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How to Effectively Use Color in Your Label Design

Color Theory

When building your brand and designing your packaging, it’s imperative to get some Color Psychology knowledge under your belt. A study shows that consumers decide whether or not to buy a product in 90 seconds, and 62-90% of that assessment is based on color alone. It’s clear that the colors used in marketing influence perceptions, evoke emotions, and drive decisions–so every choice made here can make or break your success!

Whether you’re refreshing your product label design or starting from scratch, this guide will give you the insights you need for choosing the colors that best represent your product.

Red – For products that excite!

The bold color of love and fiery passion, red ignites a strong feeling of warmth and strength. Just like in our daily lives (think red lights and stop signs), red can also signal urgency and danger. Either use of the color red certainly evokes a strong reaction, so using too much of it in your design can quickly create a sense of overbearing. 

The very sight of the color red can raise blood pressure and speed up metabolic and respiration rates, making it a very common color among food and beverage packaging. While the brighter shades of red convey high energy, the darker shades or maroon and burgundy can signify elegance and royalty. 

Common Industry Uses: Lifestyle & Entertainment, Food & Beverages, Electronics, Oil & Gas, Real Estate, Airlines, Courier Services.

Orange – For brands that bring balance!

By its nature, orange is a warm relational color, but much less overbearing than red. Strongly associated with movement, balance, creativity, and enthusiasm, orange is a great alternative to grab attention in a more approachable and inviting way.

This color has been shown to increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, which is good for creating curiosity and interest in your product. Similarly to red, orange can also inspire food purchases but is more often used in healthy and nutritious options because of its association with the fruit.  

Common Industry Uses: Sporting Goods, Outdoor Recreational Equipment, Home Improvement & Construction, Food & Beverages, Health & Vitality Products, Vitamins, Pharmaceuticals.

Yellow – For products that inspire!

Yellow, another warm and stimulating color, evokes feelings of happiness, cheerfulness, and optimism. 

In its brightest, purest form, the color yellow can stimulate mental activity, aid in decision making, and trigger a release of serotonin in the brain, which is key to cultivating a happy mood. For these reasons, yellow is often paired with the color red in food products to join those powerful feelings of hunger and happiness.

Culturally, yellow has also been used as a sign of caution, making it a great color for warning labels and products with powerful chemicals. 
Common Industry Uses: Food & Beverage Industry, Cleaning Products, Oil & Gas.

Green – For products that relax!

The color of nature, green is the easiest color for the human eye to process and slows down the metabolism to evoke a sense of calm. Most closely associated with the Spring season, green symbolizes growth, harmony, and new beginnings. 

Green is a great choice if your product communicates vitality and long life. All-natural, organic, and environmentally-safe products are often marketed with sprawling shades of green. 

Also known as the color of money, green has come to signify wealth and luxury. Dark greens can imply wisdom and prosperity (especially when accented by silver or gold) and are frequently used by banks and finance companies to elicit confidence. 

Common Industry Uses:  Food Industry, Health & Wellness Products, Organic & All-Natural, Eco-Friendly, Banking & Finance.

Purple – For youth and creativity!

The color purple has a mysterious quality to it, as a transitionary color in the spectrum. A mixture of the clarity of blue and passion of red, purple stirs fantasy and imagination. Harnessing that creative power, the color purple is often used in an array of markets including holistic health, spirituality, and youth and children’s marketing. 

A rich and warm color, purple also suggests an air of royalty, luxury, and elegance. Beauty Products, especially high-end skincare and anti-aging products frequently favor purple in their packaging. 
Common Industry Uses: Health & Beauty, Skincare, Spirituality, Youth & Children.

Blue – For a trustworthy brand!

One of the few colors preferred equally by men and women, blue is a very popular and peaceful color that emanates trust and integrity. For this reason, you will often see the color blue used by banks and communication companies to create a sense of security and reliability (just check out how many blue apps you have on your phone)!

The sight of blue actually slows down the metabolism, so while it promotes relaxation, it is also the least appetizing color. Used minimally, it can be paired with a warm color like red, yellow or orange to produce a call to action, but blue is generally not the best color for marketing food.

Common Industry Uses:  Banking & Finance, Software & Programming, Social Media, Communications, Airlines, Pharmaceuticals, Hotels, Home Improvement, Oil & Gas, Pharmaceuticals, Publishing, Courier Services.

Black – For elegance and information!

A very powerful color, black is typically used to communicate essentials or direct consumers to a specific action or thought. More often than not, the color black is employed as an accentuating or supporting color, conveying information with authority and credibility.

When used as the main color in your branding or packaging, the color black evokes exclusivity, sophistication, and class–and sometimes even mystery. Brands aiming for this vibe often utilize all-black designs, pairing boxes, bottles, and labels with a sleek, uniform appearance.

Common Industry Uses: News, Publishing, Banking & Finance, Beverage & Alcohol, Communications, Apparel, Broadcasting, Hotels.

White – For simplicity!

The color white largely promotes cleanliness and simplicity, making it the perfect choice for health & beauty, medicinal, and household products. The lack of color can also stir a feeling of the unknown, evoking reverence for the sacred and supernatural. 

A lack of color promotes creativity, much like a blank canvas waiting to be painted. This inkling of “endless possibilities” has been harnessed by companies like Apple, Adidas, and Chanel, American Airlines, and Fed-Ex to present an air of innovation and ingenuity. 

Paired with 1 or 2 other colors–the color white can create a simple but memorable display. Keep in mind though that less is more! The more additional colors added–the less serious the brand’s message becomes. 

Common Industry Uses: Electronics, Broadcasting, Health & Beauty, Beverages & Alcohol, Medicine, Science, Religion & Spirituality, Airlines, Communications, Courier Services.

Ask For Advice

If you need help with your color selections, don’t be afraid to ask for some input! Create a few different color options for your product and ask your friends and family members for their thoughts.

Reach out to our friendly Experience Team at 877.277.4682 or send an email to experienceteam@frontierlabel.com. We are always happy to check out your product label design and give our advice and suggestions! 


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