Cultural Color Associations

It is interesting how a society makes psychological associations with colors based on appearances or cultural habits. Some of these associations shared in the United States include “red” being associated with danger and “green” being associated with money. While green is the color of U.S. currency, does “green” actually mean money?

For green to mean money, the meaning would have to be “universal” and therefore true for all people everywhere. But, is green the color of money all over the world? No. Then it cannot mean money. Or else, one hundred years ago, in the United States, the color gold would have meant money.

The cultural associations made with certain colors are not universal. An awareness of these associations is helpful when presenting in different countries, especially if a certain color denotes a very definite association. Nevertheless, the emotional effect of the color itself will be the same across cultural boundaries.

We all live under the same light of the sun. Blue looks the same in Borneo as it does in Bolivia. The effect of color on our emotions is derived from nature, not heritage.

All people, regardless of culture, share a universal range of emotions, such as happiness, sadness, excitement, anxiety, desire, passion, and so forth. The ability to tap into these emotions using correct color choices can increase the effectiveness of the presentation, regardless of where people reside.

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