Color through the ages. Drivers have been looking at colorful dashboards at night since the 70s. Ford’s was green, Volkswagen’s and Vauxhall’s white, and Citroën’s a mix of green and other colors. Later on Audi changed its lamps to red. So did BMW. And VW’s turned blue. Were car manufacturers having a color identity crisis? Not quite. There was method in the madness, but nobody was told. Today our dashboards are once again a riot of color. But what do they actually do to us? We’ll shed some light on the basic effects of colors on people.

Almost everything in nature is green. The color represents safety and hope, and it soothes and harmonizes. So it comes as no surprise that suddenly all new schools were painted green in the 70s, back when people started thinking about the influence of colors. That didn’t work though. Green relieves bad feelings such as anger, lovesickness and grief. What’s interesting is that today pretty much no instrument panel is lit up in green anymore. But things that have disappeared may well come back.

Who hasn’t once felt like a bull in an Audi or BMW? Red is the color of love, passion and fire. A confident red has an energizing effect, so some manufacturers clearly wanted and still want to give their dashboards a racy image. It sure works. Shame on those who think that red would make anyone aggressive. Certainly not in the car, right? Whether the assertion that red instrument lights would stimulate one’s appetite and desire for sex is true could not be sufficiently proved by the time this article went online.

car tachometer close up

All of a sudden Volkswagen had blue lights. Crazy, spacy and different. Blue, the color of the sky, conveys desire, but also stands for calm and trust. Blue light has a calming effect at night, makes people relax and is easy to read. It’s also said to feed melancholy, increase cognitive thinking and promote linguistic skills. So before you chat to your passenger make sure to check the colors on the dashboard.

White contains all colors. It’s simple, timeless, pure and clear. That’s why many car manufacturers light their dashboards in bright colorless tones; they can be combined with everything else, don’t distract from warning lamps and won’t even look “frozen in time” 30 years from now. On the other hand, white is also the color of ice and snow, in other words cool and unapproachable. For those who don’t like it, the Osram team is here to help.


No matter what colors your dashboard and switches have, with Osram tuning lights most colors inside the car can be changed, revived and completely redefined in next to no time. Give it a try, and tell us which color you’re looking at in your car – and if it does something to you.


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