As children, we're often asked ?what?s your chosen color?? We considered that our color choice says a great deal about who we have been, knowning that the questioner will immediately understand its meaning.
But colors, like words, usually do not carry universal meaning. We all have different reactions to various tones and shades depending on how and where we were raised, our past experiences from it, and our pair of preferences ? which, like children, can transform inexplicably.
The truth is colors carry a lot of meaning ? but that meaning varies drastically across languages, cultures, and national borders. If you are conscious of many of these differences, you will be able to avoid embarrassing cultural mistakes when speaking about and taking advantage of colors among colleagues, friends, and clients ? and will also help you to promote your product effectively in global markets.
Below, a simple guide to five colors around the globe.
BLACK & WHITE
In Western cultures, black is associated with death, evil, and eternity. In some Eastern cultures, however, many times, it carries the contrary meaning; in China, black could be the signature color for young kids, and is also employed in celebrations and joyous events.
White, conversely, symbolizes age, death, and misfortune in China as well as in many Hindu cultures. Across both East and West, however, white typically represents purity, holiness, and peace.
Red is probably the most powerful colors, and it is meanings generally in most cultures run deep:
China - Celebration, courage, loyalty, success, and luck, and the like. Used often in ceremonies, and when coupled with white, signifies joy.
Japan - The traditional color for any heroic figure.
Russia - Representative with the Communist era. For this reason, it is recommended to be extremely careful when utilizing this in Eastern European countries.
India - Purity, so wedding costumes tend to be red. Also along with for married women.
United States - Danger (think "red light!") and found in conjunction with other colors for holidays, including Christmas (green) and Valentine's Day (pink).
Central Africa - Red is a colour of life and health. But in other areas of Africa, red is really a color of mourning and death. To honor this, the Red Cross changed its colors to green and white in South Africa along with other parts of the continent.
Blue is often considered being the "safest" global color, as it may 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 using blue to address highly pious audiences: the color has significance in nearly every major world religion. For Hindus, it may be the color of Krishna, and several from the gods are depicted with blue-colored skin. For Christians, blue invokes images of Catholicism, specially the Virgin Mary. Jewish religious texts and rabbinic sages have noted blue to become a holy color, as the Islamic Qur'an describes evildoers whose eyes are glazed with fear as زرق zurq, which will be 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 known as a much more positive color. American retailers are leveraging the environmental movement to sell 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 reports have indicated that green is not a option for packaging.
If the Dutch have everything to say over it, the World Cup is going to be flooded with plenty of orange this summer. (Orange will be the national hue of the Netherlands along with the uniform colour of the country's famous football team.)
On sleep issues from the world, however, orange has a better sober meaning: within Hinduism, orange carries religious significance as along with for Hindu swamis. Throughout Southeast Asia, Theravada Buddhist monks also wear orange robes.
So before your inner child enthusiastically talks about your color preference to foreign friends or colleagues, you might find out more on that color and its particular cultural significance. Also, be aware of color choices as they correspond with your small business?s campaign copy and get more info graphics ? whether it is printed collateral, an internet site, or marketing campaign. Know your target market along with their respective color conventions which means you don?t inadvertently send the wrong message. We recommend this useful visual representation by Information is Beautiful.
Oh and by the way, the most popular colors at Acclaro are blue and orange.