Correlation between folder color and subject? Science and students say yes


Purchasing class folders for the new year is a perennial part of the back to school process. And although other products like pencils, erasers, paper, and highlighters are all important parts of the back to school products pantheon the purpose and predetermination presented by students in picking the proper folders is unparalleled.

Although there are many things to consider when buying a new folder like cost and composition the key aspect that the folders purport to provide is aesthetic. Dogs, polka dots, camouflage or peacocks as well as a multitude of other patterns can be chosen from to adorn the cover. But a noticeable amount of students are choosing just plain colors but even more curious is the thought process matching color to subject.

When asked if there was a method in the decision to color code her folders senior Emma Silverman’s answer was an emphatic yes. The most common way it seemed to associate a color with a subject is by comparing it to something common in the course. “Green is science because it is the color of life and the earth,” Silverman said, “and yellow is English because you often use a yellow highlighter.” But what is more interesting is when Silverman decides to use emotion to connect a specific feeling about the class to a certain color. “Math is a red subject,” Silverman said, “because working on math often irritates you and red is the color of anger.”

There has long been an assumption like this that the colors we see are always subtly affecting the way we feel about things. For example, the belief that the red and yellow accents of the McDonald’s organization are supposed to subtly increase a consumer’s hunger. And according to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine by Andrew Elliot although the connection between color and psychology is in the early stages of scientific development, there are promising signs that point at a connection.

So whether the connection seems to be more practical or emotional it does seem like students are putting an interesting amount of thought into their folder selection at the beginning of each new year, well, most of the time. “Social Studies,” Silverman said,

“It’s just a blue subject.”