The purpose of this study was to determine the colors and color combinations used by the professional soccer clubs and to evaluate the proportion of the cultural interaction between the people and colors in Turkey. The study was carried out on 220 soccer clubs which have 480 colors and 220 color combinations evaluated. The study revealed that the combination mostly preferred by the professional soccer clubs in Turkish soccer leagues is red and white with n=26 (11.8%) followed by green and white with n=25 (11.4%). The color the most frequently observed in professional soccer clubs in Turkish soccer is white by 25.8%. This is followed by red by 18.1% and green by 12.5%. The colors preferred by the soccer clubs are general reflection of the cultural richness of the city, region or of the people they represent. This is especially the case for the clubs with deep rooted historical heritage.

The closed and distant environments are integrated and manifest themselves to the people with colors. A person perceives and identifies his or her environment with colors.

Colors have different meanings in different cultures. A certain color may closely be related to the internal worlds of some people, while it may symbolize a moral enlightenment for the others. The clarification of the role of colors in everyday life entails a comprehensive study. However, it is certain that they have different meanings according to the nation, region or culture involved (Allegos & Allegos, 1999).

For instance, black which symbolizes happiness for the Japanese is the indication of sadness and sorrow in many parts of the world. Yellow is a symbol of power in Chinese culture, where it indicates evil and disease for the Turks ( Ögel, 1991; Genç, 1999). Colors closely affect the feeling of people. People may have experience of feelings such as sorrow, happiness and stimulation through the usage of colors (Budzinski, 1986 ).

Psychologists believe that careful selection and use of colors may accelerate the desired response. This shows that the colors have strong relation with the emotional and physical state of the people. The people who chose black and white are thought to prone emotional problems more than the others, while red indicates viability or rage, yellow shows spaciousness and wideness, blue reflects calmness or protectionism and green means joy or stagnancy (Budzinski, 1986).

Colors are purposely utilized in many ways of life. Architects have utilized the effect of color upon the people for many years. For instance a light colored ceiling shows the room higher than it is and light yellow walls gives the impressions of spaciousness. The use of light green walls in classrooms makes the student to focus their attention on the subject and the use of red in factories and similar facilities increases the output. The use of white color in the medical clinics is believed to aggravate the sorrow and the use of light blue decrease it.

Colors also have a dominant role in commercial sales. For example, light colored cars give the impression of being more spacious than the dark colored ones. The dark colored small vehicles are found more repulsive than the light colored vehicles. The use of red on high bridges serves the purpose of preventing suicides with its stimulating effect. In discos the ground is illuminated with red in lively and rock type music and emotional and relaxing blue color in romantic and slow music (Budzinski, 1986; Hallalı & Nazil, 2001).

It can easily be concluded that the use of colors with or without purpose has certain influences on people. This may be due to both psychological and cultural reasons. In this context, the media prepared taking the stimulating and effect of colors has a very positive effect on the performance of the people and the relations among themselves ( Hallalı & Nazil, 2001).

It is obvious that the colors used in sports have various psychological effects upon the teams and their supporters. However, the colors used by the clubs representing a certain region or city may also have cultural implications. If the target of a sport club is successful and increasing its supporters, the marketability has a prime importance.

The facts that, the colors have stimulating effect on the morals of the people, represent certain social values, their effects on the psychology of people and their use outside the sports ground which creates a commercial value show that colors have an important role in achieving the targets of a club. Therefore, the correct use of colors which have such important impacts upon the lives and performance of the people requires the comprehension of their moral, visual and cultural impacts.

Color is described as phenomena resulted from the visual perception of the rays reflected from the matter ( Hallalı & Nazil, 2001) and radiation with a certain wave length within the visual region of the electromagnetic spectrum ( Active, 2000). Colors have been used for therapeutic purposes for so many years. It was realized that colors had psychological and physical effect upon the people ( Hallalı & Nazil, 2001).

The research shows that the most favorite color of the people is blue followed by red and green. The adult men prefer green, ocean blue, orange and dark purple, and adult women mostly like light purple colors. The favorite colors of children are blue, red, green, yellow and orange (Budzinski, 1986).

Colors are classified as fundamental colors (red, blue and yellow), mid colors obtained by the mixture of at least two colors (purple, orange and green) and neutral colors (white, black and grey) ( Hallalı & Nazil, 2001). The colors have different meaning and different effects.

These can be summarized as follows (Kalmık, 1964; Gabain, 1968; Crozier, 1999; Halis, 2000; Wright, 2000b):

Red. Red is a strong color, which stimulates viability, gives physical courage, has stimulating effect, makes visual impact, and may create stress and aggression. It is related with activation of the impulse of “fight or escape”.

Green . Green creates the feeling of love, relaxation, renewal, dependability, environmental consciousness, balance and peace.

Blue. It has a mainly a relaxing, concentration increasing, assisting in mental relief, and relieving effect. However, it may have a cold and senseless impression as well.

Yellow. It symbolizes excitement, self confidence, openness, friendship and creativity. Yellow is more rapidly perceived than the other colors, and eyes are more sensitive to it. This makes yellow one of the favorite colors.

White. It is the symbol of health and hygiene. It has gives the feeling of correctness and trust. However, it makes the eyes tired very fast.

Black. It reminds seriousness and dignity. However, it frequently implies sorrow, death and darkness.

Grey. It is colorless and creates no strong feelings.

Purple (Violet). It creates the feeling of pessimism, regret, fear and opposite feelings. It is perceived as the indication of power and divinity.

Orange. It gives the sense of brightness and warmth. It has a powerful activating effect. It creates the feeling of openness and increases the will to live.

Pink. It expresses kindness, softness, happiness and pleasure which are regarded as feminine feelings. That was why the soccer clubs refrain from using this color.

Brown. It induces seriousness, warmth, robustness and support. It mainly addresses the adults. It may occasionally result in melancholic feelings.

Starting from these let us evaluate the color and color combinations used by the soccer clubs for symbolic purposes and investigate their interactions and implications on people.


The research covers 220 soccer clubs playing in the 1 st, 2 nd and 3 rd divisions of Turkish soccer league for the last four seasons. Each sport club is counted once.

Following the investigation of 480 colors and 220 color combinations, their frequency (F) and percentage distributions (%) were evaluated by the use of SPSS 11.0 software. The shirt colors of 220 soccer clubs in Turkish soccer leagues were counted one by one, and than the most frequently used single color by the Turkish soccer clubs was determined. The color combination was also counted and their frequency (F) and percentage distributions (%) were determined.

In addition, the shirt colors of some soccer colors were taken as samples, and they were used for evaluation and comparison purposes.


According to the investigation of the color combination of the soccer clubs different Turkish soccer divisions between 2000 and 2004, Table 1 shows that, the most favorite combination is white-red with n=26 (11.8%) followed by white-green with n=25 (11.4%), white-blue with n=14 (6.36%), red-black with n=15 (6.82%) and red-violet with n=14 (6.36%).

[Table 1. About Here]

The number of colors was found as 480 since some clubs use more than two colors. As seen from Table 2, the most widely used color by the Turkish soccer clubs is white with n=124 (25.8%) followed by red with n=87 (18.1%) and green with n=60 (12.5%).

[Table 2. About Here]


The study revealed that the selection of the colors of the shirt of the clubs is based on incidents, meanings and symbols of life. This is especially the case for the clubs with historical roots. It is observed that the colors which are the indication of cultural values of a certain region, city or a group of people are reflected in the colors of the clubs. However, there are cases which are the opposite of this situation. However, the colors of most of the clubs are seen to be influenced by the value treasured by the region or city of the people. This may be attributed to geographical, local, national, moral and institutional factors. Let us briefly examine each one.Discussion

The study revealed that the selection of the colors of the shirt of the clubs is based on incidents, meanings and symbols of life. This is especially the case for the clubs with historical roots. It is observed that the colors which are the indication of cultural values of a certain region, city or a group of people are reflected in the colors of the clubs. However, there are cases which are the opposite of this situation. However, the colors of most of the clubs are seen to be influenced by the value treasured by the region or city of the people. This may be attributed to geographical, local, national, moral and institutional factors. Let us briefly examine each one.

Geographical Factors. The color of some of the sport clubs in Turkey was determined by taking the geographical location into account. For instance, blue-green colors of Rizespor are based of blue color of the sea and green color of the forests. Bursaspor took its green and white color from the snow of Uludağ Mountain and green of the Bursa plain.

Elazığspor (Claret red-White) took its colors from the claret red-white onyx unique to the region. The colors of Gençlerbirliği were taken from the color of corn poppy of Ankara steppes. Ankaragücü, on the other hand, took its violet and yellow color from the violet color of the famous “misket” grapes of the region where yellow was taken from the famous melon of Ankara as a symbol of power (Kalmık, 1964; MKE Ankaragücü Kulübü , n.d.).

Regional Factors. Diyarbakırspor (green and red) was founded by the merge of the amateur clubs Diclespor and Yıldızspor on 24 June 1968. The club took its green color from Yıldızspor ands red from Diclespor. However these colors are the colors of the out and inside of famous water melon of Diyarbakırspor (Diyarbakırspor, n.d.).

The red and white colors of Kahramanmaraşspor represent the two famous products of the city: ice cream and red pepper. Trabzonspor, on the other hand, took its claret red and blue colors from the scales and the eyes of the famous fish of the region, “hamsi” (Kalmık, 1964; Nntvmsnbc, 2002; Mynet.com, 2003; Milliyet.com.tr, 2004b).

National and Moral Factors. Red and black colors of Gaziantepspor represent the blood of 6314 people who died fighting against the French and Armenians during the Independent War and those dark days (Gaziantepspor, 2003). Antalyaspor inspired from the red and white colors of the Turkish flag (Nntvmsnbc, 2002).

The selection of black and yellow for Istanbulspor was to commemorate the students of Istanbul boy’s high school who lost their lives or got wounded in the World War I. Fenerbahçe changes its original colors of yellow and white due to its dislike towards the monarch regime and weakness of these colors. The club later selected yellow and navy blue as its color where yellow represents jealousy felt for Fenerbahçe and navy blue represents the dignity and nobility. The team also successfully uses white for cleanness and clarity, red for love and loyalty and green for success in its symbol and badges ( Kayserilioğlu, 2003; Milliyet.com.tr, 2004a).

The initial colors of Beşiktaş were red and white when it was first founded in 1903. However, it was turned into black and white till the ground lost in Balkan war was captured again. It also served to commemorate the ones who went to Balkan war and did not come back. However, the current perception of Beşiktaş’s colors is that winning and loosing are as natural as day and night ( Bjk.com, 1995).

The selection of Konyaspor green and white colors was totally based upon moral reasons. The first colors of the club were black and white. However the black color was latter changed into green, the holly color of Islam. This may be attributed to the conservative and religious structure of Konya province.

Samsunspor added black to its original red and white color to remember its players who died in a tragic traffic accident in 1989 (Samsunspor Kulübü, n.d.).

Institutional factors. Siirt Köy Hizmetleri was founded by the Turkish Village Works Office and the club accepted the official color of yellow and blue of the office. Kardemir Demir Çelik Karabükspor, a team of the iron processing town of Karabük, took the red and blue color of melted iron (Batı Karadeniz Haber Ajansı, n.d.).

Yimpaş Yozgatspor (Red-Black) became the sister club of one of the popular teams of 1960s Karagümrük and accepted Karagümrük’s colors.

The investigation of 480 colors of 220 teams as regards to preference of colors showed that (Table 2) white ranks first with 25.8 %. Red comes second with 18.1% followed by green with 12.5%. Blue comes seventh with 7.71%.

The reasons that the white is the most preferred color among the Turkish clubs are that Turkish people have special liking to it and white has cultural implications coming from history. Turkish people regard white as the symbol of cleanness, purity, holiness and experience ( Ögel, 1991). The fact that the white is most widely used color by the Turkish clubs is the indication that it has upper cultural value. Among the sub cultural colors liked by the Turkish nation, red comes second (18.1%), green comes third (12.5%) and yellow comes sixth (8.96%).

In England and Scotland, the most popular color preferred by the soccer teams is blue. This is followed by red ( British Council, 2001). Although first choices are different there is a striking similarity in the second choices. The wide use of red in sports is probably due to its psychological effects.

The study revealed that the least popular color among Turkish soccer clubs is pink (0.21%). This is also the case for the other countries in the world. This is due to the fact that pink creates a soft and feminine image (Allegos & Allegos, 1999).

When we look at the color combinations of soccer clubs, the most popular combination among the Turkish soccer teams is red and white with 26 teams (Table 2).

According to a newspaper report, the most popular color combination among 205 Turkish soccer teams playing in Turkish divisions in 1998-1999 soccer season was green and white with 19 teams. This is followed by red and white with 19 teams and red and black with 13 teams ( Hallalı & Nazil, 2001).

According to research carried out on 43 European countries, the most preferred color combination among the soccer clubs is blue and white with 169 teams (Berke & Utku, n.d.). The research stated that the choice of color combinations after blue and white was red and white (123 teams), red and blue (58 teams), black and white (56 teams), red and black (50 teams), yellow and violet (48 teams) and green and white (46 teams).

According to data listed in Table 2, the most preferred color combinations in Turkish soccer teams after red and white are green and white with 25 teams, blue and white with 14 teams, red and black with 15 teams and red and violet with 14 teams.

This shows that there is a difference of preference between the club colors in Europe and Turkey. This complies well with the fact that the choice of club colors is shaped according to the different symbols and meanings of colors from country to country ( British Council, 2001).

Colors show different cultural meanings in different atmosphere. But generally, it’s similar to the psychological effects of the colors which occur on people. The people in white colored room were observed to be much more restless and leave the location earlier than the people in brown colored room. In the same example the people were given coffee from thermoses with four different colors. They described the coffee from the brown thermos as “dark and strong”, the coffee from red thermos as “sweet”, the coffee from blue thermos as “light with good aroma” and the coffee from the yellow thermos as “bad” (Budzinski, 1986 ).

It was also observed that the pulse rate was accelerated under red light while blue illumination relaxed the muscles, rectified the blood pressure and decreased the pulse rate ( Wright, 2000a).

The firm knowledge psychological effects of colors ( Mynet.com, 2003), the effect of colors upon the fans, their ability to establish a cultural value and their capacity of creating commercial activity is of great importance in the selection of the color for the newly founded clubs. It is known that one of the biggest factors for the marketability of a club is strong and visually effective colors (Allegos & Allegos, 1999).


In conclusion, we stress following points. Colors are very important due to their physical effect they induce on people. One of the prime factors which play a determining role on the selection of the clubs by the children is attractive and strong colors (Allegos & Allegos, 1999).

The use of colors with cultural significance may create a feeling of possession and support upon the people. For instance, the claret red-blue colors of Trabzonspor are based the color of the eyes and scales of special fish called “hamsi”, the major product of the city.

The colors to be selected must also be suitable to be used in daily outfits. This will create an additional economical value. The yellow and red colors of Galatasaray are observed almost in every walk of life and became a part of our daily culture. The use of psychological power of red and yellow is important for both to create an economical value and strengthen the support given to the club.

Colors are similar to musical notes. As jazz pianist Thelonius Monk said “there is no wrong note”. What is important is the selection of the appropriate note or color (Wright, 2000c).

We can conclude that the colors of the clubs are the reflectance of the cultural and historical aspects of the people living in different city or region. Therefore the newly established teams must choose their colors taking all these criteria into account.

The soccer clubs with national and international support not only utilize the effect of the colors they selected but they also make the effective use of their symbols. The canary of Fenerbahçe, the lion of Galatasaray and the eagle of Beşiktaş are good examples for that. The investigation of the effects of symbols is the subject of another study.


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Table 1

Color Combination of Turkish soccer clubs


Combination 1. White Combination 2. Red Combination 3. Green Combination 4. Violet Combination 5. Black Combination 6. Yellow Combination 7. Blue
Colors f % Colors f % Colors f % Colors f % Colors f % Colors f % Colors f %
Red 26 11.8 Green 10 4.55 Black 6 2.73 Yellow 9 4.09 Yellow 9 4.09 Blue 2 0.91 Orange 3 1.36
Green 25 11.4 Black 15 6.82 Yellow 8 3.64 Blue 4 1.82 Blue 1 0.45 Lilac 1 0.45 Claret red 2 0.91
Black 11 5 Violet 14 6.36 Blue 4 1.82 Orange 1 0.45 Orange 3 1.36
Violet 10 4.55 Yellow 11 5 Orange 3 1.36 Purple 1 0.45
Yellow 1 0.45 Blue 5 2.27 Pink 1 0.45 Turquoise 2 0.91
Blue 14 6.36
Orange 2 0.91
Claret red 8 3.64
Purple 7 3.18
Lilac 1 0.45
TOTAL 220 Team

Table 2

Color Ratios of the Turkish soccer clubs

White 124 25.8
Red 87 18.1
Green 60 12.5
Black 47 9.79
Violet 44 9.17
Sari 43 8.96
Blue 37 7.71
Orange 13 2.71
Claret red 10 2.08
Purple 8 1.67
Turquoise 4 0.83
Lilac 2 0.42
Pink 1 0.21
Total 480 100
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