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The Psychology of Color in Label and Packaging Design

kokou adzo

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a man holding a cup of coffee and some snacks

If you have heard that 85% of pencils used in the United States are yellow, would you instantly start incorporating yellow color in your advertising design to boost your revenue?

The psychology of color in label and packaging design is a complex subject. Some companies instantly get the right color combination, while others take months to determine which aligns more with their target audience.

However, one thing is clear: there’s no rule of thumb for deciding the color. Despite this, every brand owner must have a background that might help in determining whether yellow is the right color for marketing or just a myth.

This article will delve into how different colors can influence customer behaviors and decision-making and what are practical tips for choosing the right colors.

Understanding Color Psychology

Leading airlines like United States Airlines, Lufthansa, and KLM choose blue as their leading color; have you ever wondered why? It is because blue is the color of trustworthiness.

Similarly, Subway chose yellow and green because yellow is cheerful, and green (as they target the young generation) is the color of freshness.

This means color plays a significant role in defining consumer behavior and influencing what decisions they might be making. Therefore, if Harley starts selling a pink glitter edition, it won't align with the owners who want to feel rugged.

The following are the most commonly used colors and how their consumers perceive them:

  • Red shows fierce, often associated with passion, excitement, general strength, and warmth. It is common for entertainment and lifestyle companies like Disney, Lego, Marlboro, McDonalds, and Netflix.
  • Black is the color of premium, elegant brands. It is often combined with white color elements.
  • Green is associated with Earth. Soothing brings balance, restoration, harmony, and peace to mind. It is used by various big companies, such as Starbucks, Xbox, Lacoste, Spotify, and Subway.
  • The color blue represents the sea. Most brands choose blue to make an impression on their target audience's minds. Twitter, Vimeo, Facebook, and IBM are just a few companies that have chosen blue as their brand identity.

Significance of Colors Globally

Colors hold diverse cultural meanings globally. Red symbolizes luck in China but signals danger in the West. White represents purity in some cultures yet mournfulness in others.

Similarly, blue evokes calmness in the West, yet it may symbolize immortality in some Eastern cultures. It is important to understand these variations for effective communication and respect across borders.

Colors and Brand Identity

The colors of a brand contribute significantly to its identity and values. Color is one of the most effective means of establishing a strong connection between a brand and its target market.

For example, Coca-Cola utilizes red to evoke excitement and energy. Similarly, tech giant Apple chose a minimalist, sleek image with a simple yet sophisticated white color scheme.

Brands choose colors that seamlessly align with their commitment to innovation and user-friendly approach.

If you haven't created your brand logo yet, you can use Image Upscaler which is a free AI Image Generator. It can help you get an idea of what you want your logo to look like before you hire a designer. This AI Image generator takes only 20-60 seconds to generate an image for free. All you have to do is provide it with the essential details and information and let AI do its magic.  This way, you can provide the right references to the designer for creating the perfect logo that conveys the right message for your brand.

Nonetheless, always use a consistent color to make it your brand identity. For instance, McDonald’s golden arches, with red and yellow drapes, are recognizable globally. This visual consistency builds a strong connection with consumers, reinforcing brand recall and loyalty.

Color Trends in Packaging Designs

As we have entered a new year, fresh packaging designs are trending. These trends offer new ideas for businesses to grow and interact with consumers. Regardless of the business size, these trends give every company an equal chance to sustain itself in the competitive market.

The most popular packaging design trends of this year are:

●     Compostable and Biodegaradable Materials

As the awareness of eco-friendly products increases, brands focus more on using compostable and biodegradable materials in their packaging designs. Brands will prioritize using green as it symbolizes nature and the earth.

●     Vibrant and Bold Color Combination

Packaging designs will likely be a canvas for vibrant and bold color combinations. Attention-grabbing styles and designs with contrasting color schemes are incorporated into the designs to convey a brand message and personality.

Lately, brands are experimenting with uncommon color combinations to stand out in the market and mark an impression.

●     Clean and Minimal Designs

In the current era, less is more. Brands are opting for minimal and simple designs. This helps them to focus on crucial elements to create a more visually appealing look. Such minimal designs not only communicate clarity but also contribute to delivering the brand voice effectively.

Future Color Trends Based on Market Research

As sustainability continues to be a driving force for color trends, brands will likely be more focused on using blue and green color contrasts. These colors evoke a sense of trust and responsibility.

In addition, the fusion of technology with packaging design may show metallic and futuristic looks, reflecting modernity and innovation.

Color and Consumer Behavior

Color choices also profoundly influence consumer behavior as they are tied to emotions and perceptions. Moreover, the intensity and brightness of the colors also impact the consumers' reactions.

Warm colors like red, pink, and yellow evoke excitement, while cool colors like white and blue produce peacefulness and relaxation.

Influence of Colors on Purchasing Decisions

Different colors evoke varied emotions and responses. Every color is associated with an emotion. Some of the significant ones are listed as follows:

  • Red creates a sense of urgency and passion.
  • Orange symbolizes informality, affordability, and friendliness.
  • Yellow creates hope and a happy nature.
  • Purple produces royalty and luxury.
  • Blue symbolizes trust and calmness.
  • Gold creates a sense of enchantment and distance.

The Role of Color in Creating Quality and Value

The role of color extends beyond aesthetics; it shapes perceptions of value and quality. Premium brands often embrace rich, deep colors to convey luxury and sophistication.

Conversely, vibrant and playful colors can communicate affordability and approachability. The strategic use of color contributes significantly to how consumers perceive a product's worth.

Key Role in Successful Packaging Redesigns

Numerous success stories highlight the transformative power of color in packaging redesigns. Brands make essential changes in colors to positively resonate with consumers.

Pepsi underwent a notable packaging transition from classic royal blue to a sleek, deeper shade. This shift aimed at conveying a sense of modernity. The deep blue and silver accents indicate a departure from the familiar, signaling Pepsi’s commitment to staying modern.

Similarly, Tropicana’s packaging evolution shifted from iconic orange with a straw motif to a cleaner and minimalist design. The vibrant orange, synonymous with the brand for years, was replaced with a crisp white background and a simplified orange icon. This transformation delivered freshness and simplicity with a premium quality product.

Practical Tips for Choosing Colors

Gone are the days when product packages were just a box or container and were meant only to label the product details. The emerging and changing market trends have put a lot of pressure on the labeling and packaging departments.

This increased responsibility has indeed been over the shoulders of the graphic designers. Therefore, there are always some practical tips that must be kept in mind to make packaging more appealing and eye-catching.

1.    Choose Product-specific Colors

Firstly, it is imperative to consider the nature of your product. For example, natural and calming tones work well for wellness and organic products, while bold and vibrant colors may suit energetic and youth-oriented items. Analyze your target audience and their emotions to ensure your chosen product color aligns with their taste.

2.    Considerations for Color Combinations and Contrasts

Choosing the perfect color combination for your brand is another crucial factor to consider while designing a label. Pick a primary color that reflects your brand’s identity and complements it with a secondary color for variety.

Ensure the color contrast between the text and background is suitable to increase readability. Making a correct balance between both is crucial to prevent clutter and enhance overall aesthetics.

3.    Testing Color Choices with Target Audiences

Before finalizing color choices, conduct tests with your target audience. Use surveys, focus groups, or A/B testing to examine the emotional response of your target audience.

In addition, pay special attention to cultural preferences as colors carry different meanings in different cultures. This process ensures that your chosen colors perfectly align with your consumers.

Challenges and Considerations

Admit it or not, we've all found ourselves in a situation where the colors we selected from the palette and the colors we ended up with are different. Selecting a color for a design is not always a straightforward task.

One of the most significant challenges lies in the diverse range of materials and printing processes used in product design. Since colors appear differently on various surfaces such as fabric, paper, or plastic, it is challenging to decide which material will show the color we want.

To get an idea of what the final look will be, test the color on different mediums to ensure you maintain consistency and achieve the desired visual impact.

Importance of Accessibility and Inclusivity

Color choices extend beyond aesthetics; they play a pivotal role in ensuring accessibility and inclusivity. It is essential to ensure your brand message reaches to broader audience; therefore, consideration for individuals with color blindness is paramount.

Opt for color combinations that maintain readability for those with different types of color vision deficiencies to encourage inclusivity. It helps your brand align more effectively with your target audience and resonates with inclusive and ethical design practices.

Conclusion

Understanding the psychology of color in label and packaging design is crucial for creating a successful brand identity and engaging consumers. Colors are not just for aesthetic purposes but are powerful communication tools that evoke emotions, convey values, and influence purchasing decisions.

To create a logo with a perfect color combination, it's best to hire a designer. However, if you're unsure of what you want your logo to look like, you can use AI-based tools like Image Upscaler to generate ideas.

And remember in this constantly evolving landscape, brand owners and designers need to stay informed, be thoughtful, and use color not just to catch the eye, but to connect, communicate, and captivate. By integrating the findings from psychometric tests into your branding strategy, you can ensure that your use of color goes beyond the surface, making every hue count towards building a deeper connection with your audience.

Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of Stri.us. He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at Stri.us.

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