The culture of colour

Read about this web site in The Times magazine on Saturday 30.01.10. Cymbolism explores the relationship between words and colour with the aim of ‘making it simple for designers to choose the best colours for the desired emotional effect’. Absolutely loved the idea.

I am always very sensitive towards the representation of colour in different cultures, and more importantly, how its meaning had evolved in modern days. Vera Wang, the American designer who is famous for her wedding dress design, had recently come up with a wedding dress that is all black. Controversial? Or is it forward thinking?

Colour can also have a strong cultural meaning. Is white a colour for mourning or a symbol of purity? Why you should not wear purple to an Italian wedding? Is red always absolutely the best colour to represent vitality and passion? Is no colour a kind of colour?

The myths about representation of colours also mean when we create communication materials for global brands, it is not only words we need to pay attention to. When we creatively adapt a web site for another market for example, we should also make sure use of colour is appropriate for the local culture.

The Cymbolism web site would be so much more interesting if they could add a dimension of cultural differences in it so that designers who are producing global work will have a rich resource to tap into.