• 13th October 2022

Color Consistency in Packaging: Cracking the Code

Color has always been the silent ambassador of a brand. In many ways color is its own language – a key to unlocking consumer emotions.
The reality is that we all see the world differently – color is no exception.

When was the last time garish packaging turned you off a product? Or when the ubiquitous red of a Coca Cola can gave you that visceral urge to take an ice-cold sip. Color dictates our buying habits all the time – and we almost never realise it.

According to one research piece[1], consumers will make a subconscious judgement about a product within 90s of initially seeing it and as much as 90% of that assessment is based on color alone. So, getting it right is key.

But color management isn’t a straightforward process. For Jamie Toms, our Managing Director in Europe, establishing clarity on color further upstream is essential "color should be both predictable and demonstratable early in the development cycle. This will empower brand owners to make the right material choices for their brand color"

Variations in color amongst large packaging runs can be a major issue when those products are sitting next to each other on the shelf – potentially muddying your brands reputation.

how do we get it right?

“In the past color management was a different game. When we used to work directly with artists such as Pink Floyd, it was protocol for the band to come to our factory themselves and approve the color sheet for their album cover artwork. Following that, we would then use the sample as a template for all future copies. The issue with that is over time samples fade, so you’re aiming at a target that’s moving further away by the day.”

Today, things have moved on from clients having to fly halfway across the globe to approve colors on the press – and thankfully the process has become far less time-consuming and less impactful on the environment. “Modern standards such as ISO 126747-2: 2013 have helped. We were one of the first in Europe implement it” says Jamie “and the first to become ISO certified in both Digital Proofing and Printing.

Jamie explains: “Our processes mean we can take a target color, measure it, and create a numerical value for that color. When that color is then printed either digitally or on a print output device, this numerical value can be used to measure and agree what acceptable and achievable variances are.

Color management doesn’t end with the colour management team and in-house creative teams can’t be expected to hold responsibility here. It’s about having a partner who knows the pitfalls to be avoided and who will guide all the stakeholders through the process.

In an age where maintaining brand reputation is everything, it’s imperative that your packaging reflects your product and your brand – and understanding achievable colour expectations plays a major role.

 Connect with Jamie on Linkedin or email him on jamie.t@gpaglobal.net if you enjoyed this article and want to get more background on managing colour.

[1] https://www.colorcom.com/research/why-color-matters