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Three Smart Ways to Use Color on Packaging

Colors make a connection with shoppers instantly.

When you use colors on your packaging that appeal to your target customers, you can immediately grab their attention and create an emotional response to help increase your brand awareness. We've got three quick tips to help you choose the right colors and the perfect combination that your customers will respond to.

Tip #1: Find the right color balance to represent your brand

Color balance is essential to a great design. But too many colors can make it complicated to achieve a good balance. Try using a color wheel to help visualize the effect of using a monochromatic (one color) palette or a combination of multiple colors.

Below are some examples of how you can use the color wheel to select your brand colors.

Using the color wheel.

Using the color wheel. The color wheel shows relationships between various colors. Many designers use the color wheel to visualize color schemes for their projects.

Monochromatic color
Use three different values of the same color scheme.

Complementary Colors
Choose two colors directly opposite each other on the color wheel.

Select three colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel.

Pick three colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel to form a triangle.

Try using variations of your color scheme that can represent different product offerings under your brand. But make sure and keep a consistent style. Consider switching it up to communicate a different flavors, scents or other special features your product line offers to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Tip #2: Create an emotional response

Make a powerful impression.

Make a powerful impression. This candy bar wrapper shows how premium photo-quality printing services can make the colors on your product packaging materials pop.

Do you ever get hungry when you see the color orange? Or feel calm when you see sky blue? Colors can affect people’s emotions and their perceptions of your brand and its personality.

How do people respond to your brand?

How do people respond to your brand? The colors you choose can instantly communicate a lot about your brand and its personality. See examples of cosmetics labels.

Here are some common color perceptions to consider when designing your labels.

  • Red: Confident, Strong
  • Orange: Energetic, Youthful
  • Yellow: Happy, Friendly
  • Green: Health, Freshness
  • Blue: Calm, Trustworthy
  • Purple: Royal, Luxurious
  • Black: Powerful, Sophisticated
  • White: Pure, Minimalistic
Factors that impact color.

Factors that impact color. The materials, varnish or laminate you select can also affect the overall appearance of color on your packaging.

Tip #3: Know your competition and test how your brand colors compare

Do you know what your product marketplace looks like? Do some research, check out your competition and consider these factors:

  • Display: How will your product be displayed—on a shelf or table, or in a bin? Make sure the colors and design of your product label will be clearly visible from any angle.
  • Differentiation: Use colors that make your product label and packaging stand out from the rest of the pack.
  • Niche:Spotlight what makes your product unique right on the label for customers to see with a bright bold callout.
  • Trends: Showcase with varied colors what your product does to meet the current needs or trends.

Being flexible and being able to update colors or create new product labels online, makes it simple to always keep your packaging up to date and on trend.

When you’ve finally decided on a few color options, test them out. Create your label design with different colors, making sure the text on the label is easy to read. Then, simply order a couple sheets of each label and mock up your products. Test the variations family, friends, neighbors and consumers to get their feedback. Then fine tune your design until you get the right colors that will appeal to your target consumer.

To learn more about file requirements, color palettes and layouts for your labels check out our artwork guidelines .

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