This website does not feel American? Well, that’s normal. I’m not American. Here are the reasons why I use these colors on this blog.
Tired Of Brash American Website Styles Adopted In Non-American Countries
Living here in Europe, late last year in 2008, I went through a phase of being tired of the quantity of American-style websites around me.
It seemed as if only bold, red, white and blue websites were popular. It’s not just the colors, it’s also the bold American attitudes that come across the web pages. Styles have evolved somewhat since then. But that is what got me to do something of my own.
People who know me professionally often ask me why I have pink, yellow and turquoise on my blog. You see I come from the corporate world where I worked with “suits” and high level executives in navy and grey. My closet is full of these colors. And I am definitely not not a “pink” person.
So quite a few people tell me that the colors on my blog do not reflect my professional profile. And they are right. The colors here reflect something more personal. As a cross-cultural marketer I hate the idea of other cultures imposing themselves. The saying “do in Rome as Romans do” often comes to mind. This blog is my home.
Growing Up Surrounded By Turquoise
So what’s with the colors?
Well, I do have a very strong gut attraction to the color turquoise. And the reason is simple. Have a look at where I grew up.
I grew up surrounded by turquoise. Literally. There were very few other colors around me. The sky was always the brightest of blues… almost turquoise. And of course, I grew up on a island… surrounded by shallow turquoise sea.
The sun was always the brightest yellow possible.
And my favorite buildings on the island were pink… not a pale pink. A bright pink. Yes, there were also bright yellow houses and even turquoise houses. But the old colonial buildings are pink. These buildings were built for hot weather. There have shaded verandas and careful attention was given to the location of doors and windows. They are always cooler to be in than the more recent buildings.
And even the white space on my blog reminds me of home… the miles and miles of white sandy beaches. As white as the white on this web page.
Where I grew up, people are not afraid of colors. Bright colors look good there. These colors are not any sort of statement. They simply fit in with everything else.
Cultural Differences In Colors
Now, I am not designer but I do see the difference in cultural trends in colors.
It is often very easy to identify American websites simply by the choice of colors and design. There is a predominance of red, white and blue. There is also a style in how colors are used.
After living so long in France it is easy for me to see the French styles too. Yes, French websites have different color schemes, but they have a very different style to them.
If you spend a few days browsing different foreign websites, it is obvious:
- Peoples tastes in colors are different.
My Second Home
One of the things I have always insisted upon in my 30 years of living abroad is that I have to feel totally at home inside of my home.
As a cross-cultural marketer I spend ALL of my time outside of my home adjusting myself to other cultures. The one place where I stop doing this, and am always myself, is inside of my home.
This blog is my second home. The colors on this blog make me feel:
- At home
- … they give me inspiration
If you have actually been to the Bahamas, you will probably come back and say:
- Cindy, this is a pale example – pump up the colors!
And during my next blog renovation, I might do just that.
Color Marketing To Different Cultures
As a cross-cultural marketer, I also like to stimulate other marketers interested in reaching international audiences to review their choice of communication… including colors.
I see so many small businesses with websites that use a color scheme and design that strongly identify their identity with their native culture. For many small businesses, this means that an international audience simply will not read their websites. They are too “foreign”.
My advice is to spend at least an hour every day for a few weeks browsing websites from one specific country… even if you do not understand the language. It is amazing how much you can pick up through osmosis.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts and comments below.
Filed under: International Web Marketing
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