McIntyre Group

How Colour Impacts Acoustic Installations

The Acoustic Influencer normally focuses on the specifics of how McIntyre Group works to create the best sound spaces for clients. But in this edition, we’re going to discuss the psychological effect of colour when it comes to sound.

Colour doesn’t directly impact sound absorption and transmission, but it does affect how people perceive those properties. That’s because emotional responses can indirectly influence how people judge sound and noise in a space.

Here are eight questions and answers on how colour can impact sound perception.

How does colour impact sound perception?

Think of a room with white noise to cut down on ambient sounds. A red ceiling will generally draw attention to itself, and people will notice the white noise — they may even look for its source. A white ceiling blends in with the noise and people tend to forget about both.

Does visual appeal impact acoustics?

A well-designed palette can enhance the visual appeal of acoustic treatments, making them more integrated into the design and less obtrusive. That creates a pleasing environment, which compliments acoustic function and takes the onus off sound.

Can colour impact how people perceive a space?

Yes. Colour can influence the perceived size of a room. Light colours tend to make a space feel more open and airier; darker colours create a more intimate and cozier atmosphere. Noisy spaces are better suited to the former.

Do colours function differently when it comes to sound?

Bold or contrasting colours draw attention away from acoustic problem areas, helping to reduce the visual distraction caused by such environments. That contributes to a more focused and comfortable listening or working environment.

Do colour choices matter to a space’s purpose?

Absolutely. Warm colours, like reds and oranges create a sense of intimacy while cool colours like blues and greens promote a calming, relaxed environment. Those psychological effects play a big role in sound perception.

Do colours make people comfortable or uncomfortable?

For sure. Think of a business where the model is to get people in and out, or the opposite. Certain colours aren’t the most inviting — psychologically, you’re not going to want to stay long. But others have a soothing effect that creates a more welcoming atmosphere.

How do cultural factors impact people’s response to sound?

Different cultures and contexts attribute varying meanings and associations to colours. These cultural perceptions can influence how people respond to sound and noise in an environment. Designing with cultural colour preferences in mind can create a more harmonious and comfortable acoustic experience for users.

If the Acoustic Influencer was a colour, it’d be red. Because this newsletter’s goal is to draw attention to the importance of acoustics installation and create an intimate space for conversation. If you’ve got anything to add, please comment and share. And don’t forget to smash that follow button.

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