Visual elements are a critical part of product packaging. Over 90 percent of consumers say that they consider the visual aspects of the product packaging when buying a particular product. When it comes to just the colors, over 80 percent agree that the color of the product packaging is an important factor. This holds good for cosmetics too. They help in creating brand identity and help in visual storytelling. In some cases, certain colors are used in the packaging to protect the formulations. Here is a brief intro to what colors mean in cosmetics packaging.
The color of a cosmetic product packaging is one of the most powerful design elements. Different colors communicate differently to the target audience. Often, colors help segregate different products or SKUs from the same brand. Here is what each color means:
White generally symbolizes purity, innocence, cleanliness. Although it may seem conservative, cosmetic packaging with white packaging communicates purity and safety through color. An example is the entire Dove product lineup. Other examples include Johnson & Johnson as well as The Ordinary.
Black often signifies power, control, and sophistication. A lot of male cosmetics make use of black packaging. Depending on the target audience, brands use a secondary accent color. Strong and bright hues like red and orange adds sensual connotation while softer pastel shades are used to attract the female audience. Using gold or silver accents creates a look of sophistication. A great example is War Paint for Men. Bettr.co skincare has completed black packaging with glossy black or silver embellishments for an added look of sophistication.
Blue is the safest color that a brand can use. It can create boring and predictable packaging, but it also signals reliability and dependability. The darker blue is aimed towards older audiences while brighter hues attract younger people. A great example is the packaging of Nivea’s cream that has remained unchanged for decades.
Reds can stimulate the senses. They signify liveliness, passion, strength, and enthusiasm. Darker shades have a luxurious outlook while brighter hues give out more energetic and exciting vibes. An example includes Certain products from Olay, such as their Regenrerist line-up comes in red packaging.
Brands mostly use green packaging for organic or eco-friendly products. Green is a great option for nutraceuticals as they suggest natural and organic items. People associate greens with security, growth, and health. Almost all products from Himalaya uses green accents in their packaging to show their plant-based origin. Mario Badescu, a brand of personalized skincare products also uses green in its branding and packaging to show vitality and growth.
Using orange can be risky. While the color signifies optimism and confidence, a lot still depends on the design. Therefore, most brands usually stay away from Orange for their product packaging. A good example is Lotus Herbals Safe Sun Sunscreen that comes in orange packaging. Many other brands such as Re'equil use such a color scheme.
Yellow is fun, uplifting, and mentally stimulating. It is a great option for already saturated markets. Yellow packaging attracts the young crowd. Brands also use yellow for sunscreen and to show if their product has lemon extracts. For example, Garnier has numerous products which dominantly uses yellow in their packaging as it comes with lemon extracts. Neutrogena Beach Defense is another sunscreen product that comes in yellow packaging.
These shades usually communicate a sense of serenity and calm. They provide a sense of familiarity. They are great for products that consumers will use every day and they will provide a soothing effect. An example includes Loreal Hydration (Aqua) products.
Shades of purple generally signify sophistication while pinks are softer feminine tones. Brighter shades of pinks are usually aimed at a younger audience, such as pre-teens. Kylie Cosmetics uses various shades of pink in its packaging.
Developing the right color for your cosmetic packaging can be a challenging task. There are multiple perspectives that you need to consider before you select one.
You need a good understanding of your current consumer base before you select the packaging color. This includes their age, their likes and dislikes, any cultural bias, and so on. For example, colors can be used to communicate current events too, such as the Make It Black campaign that was backed by beauty brands like Maybelline and Morphe.
Color is a big part of the brand identity. You should ensure that your core brand colors are a part of the selected color palette.
Is the product a luxury cosmetic item to be used occasionally, or is it something that people can use daily? You can use color to share that information. Sunscreens come in yellow and orange packaging; charcoal masks come in black packaging, products meant for daily use often use white or blue for their packaging. The color also encodes the product functionality as well as its contents.
Colors help products stand out. Brands use colors to separate their product from the competition as well as their other products. For example, Minimalist uses dark pastel accents in their predominantly white packaging to color-code its products.
While developing packaging artwork for cosmetics, managing colors can be a confusing task. It is difficult to describe colors with just words. You can’t expect a person to understand the exact shade of red when you say crimson red, or maroon. Furthermore, the appearance of colors changes based on the medium. Different digital displays have different color calibrations. Colors in print and colors on a monitor have a different appearance. Hence, brands need to adhere to standards to ensure consistency.
Brands need to talk to designers and printers and hence they need a standard to communicate the exact shade of a color. Both Pantone and CMYK codes are extensively used by designers and printers to talk colors. They are also compatible with all designer and printer software, as well as artwork management tools that allow you to verify color consistency.
Artwork management tools come with a color extractor tool that lists all the colors in the design file. It helps reviews to easily verify if the right color is present or not. It lists out all the colors in CMYK as well as Pantone codes. Furthermore, you can compare old and new artworks using the compare tool to spot even minor color changes.
How else do you think colors affect cosmetic packaging? Does your artwork management tool integrate color management? Let us know in the comments below.