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Colours for Millennium Marketing
by Marie Browning

as published in the CRAFTLINK Newsletter.


Lighter. Softer. More complex. Those are the words being used to describe the 2002 Consumer Colour Directions Palette from the Colour Marketing Group. This group is an international association of colour designers who identify and forecast colour trends as much as three years in advance. 

Why would you need this information? Have you ever heard "If it doesn't sell - it's the wrong colour"?

Would it be valuable for you to learn about colour so you are more comfortable in creating your new product line or choosing stock for your store? Doing displays? Advertising? 

Deciding on what colours is the one thing we all have in common when making choices. It is also an area in which many of us have the least amount of confidence - even though colour surrounds us and plays a major part in our lives. 

How can you make colour work as an important and effective marketing tool?

Colour creates an impression and it elicits a response. 

What makes them buy the product? 

McDonald's colours - primary, lots of orangey reds -hurry up and eat, get out so we can sell more burgers!

Colour - your most important and effective marketing tool

Remember colour is the most important aspect of any product. Consumers make a decision about colour in about 60 seconds. The right colour brings them a step closer to buying. The wrong colour turns them away completely. Consumers will compromise on pattern, but rarely on colour.

Words stimulate the left side of the brain; colour simulates the right side of the brain.
Draws out our interest, gets shoppers into the store, makes people pause and compare - colour induces us to buy. 

Millennium Colours of 2002

Red rules! Red is the colour that calls on the most powerful emotions; either love or hate, red is the guru of our deepest feelings. It is the dynamic motion of flames, the colour of blood. It is everything that means life to us. Full of ego and inner flames, it is our life force. Red takes .03 of a second to capture our attention. Add black and it becomes very upscale. Moving to the blue tones, Claret, Merlot and Burgundy. Influenced by the world market, Moroccan red, Italian red, Chinese red. 

Depending on its strength, pink can make us feel young and joyfully alive or gentle and calm. It's innocent and playful and is often associated with the feminine side of our nature. (The wrong colour to paint a sporting goods store). It is calming, but not for long, about 15 seconds. Pink trends - Coral, combined with the hot orange trend.

Warming and uplifting. Orange relates to our lifecycle as the colour of fall, symbolic of the end of life. Energising; revives youthful spirit. Orange is becoming a high-end colour. With orange a big colour, copper is the new metal. Optimistic - the future is bright - future is orange

Yellow is the sun. It relates to intelligence, random thought and innocent happiness. Cheerful, friendly and warm. Yellow is most liked by North American consumers. Used with black will jump (also means dangerous). Empowers. Yellow ochre is creative and busy - like a bumblebee. Creamy yellow is a comfort colour.

There is an Old World reverence and true depth of emotion about the colour gold, it represents wealth, luxury, desire, satisfaction and intimacy. Gold is the wedding ring, the tie that binds, lifelong love. It is the finest we have to offer and represents our highest achievements.

Life, newness and birth. Whimsical and fun, green stimulates conversation. Deep, light, bright, extreme. Provides energy and balance. Green is soothing, calming and restful. Associated with life itself, green represents newness and birth, as with the trees of the forest, green grass of the fields.

This high-powered colour isn't as restful as green and blue, but vibrant and spirited. Teal and aqua are making a comeback. Blue-greens are the most non-gender specific.

We are surrounded by blue. We live on a big blue marble consisting of sky and sea.

Sky - dependable, loyal and constant. Sea - cool and soothing. Serenity, solace and peace An anti-stress colour. Blue is the soft lapping of waves or the running of a mountain stream. As the air we breathe, blue is fresh and vital, reminding us of a clear day in the sun under azure skies. 

Combines the excitement of red and the tranquillity of blue. Brings to mind royalty and ancient civilizations. It's the colour of the Muse, of soothsayers and prophets regal and majestic. Quirky and artistic. It is clairvoyant and psychic, headstrong and powerful. Sensual, spiritual lighter versions more feminine, deeper values more masculine. It is also the colour of sorrow and passion intertwined, as in death and the resurrection.

Pure and heavenly. Innocent, cleanliness and the absence of pain. Creates eyestrain and headaches when used on walls. Often used in combination to emphasis or contrast. Pure white captures attention. 

Is the "forever" colour, forever night, forever formal, forever faithful. It's a colour that can inspire fear through its association with nothingness but can also feel calming due to its solid and orderly appeal. It is the colour of remembrance. Colour of mourning.


It is the great balancing act that allows other colours to come out and play. A classic, dependable colour. Weathered over time but lasting forever.

Mother earth, the protector. Security and contentment. It's the cosy colour, enveloping us in its strength and allowing for rest and recovery. Brown shelters us from the storms of life. Reminds us of hearth and home. Organic and earthy. 


Transparent Colours:

We see it 75% sooner than ordinary colours. Holds message two times longer. 59% come back for a second look. Safety factor, visual locator. 

2002 colours are 'elemental' 
Can be loosely grouped into three main families: Fire, Earth, and Water.




Colour - your most important and effective marketing tool! Give more thought to colour today…

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