When a consumer shops for products, more often than not, there is no sales representative to guide them in making a purchase. So how do consumers make choices? The answer is simple: visually.

Kelly Kovack of Brand Growth Management serves on the executive board of the Color Association of America, and is an expert of what colors communicate, and (even more importantly) what they don’t communicate.

Like what you’ve read? Come see Kelly speak with representatives from Tarte Cosmetics and Amika at our “Color Your World: Your Brand in Colorconference, taking place on Sunday, July 22nd, from 1:00-3:00pm.








Color is a non-verbal form of communication that provides visual cues to the consumer that can signal action and influence mood. It’s a meaningful constant for sighted people and a power psychological tool. The use of color can send a positive or negative message, encourage sales, calm a crowd or increase enthusiasm. In fact, research has shown that 60% of consumer purchases are based purely on color. While this behavior may be based on an unconscious rather than a conscious decision, it’s powerful information that should instill the use of color as a strategic tool rather than a decorative whim. Used strategically, color can have many roles in developing a brand’s visual language that furthers differentiation in the marketplace.

In the hierarchy of human visual perception, color is the first element that the consumer perceives on a package, followed by shape, numbers and finally words. Great brands exploit this hierarchy again and again to create a winning visual language that engages the consumer, differentiates it from the competition and influences purchases and trial.
A brand is a promise between the customer and the company, and color is an inextricable element in that equation. One of the most iconic examples of a brand owning color that connects with consumers on a functional and emotional level and translates it into brand equity is Tiffany & Co. The particular shade of “robin egg” blue or registered trademark Pantone 1837 over time, has become so closely identified with the brand that it is often called Tiffany Blue. The sight of that little blue box evokes an emotional response that is very real and silently whispers “Tiffany’s” before it’s opened. This color association has real value and is an asset that the brand takes great care to protect.

Color is also employed as a versioning or segmentation strategy within a portfolio of products to denote different flavors, scents, or conditions. In certain categories, color versioning norms are so prevalent that some colors are inextricably tied to the flavor or scent of the product. It’s important to recognize these benchmarks in the package development process to ensure your leveraging color as a communication tool.

Retail environments are visually complex and consumers are inundated with visual information. Do the colors in your logo, package design and website differentiate your brand and communicate the message you want? If not, it may be time for a color makeover.

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