Designer’s Guide: East vs West

When creating a design, it is extremely important to study the client’s background. Aside from using the company’s colours as a reference point for an artwork, designers must research on the company’s brand identity. With the change of times, we are welcomed with the opportunity of expand our creativity and design to also fit the cultural beliefs of Asian countries.

Although the western culture has already established rules on design, we must also take the eastern cultures into consideration. Both cultures have their own beliefs and philosophies that we should review.


Your client may interpret certain colors differently depending on what philosophy they believe in. For example, the color yellow. In western culture, yellow is a color related to cowardice but in the eastern culture, yellow is a color of royalty and bravery. Although there are some similarities in interpreting colors, it would be best to steer clear of fault by knowing what each color means in both western and eastern cultures.


Eastern culture also has a different meaning for shapes because of feng shui, a philosophy that aims to create harmony and balance with its surrounding environment. For example, in the western culture the triangle shape represents intellectuals but in the eastern culture, sharp pointed triangles are called the “poison arrow” which brings bad luck. This philosophy affects design especially if the client believes in feng shui because they may not like designs with sharp pointed corners.


Each culture has countless omens, superstitions and symbols with different meanings. Here are some case studies that drastically clash with their eastern and western interpretations:

The best lesson here is that when creating a design especially for the global market—may it be in the east or the west—designers must assure that whatever artwork they create respects all views and beliefs of their customers.