Colour Guide to Western Europe

With a population of approximately four hundred million people, Western Europe has 18 different nations with multiple languages and dialects. Creating a brand logo that takes into account the name, design and colours is vital to the success of a business. Choosing one that is perfect across a continent may take a while, but it is an investment that will save time and money.


The colour of death and of mourning, it symbolises the end of life. Western Europe also recognises black as smart, formal and fitting to many products since it carries a professional and elegant style. Often suited to manufacturing and corporate logos, it denotes strength, power and ability. It looks sophisticated but also mysterious.


Often seen as the most neutral colour that won’t cause offence, Blue is considered in Western Europe as authoritative and trustworthy. Most security companies and European Police forces will incorporate it into their brand designs to reflect the protective nature of their roles.
It is also the colour of depression. To hear that someone ‘has the blues‘ would indicate they were experiencing sadness. By contrast the birth of a baby boy is celebrated with gifts in this colour since it represents Masculinity whereas Girls would receive Pink. The only exception is Belgium where the tradition is reversed.

In the children’s story ‘Sleeping Beauty’, Prince Charming is known in Spanish and Italian as the ‘Blue Prince, although the main reason is unknown. It is speculated that a French novel in eighteen eighty-nine entitled ‘The Blue Fairy Book’ led to this connotation since it featured the Prince as a character.

Western Royalty has often been called ‘Blue blooded’ since Monarchs in History had often eaten from Silver cutlery which caused Agyria, a poisoning of the blood from excessive exposure to the metal. This caused the white skin to flush blue on occasion and create the illusion.

Blue is seen in most Western cultures as a beautiful colour that reminds them of Water and the Sky. It reflects a positive outlook in most circumstances despite being a colour of negative emotion. Most business logos have a shade of this colour in their design.


The colour of love, passion and excitement. As an emotion, it is often perceived as angry, fiery or furious in Western culture and the term ‘Red mist’ explains how one person’s momentary fury could cloud their better judgement.

It is a vibrant colour that indicates danger and the necessity to take action. Traffic lights, road signs and construction sites use Red as a means to alert others to potential hazards. Being the longest wavelength of all colours, it can be seen to all from great distances.  The United Kingdom postal service, the Royal Mail had green post boxes in London which were swallowed up in the great fog of eighteen seventy-four. By changing to Red, they became more visible to the public. The company has kept this brand logo colour ever since.

Red can also be about desire and the heart. Wearing red lipstick and make up blush is designed to imitate the blood pumping in excitement at a potential suitor. It is the colour of love that contrasts anger yet shares the same passion.

Sports cars are often painted red to infer excitement and power, whilst sports psychologists suggest that sportsmen in Red are more likely to win than others in different colours.  Red instils strength and aggression into the wearer and asserts dominance in their field.


In Western Europe, the colour is associated to nature. Many political parties use it to reflect their policies on the environment whilst brand logos will incorporate it to show the natural origins of the product. For example, the purchase of fruit juice from a supermarket will often show the colour of the drink alongside an element of green to infer the natural source.  It is indicative of nature and something that we as human beings instinctively like.

As an emotional colour, it is considered to be one of jealousy or envy unless you live in Germany. Being ‘Green’ is a popular term in the UK for someone discontented with other people’s accomplishments or faced with the threat of losing out on something to a third party. Originating from Shakespeare’s play Othello, the metaphoric ‘Green eyed Monster’ was constantly eating away at their thoughts and creating the restless feelings they were having. Around the time, it was common for those who were sick to have a greenish complexion due to overproduction of fluids in the body. This may have influenced the Bard’s thinking where he saw these emotions as sickness. In seventh century Greece, the words ‘Green’ and ‘Pale’ were the same words which could also describe someone of ill health and it was on occasion connected to jealousy. The French also use the term ‘Vert de jalousie’ which originates from poor health.

On a positive note, the colour represents Luck and is the national colour of the Irish Republic. The four-leaf clover, symbolic of faith, hope, love and luck is a rare find but infers the magic of nature and the commonly expressed ‘Luck of the Irish’.


The colour of warmth and the sun, it features in a positive way as a reminder of summer and good weather. It represents optimism and is psychologically uplifting. As a brand logo colour, it is usually deployed in the entertainment industry for fast food restaurants and amusement parks. Sometimes it can also mean a colour of caution and thought. An amber light requires some caution when driving or to alert someone to a hazard ahead.

As an emotional colour, it can vary between nations of Western Europe. Germany, unlike others do not see Jealousy as Green but yellow. Most countries associate this colour with cowardice although the reasons differ as to why. Some believe that it was a biblical reference to Judas, the yellow garmented betrayer of Jesus whilst Historians note that tenth century traitors in France had their front doors painted in this colour. As time moved on, the undertones remained and were consolidated by similar historical interpretations from the United States into European society.

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