Color Matters!

How to Select the Right Colors for Your Products

Thank you for the strong response we received to our last blog post on color.  There was a lot of interest and that led us to this follow-up article on how to use research to select the best color or colors for your products. 

First, let me go back to the beginning.  We named our company Design Research because doing research on design is at the heart of our unique expertise.  All research companies have experience evaluating consumer reactions to features, prices, brand names, etc.  We’ve never met or heard of any other company that knows how to integrate the role of design into the consumer product decision.  Yet, we also know instinctively that design – which, of course, includes color – matters with every product decision.  I might want one product more because of the features it offers or the price, but if I have to look at a product every day, I’m going to pay more for or sacrifice one or more of those features to have the one I most want to look at or the one that looks best in my home.  So how to identify how consumers sort through features, pricing, design and color to make their purchase decision?  Fortunately we have powerful tools and much experience doing just that. 

We often receive products to test that deal with color and design in one of two ways.  Either color and design are set, meaning that there are no options, just what the client chose for the test or we get a plethora of options that we need to sort through to find the best one or more choices.  Either way, we walk our consumer respondents through a number of steps that may include collages of interiors in various color ways, arrays of color chips or the product appearing in multiple colors.  We can identify the best overall color(s), the best color(s) for a specific product, the best color(s) for the customers of a specific retailer (to enable assortment differentiation for each retailer if that is a possibility) and the best color(s) for specific demographic targets (as we sometimes do to expand the reach of the client’s products). 

Some of these might sound simple but they are far from it.   Setting up an array of relevant and appropriate color chips is no small task.  Anyone who uses the Pantone color books knows that there are thousands of color options for home products.  We closely follow color trends and we work with clients to develop color arrays that fit their brand, their products and the current trends.  That’s what respondents react to, not just simple color boards. 

When asking respondents to select the combination of product and color that they most want to own, we start by having them select the configuration of products and features they most want.  Once that’s decided we show the same product in computer-generated multiple colors or with multiple color accents asking the respondent to select the one they most want. 

Taking this a step further we use advanced statistical techniques to identify which groups of respondents most desire which colors.  If the client can produce the product in multiple color ways, we can identify the set of colors that maximizes the reach of the product.  This same technique is sometimes used to maximize color arrays to be offered to key retailers to give them unique assortments based on color.  One client we have offers four basic colors to all retailers and then up to four more colors on an exclusive basis, thus offering one more benefit to the retailer for working with them.

If you want more insight into how to maximize the use of color in your product offerings, please call or email us today.  We’re always glad to help! or