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Of color and culture

Of color and cultureHey, we know that different words have different tastes but who can keep track of what different colors mean around the world?

If you use color on your website (and who doesn't?), then you need to be aware of how your audience views those colors. The cultural basis for color symbolism can be very powerful - both in a good and bad way.

Color Meanings by Culture on The International Business Edge blog is a terrific resource for everybody involved in creating multi-cultural web or print content. The color-coded summary is pulled together from five resources that are well worth a visit in their own right:

1. Vanka PhD, Surya. International Color Guide, Tektronix/Xerox.

2. Nicholson PhD, Mary. Graphic Design: Psychology of Color. “Lesson 13: Colors and Moods,” Bloomsburg University, 2001.

3. Kyrnin, Jennifer. Visual Color Symbolism Chart by Culture.

4. The Meaning of Color

5. Psychological Effects of Color, California State University Stanislaus

Pay heed to these meanings and make sure that your multilingual brochure or international website doesn't fail.

[Tip of the hat to Marian Dougan]

Localizing a web site? Get more details about ForeignExchange's expertise in translating pharmaceutical and medical device web sites.


  1. Licia said...
    Here is another interesting visualization: Colours in cultures
    amaxson said...
    @Licia: Thanks! Another interesting visual!

    Another thing to consider when dealing with color internationally is that many cultures associate things with certain colors far more than most Americans. While America might have a standard color, say white for a wedding dress, if the bride shows up wearing a red dress, no one thinks she's gone crazy, or is disrespectful (in fact, I've been to two American weddings where the bride wore red). This is not the case in all countries/regions. Color in many cultures has a much stronger connotation for certain things than many may even realize.
    Andres Heuberger said...
    UPDATE: Duct Tape Marketing's article Color As Branding Element points out some other good resources for color and branding/marketing.

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