One of the goals of every website design is that it be functional and intuitive, helping users move through the website without needing explicit directions for every function. Color influences so much, ranging from how people feel when they look at a web design to how they interpret what to do and where. It is a psychological tool that allows web design services to make a site as useful as it needs to be, using color for emphasis, importance, and even to create trust.
Generally speaking, cool colors are calming and promote a relaxed mood; brighter, warmer colors suggest urgency or importance in the western part of the world. In the East and Middle East, some of the same colors elicit a very different response. These different meanings can affect how well a website design functions for each user.
The Meaning of Color Differs Across Cultures
Because cultures are widely different in the west and east, it is essential that web design services consider the meaning of colors to each culture to ensure proper site function and user-friendliness. Although some colors have a similar meaning in many cultures, others can be nearly opposite in the message they portray:
- Warm and Hot Colors - Warm and hot colors like yellow, orange and red typically indicate importance or danger in the west and are commonly used in web design to attract attention. Yet the meaning of these colors differs greatly in some other countries. In China, red indicates luck and wealth, while yellow is associated with pornography. Pink is a masculine color in Japan and yellow indicates wealth and prosperity. In South Africa, red symbolizes violence and mourning, while yellow indicates royalty. Even some western countries like Germany and France interpret colors differently, with yellow suggesting jealousy and infidelity. These meanings are very different than how these colors are usually interpreted by most western cultures.
- Cool and Cold Colors - Cool colors have a few conflicting meanings as well. A masculine color in the west, blue is calming or even suggests melancholy, yet also evokes feelings of trust. Green is associated with wealth, good luck, and sometimes greed or jealousy. In China, blue is a feminine color, while it suggests spirituality in the Middle East. Asian cultures associate green with fertility, health, and eternal life. Interestingly, the color purple which is a mixture of both warm (red) and cool (blue) colors, suggests royalty, wealth, and power in most cultures.
Although the information provided above gives only a basic idea of the many cultural differences in color interpretation, the message of how these differing meanings can affect web design should be clear. Web design services must consider color choice both for western audiences as well as other cultural viewers. Colors used in website design must first determine the targeted audience and then decide which colors effectively promote the desired message!