color wheel

Colors and Culture

Websites and apps are increasingly being used by consumers all over the world, but one design is not appropriate for all groups of people. Factors such as wording, orientation, and color need to be considered when designing an interface that will be viewed by people of different cultures.

Color is a particularly polarizing design feature. The same color can have disparate meanings for members of different cultures. In many western societies white is associated with purity or peace, but in eastern cultures it is tied to death. Green is associated with nature and wealth in the west, but has negative connotations related to infidelity in some eastern societies.

Since colors have distinct meanings in different cultures it is important to create interfaces that appeal to the target audience. It is worth doing research about the associated meanings of colors that will be used in any design. 

There are many sources of information about the meaning of color in different societies. This blog post by Carrie Cousins is a good place to start learning about the topic. Additionally, this fantastic visualization from InformationIsBeautiful demonstrates colors’ varying meanings.

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