A Guide to Selecting the Right Color Scheme for Your Packaging

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Are you stuck in choosing a packaging color? Discover how to select a color scheme for your product packaging design with our guide. Also, appreciate the different cases of successful and unsuccessful color choices in packaging design.

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Last Updated on October 20, 2023 by Packoi Team

Consumers’ first physical interaction with a business is not with the items but with the product packaging. This interaction is vital, and the packaging must be attractive enough to attract customers’ attention. It only takes a few seconds for a customer to choose one out of many products they haven’t used before, just based on the attractiveness of the packaging. The perceived quality of a product is based on the packaging design.

colours packaging design

When it comes to packaging design, there are several elements you need to keep in mind. Color is one factor that seems insignificant at first glance but greatly influences consumers’ buying patterns. Packaging colors have a considerable impact on overall brand loyalty. Therefore, choosing packaging colors is key to making your brand design stand out from competitors.

This blog post will provide an overview of the role of color in retail packaging, a step-by-step guide, and tools for choosing the right color scheme. Also, the article will give real-life examples of successful and unsuccessful color choices in packaging design.

The purpose of this article is to guide packaging designers and brand managers in choosing packaging colors for different package designs.

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Understanding the Role of Color in Packaging

The significance of color is considerable, especially in branding, where some amount of science is involved in picking the ideal hue. Colors influence customers’ perceptions of the product. For this reason, some brands spend a lot of money and time picking the right color palette for branding, but others choose randomly based on their preferences.

1. What is Color Psychology?

Color psychology refers to how some colors influence human behavior and emotions. The influence of these colors on human psychology is involuntary. Therefore, packaging color psychology refers to the scientific selection of brand colors to trigger specific consumer behaviors toward selecting products. Because the main objective when designing packaging is to attract consumers, color psychology is very important in choosing the right hue. At the same time, It is an important component of color theory. If you’re interested in color theory, you can read about it.

color for product packaging

Your packaging colors affect consumers’ perceived product quality and brand personality. But how these colors invoke perceptions varies from one person to another based on factors like age, gender, and cultural preferences. Some color associations are known to be universal, as well as their perception. For example, we often associate the color red with love and anger, while blue packaging and green packaging connect to peace and calmness. That’s how color psychology impacts the human perception of different color associations.

2. How Color Can Influence Brand Perception

Color is a visual representation that speaks a lot about the brand and its values. It is not coincidental that major brands like Coca-Cola and Lego use the color red, while Twitter, Facebook, and IBM use blue as their superior brand color.

Lego with color red packaging

Well, these brands use a well-calculated marketing strategy in choosing color combinations to improve their effectiveness in persuading potential customers through advertising. The different color palettes these companies use help enhance their brand identity and product positioning. This is especially important to make your brand design stand out from competitors with a unique identity.

Consumers perceive different brands differently based on the color palette they use in packaging. Brand identity is a depiction of the company’s values. How a company interacts with customers and their impression of customers to perceive things differently clearly depicts brand personality. Therefore, choosing specific colors is increasingly important as it influences brand identity. Brands use certain colors that make logos and packaging easily recognizable. Based on different color psychology among individuals, here are some of the common perceptions of different colors:

different product packaging colors

  • Food and beverages: the commonly used food packaging color is red. Green is used for natural foods and is a depiction of eco-friendly products. Healthy and filling foods like oats use an orange color palette, while blue packaging is used for fun foods.
  • Cosmetics – Bright colors like pink are associated with femininity and are common with cosmetics packaging targeting female customers, whereas blue packaging is used for male cosmetics.
  • Electronic products: white, grey, and black packaging colors are common in electronic packaging.
  • Luxurious items: expensive items may use white or purple packaging with some darker shades that give a premium appearance. On the other hand, lighter shades are used for packaging lively, energetic, and inexpensive products. Darker purple packaging is the opposite.

These are just some consumers’ universal perceptions of brands based on their branding color choice. With consumer preferences being the core driver of decision-making in every company, the right packaging color palette can significantly reinforce your brand’s image.

How to Choose a Color Scheme: A Step-by-step Guide

Building a brand that is recognizable in the market is not easy. It requires a lot of consideration and tools for it to succeed. Choosing colors for your packaging is one of the key considerations. Here are the steps to help you choose the right colors for your packaging and create a reliable brand identity among customers.

1. Define Your Brand Identity

brand colours packaging

Brand identity represents the values you stand for. It is important to know how you want to engage with your customers. The right colors for your product have a huge role in influencing your customer’s purchasing decisions. It is through packaging colors brands can communicate their brand voice. Defining your business values and your brand’s specific goals can help you choose your core brand colors.

2. Understand Your Target Audience

Your target market comprises different characteristics that may affect your business. The target audience, defined by age group, gender, literacy, and economic stability, can help you know the right colors for your product. Also, various colors have different cultural meanings attached to them. So, it is wise to know the cultural preferences of your target audience before choosing packaging colors. The color you choose for package design must align with the consumer’s requirements and preferences.

3. Analyze Your Competitors

unique branding colors

A good branding company, through a branding strategy, will analyze its competitors and unique branding colors to stand out from the competition rather than blending with them.

4. Consider Product and Industry Trends

The packaging design should speak volumes about the quality of the product. We are now familiar with how packaging color depicts the quality of the items and its power to influence consumers’ psychology in purchasing decisions. It is quite important for the packaging color to give a slight idea about the product. For instance, a shampoo bottle with green packaging indicates its natural components. This will evoke the attention of customers looking for organic cosmetic products to make a purchase.

Market trends are also crucial in making brand decisions, especially on certain colors that are used differently, and can greatly impact customer purchasing patterns.

5. Testing Color Schemes

color symblize

Knowing what colors symbolize is not enough. Incorporating a sense of harmony in packaging colors is especially important. Testing different color schemes to determine which can work for your branding is important. You can test color schemes by:

  • Know what you want to present to consumers: The mood or attribute your consumers should receive from the packaging colors. e.g., for passion and energy, use the color red or yellow packaging, whereas for peace and calmness, use blue or green shades, and more.
  • Color context: how you want consumers to perceive the packaging color.
  • Refer to the color wheel: select different color schemes to see what stands out. Here, the aim is to choose the right colors for creating packaging.
  • Draft multiple designs: drafting several designs on your website will help you know which color palette stands out.
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Tools and Resources for Choosing a Color Scheme

Crafting the right color combination for your packaging is crucial, as it has a greater impact on brand recognition and consumers’ purchasing patterns. You can use various tools to find the right color scheme for packaging design. While the color wheel plays a significant role in finding the best combination, digital tools are useful for selecting high-contrast color schemes that make design elements instantly noticeable. These digital tools include:

packaging colors brands

How design professionals can assist in the process

Selecting colors for your packaging is sometimes challenging, especially when starting out. Design professionals usually have expert information on the best colors for various packaging materials. Collaborating with an expert will give you rich information regarding color schemes based on the kind of product and customers you are dealing with.

Case Studies

The visual elements or color scheme of your packaging design can either enhance your product package or fail to offer the desired elegance. Here are some real-life examples of successful and unsuccessful color implementation:

1. Successful Packaging Design

Coca-Cola: Red color scheme

Red color scheme

With its iconic red color palette, the company has built a huge brand identity globally. They apply the red color scheme not only to their packaging but also to their advertising, merchandise, and trucks. This has been a successful branding that most companies are struggling to match.

2. Unsuccessful Packaging Design

Sephora is one of the leading cosmetic brands. The company opted for black and white instead of using colors associated with beauty, like pink and blue. The designs were received with mixed reactions by consumers. This is because black and white are colors associated with quite different things.

Sephora color design

3. Lessons Learned from These Case Studies

  • Being consistent with your color palette is vital to your brand recognition. Coca-Cola has consistently used Red as its main branding color for many years.
  • Sephora’s choice to use black and white packaging does not meet consumer needs, and in most cultures, black packaging is associated with mourning. This does not depict what the brand sells to its customers.


The ideal color palette for packaging design can evoke consumers’ attention to your product and persuade them to purchase it. Understanding the different colors of packaging and how they affect customer perception and identity of your brand. We hope this guide will help you choose the right colors for your packaging solutions.

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Hey there, I’m Shelly!

I really enjoy the packaging and printing industry because my work makes my clients’ products more beautiful and enjoyable. If you have any questions about packaging and printing, feel free to contact me!

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