It?s a Colourful Environment: The Indicating of Color Throughout Borders

As children, we're often asked ?what?s your chosen color?? We thought that our color choice says a good deal about who we are, knowning that the questioner will immediately understand its meaning.

But colors, like words, do not carry universal meaning. We all have different reactions to various tones and shades depending on how and where we had been raised, our past experiences by it, and our list of preferences ? which, like children, can adjust inexplicably.

The fact is colors carry a great deal of meaning ? but that meaning varies drastically across languages, cultures, and national borders. If you are aware of some of these differences, you'll be able to prevent embarrassing cultural mistakes when referring to and ultizing colors among colleagues, friends, and clients ? and this will assist you to promote your product effectively in global markets.

Below, a simple guide to 5 colors worldwide.


In Western cultures, black is associated with death, evil, and eternity. In some Eastern cultures, however, it often carries the alternative meaning; in China, black may be the signature color for young boys, and is found in celebrations and joyous events.

White, alternatively, symbolizes age, death, and misfortune in China and in many Hindu cultures. Across both East and West, however, white typically represents purity, holiness, and peace.


Red is among the strongest colors, and its particular meanings for most cultures run deep:

China - Celebration, courage, loyalty, success, and luck, and the like. Used often in ceremonies, and when along with white, signifies joy.

Japan - The traditional color for a heroic figure.

Russia - Representative of the Communist era. For this reason, it is suggested to be extremely careful when you use this in Eastern European countries.

India - Purity, so wedding costumes will often be red. Also along with for married women.

United States - Danger (think "red light!") and utilized in conjunction with other colors for holidays, for example Christmas (green) and Valentine's Day (pink).

Central Africa - Red is really a color of life and health. But in the rest of Africa, red is often a hue of mourning website 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 frequently considered to be the "safest" global color, as it can certainly represent anything from immortality and freedom (the sky) to cleanliness (in Colombia, blue is equated with soap). In Western countries, blue is frequently known as the conservative, "corporate" color.

However, be mindful when utilizing blue to deal with highly pious audiences: the colour has significance in nearly every major world religion. For Hindus, it may be the hue of Krishna, and a lot of 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 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 recognized as 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 good choice for packaging.


If the Dutch have almost anything to say about it, the World Cup will likely be flooded with plenty of orange come july 1st. (Orange could be the national colour of the Netherlands as well as the uniform color of the country's famous football team.)

On the other side in the world, however, orange features a slightly 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 want to find out more on that color as well as cultural significance. Also, be conscious of color choices as they relate to your organization?s campaign copy and graphics ? whether printed collateral, a website, or advertising. Know your target audience and 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 and by the way, our absolute favorite colors at Acclaro are blue and orange.

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