Considering colors for your multilingual website

Written by Kartika Angkawijaya, Assistant Team Lead, Information Technology at Verztec Consulting Pte Ltd

When it comes to preparing for a multilingual website, one of the most important aspects to consider would be color; color is seen as a universal language that communicates feelings and beyond that it also represents different meanings in different cultures. Thus it is essential to understand the meaning of colors in their localized context.

In this article we will revisit the three primary colors: Red, Green and Blue, most of you are probably familiar with these colors, but you may be surprised by what they can mean.

Red
In Europe, it represents danger i.e traffic signs, love (hearts) and excitement (for sale signs).

In China, red is the traditional bridal color, it is also associated with other positive traits such as Good Luck, Celebration, Happiness, Joy, Vitality and Long life.

In places like Japan it represents life.

From a design perspective, red can be a powerful accent color, but it can have an overwhelming effect if it’s used too much in designs, especially in its purest form.

It’s a great color to use when portraying power or passion in a design. Red can also be a very versatile color, with brighter versions being more energetic and darker shades being more powerful and elegant.

Green
In the Chinese culture, it represents Exorcism and the term “Wearing a green hat” is used when a man’s wife is cheating on him.

It represents Hope in the Islamic culture – the cloak of the prophet was thought to be green and virtue – only those of perfect faith can wear green.

Green is a symbolic color for countries such as Ireland, and in other western cultures some associations are Spring, New birth, Go, Safety, Environmental Awareness, Saint Patrick’s Day. It also a representation of Money in the USA;

In design, green can have a balancing and harmonizing effect. It’s appropriate for designs related to wealth, stability, renewal and nature.

Brighter greens are more energizing and vibrant, while olive greens are more representative of the natural world. Dark greens are the most stable and representative of affluence.

Overall, green gives a modest feel of earth, beginnings and growth. Green is great choice to be used in design that is related with nature, processes in development or money. Similarly, darker tones represent reliability and lighter tone can be used to portray a feeling of energy.

Blue
In the European culture, Blue represents a soothing feeling, “something blue” and also bridal traditions.

For the Native Americans, it spells trouble as blue is a color associated with defeat.

In Middle Eastern cultures, it represents protection and also mourning in Iran.

Blue is also considered a holy color for many beliefs,

  • Judaism – represent holiness
  • Christianity – represent the color of Christ
  • Catholicism – the color of Mary’s robe
  • Hinduism – the color of Krishna
  • China – represents Immortality

Of the members of the primary colors alongside Red, Blue has two different meanings. One is associated with negative emotions like dullness or sadness. While the other one represents more positive traits like strength, reliability, calmness or responsibility.

From a design perspective, lighter blue tones can be refreshing and friendly, while darker blues are often used as corporate colors, symbolizing reliability.

Therefore, different shades of blue convey different meanings or provide a new perspective for the readers.

Source [Crystal-cureSibagraphics and Smashing Magazine]

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