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Color-Coding Notes is Scientifically Proven to Work

By Ava Kesler

We all know about color-coding our notes for aesthetic and organization, but did you know that color-coding is actually scientifically proven to yield better memorization. Certain colors have been shown to do so specifically.

Red and Blue

A study done by the University of British Columbia found that blue ink increases creative thinking, and red ink increases paying attention to detail. Red was actually 31% more effective for boosting paying attention to detail, memory retrieval, and proofreading. Blue, on the other hand, was twice as effective for encouraging creative thinking.

This is believed to be caused by unconscious influencers. Most signs that are red, such as stop signs and ambulances, increase awareness. Likewise, associations with blue are associated with peace, so it encourages creativity. It is good for more difficult subjects as it encourages the mind to think more abstractly.


Another study found that green increases efficiency and focus. Believed to provide a sense of revitalization, people who viewed something green had higher concentration and were less prone to errors. The color green acts like a short trip to a relaxing forest, and thus provides the same restorative effects as one.


As long as the shade of orange is relatively mellow, it has been found to improve mood and neural functioning.

There's been some research that suggests orange stimulates the brain by increasing oxygen supply. With a better mood, people become more ready to attack their goals.

I encourage you to explore these colors as you take your notes, and notice how your study experience changes!


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"The Psychology of Color: How do Colors Influence Learning?" Sh!FT. Accessed 24 Jan. 2023.

"Colour Boosts Brain Performance and Receptivity to Advertising, Depending on Task: UBC Study." UBC News. The University of British Columbia, 5 Feb. 2009. Accessed 24 Jan. 2023.

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