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What Colors Mean in Different Cultures


The Power of Color by Belief and Locale

Colors can hold various meanings for various people. But what are those specific colors and what do some of them mean to different types of people? And who really cares about the meanings of colors in other cultures? In this article we will explore both why this concept is important, as well as what certain cultures and religions associate with various colors. Hopefully, this can help you when it comes to advertising, artwork, and much more.

What to Remember in Advertising and More

Since color is such an effective nonverbal symbol in so many religions and cultures, it is important to remember this in marketing, advertising, promotions, interior design, branding, and much more. Always remember that what you, your culture, or your religion associate with a particular color may not apply to others. If you keep this in the forefront of your mind before starting on a design, you will be much more successful and avoid color faux pas, especially if you are aiming for a particular target audience by faith or by a certain global region.

Colors by Faith

The meaning of colors by faith can vary widely. For example, although both Jews and Christians see the spectrum of wide colors as signifying the promise that God made after the flood, Buddhists associate it with the concept of Dharma. Almost all religions, especially Islam, associate the color blue with only good concepts. Both Judaism and Christianity associate yellow with terms representing sin, while Buddhists see it as a color that represents good concepts. Red also has mixed meanings among religions, and even within some religions. For example, it can mean both temptation and purification within just Christianity, even though it is often used on Muslim flags.

Colors by Region of the World

Regions of the world can have a great effect on how colors are interpreted by those viewing them. For example, let’s take the color associated in the west with mourning, black. In very far eastern cultures, as well as Indian cultures, brown is the color of mourning. Black in those cultures can mean either stability or negativity, respectively. In the Middle East, blue is associated with loss, along with black. Green, as another example, is almost always associated with hope, fertility, and harvest universally, except for in the west, where people view it as a symbol for wealth or greed.

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