Everything was perfect. The website design was flawless, the mobile apps worked perfectly, and the international launch went smoothly. Everything went according to meticulously laid plans, and nearly every detail went over by everyone from QA to upper management. Then phone calls and emails started pouring in. Customers worldwide were upset and indignant, and some were downright angry. What happened? Everything was perfect and designed to be universally neutral —everything, that is, except the color design. Everything from the font color to the background shade had been carefully color coordinated, but a simple rule was forgotten. Know your audience. To a global market, the colors chosen speak volumes. It is imperative that colors in a website or mobile app say what they are intended to say.

A rose by any other name

Colors mean different things to different people. These groupings are not absolute, there will always be exceptions, but as a general rule, when looking at large, non-homogeneous groups, they tend to trend in certain directions. Younger consumers tend to be more drawn toward brighter colors; older consumers like more conservative, muted colors. Men tend towards cooler colors, such as green or blue, while women are more attracted to the fires of red or orange. Political groups organize around color themes, as do Universities. It is always important to know the target audience and be aware of what that audience will be expecting color-wise.

I can't see what you are saying

Red and green look good together and can invoke a festive holiday spirit. They can also make a website or app unreadable to a portion of the potential customer base. Color-blindness is a condition where eye cone cells do not function properly and make it impossible to distinguish between colors.

The two main types of colorblindness result in an inability to distinguish between green and red or blue and yellow. When these color schemes are used, it is important to ensure that critical information is not lost due to a customer's inability to read or recognize the color scheme.

Culturally speaking

Websites that can be seen around the world and mobile apps designed to be used by people of many different regions have to be designed in a way that is culturally aware and sensitive to many different interpretations. Color selection is a part of that balancing act; choosing the wrong color can have devastating PR repercussions. Think about the color white. Innocuous, ubiquitous, almost mundane in the West. It can symbolize purity in a bride's dress or be synonymous with a dry-erase board.

In China, however, it symbolizes death and mourning. It is this kind of cultural color dissonance that has to be considered when picking a color scheme. That doesn't mean that other cultures aren't aware of our uses for colors, and they understand that black text on a white background is simply easier to read than other configurations. The key is to look at how colors are used, what they represent in the product, which message that color choice attempts to convey, and to which market.

Around the prismatic globe: colors and cultural symbolism

(European & North American)
Eastern & AsianLatin American
RedIn Western culture danger, love, passion, excitement. Sacrifice, Stop, Christmas (with Green), Power.In China red is linked to dynamism, leadership, good fortune In India it stands for purity and uses for ceremonies Middle East - symbol of danger and evil.Passion and Christianity in combination with white.
OrangeIn general - fall. In Northern Ireland - Protestants. In Netherlands - national color and royalty. Associated with Halloween.In India - auspicious and sacred color In Japan and China - happiness, prosperity and good health. In the Middle East - danger, mourning.Nature, earth, sun.
YellowSunshine and light In Germany and France - jealousy and env.In Japan - courage and prosperity. Luck in Thailand.Bright yellow can be associated with death in Mexico. Wealth and religion.
Green.Luck and nature, In Ireland - the national color.In China - infidelity, In Japan - youth, eternity, vitality, and energy.In Mexico - national color (patriotic) In some countries also the color of of death.
BlueMasculine color (uses for newborn boys.) Trust, authority and conservativeness.In China blue bears a feminine identity. In India associated with strength and Gods Immortality in Iran.In Mexico this color has two different associations - mourning and trust.
PurpleIn Italy - mourning and bad fortune, In the USA and West Europe - magic, mystery, royalty.In Japan - royalty and warriors. In China - power, honor, respect, as well as joy and prosperity.In Brazil - mourning and bad fortune.
PinkFemininity color (uses for newborn girls), love, romance, tenderness.In Japan - spring, femininity, youth, and good health In Korea, associated with trust.Important color in architecture.
WhitePurity, peace, cleanliness.In Japan - peace, purity and trust, but can also mean death and mourning In India widows wear white.In Brazil - peace and purity. In Peru - good health and angels.
GreyNeutral color.In Japan - "ash color", or "mouse color." In China - humility, modest, unassuming.Neutral color.
BlackMourning, sadness, and passing.In Japan - mystery, anger, sometimes mourning color. In China - immortality, stability, and power. In India - negativity, death.Masculinity, uses for mourning too.
BrownReliability, dependability, and nurturance.In Japan - earth, strength, and durability,In some cultures the color of ​​mourning.Unappealing, lifeless, disapproving color.

South PacificWorldwide
RedSouth Africa - sacrifice and mourning.Ceremonial color, represent land and Earth.Mostly associated with love, anger, passion and danger.
OrangeLands and sands.Bright, energy, happiness, fun.Vitality, energy, excitement, good health.
YellowWealth and riches, spiritual purity, fertility.Sun, the constant renewer of life.Happiness, sun.
GreenNature.In Australia - forests, eucalyptus trees and pastures .The color of nature.
BlueFeminine color, harmony, love, peace and togethernessOn Fiji - symbol of the Pacific Ocean (water).“True blue” - very genuine, loyal.Calm, sooth and friendly.
PurpleRoyalty and wealth.One of the colors of Australian women’s movement.Mystery, magic, and wealth.
PinkLove, romantic, calming.
WhiteVictory, purity.Purity, simplicity, and cleanliness.
GreyCompromise, neutral, control, practical.
BlackDarkness, charcoal, soot, devil and beetleCeremonial color.Power, elegance, sophistication, status, formality. Evil, death, grief, mourning.
BrownEarth.Color of the land - in Australia.Neutral and natural, warmth, security, and earthiness.

When you are targeting a new market - take care of the cultural and religious nuances to avoid possible issues and get the loyalty of the audience. Visit Lingohub today to see how we can help your product to reach a global audience.


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