It goes without saying that colour is a major aspect of design and plays a huge role in how you choose to market your company, products, and services.
But what if we told you that colours have different meanings around the world? Read on for more information on how to use colour to strengthen your message, as well as tips on adapting your colour scheme for global audiences.
THE POWER OF COLOUR
The psychology of colour is a hot topic among designers, marketers, and branding experts.
Google the topic and you’ll find countless articles on theories about the different emotive responses colours can invoke in a person and how to use this information to inform your branding and advertising decisions.
For example, some experts claim that orange and yellow are warm colours that evoke feelings of optimism and clarity, while shades of blue are representative of strength and dependability.
How accurate these claims are is highly debated among marketers and branding experts; some heavily support the argument that colour has a powerful sway over human emotion and behaviour.
Others, however, will argue that colour psychology is based on personal preferences and experience and is therefore about as accurate as a palm reading.
Whichever side of the fence you’re on, it’s hard to deny that colour is an extremely powerful aspect of branding and advertising.
Apart from the debate surrounding the emotions colours can evoke, we know for a fact that colour is one of the biggest guns in our design arsenal.
It’s clear that strategically using colours can help direct a customer’s attention to certain parts of a web page or product packaging, for example.
It’s also clear that plain colours or white space can help strengthen the message of a quote or piece of copy.
So, despite the fact that there’s a lot of debate surrounding what colours make us feel, we know that they make us feel something.
Let’s imagine you’re designing a website to sell children’s toys, for example. Chances are you’ll think of a big, colourful design with plenty of images and an easy-to-use layout. If you look at the Toys”R”Us website, you’ll find that’s exactly what the company’s gone for.
Now imagine you’re designing a website for a luxury car. Would you use the same colour scheme and design as you did for the toy website? Of course not. Just look at the Mercedes Benz website and compare.
We know that colours have a big influence over the way we see and interpret a product, service, or brand. Hence, it’s undeniable that colour can be an extremely powerful tool for strengthening your advertising message.
TRANSLATING COLOUR AROUND THE WORLD
So, we know that colours are an important aspect of how you market your brand.
But believe it or not, colours don’t exactly have the same “meanings” in all parts of the world.
For consumers in the US and Western Europe, for example, red might be described as evoking emotions of passion, love, and maybe even danger or caution.
In some Asian cultures, however, red is sometimes associated with luck, happiness, and auspiciousness. In other parts of the world, the same colour can evoke feelings of sacrifice and possibly even mourning.
White, on the other hand, can be described as representing purity, innocence, and elegance in Western cultures. In Eastern cultures, however, white is sometimes coined as representing misfortune, illness, or even death.
CONSIDERING COLOUR WHEN GOING GLOBAL
Again, the above interpretations are subjective and individuals can obviously react differently to colours based on their experiences and preferences.
However, it is important to realize that colour, despite being ambiguous in some ways, is an extremely powerful aspect of design. The way we interpret it, though, depends alot on our culture.
This is a really important consideration for any business looking to expand its reach into foreign markets.
If you plan to expand out of your local market and try to build up an international presence, remember to pay close attention to how you use colour to portray your brands, products, and services, and how this may affect your global success.
To learn more about the complex process of adapting your business to take on the global stage, contact us today.
Yuqo is made up of a global team of authors and designers that specialize in helping businesses like yours expand their reach overseas.