As children, we have been often asked ?what?s your preferred color?? We thought that our color choice says a lot about who were, understanding that the questioner will immediately understand its meaning.
But colors, like words, usually do not carry universal meaning. We all have different reactions to numerous tones and shades depending on how and where we had arrived raised, our past experiences from it, and our group of preferences ? which, like children, can adjust inexplicably.
The truth is colors carry a lot of meaning ? but that meaning varies drastically across languages, cultures, and national borders. If you are alert to a few of these differences, you will be able in order to avoid embarrassing cultural mistakes when talking about and using colors among colleagues, friends, and clients ? and will also help you to advertise your product effectively in global markets.
Below, a simple guide to colors all over the world.
BLACK & WHITE
In Western cultures, black is owned by death, evil, and eternity. In some Eastern cultures, however, it often carries the alternative meaning; in China, black could be the signature color for young kids, and it is employed 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 one of the most effective colors, and its particular meanings for most cultures run deep:
China - Celebration, courage, loyalty, success, and luck, amongst others. Used often in ceremonies, when along with white, signifies joy.
Japan - The traditional color for the heroic figure.
Russia - Representative of the Communist era. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to get extremely careful when using this in Eastern European countries.
India - Purity, so wedding costumes in many cases are red. Also the colour for married women.
United States - Danger (think "red light!") and found in conjunction with other colors for holidays, like Christmas (green) and Valentine's Day (pink).
Central Africa - Red is often a hue of life and health. But in other parts of Africa, red is a read more 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 sky) to cleanliness (in Colombia, blue is equated with soap). In Western countries, blue is often seen as the conservative, "corporate" color.
However, be careful when you use blue to cope with highly pious audiences: large has significance in nearly all major world religion. For Hindus, it will be the colour of Krishna, and several of 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 offer eco-friendly goods, often using green-themed packaging or ad campaigns to point a product's compliance with "green" standards. Not so in China and France, where studies have indicated that green is not a option for packaging.
If the Dutch have almost anything to say about it, the World Cup will likely be flooded with a lot of orange this summer. (Orange will be the national color of the Netherlands along with the uniform colour of the country's famous football team.)
On the other side with the world, however, orange has a better 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 find out more on that color and it is cultural significance. Also, be alert to color choices because they relate to your business?s campaign copy and graphics ? whether it is printed collateral, a website, or advertising campaign. Know your audience as well as their respective color conventions so that you don?t inadvertently send the wrong message. We recommend this useful visual representation by Information is Beautiful.
Oh one more thing, our absolute favorite colors at Acclaro are blue and orange.