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Readings: Optional

When I go to a funeral, I try to wear black clothes. Or when I am invited to a wedding, I wear bright color but not white because the white color is for a bride. We knew the colors have some meanings and try to follow what the color represents in order to adjust to a society. This week’s readings introduce the factors of the perception of colors, color guide references, and principles of the colors.

People react differently depending on some factors, such as personal preference, cultural background, gender, age, etc. For example, purple is considered as the color of mourning for widows in Thailand; however, purple is used for traditional clothes for royal families in Japan. In Korea, the doctor doesn’t tell if a pregnant woman will give birth to a boy or a girl. So, it’s a little bit hard to prepare a baby’s clothes because people cannot decide which color needs to be bought. A novice mom has to rely on a hint from a nice doctor so that she can prepare. However, as her friends we don’t know what kind of clothes we can give it to her. So, I usually buy bright yellow clothes, which is a gender-neutral color, and sometimes bright green. The article doesn’t say bright green is gender-neutral but it mentions, “greens take on some of he attributes of yellow.” I guess that explains why I could find a bright green color for a baby.

Many examples of the meaning of colors are presented, which is very good resources that I can explain why I select a certain color or why I get a certain feeling or mood. According to the article, dark blue, gray, and black can be used in a corporate design. It reminds me of a company homepage designed for my previous work. It was very nicely designed with black background, and gold yellow was used for the texts. We thought it looked very nice and simple, but somehow it didn’t fit well our company due to its heaviness. Even though we spent a lot of money for that homepage development, we had to give up and request a new design to other developer. The developer used a very basic theme of the structure using white background, banner on the top, two navigation bars on the left and under the banner. It looked less professional than the previous one; however, it was easier for people to use. I think using the black background was too strong to convey the image of our company. Even though a designer tries to follow the principles of the colors, this can be a dilemma that a designer may have to think which one he/she has to focus on: fancy or boring (looks very nice using concepts of the color but somehow it doesn’t fit) or boring (very simple following a basic principle).

A quick reference guide for the common meanings of the colors
(Retrieved from Color theory for designers – smashing magazine)

  • Red: Passion, Love, Anger
  • Orange: Energy, Happiness, Vitality
  • Yellow: Happiness, Hope, Deceit
  • Green: New Beginnings, Abundance, Nature
  • Blue: Calm, Responsible, Sadness
  • Purple: Creativity, Royalty, Wealth
  • Black: Mystery, Elegance, Evil
  • Gray: Moody, Conservative, Formality
  • White: Purity, Cleanliness, Virtue
  • Brown: Nature, Wholesomeness, Dependability
  • Tan or Beige: Conservative, Piety, Dull
  • Cream or Ivory: Calm, Elegant, Purity
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