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Localizing Colors for Different Cultures

October 28 , 2021

Localizing Colors for Different Cultures

by Target Language Translation Services

- October 28 2021

Localizing Colors for Different Cultures

This is some pretty mind-blowing information: the colors people see are not universal. Not everyone sees all of the colors of the rainbow – some may see just three. Whether you’re creating a marketing campaign, a website, educational materials, or even writing a blog, your color choices can strongly influence the overall meaning of your message. Entire fields of study are dedicated to the concept of color psychology and the meanings ascribed to various colors all over the world.

Where is color applied?

Color adds an extra level to any design or message – and when it comes to business, presenting an aesthetically pleasing product or advertisement can affect how you attract new clients. This day in age it’s extremely critical to consider as more and more people have become visual clients.

Color is a huge factor in attracting the attention of buyers, not only because of their aesthetic appeal, but because of the significance of color meanings for various groups of people and cultures.

Most businesses will take the time to carefully choose those which best represent the values of their company or mission, and best appeal to their market.

What is localization?

Localization is a process that takes into account the subtle differences between cultures when translating a variety of materials. This can include different time and currency formats, the idioms and actual language used by your target audiences, and of course colors.

It is vital to have a localization marketing strategy when translating texts – especially those used for business, eCommerce, or advertising – in order to appeal in a natural manner to your target audience.

Not everything can be translated over from one culture to another, and localization helps adapt these things while keeping your main message consistent.

Localization and translation services companies are adept at recognizing these subtle differences, and adapting content to better fit the target markets.

Why is it important to localize colors for different cultures?

If you want to catch your client’s eye, you will rely on an attractive design in most cases. When it refers to design, colors are essential to make your product look more aesthetically pleasing.

Indeed, studies have indicated that a product’s color has a significant impact on the clients. When clients see a product for the first time, they need less than 90% seconds to make a judgement.

In addition, color is the first feature of your brand’s logo that a client will notice. Even more important is that colors can increase customers’ positive response to a brand by up to 80%.

What’s more, colors are an excellent tool for building a brand since they can add extra meaning to your product.

Different cultures group individual has different understanding of colors. Select the wrong color however, and you could go from what you may have considered to be a modern aesthetic, to one that evokes unpleasant connections or emotions. Visual associations are powerful after all.

When forming any localization strategy, you need to research the color meanings behind those you select to represent your business or product. If they tend to be reserved for particular situations, or if they are associated with emotions or scenarios you don’t want attached to your brand, think about adapting them to something more appropriate.

Cultural meanings of colors

Colors have different meanings in different cultures. The same color might have contrasting associations in other locales. Thus, when building your product or your brand, you have to do proper research. Here we outline some colors commonly used:


Western Cultures: a feeling of melancholy, trust, security, authority, and masculinity.

Middle East: safety and protection, symbolic of heaven, spirituality, and immortality.

Far Eastern Cultures: health and prosperity.

Catholicism: hope and good health, symbolic of the Virgin Mary and wealth.

Judaism: holiness and divinity.

Hinduism: holiness, divinity, love and joy.


India: fear and fire, wealth and power, purity, fertility, seduction, love, and beauty.

South Africa: blood, death mourning, violence and sacrifices.

China: celebration, luck, prosperity, happiness and a long life.


Western Cultures: optimism, happiness and warmth.

Egypt and some Latin American Cultures: mourning.

France: jealousy, betrayal, weakness, and contradiction.

China: pornography.

Japan: bravery, wealth, and refinement.

Thailand: good luck.


Western Cultures: spring, nature, growth money, freshness, inexperience, jealousy and greed.

Mexico: freedom and independence.

Asian Cultures: new and eternal life, new beginnings, fertility, youth, health and prosperity.

South America: death.


Western Cultures: death and mourning.

Far Eastern Cultures: Health and prosperity


Indian: courage and love.

Middle Eastern: mourning and loss.


Western Cultures: purity and peace.

Far Eastern Cultures: mourning.

How to approach color localization?

Here are some tips for a better localization strategy:

Color overload. Do not use too many colors. Color overload is likely to distract and confuse your clients, so keep it simple.

Client representation. Your colors have to represent your clients and their preferences.

Testing. Don’t follow blindly what is said about color associations – test several colors and make your own decision.

Psychological studies. When selecting your colors, read psychological studies on the matter to create a better understanding.

Negative spaces. Negative space is your best friend – leaving more space between the different elements makes your design more user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing.

In conclusion

Colors are an inextricable part of your product. You have to choose how to represent your brand visually carefully.

Some studies have shown that colors evoke different associations in people’s minds. This, in turn, can affect your clients’ buying behavior. Therefore, when localizing your brand for new markets, colors are a central aspect you should consider.

This article is reprinted from Milestone Localization, Language Connections and Vocalink Global.

If there is a copyright, please inform us in time, we will delete it right the first time.

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