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Package Design - How it Affects What You Buy

Color Influences Our Buying Decisions


There is a belief among packaging experts that consumers can be convinced to buy, if the package that contains the product caters to the right senses. Designers have spent years testing packages, doing marketing studies, logging reaction habits from various targeted groups, just to come up with the perfect appeal to their packages.

Color of course, plays a very important role in these projects. It was not until after 1950 that much attention was even given to what the container of a product looked like. Most items were packaged in functional wrappers that were designed to protect and deliver. But that has all changed. These days, impulse purchasing makes up almost 75 percent of the consumer spending, and if the package fails to project the right message, it might be left sitting alone on the shelf.

Prior to the debut of a product, teams research such decisions as bold versus soft colors, what the lettering looks like, placement of packaging banners and how large the container should be.

Because of color trends and the ever-changing design taste of the consumer, the average life span of a package is two and a half years. If a company doesn't invest in repackaging efforts, the product itself will look like yesterday's news and the newer more current designed product will be more actively purchased.

What Makes Up A Good Design?

Color is definitely the number one factor when designers determine a packaging design. The design teams know that people react differently to different colors furthermore, through physiological response testing, certain patterns can be traced. Color sends subliminal messages to people and most of us react basically the same to some colors. Manufactures utilize this information to make their product more sellable.

As consumers, if we are aware of the work that goes behind presenting a product in the most eye-catching package, we will be able to look past it and take a hard look at the product itself. After all, that is what we are really purchasing.

So what works best for which products? Does the color yellow sell more salsa? Does red work better for cleaning products? Well, just for fun I have included a quiz for you to see how strong your instinct of color and it's salability factor might be in the grocery store. Have fun and good luck!

"The consumer isn't a moron. She is your wife."
- David Ogilvy, Confessions of an Advertising Man, 1971, New York: Ballantine, p. 84.

Part 2 - Take the Quiz! How Much Do You Know About Color?

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