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The importance of color

in packaging
Key insights from market research

By Susie Stitzel
Solution Manager Brand Owners

In this document, we share some key insights about consumer


perceptions of color and their behavior toward color in packaging. These
findings are based on various market research studies and articles,
including a survey performed by the renowned Pantone Color Institute.
You will see how consumers reactions to color in packaging are an
instinctive process, and how brand owners should use that knowledge
to their benefit in their packaging color palette and in the building of
brand equity.

Table of contents
1. Color: a leading brand asset in
packaging

2. The emotional impact of color

3. Gender and age differences

13

3.1. Color preferences by gender

14

3.2. Color blindness

18

3.3. Age and color perception

19

4. Color in context

22

5. Color in packaging

25

5.1. Color and brand equity

26

5.2. Can a brand own a color?

27

5.3. Attitudes toward packaging



and purchasing behavior

29

5.4. Brand color consistency:



the ultimate challenge

37

6. Building brand equity with color:


a top concern throughout the
packaging supply chain

39

7. Reference list

40

Market research shows that ...

70%
of consumer buying decisions are
made at the shelf

???????

> 65%

5 seconds
is the average decision time

?? ?
?
?
?

?????? ? ?

of purchasing decisions involve color

60%
accept or reject packaging
based on color

80%
cannot tell you why they
make these choices

????? ?

?? ?
?
?
?

1. Color: a leading brand asset in


packaging
While there are many factors that influence how and what consumers
buy, for many the decision making process is based on visual appearance of the products packaging. Of all visual aspects, the strongest and
most persuasive appears to be color. Researchers have found that up to
90% of snap judgments made about products are based on color alone
(Singh 2006). Color is therefore a leading brand asset in packaging it
may be the top asset that consumers use to locate, identify and even
select a product.
Consumers are more likely to identify the color of a package or product
before any other visual feature. The human eye sees color before the
brain can recognize imagery in the form of shapes, symbols, words
or other visual elements (Klimchuk and Krasovec, 2006). Color is the
visual component people remember most about a brand, followed
closely by shapes or symbols, then numbers and finally words (Morton
2012). Kauppinen (2004) compared the impact of three packaging
design elements: color, shape and font. Color had a greater impact on
preferences and conveyed more meanings than either shape or font.
Color distinguishes a products personality, draws attention to its attributes, and enables it to stand apart from its competition in the increasingly chaotic retail environment. Purchasing decisions are often made
because of it (Klimchuk and Krasovec, 2006).
So, what makes people connect with some colors and not others?
And more importantly, what does this mean for packaging design?

2. The emotional impact of color


Does color have the power to elicit emotions? The English language
is full of expressions linking color to emotions. You can be green with
envy, see the world through rose tinted glasses, be red with rage
or sad and feeling blue. Most of the research into color and human
emotion agrees that colors do have an emotional component but
there is conflict about the basis of these emotions. Some researchers
believe that the emotion of color is built-in to the human species an
innate quality from years of evolution. Others believe that factors such as
personal preference, experiences, cultural differences and context play
a much bigger factor (Ciotti, 2014).

Colors have the power to elicit emotions. - Image courtesy of the Logo Company

Researchers Harrington and Lechner (2006) investigated whether color


could be established and measured as an emotional language. They
found that people have consistent emotions that are associated
with certain colors. Overall, people ascribe emotional associations to
Red that are different from those assigned to Blue. Their finding was
consistent across a statistically significant group of people. They also
found that neutral hues of white, black and gray were associated with
negative emotions like grief and boredom.

Strongly
Associated
with
Rage

Not
Associated
with
Boredom

Optimism

Grief

Optimism

Boredom

Serenity

Rage

Serenity

Disgust

Joy
Grief
Serenity
Neutral
Colors

Color

Terror
Optimism
Joy

Boredom

Rage

Boredom

Ecstasy

Chromatic colors are associated with positive emotions, while achromatic colors are associated with
negative emotions.

In general, Harrington and Lechner showed that chromatic colors (the


pure hues) were associated with positive emotions while achromatic
colors were associated with negative emotions.
If achromatic colors elicit negative emotions, then why are White, Black
and Gray used so heavily in technology products from companies like
Apple, HP and Samsung?

Achromatic colors are frequently used in technology products.

A research project by Joe Hallock (2003) found that people heavily


associated these achromatic colors, as well as the color Blue, with the
quality of objects that they purchase. In Hallocks survey respondents
were asked to associate colors with their ideas about product quality.
Cheap and inexpensive
While Orange, Yellow and Brown are all warm colors, they are also
perceived to be Cheap or Inexpensive.

Cheap/Inexpensive

6%

4%

2%

1%

8%

26%

9%

9%

13%

22%

While Orange, Yellow and Brown are all warm colors, they are also perceived to be cheap or inexpensive.

High quality
In contrast, the colors that people associate with High Quality are
Black, then Blue, followed by White and Gray.

High quality

3%

5%

3%

3%
34%

6%

9%

9%

20%

The colors that people associate with high quality are Black, then Blue, followed by White and Gray.

Fun and trust


Hallock also investigated the connection between words that have an
emotional component and the colors that are associated with them.
Consider his results for the words fun and trust:
Fun
5%

2%

6%
28%
16%

17%
26%
Its interesting to compare Fun with Cheap / Inexpensive: both are dominated by the same colors.

Trust
4%

4%

1%

4%
6%

34%

7%

8%

11%

21%

Blue and white are the clear winners for representing trust.

If youre orange or yellow, you may be a lot of fun but no one appears
to trust you.
Its interesting to compare fun with cheap / inexpensive above:
both are dominated by many of the same colors.
Blue and White are the clear winners for representing trust. Take a
look at the brand colors for pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer,
Bausch+Lomb, Alcon, Boehringer Ingelheim, Omega Pharma and UCB
Pharma. These are all companies where trust is critically important and
they all use shades of blue.

If youre orange or yellow, you may be a lot of fun but no one appears to trust you.

10

Lets look at two more examples of emotional words and their color
associations:
Courage and bravery
The words Courage and Bravery show a fairly even split between
Purple and Red, with Blue a close third.
Courage/Bravery
2%
4%

8%

2% 2% 1%

3%

29%

22%

28%
Purple is associated with royal people who have historically been considered courageous and brave.

This association with Purple may be the influence of history and culture.
In many parts of the world, Purple is associated with royalty, and royal
people have historically been considered courageous and brave. In the
United States, the Purple Heart is a medal given to those wounded
or killed in battle. Its impossible to know which came first: is the medal
purple because the color is linked to courage or did the word courage
get linked to purple because the medal is purple?

The Purple Heart is a military decoration given to those wounded or killed in battle. Its purple color could be
linked to courage and bravery.

11

Fear and terror


The results for fear and terror are completely dominated by two colors:
Red and Black. These results are no real surprise as there are many
cultural examples of these colors being linked to these emotions. Traffic
signals and signs that act as warnings are consistently Red all over the
world. And many people associate the color Black with darkness and
evil, both scary concepts in most cultures.

Fear/Terror

4%

3%

2%

2%

1%
41%

4%
5%

38%

In many cultures Red and Black are linked to respectively warning and evil.

These colors may not fit for all product categories and so should be
carefully used in branding and in packaging design.

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3. Gender and age differences


People may well have emotional associations to color but what about
differences between people? It turns out that color preferences vary by
gender and that these preferences for certain colors change as we
age. While people may have different preferences, men and women also
perceive color differently (Singh, 2006). This section looks at differences
between age and gender and has interesting implications for packaging
design. In packaging, its often said that we should know our target
customer but when choosing color, its just as important to know your
target customers color preferences too.

Color preferences vary by gender and preferences for certain colors change as we age.

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3.1. Color preferences by gender


We can sense that there are differences in color preferences between
men and women and the research indicates that this is true. The Pantone
Color Institute (2012) finds that, in general, women are more engaged
with colors than men are:
48% of women agree that they have an emotional response to color
versus 39% of men.

48%

Women
Men

39%
48% of women agree that they have an emotional response to color versus 39% of men.

Furthermore, it appears that women are basing this engagement on


experience. 39% of women, versus 30% of men, agree that colors
remind them of different past experiences both positive and negative.
Women
Men

39%
30%
39% of women, versus 30% of men, agree that colors remind them of different past experiences.

But more importantly, how does this affect packaging? This survey also
found that 75% of women say they take color into consideration when
making product purchases. Men do too, although to a lesser extent
with 62%.
Women
Men

75%
62%
75% of women take color into consideration when making product purchases, whereas 62% of men do.

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Hallock (2003) also researched color differences based on gender. He


asked his survey participants to name their favorite color:
Favorite color
Women

23%

35%

14%

3% 5%

9%

3% 6% 1% 1%

Men

57%

14%

1% 5%

7% 2% 9%

3% 2%

Research supports that blue is a favorite color for many people.

It seems everybody likes Blue, but men appear to like it much more
than women. Other research supports that Blue is a favorite color for
many people. Its an interesting choice since it is often associated with
sadness (back to feeling blue) but its also considered a cold color.
However, multiple studies suggest that people tend to like Blue because
it has a calming and relaxing effect.

People tend to like Blue because it has a calming and relaxing effect.

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For the other colors, there are few real differences between men and
women with the exception of the color Purple. Women in this study
clearly liked Purple much more than men, who did not pick this color at
all (23% for women vs. 0% of men). Think about products that are clearly
aimed at male consumers like tools, shaving supplies and colonge:
these almost never use the color Purple.

Products that are clearly aimed at male consumers almost never use the color Purple.

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People were also asked what colors were their least favorite and these
results show stronger gender differences:
Least favorite color
Women
8% 6%

13%

1% 2%

33%

20%

17%

3%

Men
22%

13%

22%

2%

27%

1% 5% 5%

As expected, men show a strong dislike for Purple. Everyone seems to like Blue and so it barely appears as
a least favorite color.

As expected, men show a strong dislike for Purple. There are many
people, both men and women, who do not like Orange and Brown. There
are also a number of women who do not like Gray. As we saw earlier,
everyone seems to like Blue and so it barely appears as a least favorite
color. Red seems to be somewhere in the middle for most people its
not their favorite color but its not their least favorite either.
Most of the research on color preferences is based on hue what the
color is versus chroma what shade or tint it is. Men seem to prefer bold
colors while women prefer softer colors. Men also preferred shades of
a color a pure color with black added, while women preferred tints
a pure color with white added (Work 2011).

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3.2. Color blindness


Most color vision problems are inherited (genetic) and are present at
birth. Color blindness affects a significant number of people, although it
affects men more often than women. In Australia, for example, it occurs
in about 8 percent of men and only about 0.4 percent of women. In the
United States, about 7 percent of men and 0.4 percent of the women
either cannot distinguish red from green, or see red and green differently
from how others do (Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 2006).
Good graphic design should avoid using color or color contrasts as
the only means to express or differentiate information. This obviously
helps the understanding of colorblind people, but also provides clarity
and understanding for those who are not colorblind. Because most color
blindness is red-green, combinations of red-blue and yellow-blue
are generally considered safe.

Color blind people either cannot distinguish red from green, or see red and green differently from how others do.

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3.3. Age and color perception


With decreasing birthrates and increasing longevity, those over the age
of 60 will be the fastest growing group of consumers for the rest of
this century. In addition, this age group also shops more often and has
more discretionary income. Mature consumers spend less on clothing
and transportation and more on food, beverages and non-prescription
health products than consumers under 60 (Walker and Mesnard, 2011).
This makes the over-60 age group very important consumers for the
packaged goods industry.
Consumers in the over-60 age group often find product packaging
difficult to open, and labeling can be difficult for them to read. The
perception of color by older consumers can be different than for other
consumer groups. Singh (2006) states that the eyes naturally yellow
with age, altering peoples perception of colors. There is additional
research that shows that older people find certain colors difficult to tell
apart in particular, blue and purple appear very similar to the older
consumer. When targeting the older consumer, its a good idea to try
to create visual differentiation for them by using highly contrasting light
and dark colors.

The eyes naturally yellow with age, altering peoples perception of colors.

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Younger consumers are also an important demographic for different


reasons. This internet generation has different perceptions on not
only how they shop but also what the best marketing channels are to
reach them. With busy family lives and less time for leisurely shopping,
younger consumers rely heavily on visual cues, particularly color
cues, when shopping and making purchasing decisions.
There has been literally decades of research on color preferences, dating
back to the 1940s. The evidence seems to indicate that members of
discrete age groups do exhibit collective preferences. If we return to
Hallocks research (2003), he asked his survey participants what color
was their favorite.

Favorite color by age group

0-18 19-24
25-35 36-50 50-69 70+
It seems that as people age, they grow more fond of the colors Blue and Purple, while their preference for
Green and Red decreases.

It seems that as people age, they grow more fond of the colors Blue and
Purple, while their preference for Green and Red decreases.

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People were also asked to name their least favorite colors.


Orange and Brown appear to be the least favorite colors across all age
groups but the dislike of Brown appears to fade with age. Yellow and
Gray are colors that people seem to dislike more as they get older.

Least favorite color by age group

0-18

19-24 25-35

36-50

50-69

70+

Orange and Brown appear to be the least favorite colors across all age groups. Yellow and Gray are colors
that people seem to dislike more as they get older. The dislike of Brown appears to fade with age.

From the available research, its clear that brand and marketing managers should be very careful when making color choices. Make sure
that you consider your consumers age and gender - otherwise your
target market might not experience your logos, advertisements, and
packaging in the way that you intended.

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4. Color in context
Just as important as understanding color associations with emotion,
age and gender is using a color in the right context. Bottomley and
Doyle (2006) showed that a successful relationship between a brand
and a color is linked to the consumers perception of the appropriateness of the color being used for that particular brand. That is, does the
color fit the product or service being sold?
Kauppinens (2004) research on whether the impact of colors is dependent on the context, used 2 examples of pharmaceutical packaging for
pain relief and sore throats. In the sore throat example, results show
that its very important for the color of the package to be consistent
with the product flavor: a Yellow package for honey or lemon flavors and
a Blue package for menthol. The packages where the color and the
taste did not convey shared meanings were perceived negatively, with
participants claiming them to be confusing and conveying conflicting
meanings.

Iits very important for the color of the package to be consistent with the product flavor.

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People also appear to have preferences for certain colors for certain
products. In the case of painkillers, the preference order for colors was
blue, green, yellow, and red. For the sore throat medicine, the order was
yellow, green, blue, and red. This shows that the impact of color can
vary based on category or product class, indicating that the impact of
color is dependent on a products context.

People appear to have color preferences for certain products. In the case of painkillers, the preference order
for colors was blue, green, yellow, and red.

And what about the colors used in the location where the product
or service is sold? Retail store environments decorated in the more
extreme wavelength colors like red and blue are perceived as more
active environments. Consumers also rated store environments more
positively as the wavelength moved from red to blue, with red being
more negative and blue being most positive (Crowley 1993).

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The color Red has been found to stimulate appetite, making it a popular
color choice for fast-food restaurants. In addition, Yellow is an attention
grabber and has also been found to increase appetite. Think about the
most common fast food restaurants many use these colors for the
brand and in the restaurants. In contrast, more formal restaurants often
use Blue to calm and relax their customers encouraging customers
to stay longer. Longer stays mean larger meals, more wine, coffee, or
desserts, and therefore more sales (Singh 2006).

The colors Red and Yellow have been found to stimulate appetite and grab attention, which makes this
combination a popular color choice for fast-food restaurants.

Colors also influence how people perceive the passing of time.


Time seems to pass slowly and objects seem larger and heavier under a
Red light. On the contrary, time seems to pass quite quickly and objects
seem smaller and lighter under Blue light. Casinos take advantage of this
principle they use Red lighting to excite customers while making them
feel that they are not wasting a lot of time in the casino (Singh 2006).

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5. Color in packaging
Manufacturers have recognized the strategic importance of packaging.
Up to 30% of all profit in fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) comes
from new product launches. For new or infrequently purchased products,
the package may be the only source of information about the brands
under consideration (Garber, et al., 2000). The package design, as
an integrated element of the promotional mix, is also an important
carrier of brand equity into the store (Aaker and Biel, 1993).
Now that we know a lot about color preferences and how people
perceive color, lets look at what this means for packaging design.

The package design, as an integrated element of the promotional mix, is also an important carrier of brand
equity into the store.

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5.1. Color and brand equity


A study by Labrecque and Milne (2012) found that purchasing intent
is strongly affected by color due to the impact color has on how the
consumers perceive the brand. Their results confirm that color plays an
important part in driving brand perceptions such as brand personality,
making color a critically important part of building a brand identity.
In the case of new brands, it can be important to specifically target logo
colors that differentiate from established competitors. For example, if the
competition in your category uses the color Red, your brand can stand
out by using the color Blue. Think Coca-Cola red and Pepsi blue while
neither is a new brand, theyre both category leaders with very different brand colors that create an immediate difference between them.
Sometimes its important not to differentiate. Store or private label
brands are a perfect example: they often use the same color, as well
as the same shape, size and even artwork layout, in order to appear
identical to the category leaders. These brands are clearly not striving
for differentiation; theyre trying to look as much as possible like the
major brands.

If the competition in your category uses the color Red, your brand can stand out by using the color Blue.

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5.2. Can a brand own a color?


Most countries recognize color trademarks but the enforcement of
color trademarks can be difficult because the requirements vary from
country to country. Trademarking a color allows a company to use a
particular combination and shade of color in its own industry (Tzatzev,
2012). The words in its own industry are the crucial point: Coca-Cola
cant sue the webshop Target for using a similar red, because they do
not sell competing products. However, a high-end jeweler that uses
Tiffany Blue, Pantone 1837, could be in violation of trademark law
because it sells products in the same industry as Tiffanys.

Pantone
1837
A high-end jeweler that uses Tiffany Blue could be in violation of trademark law because it sells products in
the same industry as Tiffanys.

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Owning a color trademark and defending it are two very different things. In
2004, Cadbury won a trademark on its distinctive purple color (Pantone
2865c) for use on chocolate bars and drinking chocolate. Cadbury had
used the color for nearly 100 years, since its introduction in 1914 as a
tribute to Queen Victoria (reportedly it was her favorite color). Cadburys
competitor Nestl challenged this color trademark in 2008. A preliminary
ruling in 2011 upheld Cadburys color trademark. However, a 5-year
court battle to the UK Court of Appeal ended on October 3, 2013 when
Cadburys exclusive right to use the iconic color was lost. So, even
though Cadbury and Nestl are in the same industry, color trademarks have proven difficult to defend.

Cadburry
The worlds biggest
chocolate candy
producer

VS
Nestl
The worlds biggest food
producer
Color trademarks prove difficult to defend. Even though Cadbury and Nestl are in the same industry,
Cadbury lost the exclusive right to use its iconic color in 2013.

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5.3. Attitudes toward packaging and


purchasing behavior
The research by Garber, et al. (2000) uncovered some interesting facts
about the influence of packaging color on the purchasing behavior of
consumers. This study evaluated four common product categories:
raisins, flour, spaghetti and cereal. They found that for shoppers that are
not loyal to a particular brand, a change in package color can increase
the chance that the brand will be considered. In relatively small and
stable categories like raisins, flour and spaghetti, a package where the
color was changed was more likely to be picked up and purchased
when the meaning it conveyed was consistent with the brands original
positioning.
However, in highly competitive categories like cereal (where it is more
difficult to attract shoppers attention), having a strikingly different package than the competition was more important than consistency of meaning. On the other hand, their results also suggest that if the brand has
a large base of loyal customers, it may be better to retain the original
package or a minor variation, as large changes may reduce brand
identification and confuse existing customers (Garber, et al., 2000).

In highly competitive categories, like cereal, having a strikingly different package than the competition is more
important than consistency of meaning.

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Does packaging actually affect a consumers perception of the products


quality and brand? And how does this affect purchasing behavior?
The Pantone Color Institute (2012) asked their survey respondents what
aspects they consider when making product purchases. More than half
agree that packaging is an important part of any product:

16% strongly agree

39% somewhat agree

Asking the respondents what aspects they consider when making product purchases, half of them agrees
packaging is an important part of any product.

Furthermore, packaging can have an influence on the perception of


the products quality. 50% believe that higher quality products have
higher quality packaging:

15% strongly agree

35% somewhat agree

Half of the respondents feel that higher quality products have higher quality packaging.

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The Pantone Color Institute also found that the package influences
purchasing behavior. 43% consider the look and quality of the packaging:

10% strongly agree


33% somewhat agree

A little under half of the respondents considers the packagings look and quality.

And over a third say that they like to buy products with attractive or
stylish packaging:
9% strongly agree
28% somewhat agree

A little over 1/3 likes to buy products with attractive or stylish packaging.

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Earlier we learned that there are clear color preferences based on age
and gender. The Pantone Color Institute split the results above into
women and men and found that 47% of women consider the look and
quality of a products packaging when making purchasing decisions
while only 39% of men do:

Women
Men

47%
39%
Women consider the look and quality of a products packaging when making purchasing decisions
more then men.

More women (41%) than men (33%) say they like to buy products that
have attractive or stylish packaging:

Women
Men

41%
33%
More then men, women like to buy products with attractive or stylish packaging.

These same results were also split by age, to compare young adults
(18-25 years old) with those 25 years of age and older. Here it seems
that young adults are much more engaged with packaging than
older adults. 64% consider the look and quality of a products packaging when making purchasing decisions, compared to 39% of older
adults:

64%

Ages 18 - 24
Ages 25+

39%
Young adults seem to be much more engaged with packaging than older adults.

And they really like to buy products with attractive and stylish packaging:

55%

Ages 18 - 24
Ages 25+

35%
Young adults like to buy products with attractive or stylish packaging.

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What role does packaging color have to play in purchasing decisions? The
Pantone Color Institute asked questions about purchasing behavior; that is,
what people actually do in the store. When asked which item they choose
from the shelf, 97% of the respondents indicate they always or sometimes
reach past the first product on the shelf to select the product behind.

Do you reach past the first product on the shelf to the product behind?
70% sometimes

27% always

3% never
97% of the respondents indicate they always or sometimes reach past the first product on the shelf to select
the product behind.

People do not select the first item on the shelf if the packaging is discolored.

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In the survey respondents were asked what reason they had for reaching past the first item on the shelf. 56% say they do not select the first
item on the shelf if the packaging is discolored.

Reason for reaching past the first item on the shelf?

81%
If the packaging has been opened and/or re-sealed.

74%
If the packaging is dented.

56%
If the packaging is discolored.

47%
If the packaging looks like it has been handled by someone else.

8%
No reason at all, sometimes I feel like selecting the product behind.

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All of the respondents were asked how likely they were to question the
products quality if the packaging is discolored. 65% felt they would
likely question the quality of a product if the packaging is discolored and therefor avoid purchase.

How likely are you to question the products quality if the


packaging is discolored?

5% never
7% very unlikely

19% very likely

22% somewhat
unlikely

46% somewhat likely

65% felt they would likely question the quality of a product if the packaging is discolored
and therefor avoid purchase.

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What do you think when you see packaging that is not the color that
you expect? Consumers typically believe that unexpected shifts in
brand colors are associated with product quality in some way. They may
believe that the packaging is faded and therefore has been on the shelf
a long time and may be out of date. Consumers may also suspect that
the unexpected color is because the product is counterfeit not the real
brand. In either case, theyre unlikely to buy a product whose packaging color varies from the expected brand color.
Can consumers really tell the difference? Yes, they can. The National
Bureau of Standards estimates that the human eye can distinguish
between more than 10 million colors. This means that the average
consumer can detect even small shifts in brand colors.

The human eye can distinguish between more than 10 million colors. This means that the average consumer
can detect even small shifts in brand colors.

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5.4. Brand color consistency: the ultimate


challenge
All the research reviewed here indicates that using the right color, carefully
chosen for your target customer, can make a big difference in how your
brand is perceived and can drive their purchasing behavior. But, even if
you make the right choices, actually matching those brand colors and
using them consistently throughout the packaging supply chain is
still a huge challenge.
In packaging, we use a wide variety of substrates plastic, metal, glass,
paperboard and corrugated. Some of these substrates are more porous
than others: paperboard and corrugated will absorb ink while the ink sits
on top of metal and is not absorbed at all. The substrate color, or white
point, also varies widely. For example, corrugated is not really white at
all, its brown. Even the same material, like paperboard, can come from
different manufacturers, each with a slightly different white point.
On these substrates, we print with different printing processes like
offset, flexo, letterpress, screen and digital printing. Each of these printing processes uses different types of inks. Some inks are water-based,
some petroleum-based and some digital presses dont use ink at all
because the printing process uses toner.

Packaging uses a wide variety of substrates. Matching brand colors is a huge challenge.

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Multiple suppliers are typically used to print the big volumes of packaging that are required. So, even though we may be using the same
substrates, inks, and printing processes, the plants of a single packaging converter or packaging converting companies in different parts of the
world simply do not all print exactly the same.
Even if we get all the variables under control for one component, for
example a folding carton, theres more to the brand than just that one
package. All the components of the brand - the cartons, pouches, retailready shelf trays, displays, signs, shipping containers - must match each
other when they finally come together at the point of sale.
All of this variability is a huge challenge for the Brand Owner. More than
25% of Brand Owners indicate they frequently encounter color inconsistency or inaccuracy. 42% of Brand Owners indicate that color-related challenges and rework have a negative impact on the company.
51% of Brand Owners indicate that color-related challenges cost the
company $50,000/year or more.

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6. Building brand equity with color:



a top concern throughout the

packaging supply chain
Weve seen that using the right color is important for building a brand
personality. Once that personality is established, using that color
constantly and consistently helps build brand equity, perhaps the most
precious commodity in fast moving consumer goods.
It has been proven that consumers use color as a search key at the
point of sale. If they cant find what theyre looking for or it doesnt look
right, research shows that they will avoid purchasing the product.
In packaging, its important to choose colors carefully. Once selected,
its even more critical that the final package has the right color. Building
brand equity with color takes time and a coordinated effort from all
players in the packaging supply chain.
From marketing and brand managers, to packaging designers, premedia companies, and the packaging converter: color management
should be a top concern from the very beginning right through to the
very end of the supply chain.

Consumers use color as a search key at the point of sale. If they cant find what theyre looking for or it
doesnt look right, they will avoid purchasing the product.

39

7. Reference list
Aaker, D.A. and Biel, A.L. (1993), Brand Equity and Advertising: Advertisings Role in Building Strong
Brands, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates.
Bottomley, P.A. and Doyle, J.R (2006), The interactive effects of colors and products on perceptions
of brand logo appropriateness, Marketing Theory, March 2006, Volume 6, No. 1: 63-83.
Ciotti, G. (2014), The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding, Entrepreneur.com,
www.entrepreneur.com/article/233843
Crowley, A.E. (1993), The Two-Dimensional Impact of Color on Shopping, Marketing Letters 4:1: 59-69.
DePillis, L. (2013), The color purple: Not just for Cadbury anymore, The Washington Post,
www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/04/the-color-purple-not-just-forcadbury-anymore/
Garber, L.L., Burke, R.R. and Jones, J.M. (2000), The Role of Package Color in Consumer Purchase
Consideration and Choice, Marketing Science Institute, Working Paper Report No. 00-104.
Hallock, J. (2003), Color Assignment, www.joehallock.com/edu/COM498/index.html
Harrington, L. and Lechner, A. (2006), Red! I am in Love, I am Enraged: A note on the risk of eliciting
negative emotions, LH Color White Papers.
Kauppinen, H. (2004), Colours as Non-Verbal Signs on Packages, Swedish School of Economics
and Business Administration, Publications of the Swedish School of Economics and Business
Administration, Nr 139.
Klimchuk, M.R. and Krasovec, S.A. (2006), Packaging Design Successful Product Branding from
Concept to Shelf, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Labrecque, L.I. and Milne, G.R. (2012), Exciting red and competent blue: the importance of color in
marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 40: 711-727.
Morton, J. (2012), Color and Branding, ColorMatters.com, www.colormatters.com/color-andmarketing/color-and-trademarks/62-color-a-marketing/240-color-a-branding
Pantone Color Institute / Leatrice Eiseman (2012), unpublished survey of 1000 respondents of various
age, gender and demographic locations.
Singh, S. (2006), Impact of color on marketing, Management Decision, Vol. 44 Iss: 6, pp.783 789.
Tzatzev, A. (2012), 10 Colors That Might Get You Sued, Business
www.businessinsider.com/colors-that-are-trademarked-2012-9?op=1

Insider.com,

Walker, M. and Mesnard, X. (2011), What Do Mature Consumers Want?, Global Business Policy
Council, A.T. Kearney, Inc.
Work, S. (2011), True Colors Breakdown of Color Preferences by Gender, KISSmetrics,
https://blog.kissmetrics.com/gender-and-color

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