Transform your Packaging with Colour

Using Colour to Enhance your Packaging (blog and webinar)

Meaning of Colours

This article contains the highlights from the recent webinar entitled “Transform your Packaging with Colour”. The four speakers are discuss how important colour is in packaging. They agree that colour is the single most important decision in packaging design, ahead of the shape of your packaging and any text on the packaging. The “value” or meaning of each colour is also analysed.
Speakers included:
Ronald de Vlam, Founder of Webb deVlam
David Luttenberger, CPP Global Packaging Directory at Mintel
Charles Murray, President of North American Inks at Sun Chemical
Tom Apple, Regional Sales Manager at Windmoeller & Hoelscher
Ronald de Vlam, Founder of Webb deVlam

Ronald di Vlam founder of the Webb de Vlam design agency began by saying that colour can communicate without any words. He gave the example of traffic lights which of course communicate to us by colour only. He also stated that our sense of taste is affected by colour. He gave the example of studies that showed that strawberry mousse from a white container tasted 10% sweeter than from a container of a different colour. Also, consumer studies showed consumers tastes were affected by colour – coffee from a clear-coloured cup did not taste as “robust” as the same coffee from a white container.

Colour is interpreted differently in different cultures.For example, in China yellow is a colour associated with an emperor and royalty whereas in Europe, yellow is a colour that we see on warning traffic signs and tell us to pause and take stock.


The Importance of Colour in Carton and Sleeve Design

Mr di Vlam emphasised the colour is the most important thing in packaging impact, shapes are second and numbers come third.Colour is so important that in 2012, Cadburys patented the purple of their Dairy Milk chocolate bars, Pantone 2685c

He goes on to talk about what each colour conveys – such as brown conveying reliability as is used in the UPS logo.

Colour is as always used to segment brands into different product types.He advises vigorous testing of colour types when testing new packaging designs.

David Luttenberger, CPP Global Packaging Directory at Mintel

David Luttenberge’rs presentation was entitled “The Mindful use of Colour for Packaging”. He explains what Mintel does – they survey consumers and find out what and why they buy the products and services that they consume at a very detailed level.

Mr Luttenberger asks what connects a consumer to a particular package? He stressed that packaging designers and companies that use packaging for products must put their packaging to what he called the “packaging litmus test.” This litmus test involves answering the following question. “ Our packaging makes are consumers lives……………..?” He advises that the packaging should make the consumer’s lives easier in any way it can (solutions-based packaging).
For example, does it make their lives safer (better usage or storage instructions may be?), easier, (easier to read instructions, easy to understand reuse or recycling instructions? ) or better in some way. He suggests that to date there has been a big emphasis on disruptive packaging – packaging that stops a consumer in their tracks as they walk down the retail aisle but it doesn’t help solve any problem for the consumer.

He also says that brands that tone down the retail aisle “colour noise” are getting noticed as consumers aim for more decluttered lifestyle. He recommends that brands use colour wisely, for example, use a colour splash to highlight an important product function or something extra or important that the packaging does rather than using a colour to attract attention to the packaging only. He gives examples of brands, such as Campbell’s Soup that he thinks uses colour well because colour helps identify the flavour type.

Colour Values

He then talks about colour value.
Blue is associated with water, health, hygiene, wellness, responsibility to the planet, serenity.

He describes Red as a hungry colour,(many restaurants use red in their branding) and says it is associated with comfort, identity, indulgence, determination,, personalisation, masculinity.

Purple can be either very spiritual or royal – he associates it with courage, curiosity, nonconformity, status.
Green is one of the most over used packaging, he states and is associated with balance, freshness, renewal, vitality and youth.

Brown is associated with comfort, security, stability, trust and environment.

He advises that orange should be used prudently as people either love or hate the colour orange. He associates the colour orange with collaboration, energy, sharing, unabashed fun, caution.

Yellow is associated with happiness, passion, self actualisation, style and vitality. He states that yellow is often used in the packaging of products aimed at the children’s market.

Pink is associated with indulgence, playfulness, privacy, romance, fun and it is more strongly associated with products for young girls, tweens and teens (but not women).

White is associated with balance, honesty, calmness, simplicity and thrift. He likes white in packaging design as he feels it helps consumers to feel calmer in today’s busy shopping world.

Finally, he describes black as the “badass” colour. It is strong enough to work as a background with other colours splashed on it. He associates black with attitude, affluence,coolness, subversion and prestige.
Charles Murray, President of North American Inks at Sun Chemical

Charles Murray began by outlining the challenges for brand owner and packaging manufacturers (converters) as shown below. He stated that his career had started in food manufacturing and at that time, his priority was to get his food products to “jump off the retail shelves”. Later, he moved into packaging manufacture where his priorities changed to achieving efficient press room production. At present, he works in ink manufacture.

He showed the challenges and how he addressed them by finding supply partners as shown in the following slides.

Packaging Colour challenges slide

Addressing colour challenges slide
He emphasised the importance of getting consistent packaging printing across different regions around the world. He cited again the example of the Cadburys purple – he stated that that particular purple shade – PMS 2685c is so strongly associated with Cadburys that if a consumer was to see that shade anywhere, they will immediately think of Cadburys and chocolate. He feels that all parties – packaging designers, packaging “conceptualizers”, packaging manufacturers and brand owners must work together in coming up with packaging designs that look good and can be manufactured with consistent quality.

Starting a Packaging Project – Start by talking to Your Carton Manufacturer

This is something with which we at Dollard Packaging would agree wholeheartedly – speak to us at Dollard Packaging before you start your packaging project, before you start discussions with an artwork designer. This is because the structure of the carton or sleeve must be correct before the artwork can be created. See our previous blog on this topic.

Tom Apple, Regional Sales Manager at Windmoeller & Hoelscher
Windmoeller & Hoelscher are a manufacturer of printing presses. Tom Apple spoke in detail about new innovations in printing press technology that allow print press operators to achieve consistent colour quality. This technology means that press operators can use software to monitor all aspects of the ink and colour quality for every job. In the past, he stated, print operators had often to rely on intuition and visual matching only to achieve colour consistency during a job and between repeat runs of the same job.

You can view the webinar recording here.