probably not suitable for a manly website on muscle building.
So, unless one suffers from the aforementioned chromatophobia, it is usually not a color that is scary but how it is used. The key is to learn what works and have fun!