Using Color Blocking to Stand Out on Retail Shelves

Color-blocking can help make your packaging work harder at retail, and differentiate your brand and products from competitors.

[3 Min Read]

  • Packaging
by Crew
March 2, 2023

Color blocking in visual merchandising

One of the most effective techniques in product packaging design (and visual merchandising) is color blocking.

Color blocking refers to the art of presenting products in a way that captures the attention of customers in visually noisy retail environments.

The technique originated in the world of fashion and typically involved pairing contrasting colors in an outfit to grab attention, but these same ideas have since been adopted and adapted to grocery experiences and the broader retail world.

Color as a differentiator

To differentiate oneself from competitors, brands can (and should) strategically utilize color in their product line design. When done correctly, this type of visual merchandising experience can significantly impact a brand's performance on retail shelves.

"When done correctly, this type of visual merchandising experience can significantly impact a brand’s performance on retail shelves."

Dan Ryu, one of Crew's Creative Director says "Color blocking gives you an advantage against competition on shelf. Rather than thinking of each of your SKUs as single products, you can own a color and block the shelf out with the power of all your SKUs together."

While the tactic can be bold, Dan adds "you need to still consider distinction between within the color blocking structure. You still want your consumers to easily identify flavours in that wall of that color."

Take this before and after example for our client Naked & Saucy:

We developed this new packaging as a part of a bigger brand update. It's a clear example how something as simple as a color can increase retail shelf visibility.

Approaching Color Blocking

Color blocking (like cross-merchandising, or off-shelf merchandising) is one of many clever tactics that nearly all retailers use. That said, stores should not be solely responsible for implementing color blocking.

At Crew, the concept of color blocking makes up a core part of our packaging design process. We experiment with retail layouts, and undertake color explorations against competing products to get a sense of what would be eye-catching to consumers.

Ultimately the take away here is simple; If you can help your brand pop on the shelf, you're more likely to get picked off the shelf.

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