What colors on a shelf of products draw the consumer’s eye in first? What colors do consumers respond to? What colors aggravate the consumer? As one would assume, color plays a huge role in advertising. But what colors work best and which hues should you avoid?

The following statistics display survey results that confirm color’s importance in consumers’ purchasing thought processes. The three data were obtained from designerscouch.com.

It is also important to note that color has the potential to increase brand recognition. Examples of this are Tiffany & Co’s signature blue or Coca Cola’s timeless red. If a consumer is given a card with only the color of either of these brands on it, it is very likely that he/she would be able to name the brand that it associates with.

So how does a company without a previously established signature shade choose a color for its packaging?

The first thing to understand about each color is the connotation it brings to a product and how it can be used in marketing. Below are two charts that explain each basic color’s understood meaning and the industries that frequently use them to their advantage. The first chart was created from my own experience, and the second is from an outside source.

Colors can also be used in combinations, or palettes, to attract a certain type of consumer. Designercouch.com provided the following palettes and their typical uses.

Colors can have three different effects on the consumer. A basic explanation and examples for each are as follows:

1. Psychological Effects:

Colors can have psychological effects on the consumer when they are literally or abstractly related to the product. For example, an article from Color Matters notes that “green is frequently used in packaging of organic, healthy and natural products because of the association with trees, grass and nature.”

2. Aesthetic Effects

Aesthetic effects occur when the color or combination of colors used is pleasing to the consumer’s eye. An example of this can be seen in many beauty products, such a shampoos or cosmetics. The color combination can also effect the perception of size and weight by using black, for example, to make a product look more slender or lightweight.

3. Visual Effects

This concept is rather simple. As discussed in previous entries, colors can be attention-grabbing, receding, or chaotic. Additionally, this effect applies to the legibility of the copy on a package because some color combinations risk making the text illegible. On the other hand, there are a few instances in which your brand may benefit from colors that clash or communicate chaos.


The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is the most commonly used color system in the world. Because it is way too complex and scientific to include in this article, I will simply leave a link to a brief description. To learn more about the steps designers take to create a finite color, visit http://www.designbig.com/news.php?page=1&colormatchingsystems-4

[Scroll over an image for its source]

Color Matching Systems. (2011). Retrieved from Big Design, Inc. website: http://www.designbig.com/news.php?page=1&colormatchingsystems-4

Infographic of the Day: How Color Affects Purchases. (2010, September 3). Designers Couch. Retrieved 2010, from Designers Couch website: http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/ASoUbq/designerscouch.org/view-log/infographic-of-the-day-how-color-affect-purchase-1484

Morton, J. (2008). Who Owns Hues? In Color Matters. Retrieved from J.L. Morton website: http://www.colormatters.com/color_trademark.html

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