Have you ever wondered how important colours are in your life? I do always. Every day I think how lucky I am, being able to perceive, experience and use them in my work.
Yes, because in this post, I would like to tell you about a phenomenon or perception of which few are aware, especially if you have never had the opportunity to live in a country other than your own. A holiday is not enough, to allow you to discover it.
I have been working in the advertising and graphic design sector for over twenty years now. Never as much as in the last eight years, have I realised how much the perception of colour, differs from country to country. Not even my various excursions abroad in the past, opened this wonderful glimpse into the world of colour. I began to understand how colours cause completely different reactions, based on the audience, to which they are proposed. They are a real influence over us!
I’d like to use this blog, to highlight two examples that have particularly struck me. I hope I can involve you too and touch your curiosity. Why not? Interesting bit of research for me!
I remember around two years ago, walking inside Tesco, I was amazed by the fact that in the bread section, there was a typically Italian product on display: Le facaccelle.
Firstly, I was amazed to find a product, so popular in Italy! I was also struck by how different the packaging graphics and colours were. But the funny thing is, that the inevitable happened. About a year later, the product, so tempting in the eyes of Italians, disappeared from the supermarket shelves. Of course, the product may have undersold, because it’s taste did not appeal to the Brits. Something also tells me the visual impact did not inspire their palate.
I had a similar reaction, when I pondered over the packaging for a range of English dog treats. A number of years ago I visited PATS in Sandown, with my partner. We went to the booth of one of our clients and one of the representatives (whose name I prefer not to mention for fairness), asked my thoughts on their new packaging. I may have made a bit of a business gaff, but the only thing I could say was, it look like a pack for shampoo! 😜
The examples show how much the perception of colour, is able to change our choice of product purchase. So there is nothing more wrong, than the use of the wrong colours!
One thing is certain since I moved to London – as a professional, it would have been ‘work suicide’ to persevere down the path of ‘Italian’ colours.
I have been extremely lucky to work with some amazing people, who believed in my creativity and skills. They allowed me freedom in design. However, we must never forget the customer is always right (There’s always a reason why they want the colours they do).
The important thing is to adapt. Be inspired by the new reality in which you live. Sometimes accept (even if not willingly), colours that until recently, you would never have thought of using. You may have deemed them unsuitable for purpose, yet in others eyes, they are well liked.
The colours of adverts interact and condition the choices of our customers. This needs to be appreciated and addressed. Always.
For example, fuchsia, purple, acid yellow and mint green, are currently popular colours in the UK. In Italy, earthy colours offering the idea of the Mediterranean diet are common. Greens, reds and warm, sunny yellows.
There is a lot to be said about colours. How they can direct our choices, change our mood … they are true companions in life, do you agree?