Being visually oriented, we very quickly learn to associate color with a product line or product category. For the smart designer, using color wisely can be a great way to group and assign priority to packaging – expressing emotion, value, and quality. But the most important thing in working with color is to use it purposefully. Why? Because over time, we have proliferated product categories with color cues so much that color has often lost its impact – and the consumer stops seeing the differentiation between brands and product.
Take packaged fruit for example. While shopping the aisle, I soon realized how hard I (and I assume others) needed to work to read through packaging in the category just to make sense of how the product varieties were identified by each brand. Yellow and all its variations seemed to be a predominant category color.
What stood out with great clarity was Del Monte Fruit Refreshers™. The packaging had adopted a contrary approach to the overwhelming yellow color palette, in this case utilizing a black field of color – clearly a solid stand out from other products on shelf. Coupled with a change in die cut for the outer wrapper and in the size of the product container revealing more of the actual product, the outer wrap also provided increased rigidity in its construction. The graphics relied on a bold, large fruit pictorial, cross-referencing the product inside and supported by splashing water. The images conveyed the concept of juicy, succulent and refreshing. But what made the black so effective was that it receded into the background in order to make the product image stand out on the front of the package. The DelMonte brand image was notably reduced to a secondary element; the brand product copy was enlarged to support the product visual. All in all, the package was a boldly curious counter use of color to distinguish itself from the competition.
Color can be a very effective tool to use in packaging, but it’s also important to note that it can produce the opposite reaction and associate negative connotations to your product. For example, years ago it was felt that using green in food packaging was unacceptable as it implied spoiled or bad food, therefore it wasn’t used. However, over time green has become one of the leading colors in expressing fresh, healthy, clean foods and is readily used for packaging art. I am sure it was considered a risk to use black in this overwhelming yellow category, but it has been used very effectively to differentiate itself on shelf and be “seen” as consumers pass by.
As category after category becomes so overcrowded with options, design teams are going to have to think critically about what they are doing with color to keep their products top of mind with consumers. Well done Del Monte, and well worth the risk.
If you are thinking of exploring innovative packaging to renew or refresh your product line, contact us at 920-886-7727 or [email protected]. Throughout our 60 plus years in supporting customers with consumer brands large and small, we apply our experience and expertise to the entire process to create efficient and effective solutions. Our team knows the best tools, and most effective visuals and messaging to make your brand not only stand out but win in the marketplace.
The purpose of our “findings” blog is to spotlight packaging that displays thinking that breaks the mold, delivers something new or chancy – or at the very least, highlights packaging that catches your eye in the retail environment.