Mar 23, 2017

Choose the right colors for your website


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 culture of your country or region, religion or personal experience.

As a person that was born in a 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 meaning 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 envelopeis a monetary gift which is given in Asian society during holiday or special occasions. Red is strictly forbidden at funerals as it is a traditionally symbolic color of happiness.
web design color palette - red


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.

web design color palette - orange


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 associate with nourishing, reliability, warmth, good faith and empathy.
web design color palette - yellow


This color is associated with nature, ecology, fertility, healing and benevolence in Asian cultures. Is also indicates new and eternal life, health, harmony, patience and prosperity. However, even if is related with all the previous values is also have 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.
web design color palette - green


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 on India use the color as a symbol of strength. This is also linked to relaxation, healing, trust, exploration and calmness. Unlike western culture where color blue is associated with masculinity, in Chine is consider a feminine color.
web design color palette - blue


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 wears 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 brings luck.

web design color palette - purple


Pink is widely accepted worldwide as the color of love, marriage and femininity. However, in Japan, is more associated to men than women, although it’s worn by both genders. In Korea, pink is the color 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.
web design color palette - pink


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, heath and prosperity. In Thailand and Tibet, black color is most closely associated with evil. In Vietnam like most of western countries, black represents death and is used during time 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.
web design color palette - monochrome (black & white) [cta3 variant="1"] Infographic - choosing the right colors - website design in Asia

About the author


Ivan Lamothe

Ivan Lamothe is a website and graphic designer, coming from a film making and visual arts background from the Fine Arts Academy “San Alejandro”, takes great pride in the work he delivers and always strives to create great experiences and real connections through the filter of design. As NILEAD´s Art Director and Project Manager Ivan is involved in the entire process of creating a website, from the first meeting with the customers and incubating the initial concepts to the entire design process, development and launch.

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