What different colors mean in different countriesMay 18, 2009
Color — and how its interpretation varies from culture to culture — is one of the elements I discuss in my presentation on reviewing user interfaces.
Xerox have an International Color Guide page on their website that lists several countries. Clicking on each country’s name shows how that country views certain colors. For example, white in Colombia is a favorable color, whereas in New Zealand it can mean surrender; in India white means chastity and purity; in China — mourning; and in the US, white means purity, holiness, and innocence, among others.
While the list of countries is not extensive, this section of the Xerox website at least highlights how the symbolism of color varies across the world. So if you are developing applications or designing products for people in other parts of the world, be aware that the colors you use may have specific meanings that are quite different from the meanings you’re familiar with.
- Color meanings: http://www.color-wheel-pro.com/color-meaning.html (I suspect these are only western meanings)
- Colors in various cultures: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/colours-in-cultures/
[Link last checked January 2010]