As children, we are often asked ?what?s your chosen color?? We believed that our color choice says a great deal about who were, knowning that the questioner will immediately understand its meaning.
But colors, like words, tend not to carry universal meaning. We all have different reactions to several tones and shades depending on how and where i was raised, our past experiences from it, and our list of preferences ? which, like children, can change inexplicably.
The truth is colors carry a whole lot of meaning ? but that meaning varies drastically across languages, cultures, and national borders. If you are alert to a few of these differences, it will be possible to avoid embarrassing cultural mistakes when talking about and utilizing colors among colleagues, friends, and clients ? and it will help you to advertise your product effectively in global markets.
Below, a simple guide to 5 colors around the world.
BLACK & WHITE
In Western cultures, black is assigned to death, evil, and eternity. In some Eastern cultures, however, issues carries the other meaning; in China, black could be the signature color for young boys, and is used in celebrations and joyous events.
White, however, symbolizes age, death, and misfortune in China plus many Hindu cultures. Across both East and West, however, white typically represents purity, holiness, and peace.
Red is amongst the best colors, as well as meanings in most cultures run deep:
China - Celebration, courage, loyalty, success, and luck, amongst others. Used often in ceremonies, then when combined with white, signifies joy.
Japan - The traditional color to get a heroic figure.
Russia - Representative of the Communist era. For this reason, experts recommend to get extremely careful when using this in Eastern European countries.
India - Purity, so wedding costumes are often red. Also the color for married women.
United States - Danger (think "red light!") and used in combination with other colors for holidays, for here example Christmas (green) and Valentine's Day (pink).
Central Africa - Red is really a color of life and health. But in other areas of Africa, red is a color of mourning and death. To honor this, the Red Cross changed its colors to green and white in South Africa and other regions of the continent.
Blue is often considered to be the "safest" global color, as it can represent anything from immortality and freedom (the sun) to cleanliness (in Colombia, blue is equated with soap). In Western countries, blue can often be considered the conservative, "corporate" color.
However, take care when working with blue to handle highly pious audiences: along with has significance in nearly every major world religion. For Hindus, it may be the color of Krishna, and many in the gods are depicted with blue-colored skin. For Christians, blue invokes images of Catholicism, especially the Virgin Mary. Jewish religious texts and rabbinic sages have noted blue being a holy color, even though the Islamic Qur'an describes evildoers whose eyes are glazed with fear as زرق zurq, which is the plural of azraq, or blue.
Until natural foods companies started marketing green beverages as healthy and good-tasting, many Western people thought green food was poisonous. Today, green is considered a much more positive color. American retailers are leveraging the environmental movement to trade eco-friendly goods, often using green-themed packaging or ad campaigns to point out a product's compliance with "green" standards. Not so in China and France, where numerous studies have indicated that green is not a sensible choice for packaging.
If the Dutch have anything to say about it, the World Cup will likely be flooded with many different orange come early july. (Orange may be the national color of the Netherlands along with the uniform colour of the country's famous football team.)
On sleep issues of the world, however, orange has a a little more sober meaning: within Hinduism, orange carries religious significance as the color for Hindu swamis. Throughout Southeast Asia, Theravada Buddhist monks also wear orange robes.
So before your inner child enthusiastically references your color preference to foreign friends or colleagues, you might like to discover more about that color and it is cultural significance. Also, be aware of color choices while they connect with your company?s campaign copy and graphics ? whether printed collateral, an internet site, or advertising campaign. Know your audience as well as their respective color conventions so you don?t inadvertently send the incorrect message. We recommend this useful visual representation by Information is Beautiful.
Oh and by the way, our absolute favorite colors at Acclaro are blue and orange.