Most companies involved in label printing will print your labels in colour but will not assist you with colour choices. It is not their job. They are printers, not designers. In fact, many label designs are prepared by outsourced graphic designers.
My company is a little different because I employ full-time and casual graphic designers to prepare artwork for our own labels and other printed products.
Most of us know the basics of colour. We make decisions based on colour every day. We match colours in our clothing. We choose colours for our walls at home and for the car we drive. What do colours mean?
To research this topic, I went back to my father’s book, “Enjoy Your Debt Collection” published in 1996. We still use these ideas in the design of our accounts stickers, Christmas stickers and thank you stickers.
Red is a stimulating colour. Red raises the blood pressure. Red symbolises anger and danger so it is most often used with warning labels such as flammable liquid. It is also used for stop signs.
Red is a hot colour whilst yellow is a warm colour. Yellow is not as aggressive as red but is still somewhat forceful. The third stimulating colour is orange. While weaker than red or yellow, it is still a stimulating colour. Hence, a number of road signs such as ‘slippery when wet’ are in orange or yellow.
Blue and green are comfortable colours and are used to reassure people. Blue is the colour of the sky and represents serenity and eternity. It is also the colour of loyalty, hence the expression, “true blue”.
Green is the colour of the grasslands and the forests and signifies growth, light and hope.
Purple is the colour of dignity and conservatism but also sadness.
White represents light, innocence and purity. Hence, wedding dresses are usually white.
Black is a formal colour and is symbolised by a “black tie” event, the most formal of occasions. Black has dignity and can also represent the power of darkness. It is also the principle colour of mourning. It also represents defilement or error. Hence, the expression, “black mark”.
The above ideas from Jack Renton are still relevant today. For a more recent article on colour and how it relates to business, you can click on the link below.
By all means, use the above ideas in label printing, logo creation and in your marketing. When it comes to label printing, most likely, you will want to combine colours. As a label printing expert from the 1960s through to the 1990s, Jack Renton makes the following suggestions.
“Purple, used with its opposite colour, orange, can be very bright, the contrast quite striking.”
“For a very soothing effect, complementary colours are used. You can observe this effect by looking at a rainbow where closely related colours are adjacent. Examples are yellow and green. In a similar way, blue and violet merge into each other.”
The challenge for you is to adapt these ideas into your product labels and other forms of label printing.