How Culture Affects the Meaning of Color

The same col­ors can tele­graph dif­fer­ent mes­sages depend­ing on the back­ground or cul­ture of your viewer. 

How Culture Affects the Meaning of Color Title Graphic

Aware­ness of how cul­ture affects the mean­ing of col­or when cre­at­ing cam­paigns and branding/rebranding will give you an edge.  This is the third in our series on Col­or Psy­chol­o­gy, cre­at­ed to help you strate­gi­cal­ly choose and use col­or based on its three often unrec­og­nized superpowers!

How Culture Affects the meaning of color

What is Culture?

Cul­ture is defined by the beliefs, val­ues, arts, and cus­toms of a peo­ple or coun­try.  It’s what makes a nation, region, social group or even a com­pa­ny unique. Because the inter­net now con­nects us all to far flung places and peo­ple very dif­fer­ent from our­selves, mar­keters have to take into account that what they put out there has the poten­tial to be seen by a world­wide audi­ence. And that is a mixed blessing.

Some say glob­al con­nec­tion has begun to blur our dif­fer­ences. But while it may affect cul­tur­al periph­ery (like fash­ion or slang use), her­itage, reli­gious mean­ings, tra­di­tions and the think­ing that comes from them go back cen­turies. Don’t under­es­ti­mate them! They can be deeply ingrained and are behind people’s per­cep­tions and inter­pre­ta­tions of color.

Culture Affects the Meaning of Color 

While it’s fan­tas­tic to be able to cast such a wide net when mar­ket­ing, it’s wise to explore those under­ly­ing mes­sages that may be com­mu­ni­cat­ed by the col­ors you choose. How much it affects your tar­get audi­ence depends on what and where you are marketing. 

So whether you reach out to inter­na­tion­al audi­ences, a spe­cif­ic coun­try or a cul­tur­al group with­in your own area, under­stand­ing what those col­ors may cul­tur­al­ly sym­bol­ize to them can make the vital dif­fer­ence in reap­ing the response you are work­ing toward!

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Research Your Market’s Culture

It is clear it’s worth doing your research on how cul­ture affects the mean­ing of col­or in your tar­get mar­ket.  How will col­or help to reach them, and bet­ter, inspire suc­cess­ful calls to action? 

Since cul­tur­al con­text is a more com­plex aspect of col­or use, con­sult­ing with a col­or expert can make the all dif­fer­ence in your mar­ket­ing suc­cess. Here’s what we suggest:

  1. Check out our LinkedIn Learn­ing course on Col­or and Cul­tur­al Con­nec­tions
  2.  If you don’t have the time to ful­ly research cul­tur­al influ­ences, or want to take a deep­er dive Nicte Cre­ative Design can help! CONTACT US  now to talk about how our strat­e­gy ses­sions work for you. 

We hope read­ing our series over the last three months brings home just how impor­tant strate­gic col­or use is to your mar­ket­ing effort. Along with your com­pa­ny val­ues, hon­ing your col­or choic­es and use based on the feel­ings and mean­ings they can evoke lays the foun­da­tion for every­thing you com­mu­ni­cate… and that deter­mines how effec­tive­ly you impacts your customer!

Ben­e­fit from the entire 3 part series on Col­or Psy­chol­o­gy by read­ing our first two posts from Jan­u­ary and Feb­ru­ary.

About the Author

Nicte Cuevas, Principal of Nicte Creative Design, empowers mission-driven businesses through strategic design & branding. Nicte has applied this when working with Adobe Spark and Twitter Business, LinkedIn Learning, Dogs on Deployment and Purina, Girl Scouts, The Houston Zoo and The Contemporary Arts Museum. Her excellence in communication design & marketing has been recognized by multiple national / international awards, including a coveted feature in Graphic Design USA's People to Watch.

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