Imagine that one day you open your eyes in the morning and everything is blank. No scenery, the color of your skin, your study table, your water bottle, everything is colorless. How was that? You might be thinking, ‘was it even an imagination!”? Well, that’s what it feels like if the world is without colors. If we cannot imagine anything without color, then how can we imagine our functions, festivals, events like marriages, etc. without color? Sounds funny right!? When we are talking about culture and colors, then colors are more of a symbol not only in our culture, but also from the dawn of our civilizations. So, how are colors so much immersed in our imaginations related to our specific cultures?
Let’s explore this to know more about our ways to grab hold our imagination and thinking when it comes to our cultures and color at present!
Impact of colors from the place you belong to!
Imagine you are attending an Indian event. What colors do you notice? You are probably thinking about colors like red and yellow. However, if you imagine a western wedding (such as the ones we can often see on western shows such as Friends) what colors come to your mind? Are white and black prominent?
If so you can already see how colors can evoke different emotions in us depending on where we were brought up! Have you ever visited another country and seen people react in a different manner while considering the same object? If so, there is a chance that the different colors are affecting your feelings!
Cultural barriers between us most certainly have a rather significant impact on the way we feel as well as the behavior we display in regard to different colors.
Let us understand this concept by looking at the following example.
- Black is associated with mourning in many western cultures. People choose to wear black to funerals to show that they are grieving the death of a loved one.
- However, when we look at India, we can see that in Hinduism, white is used to signify grief and loss, praying the soul’s further journey is peaceful.
- On the contrary, in western cultures, white is seen as a symbol of happiness and purity when brides wear white on their wedding days as a symbol of their happiness.
You might now be wondering about different colors and how their impact varies on the emotions displayed around the world! Let us continue by elaborating on more colors to give you a more colorful experience!
- Purple, in the past, has been known to be associated with royalty and nobility. Thus, people from western cultures tend to link purple with aspects of fame, wealth and power.
- However purple, which has been equated with power in one culture, is also associated with grief in Latin American as well as a few Asian cultures.
- A clear example of this is visible in the case of Euro Disney. The company had experienced some success when they used purple in marketing in the United States and thus assumed that they would be able to do the same in Europe. However, the company ended up suffering losses. This happened because even in Catholic Europe, purple is associated with death.
- Blue is a color that makes people feel calm. It is known to generate feelings of trust in people, which is probably why brands like facebook have used the color in their logos.
- In the western culture, blue is also often associated with masculine traits. For example, imagine a gender reveal ceremony. When it's a boy, blue colors are released. However, in certain Asian cultures such as China, blue is seen as a feminine color.
- Similarly, pink can also be seen as a masculine color in a few places in India (think about the pink clothes that men wear on traditional occasions).
- In many Asian cultures, blue stands for a symbol of divinity and faith (Lord Krishna as well as Lord Vishnu’s skin color is blue).
Red is a strong color. As we have already seen, the color red mostly symbolizes love, danger and passion. For example, when we want to tell someone that we love them, we might send them red heart emojis.
However, the color can represent more than just love, especially in India.
- Red is one of the main colors that represents marriage in Hinduism. Imagine an Indian bride ready to get married. She is likely wearing a red lehenga, with a few accessories painted in red as well. Married women also wear a sindur as a sign of their marriage.
- But in certain countries like Africa red is also considered to be a color that symbolizes death and aggression.
- In countries like Iran and Egypt, red is thought of as a color of good fortune.
Black has been associated with power and mystery. Sporting black during important events can help you fit in as well as give you a sense of sophistication. However, black is also associated with death (as we have already seen).
However, the color has been associated with evil as well.
- In the Muslim community, Black symbolizes evil, to the point that hell is referred to as ‘black hell’. Black here can also signify punishment for the sins people have committed.
- On the other hand, in African culture, black is known to represent a sense of maturity as well as age.
But Why Should We Know About The Effect Culture Has On Color Psychology?
Have you ever had a pen pal from a different country? Or have you ever connected with someone who doesn’t live in your state via online modes?
Due to advancing technology we do not even have to leave the comfort of our houses to meet people from various places! Connecting with people via online modes has become an integral part of our lives, affecting our personal as well as professional lives. How is color psychology relevant in this aspect?
Understanding the impact of color psychology will help us be more empathetic towards people from other cultures. While one color can signify happiness or marriage in one part of the globe, it can also symbolize death (remember red?). In another part of the globe. Not understanding color psychology can lead to many miscommunications between people.
Understanding this concept can help us formulate deeper relationships with people from various corners of the world. We can even use it as an interesting topic of conversation by asking them what different colors symbolize in their cultures!
Understanding culture’s impact on color psychology can also help us in marketing our products internationally! Remember the example of Euro Disney? The main mistake on their part was not considering the cultural background and its significance on colors before launching the park. By understanding this concept, we can help local companies rise to international standards!
We at EkakiVedam will be back with more colorful topics! Until then, stay tuned.