Fascinating article from The New York Times, True Blue Stands Out in an Earthy Crowd, with observations of interest to designers:
Sick children like their caretakers in blue: A recent study at the Cleveland Clinic found that young patients preferred nurses wearing blue uniforms to those in white or yellow. …
In the workplace:
In a study … , researchers at Aichi University in Japan found that subjects who performed a lengthy video game exercise while sitting next to a blue partition reported feeling less fatigued and claustrophobic, and displayed a more regular heart beat pattern, than did people who sat by red or yellow partitions.
… researchers … described their study of how computer screen color affected participants’ ability to solve either creative problems — for example, determining the word that best unifies the terms “shelf,” “read” and “end” (answer: book) — or detail-oriented tasks like copy editing. The researchers found that blue screens were superior to red or white backgrounds at enhancing creativity, while red screens worked best for accuracy tasks.
Structure – Apparently vertebrates are unable to make blue chemically, via pigmentation, so the color blue comes about structurally:
“When you have a color obtained with pigment, it’s a characteristic of the material itself,” said Silvia Vignolini, a physicist at the University of Cambridge …. “When you make color with structure, you start with a material that is transparent, but by changing the structure by just a few hundred nanometers” — billionths of a meter — “you can change the color.”