It?s a Colourful Environment: The Meaning of Colour Throughout Borders

As children, were often asked ?what?s your selected color?? We thought that our color choice says a great deal about who we have been, and that the questioner will immediately understand its meaning.

But colors, like words, tend not to carry universal meaning. We all have different reactions to numerous tones and shades depending on how and where i was raised, our past experiences by it, and our set of preferences ? which, like children, can transform inexplicably.

The simple truth is colors carry a lot 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 in order to avoid embarrassing cultural mistakes when discussing and utilizing colors among colleagues, friends, and clients ? and it will help you to promote your product effectively in global markets.

Below, a simple guide to 5 colors worldwide.


In Western cultures, black is a member of death, evil, and eternity. In some Eastern cultures, however, would seem impossible to carries the alternative meaning; in China, black will be the signature color for young children, and is found 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 strongest colors, and its particular meanings for most cultures run deep:

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

Japan - The traditional color for any heroic figure.

Russia - Representative with the Communist era. For this reason, experts recommend being extremely careful when utilizing this in Eastern European countries.

India - Purity, so wedding costumes in many cases are red. Also large for married women.

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

Central Africa - Red can be a colour of life and health. But in the rest of Africa, red is often a hue of mourning and death. To honor this, the Red Cross changed its colors to green and white in South Africa and also other areas of the continent.


Blue is usually considered being the "safest" global color, as it could represent anything from immortality and freedom (heaven) to cleanliness (in Colombia, blue is equated with soap). In Western countries, blue is frequently considered the conservative, "corporate" color.

However, be careful when using blue to address highly pious audiences: large has significance in nearly all major world religion. For Hindus, it will be the hue of Krishna, and many 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 be a holy color, while the Islamic Qur'an refers to 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 known as a more positive color. American retailers are leveraging the environmental movement to market 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 reports have indicated that green is not a option for packaging.


If the Dutch have everything to say regarding it, the World Cup will probably be flooded with plenty of orange come early july. (Orange may be the national color of the Netherlands and the uniform color of the country's famous football team.)

On lack of in the world, however, orange features 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 learn more about that color and it is cultural significance. Also, be aware of color choices as they connect with your company?s campaign copy and graphics ? whether printed collateral, an online here site, or marketing campaign. Know your target audience as well as 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, our favorite colors at Acclaro are blue and orange.

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