The Impact of Color in Packaging

When consumers reach for a product, the first thing they see is the packaging. We are a very visual society and we shop with our eyes. In order for a product to be considered for purchase, the packaging must grab the attention of the consumer. Consumers look for enticing and functional packaging. The strongest visual cue consumers use as a decision aid is color. Color is placed higher than texture or sound and smell, and is a primary reason a consumer buys a product.

Colors have different ways of inviting a consumer to buy. Have you ever wondered why clearance stickers are always red or why black portrays luxury? When colors are used in the right context, they capture the attention and mood of consumers. Colors have this amazing power of attracting consumers and influencing their behavior.

According to KISSmetrics, below are what colors mean:

Yellow: Optimistic and youthful; often used in window shopping
Red: Energy; creates urgency which is why it is used in clearance sales
Blue: Creates trust and security; associated with banks and businesses
Green: Easiest color for the eyes to process; used for relaxation
Orange: Aggressive; creates pressure to buy, sell, or subscribe
Pink: Romantic and feminine; used to target women and young girls
Black: Portrays powerfulness; used in marketing of luxury products
Purple: Soothing; associated with beauty products

It is interesting to know that colors affect how consumers buy. Packaging has a huge impact on consumers and colors should be taken into consideration when being designed.

The Importance of Color in Design

It could be argued that color is one of the most important choices one makes when choosing a packaging design.  Whether it’s done well or poorly, color evokes emotions.

It’s known that serving diners food on a blue plate will encourage them to eat less, while serving food on and orange or yellow plate will encourage them to eat more.  Colors like dark navy, hunter green, burgundy or black can evoke tradition, respect, or even somberness, and deeper purples can evoke royalty, status or class.  Pastel colors can often be associated with children, while reds can evoke desire, passion, authority, happiness, or conversely fear.

Color can be used well or poorly.  One opinion of color used poorly is below.

Of course, poor color choice is selective, but why was this design chosen specifically?

Green is a good color to promote a feeling of nature, or a feeling of money (especially in the US).  It is also a good color to be used to catch someone’s attention.  On the other hand, once their attention is caught, what part do we pay attention to?  Do we really see the apps over the overwhelming green of the background?

it is one writer’s opinion that if the above color was on packaging for a product, the packaging would not work.  While it does have a ‘wow’ factor, the green of the packaging, like the green in this picture, would seem to shout louder than the product.

However, it would be interesting to notice that if the same picture was in a different color, such as a similar color like teal, how the message of the product or applications might have stood out over the packaging.

Using Apple as an example, here is another example of color choices.

Both packages pictured above use colors to emphasize and brighten without overpowering.  The ‘natural’ and the ‘white’ state traditional while caring about the environment, while the colors used in the center add balance, freshness, and ‘likability.’  Although they don’t scream “Look at me” like the above example, they do say, “I’m trustworthy.”