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COLOURS AND CULTURES

V. Ryan 2004

 

Large companies understand the importance of colours and colour schemes in different countries as this is often linked directly to the success or failure of a product. For example, in China black is associated with evil, dirt, sin, disasters and bad luck. In China it is very unlikely that a suit or other garment made from black material would be bought and then worn to a wedding celebration or important party. Therefore, it would be unwise for a manufacturing company to try and sell garments of this colour and market them as party outfits in China. They probably would not sell.
In general, in China, colours are characterised by their lightness or darkness. For instance, white is regarding as a pure colour and reflects honesty. Red is associated with good luck and a child can expect to be given a red envelope full of money on his / her birthday. Elsewhere in the world red is used to represent danger. For this reason red is often used on road signs and other danger signs.

 

 

Tartan is a type of cloth which is chequered or cross-barred. A variety of colours are used to produce the patterns. Historically, tartan cloths and patterns were developed to distinguish different Scottish clans, each clan having its own pattern.
Today, tartan patterns are exported all over the world from Scotland and these types of pattern are recognised throughout the world as Scottish.
Tartan patterns are often applied to products that are associated with Scotland. They are also applied to quality, traditional products.

 

 

 

 

Throughout the world blue is used on Police uniforms and consequently it is associated which trust and honesty and perhaps strength.

 

Global trade means that companies / manufacturers carrying out business across the world must understand that colours are interpreted in different ways in different cultures. Colours acceptable in one country may be seen as unacceptable in another. When designing a product or its packaging designers often produce a variety of designs to match the preferences of different countries.

   

Questions:
1. Why does a European company trading in China need to be aware of colour associations?

   

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