Preference for ‘color combinations’ have received remarkably little empirical attention and no study compared people’s responses to ‘abstract color combinations’ and ‘color combinations in urban settings’. This study aims to fill this gap and focuses on color combinations rather than isolated colors. 22 color compositions (11 abstract graphics + 11 simulated urban settings) were created. Color compositions included analogous and complementary hues, warm and cool hues, low (5 hues) and high (10 or 11 hues) diversity color compositions. 104 participant evaluated color compositions for (1) arousal, (2) naturalness, (3) relaxation and preference for various objects and settings including (4) clothing, (5) bathroom walls, (6) mall indoors, (7) restaurant indoors, (8) house indoors, (9) building exteriors and (10) any type of object, using a 7-point bipolar scale. The results showed that; (1) color compositions of abstract graphics and pictures of simulated urban settings were rated similarly for ratings of naturalness and preference for any type of object and setting, (2) low and high diversity color compositions were rated similarly for all scales except preference for house indoors, (3) analogous and complementary color compositions were rated similarly for all scales except preference for clothing, (4) warm and cool color compositions were rated similarly for all scales except preference for bathroom walls. The applied value of these results and areas for future research are discussed.
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