27-01-2017 • Encore Group, Envelopes, Packaging, Print

Packaging that pops: Picking the right shapes and colours for your customers

Great packaging is the first step towards the customer’s next purchase.

Here at Encore, we’re committed to helping you get the right packaging for your product. We know you want your customers to fall in love with your products at first sight. That’s why we’ve decided to dedicate a blog to the shape and colour considerations you should think about when creating a new package.


Before we explore what colours and shapes work, we should consider what customers will be familiar with on the market. People like what they already know. For example, many own brand colas use red or blue for their packaging because Coca-Cola and Pepsi use those colours. They know consumers will associate the colour with the product. Or the customer might associate a shape with a holiday or event, like buying chocolates in heart shaped boxes on Valentine’s Day. We know that hearts go with Valentine’s, so we want to buy it.

There are also colours that the brain links with flavours or ingredients – for example something containing strawberries may be red or something containing oranges may be orange. This is because we associate the flavour with the colour, and our brain likes this familiarity. If your colour scheme goes against the grain with what the customer expects, they may be wary, and it could put them off. Using familiarity as a base will make the customer feel comfortable when they look at your product, and this will make them more willing to buy.


Colours appeal to different parts of the brain, and the hue you pick will provoke a response in your customer. What do you want your package to say?


  • Red – act now! Red is a colour of urgency, so great for something time sensitive. Great for fast food and microwave meals. Also used to suggest something is hot or spicy.
  • Blue – chill out. Blue is the colour of calmness and serenity. Great for something soothing or that will induce sleep. Also used to suggest something is cold or icy.
  • Green/Brown – au natural. Green and brown suggest something is natural or healthy. Great for products that are organic or contain something plant-based. Often used for vegetarian products.
  • Yellow – attention! Yellow grabs the eye straight away, so is great for a bargain (reduced stickers are often yellow). Beware, bright yellow packaging often suggests the product is cheap.
  • Black – class act. Black is considered the colour of sophistication. It is often used for luxury items, and is seen as sleek and classy. Great for more expensive items or high end product ranges.
  • White – blank canvas. White is a simple choice but suggests cleanliness and purity. Great for medical or cleaning products, as it suggests a sterile and hygienic environment.

Bright vs Muted

Once you’ve picked your colour, you then need to pick the shade. This is just as important, as how bright or muted you go pushes your product to different audiences.


  • Bright tone – young market or cheaper product
  • Muted tone – older market or more reliable product
  • Lighter shade – healthier products or a female market
  • Darker shade – decadent products or a male market


Certain shapes are more pleasing to the customers’ eyes or can act as an optical illusion. For example, if you want to emphasise that your product has more volume, make the packaging longer. This will have more impact than simply printing a larger number on the packet – their eyes will tell them it’s a better deal before they check how much product it contains.

People also like to touch and hold the products, so it is important that it is easy to handle. For smaller products, ensure they fit comfortably in one hand, without any awkward protrusions. For larger objects, make sure there is a way for them to be lifted comfortably, with handles or grips, so the customer doesn’t feel awkward moving the item.

Customers also report preferring rounder edges and corners to sharp ones, so this is important to consider when designing a new package. You don’t want your competitors to have the edge because you’ve got sharp corners!

We hope this guide will help you when thinking about your new product packaging. If you’d like to speak to one of our packaging experts, call  0191 518 6850 or email


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