Sunday, June 06, 2010


The representation of different colors from one group of people to the next is like other cultural comparisons such as language or food where there can be as much to explore in the similarities as the differences. David McCandless' "Colours in Culture" makes the task of comparing color representations a little easier with the aid of handy pinwheel:

(click to enlarge)

In categories with three or more representations chosen, only evil (black), heat (red), cold (blue), passion (red), and loyalty (red) were unanimous in their color choices. Almost so were truce (white), purity (white), anger (red), and success (surprisingly red). Accepting the data, it's odd to see a few color representations missing from the Western wheel such as bad luck (black?) or life (green?). Calm was the only category with no takers.

The most popular colors, red, white, blue, green, yellow, are also the most visible colors when looking at the flags of the world:

The popularity of red and blue is no surprise as they are the color symbols (darker blue, lighter red) and generally the favorite colors of males and females. From Neurotopia I found a sassy article that examines some of the current research in the field of color preference theory. Some acute observations from Scicurious as well as her commenters. For something a little lighter, this chart serves as a handy intro to gender color preference:

Minimalist color blocks of Street Fighter characters:

From BuzzFeed, the most colorful cities in the world:

Nice to see Canada made the list (St John's, Newfoundland).

(photo source)


Blogger oceanwhale said...

Fascinating. Did you know that Inuit people have about 30 words for the color white? I, on the other hand, can rarely name the colored I like.

10/17/2010 12:46 AM  
Anonymous Scot said...

Only thirty? That's too bad - we have hundreds. And almost as many for different descriptions of snow. But I guess we can assimilate a few more. I too am lousy with naming and selecting colors - anything outside of 'blue.'

10/20/2010 1:18 AM  

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