Colours have a powerful effect on human emotions. Often we are not aware of this process happening, but it is ever-present. Subtle changes in the decor of a room can have a profound impact upon how we feel, both good and bad. The use of colour on product packaging also affects us, and for manufacturers an understanding of how this works is crucial to designing effective packaging. Get it right and sales can increase; get it wrong and they can plummet.
With an increasingly competitive marketplace, and difficult economic conditions, companies are looking to gain an advantage by using psychology to improve their packaging and labels. Some spend huge sums of money to get it right.
Colours and text
Research has determined that the right mix of colours can improve our mood – green is relaxing and can cut blood pressure, blue represents happiness and security and so on. These colours are widely used on product packaging, but often brighter colours attract attention. For example, orange reflects hunger and vitality, yellow is optimistic and encourages spontaneity, both of which are ideal for marketers. Red is a colour associated with danger but can also represent passion and warmth.
It is a difficult balance to strike for companies who want their products to stand out, but for the right reasons. Usually it will depend on the product. For example, household products will often make use of comforting and relaxing colours to make connections between the product and the ideal home which people are striving for. On the other hand, children’s toys such as cars use bold, bright packaging to make 紙盒 the product look exciting and fun.
As with colour, the use of text on packaging will show the nature of the product. For business related items, formal fonts, often in black, convey efficiency and effectiveness. In the entertainment industry, the emphasis is on fun and excitement with more creativity. Unusual fonts in bright colours are usually favoured.
Other factors, in store and out
Getting the right blend is vital – it is no good mixing background colours which convey one message with fonts which suggest another. There are a number of online tools which for designing colour schemes, such as Adobe’s Kuler, desktop applications and even mobile apps, making it easier than ever for small businesses to experiment with and test different styles.
Retailers also play their part in affecting the psychology of shoppers with the design of their store interiors and layouts. Supermarkets use psychological insight when it comes to devising their store layouts – essential items such as bread and milk are kept as far from the store entrance as possible because hundreds of other product’s visibility increases as shoppers walk past them.