Independent Activity 2: Culture & Color

If you use color on your Web site, then you should be aware of how your audience views those colors. This is especially important if you are designing a site that is intended for an audience of a different culture than your own (or a global audience). The cultural basis for color symbolism can be very powerful, and if you don't understand what you're saying with your colors, you can make big mistakes.

Visit the following website to help you answer the following questions –

If you were to design a Wedding site intended for an Asian audience and you used a lot of white color, why might you be disturbing the people you're trying to reach?

In Asian countries the colour white is used to symbolize funerals & death, not a good image for a wedding.

Do you think that any eastern brides (eg. from China) wear white? Why do you think this is so?

Those brides who follow tradition in eastern countries such as China would be very unlikely to wear white for their wedding. Though with a growing number of Chinese adopting Christianity and western values there would be bound to be some exceptions

Which colors would you use for a website with information on Saint Patrick's Day?

Green is the colour used to symbolise St Patrick’s Day


The use of orange with black is used to symbolise Halloween

Read to answer the following question – What factors, other than culture, might influence a persons color preferences?

Age Differences

Young children tend to prefer brighter, more solid colors, while adults tend to prefer more subdued colors. If you're writing to an audience of children and you're using muted pastels and shades of grey, their parents might like it, but the kids will be long gone before the page finishes loading.

Class Differences

Marketing research in the United States has shown that working class people tend to prefer colors that you can name: like blue, red, green, etc. While more highly educated classes tend to prefer colors that are more obscure: like taupe, azure, mauve, etc. This is why Walmart does their store logo in bright red.
Gender Differences

In many cultures, men tend to prefer cooler colors (blues and greens) while women tend to prefer warmer colors (reds and oranges). Western men are also more likely to be color blind and so unable to see some of the differences in color on Web pages.

Colors, like everything else in design, go through ins and outs in popularity. Black Web pages were all the rage a few years ago, and now you hardly see it at all (but it will surely come back into style as I write this). Colors also tend towards seasonality, in other words, the designs reflect the season they were built in: winter blacks, whites, and grays; spring greens and bright colors; summer yellows; fall browns and gold’s.