You probably never think about the color of packaging. Until you have to design packaging that is!

The truth is that color has a huge impact on how we think about a company or brand. It can draw us to a product, or, if we don’t like the combination or it’s jarring, it could repel us instead.

The colors and designs of product packaging is often the only thing that makes us choose it off the shelf, so it’s hugely important. Here are a few color basics you might want to consider when designing your packaging:

What Colours Mean

Whether you know this or not, colours subconsciously tell us about products, companies, and brands. Here are some of the more common emotions associated with various colors:

Blue represents stability, security, trust and reliability. It’s a cool, calming color that makes us feel relaxed and evokes friendly feelings.

Green is both calming and representative of money and wealth. It is serene, and is associated with endurance, serenity, and peaceful forests.

Red is aggressive, but not always the bad kind of aggressive. It is associated with passion, ambition, power, and drive. Red is sexy, and it often represents love and joy.

Yellow is bright and sunny. It represents childhood, optimism and summer days. It is also the color of law and education.

Pink of course, represents love and emotion, beauty and femininity. Although there are exceptions, like hot pink, which is a punky representation of girl power.

Orange is warm and cheerful. It’s about passion and enthusiasm, and it’s creative and fun.

Black is sometimes moody and mysterious, but also elegant and sophisticated.

It’s important to note that these color meanings are based on western beliefs. In some parts of the world, different colors have different meanings and connotations, so if you’re selling internationally, make sure you research local customs!

Hue, Saturation and Value

Aside from the color itself, there are also hue, saturation, and value to consider.

Hue is another word for color. It refers to the color itself, without any white or black added to lighten or darken it.

Saturation is the intensity of a colour. So, a bright sunshine yellow is very saturated, while a pale lemon is less so.

Value refers to the amount of lightness or darkness of the color.

Complimentary and Contrasting Colors

Another important consideration is whether you want to use complementary or contrasting colors for your packaging.

All colors fall somewhere on the “color wheel.” Their complementary or contrasting color is on the opposite side of the wheel. So, for instance, red and green are complementary colors, as are blue and orange. They generally look good together, but they are hard for color blind people to see!

Color Combinations

The color combinations you choose for your packaging will have a big impact on how it feels.

A few different shades from the same color family will look muted and elegant. A riot of bright, clashing colors looks young and fun. If you’re not sure what works better for your product and target market, visit a local store. You’ll be able to see what kind of color choices similar brands and products are making and base your choices on those.