In Brief

The Most Popular Colors Around the World, Mapped

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Shutterstock’s map of the most downloaded colors in 20 countries around the world (screenshot by the author)

What’s your country’s favorite color? By crunching data on one million users’ color-coded image downloads of their library of more than 65 million stock photos, Shutterstock has created an interactive map visualizing the year’s most popular color choices in 20 nations around the world. Despite colors having wildly different symbolic associations from culture to culture (i.e. the color green is forbidden in parts of Indonesia, while in Mexico, it traditionally stands for independence), the 20 countries analyzed here have relatively similar preferences when it comes to the dominant hues of their stock photos.

The map reveals that, at least in the stock photo world, cool colors are, well, cool right now, while warm colors are less popular. Calming light greens and muted blues dominate the color-coded map, colors found in most natural landscapes regardless of geographic location. Only two countries of the 20, Russia and Switzerland, had shades of red among their top three most downloaded colors.

The four fastest-growing colors in Shutterstock's image library of 2015 (screenshot by the author)
The four fastest-growing colors in Shutterstock’s image library of 2015 (screenshot by the author)

Shutterstock also crunched numbers on the top color trends of 2015 worldwide, by matching pixel data with image downloads on their website. The fastest growing colors of the year included two different shades of cool cyan, a dark pastel violet, and a deep, desaturated blue.

Shutterstock's infographic depicting the most popular colors by country in 2015 (screenshot by the author)
Shutterstock’s infographic depicting the most popular colors by country in 2015 (screenshot by the author)

These trends only reflect the preferences of Shutterstock users — largely made up of creative professionals and brand marketers — and don’t necessarily translate to color trends in, say, the art world. But Shutterstock thinks the report likely reflects overall color trends–“‘It’ colors tend to cross over seamlessly, saturating industries from high-fashion to home decorating to photography,” Shutterstock’s Jenn Takahashi says. Still, we’ll wait to get data from ColorSearch, a new digital platform that lets art collectors buy based on color, to learn which colors won the art world’s popularity contest.

See the full Shutterstock interactive infographic here.

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