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When designing a website one essential factor is knowing your audience, using the right elements and colors will help in the success of your website. What would work for people in Europe or America (western cultures) perhaps won’t be appealing to people living in Japan or any of the Asian culture countries. Deciphering the way people respond to color is not an exact science, many factors are involved, from hundreds of accumulated cultures of your country or region, religion, or personal experience.
The right website color scheme can give your brand and design energy and life. Colors help to drive your message home and make your brand more memorable. The psychology of colors plays an important role if you want your brand to succeed, and your color scheme should align with the mood and themes of your business.
As a person that was born in western culture but currently working in web/app design in Vietnam, I had to learn all the new meanings and psychology of colors. Choosing the right combination of colors will affect if the user feels engage or not with the message that you are trying to communicate. Below you will find some of the meanings of the general color wheel.
Corresponding with fire is the color of happiness and is meant to bring good luck, prosperity, celebration, joy, and long life to the people. Red is found everywhere during the Lunar New Year and other holidays and family gatherings. A red envelope is a monetary gift that is given in Asian society during holidays or special occasions. Red is strictly forbidden at funerals as it is a traditionally symbolic color of happiness.
Orange color indicates courage, happiness, love, and good health. In Indian cultures, the orange, especially saffron (a yellowish-orange that matches the color of the plant) it’s symbolic of fire and is considered to be lucky and sacred. Is also associated with change, adaptability, spontaneity, and concentration.
This color is associated with the members of the royal family or ruling class that wear this hue and considering this color as sacred and imperial. In Japan, that definition is expanded to include bravery, wealth, and refinement (which is expected of rulers). In Indian culture, this color is used and is the color of commerce in India. This color is also associated with nourishing, reliability, warmth, good faith, and empathy.
This color is associated with nature, ecology, fertility, healing, and benevolence in Asian cultures. It also indicates new and eternal life, health, harmony, patience, and prosperity. However, even if is related to all the previous values is also has negative connotations. In Chinese culture wearing a green-colored hat for men is taboo because it suggests the man’s wife is cheating on him.
Blue is associated with safety and protection, symbolic of heaven, spirituality, and immortality. In Indian culture, blue is the color of Krishna – a central figure in Hinduism and one of the most popular Hindu gods. Many sports teams in India use color as a symbol of strength. This is also linked to relaxation, healing, trust, exploration, and calmness. Unlike western culture where the color blue is associated with masculinity, in China, it is considered a feminine color.
Purple across the globe is associated with royalty, wealth, power, exclusivity, and fame. The exception in Asian cultures will be with Thailand and Indian where people wear purple color cloth in funeral when mourning the death of a loved one. This color is also associated with spiritual awareness, abundance and red-purple bring luck.
Pink is widely accepted worldwide as the color of love, marriage, and femininity. However, in Japan, is more associated with men than women, although it’s worn by both genders. In Korea, pink is the color that is more closely associated with trust. For many years, pink was an unrecognized color in China, until it emerged into the culture due to the increasing Western influences.
Black color is associated with conserving, stability, knowledge, power, will, emotional protection, and immortality. In China is connected to masculinity and is the color for young boys (who will continue the family/ancestor lineage). It also represents wealth, health, and prosperity. In Thailand and Tibet, the black color is most closely associated with evil. In Vietnam like most of the western countries, black represents death and is used during times of mourning.
White is a symbol of the unknown, confidence, intuition, organization, ancestral spirits, purity, and death. Therefore, in several Asian cultures, the white color is used during the time of mourning, death, and during ghost festivals. This color is also associated with sterility, unhappiness, and misfortune.