Active colors, aka brighter colors, tend to excite both the mind and body and can be sources of energy and creativity. Passive colors, aka the more neutral and muted colors, tend to increase mental focus and have a calming effect. On the color wheel, active colors are the warm colors and stimulate the viewer more than the passive colors. Passive colors, which are the cool colors, are more visually receding, which means they appear further away next to more active colors.