OT(?): international color implications, esp. red, purple

Subject: OT(?): international color implications, esp. red, purple
From: "Rene Stephenson" <RStephenson -at- mwci -dot- mea -dot- com>
To: techwr-l
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 7:27:4

Fellow Techwr-lers:

I have an graphic design issue.

<homework> I have been to PCworld.com in search of graphic design
discussion groups. The graphic design links I found were subscriptions to
TipWorld for various graphics tools. I haven't had any luck finding a
techwr-l-ish list for graphic designers/artists. I also searched the
techwr-l archives, and most of what I found was general admonishments about
the ambiguities in using color in an international document. OK, great, I'm
already aware of that -- I have specific concerns. I did see Rikki's post
of reference material. I'll be checking into those resources, but I have a
presentation to the management team on *Monday* that addresses the issue of
color in a very important graphic. (This landed on my lap with short
notice.) </homework>

<sidebar> Pre-emptively speaking: It would be nice if we had a graphic
artist on staff, but at this early stage in this start-up company... well,
that's another story altogether. Upper management doesn't want to hire a PR
group or advertising agency. That's a battle I can't fight, much less win.
</sidebar>

I am designing a symbol for our company that will be used internationally
(Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Austrailia/New Zealand). I am a tech
writer, with a flare for graphics. I am aware of the basic principles of
designing for an international audience:

* Don't use body parts if at all possible, due to cultural variances in
what's offensive.
* Don't include text in the graphic if at all possible, due to translation
issues.
* Don't package in predominately black or predominantly white, due to the
strong ties of those colors with life and death.
* Use green sparingly, especially in graphics for Asian markets -- too
powerful a connection with life/death.
* Be gender-neutral.

I know that triangles often carry meaning -- deltas for change, for
instance -- but they also add direction and movement to the graphic, which
is desirable in this case.

Blue and red seem almost overworked as colors -- especially with the advent
of the internet.

Please let me know what other color/shape pitfalls to avoid -- colors
and/or shapes that have a "loaded message." *****The main colors at issue
are red and purple.***** We want the color to convey leadership,
pace-setting, initiative, strength, technological savvy, forward-thinking,
etc. I know that red can indicate warning or danger in the US, but that
has never stopped its use as an eye-catcher in logos.

I am on the digest, so please cc: me directly when responding to this
post.

Rene Stephenson
Technical Communications Consultant
rstephenson -at- mwci -dot- mea -dot- com




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