It?s a Colorful Environment: The Meaning of Shade Across Borders

As children, we are often asked ?what?s your preferred color?? We belief that our color choice says a whole lot about who we have been, and that the questioner will immediately understand its meaning.

But colors, like words, usually do not carry universal meaning. We all have different reactions to several tones and shades depending on how and where i was raised, our past experiences from it, and our list of preferences ? which, like children, can change inexplicably.

The truth is colors carry a good deal of meaning ? but that meaning varies drastically across languages, cultures, and national borders. If you are aware of a few of these differences, it will be possible to avoid embarrassing cultural mistakes when talking about and utilizing colors among colleagues, friends, and clients ? and it will enable you to advertise your product effectively in global markets.

Below, a simple guide to colors around the world.


In Western cultures, black is assigned to death, evil, and eternity. In some Eastern cultures, however, issues carries the contrary meaning; in China, black could be the signature color for young boys, and it is utilized in celebrations and joyous events.

White, alternatively, 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 amongst the most effective colors, and it is meanings generally in most cultures run deep:

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

Japan - The traditional color to get a heroic figure.

Russia - Representative of the Communist era. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to become extremely careful when working with 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 employed in combination with other colors for holidays, such as Christmas (green) and Valentine's Day (pink).

Central Africa - Red is a color of life and health. But in other parts of Africa, red is a 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 get 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 known as the conservative, "corporate" color.

However, be mindful when working with blue to deal with highly pious audiences: the colour has significance in nearly every major world religion. For Hindus, it is the color 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, while the Islamic Qur'an refers to evildoers whose eyes are glazed with fear as زرق zurq, which could 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 regarded as a far more positive color. American retailers are leveraging the environmental movement to market 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 numerous studies have indicated that green is not a good option for packaging.


If the Dutch have anything to say about it, the World Cup will be flooded with lots of orange this summer. (Orange may be website the national color of the Netherlands and also the uniform color 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 discusses your color preference to foreign friends or colleagues, you might want to find out more about that color as well as cultural significance. Also, be mindful of color choices because they relate to your small business?s campaign copy and graphics ? whether it is printed collateral, a website, or marketing campaign. Know your marketplace along with their respective color conventions which means you don?t inadvertently send an unacceptable 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.

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