Any Colour You Like: The Psychology of Colour Associations in Packaging Design

Coloured Carex bottles

Henry Ford is quoted as having said that his Model T cars came in “any colour you like… so long as its black.” This was an odd thing to say as the Model T was available in a choice of colours, but the quote will probably be remembered long after the last Model T has rusted away. Ford understood that colour is important in branding. Some psychologists have even suggested that particular colours have particular associations for different types of shopper. Plastic packaging really can be any colour you like – so what does the colour associated with your brand say about your product?

  • Black: Black oozes sophistication. Shoppers associate black with power and luxury. Apparently, it is very attractive to impulse shoppers. If you want your customer to pick up your product when they are out shopping for something else – opt for black packaging.
  • Red: A physical colour that has associations with both love and war. This is a bold packaging for a bold product
  • Orange: Orange instructs us to do something. Come here and buy me. People associate orange with the relief of physical cravings.
  • Yellow: People tend to have a strong emotional attachment to yellow. The colour of the sun in a child’s drawing. Black letters on a yellow background can be read from the farthest distance. 
  • Green: Green has obvious environmental connotations. The colour of chlorophyll and plant life and spring growth. Green is said to reassure possibly because on some primal level we associate it with water abundance. The Savannah on which our human brain evolved only turned green when the rains came.
  • Blue: As yellow is associated with emotions, so blue is associated with intellect. Banks and building societies often use blue in their branding. Blue is trustworthy.
  • Purple: Purple is associated with wealth. Possibly because it was the most expensive dye to produce in Roman times. These days purple can represent monetary wealth or spiritual wealth.
  • White: Purity and sterility. White is clean and hygienic.

Coloured caps

The Truth About Colour Associations

Psychologists also tell us that our colour associations are cultural. Most Europeans find blue to be soothing, but not the Italians. Because blue is the colour of their national team, they associate it with stressful football matches where lots is at stake. Everyone has colour associations and there may be enough truth in the concept to make it a serious consideration when developing your brand. Plastic is your friend here of course, because plastic packaging can be supplied in all the colours of the rainbow.

If you think that your plastic packaging could be due for a rebranding in light of what you have just read about colour associations, then get in touch. Our product development team have all the expertise you might need at their fingertips. Call us on +44 1692 501020 and we’ll arrange a meeting to discuss your packaging ideas.

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