It?s a Colourful Environment: The Which means of Color Across Borders

As children, were often asked ?what?s your favorite color?? We belief that our color choice says a lot about who we are, knowning that the questioner will immediately understand its meaning.

But colors, like words, don't carry universal meaning. We all have different reactions to various tones and shades depending on how and where we were raised, our past experiences with it, and our set of preferences ? which, like children, can adjust inexplicably.

The fact is colors carry a lot of meaning ? but that meaning varies drastically across languages, cultures, and national borders. If you are alert to some of these differences, it is possible to stop embarrassing cultural mistakes when speaking about and using colors among colleagues, friends, and clients ? and this will enable you to market your product effectively in global markets.

Below, a simple guide to five colors around the globe.


In Western cultures, black is a member of death, evil, and eternity. In some Eastern cultures, however, it often carries the other meaning; in China, black is the signature color for young boys, and it is used in celebrations and joyous events.

White, conversely, 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 best colors, and its meanings for most cultures run deep:

China - Celebration, courage, loyalty, success, and luck, amongst others. Used often in ceremonies, then when joined with white, signifies joy.

Japan - The traditional color for any heroic figure.

Russia - Representative of the Communist era. For this reason, experts recommend being 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 combination with other colors for holidays, including Christmas (green) and Valentine's Day (pink).

Central Africa - Red is often a colour of life and health. But in the rest of Africa, red is a colour 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 frequently considered to become the "safest" global color, as it could represent anything from immortality and freedom (the sun) to cleanliness (in Colombia, blue is equated with soap). In Western countries, blue is often seen as the conservative, "corporate" color.

However, be mindful when utilizing blue to address highly pious audiences: large has significance in virtually every major world religion. For Hindus, it is the hue of Krishna, and lots of with the gods are depicted with blue-colored skin. For Christians, blue invokes images of Catholicism, particularly the Virgin Mary. Jewish religious texts and rabbinic sages have noted blue to become a holy color, even though the Islamic Qur'an identifies evildoers whose eyes are glazed with fear as زرق zurq, which may 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 considered a far more positive color. American retailers are leveraging the environmental movement to offer eco-friendly goods, often using green-themed packaging or ad campaigns to indicate a product's compliance with "green" standards. Not so in China and France, where research has indicated that green is not a sensible choice for packaging.


If the Dutch have everything to say about it, the World Cup is going to be flooded with lots of orange come july 1st. (Orange will be the national hue of the Netherlands and also the uniform color of the country's famous football team.)

On the other side from the world, however, orange carries a slightly more sober meaning: within Hinduism, orange carries religious significance as the colour 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 get more info that color and its particular cultural significance. Also, be mindful of color choices as they relate with your company?s campaign copy and graphics ? whether it is printed collateral, a web site, or marketing strategy. Know your target market in addition to their respective color conventions and that means you don?t inadvertently send a bad message. We recommend this useful visual representation by Information is Beautiful.

Oh one more thing, well known colors at Acclaro are blue and orange.

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