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COLOURS AND CULTURES

V. Ryan 2004

 

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Many companies have developed a sophisticated understanding, of the importance of colours and colour schemes, in different countries. This is often linked directly, to the success or failure of marketing a product.
For example, in China, black is associated with evil, sin, disasters and bad luck. 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 textiles company, to market garments of this colour, as party outfits in China. They probably would not sell.
In China, colours are characterised by their lightness or darkness. White is regarding as a pure colour and reflects honesty. Red is associated with good luck. 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 checkered 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 it is associated which trust, honesty and strength. This is why Police uniforms tend to be dark blue.

 

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 and colour schemes, to match the preferences of different countries.

   
 
   
COLOURS AND ADVERTISING IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES
 

The selection of colours, when advertising / marketing a product in different countries, is extremely important. A colour that has a positive meaning and associations in one culture, may mean something very different to another culture. For instance, white is associated with death and mourning in many Eastern and Asian cultures, where as it has the opposite meaning in Western cultures. Another example is red, which has contrasting meanings and especially to religious groups and faiths. Some colours even have political associations and are found prominent in national flags and political parties.

All this must be carefully considered, when designing a product or when advertising / marketing across the world. A deep understanding of cultures is important in all aspects of product design.

 
 
   

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