Colors Across Cultures

colors in cultures

Everyone associates red, the color of Valentine’s Day, with love… don’t we? Not if we’re Hindu, according to this visualization of Colours In Cultures. Eighty-four concepts and emotions from Anger to Wisdom are placed around a type of cultural color wheel, and placed along its spokes are ten cultures. If you want to see the Native American version of “the blues,” look at #81, “Unhappiness,” and find the place on that spoke for Native American culture.

Visually, it’s stunning, but you’ll notice that there are more than a few gaps on the wheel. This could be due to a lack of data or just cultural differences… i.e. the Chinese associate a specific color with “Good Luck,” but the Hindu have no such association.

At any rate, it’s an interesting exercise in mapping, and raises the question: Is it useful to lay a grid over slippery “data” such as human emotion, and if so, how do you present it for maximum readability and impact?

For those who’d like to take a stab at creating a pie chart from their own set of data, whether it be “Likelihood That I’ll Floss On Nights Monday Through Sunday” or “Popularity Of Clam Bellies vs. Strips Among New England States,” check out this kid-oriented but still cool pie-chart maker.