Whether it’s a distinctive logo or a product label, color plays a huge role in product printing design. It’s no wonder. Psychologists have long researched the impact color makes on human emotions, and have discovered that it makes a major impact on customers’ buying decisions.
Companies who put these researchers’ insights into color theory to work for them during the product printing process have the edge when it comes to shelf appeal. It pays to become aware of all the nuances color psychology brings to the table when businesses want to bring a new product to market or rebrand an older product.
Color Awareness: Not Only for Printing Services and Designers
Brands themselves—particularly their marketing and sales teams must not leave color theory awareness to their printing services and designers. While most companies outsource the actual work to printing firms, their decision-makers should play a major role in choosing the colors that will represent their brand to the world.
Here are some color psychology principles no brand should ignore:
Basic Principles of Color Theory
Color, contends Inc’s Larry Kim, is even a more critical element in brand design than even logo shape, font, or size. In fact, he points out, it can even affect conversion rates.
That fact arises out of colors’ ability to generate feelings. Color psychology researchers have discovered that the wrong color can convey the exact opposite message that a brand wants to convey, while the perfect color can make an otherwise humdrum message go viral.
In fact, as Kim points out, almost 85% of all consumers say that color is the primary reason they buy a certain product. We would agree. Although we—nor would any other printing services companies we know–would never advise our customers to request an unreadable font for a sign, we’ve seen cases in which a sign’s color even overcame hard-to-read lettering.
How Colors and Color Combinations Affect Customers
Each individual color makes a predictable impact on the average customer’s emotions. When a label uses the visual impact of colors in combination however, they can have a more complex effect on buying habits.
Individual Colors’ Impact on Customers’ Buying Preferences
- Green: Green evokes a sense of calm creativity. Because green is a sign of new growth—of springtime—this nature-linked color stimulates people to become more productive, get in touch with nature, think outside the box, create something, or invest more money. Think green when you want to create an effective bank logo, a label for a natural iced tea, or a box for a child’s learning toy.
- Red: Red lessens the brain’s ability to think analytically while heightening emotions. Whether it’s the panic you see when a red light is in your rear-view mirror or your grade-school teacher’s angry comments on your third-grade essay, the color can evoke panic and anger. However, it can also create both an all-consuming desire to have something (or someone)—and patriotic fervor—both feelings that go straight to the heart. Look at a typical can of Coke. A buyer knows the stuff inside isn’t all that good for him or her—but they grab it anyway. Printing services, therefore, often advise their clients to wrap candy and other goodies in a package whose label includes red—to grab the impulse buyers. It’s often a favorite color, too, for packages that hold national flags, fireworks, or other patriotic items. Of course, it’s a perfect choice for Valentine’s Day candy labels.
- Blue: All across the world, blue is by far the most popular color when surveys ask people about their favorite color. Psychologists trace its popularity to humankind’s ancestors’ good vibes when they saw a blue sky on harvest day or a body of water after a long trip on a hot day. For today’s product printing design professionals, blue is often their choice when they want the product to create trust. It’s one of the most popular colors for family cars, and a good choice for a lawyer’s logo—or a politician’s yard sign.
- Yellow: Yellow—like red—has both positive and negative effects. It’s warm, sunny, full of energy, and happy—which is why breakfast king Denny’s and gas stations—make good use of it on their signs. It does, however, lead to visual fatigue, so although it’s great on road signs, logos, and candy bar labels, it wouldn’t work so well for Denny’s menu background or the nutritional information section on a candy bar label.
- Orange: Orange both stimulates appetites and creates the good-vibes feeling that comes from a good value. For that reason, retailers like Home Depot use it to convey a sense of value, while candy and beverage makers put the color to good use on product labels. Restaurants use pops of orange here and there to create a hearty appetite among diners.
- Pink: Pink has calming, soft energy, which makes it a natural for labels for products whose target customers are primarily female. For a bottle of women’s cologne or a hangtag on a frilly piece of lingerie, a label-maker can’t go wrong with pink.
- Black: Black conveys sophistication, boldness, and strength. It’s a perfect choice for product labels for luxury products, menswear and accessories, and labels for bold-tasting beverages. In excess, though, it can evoke a sense of depression—even mourning in countries whose mourning clothes are traditionally black. Against a light background, though—text written in black stamps authority on whatever you write.
- White: The color of purity in some cultures and mourning in others, white can lend a sense of serenity and purity for products who bear white labels, while in excess—like its counterpart black, it can create a sense of emptiness and loneliness. For labels on wedding décor—it’s perfect since Americans associate the color with bridal dresses. It’s also a great background for text because it helps the text stand out. Even more importantly, because it gives a sense of spaciousness, white makes an excellent color to separate blocks of text, allowing the viewer’s eye to rest.
- Brown: A earthy, solid-feeling color, brown is a good color to use on labels for cereals, masculine scents, and natural grains. Too much brown, though, and you’ll bore your customers. Of course, if you’re selling chocolate, brown is the perfect color, as Hershey’s and Snickers know.
- Purple: The symbol of wealth and royalty from ancient times until now, this color still evokes those feelings in people who see it on labels. Whether a deep burgundy-accented label on a rare wine or a velvet cushion on which a diamond bracelet rests, purple creates a feeling of wealth among consumers.
Colors in Combination Pack on the Psychological Power
Think of the cheery red-and-green you see on every storefront over the holidays. There’s a reason why these colors evolved to the perfect background for the season of overspending. Remember how we pointed out how red short-circuits the analytic portion of the brain? Combined with the productivity-stimulating power of green, is it any wonder that people go on marathon shopping sprees when those colors are in every shop window?
Other colors have similar power in combination. Coca-Cola, for instance—combines pure white with its analytic stoplight, red—for a beverage that they want consumers to believe is not only tasty, but pure. Sprite, the beverage giant’s other flagship product, combines yellow and green to convey a sense of sunny happiness and nature’s green. They attract buyers from clear across the store for a glass of liquid sunshine, even though there’s not much natural about the beverage.
When you need the perfect color combination for your product labels or other packaging, the design experts at Nova Custom Printing team can help you create a label that will sell. Reach out to us today!