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Peggy Lucero wondered about: <<The meaning of colors? I'm recalling
that there exists some kinda resource that defines colors and their
meaning. Meaning, each color is known to bring about a certain
(predictable) typical reaction from a human exposed to it. Is anyone
aware of a respected source for this kind of info?>>
This is one of those areas where it pays to be very careful indeed. The
interpretation of color is highly variable both within a culture and
between cultures. Worse yet, color interpretation varies substantially
between individuals and between contexts, and changes over time even
for a given individual and context. From what I've read in the
literature and what I've seen "in the field", this variation is
sufficiently complex that I'd be very, very hesitant to recommend that
you follow any rigid color guidelines that purport to reveal generic
human reactions. A few examples:
Though red is an auspicious color in China*, it's an inappropriate
color for handwritten letters--editors take note! Similarly, though
white is considered an inauspicious color in China (symbolic of death
and mourning), I've seen photos of Chinese marriages in which the bride
wore the traditional Western white dress, and the Chinese certainly
don't shun white paper in user manuals. As for variation over time, I
read about a psychological study several years ago that claimed pink
to be a very soothing color, and thus optimally suited to calming North
American prison inmates; unfortunately, this assertion was based on
short-term studies, and jailors quickly discovered that longer-term
exposure to the color actually increased aggression.
* Please not that I'm using "China" and "Chinese" here as shorthand and
purely for the sake of example. I'm clearly oversimplifying the
characteristics of these audiences to illustrate my point, not to
provide guidelines for localizing documents for China.
--Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
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