Guest post: How color communicates with the customer

Today, our guest post comes from Yasmin Chopin.

Yasmin Chopin is an Honours graduate with a degree in the History of Art and Architecture. She undertook post-graduate study in Interior Design and Decoration and gained her Diploma with the Inchbald School of Design, London. Now she works with domestic and commercial customers in the UK mainly in and around the cities of Cambridge and London. She's fascinated by design in general but particularly interested in colour and how design can help a business communicate with its customers.

How colour communicates with the customer
By Yasmin Chopin

As a commercial Interior Designer I am particularly interested in how design helps a business communicate with its customers. And in this article, I want to show you two examples of how colour is used in the retail environment. An important element in interior design colour can affect, or be affected by, the light and shadow in a space, and the shapes, textures and patterns surrounding it. Get it right in the commercial environment and colour can prompt customers to buy.
In Casa Hogar, a housewares store in Valencia, Spain, you can see that the items displayed on the shelves are in colour groups rather than functional groups. So if it’s an orange cutlery tray you are after, you go to where the orange items are displayed. But here you will also find everything else the store sells - if it comes in orange.
 This is more than mere colour blocking - it shouts louder and further. What does it say to the customer? I think it celebrates colour in a joyful and fun way. It shows how the retailer takes great care in merchandising its products. And by bringing diverse items together under one colour banner it offers a range of goods in one place, another take on one-stop shopping, providing many opportunities for impulse purchases. It says to the customer, ‘we care about your time, we know you like to match things in your room scheme, we know you like orange, so we will save you time searching for other things in your favourite colour, here they are! And we love orange too!’
The Ollie & Nic store in London sells handbags and other accessories and is another example of how colour is used to sell. This time we see a mixture of colour, which in itself is not very different. But this store is using a variety of coloured patterned wallpaper backgrounds on which to display the goods! This is a very brave use of colour which exudes confidence. This says, ‘we love our store, we are sure you will love the store just as much as the product, and we want you to feel at home’.
So this experience is reinforced with a fireplace mantelpiece and retro domestic furniture used as display cabinets which makes you feel like you are in a friend’s lounge. You could spend quite a bit of time in here! I wanted to stay in this store for a while and just enjoy the experience of being surrounded by gorgeous pastel. Womb-like maybe?

Whether it’s bright and brash, like Casa Hogar, or delicately pastel like Ollie & Nic, colour affects our emotion and our impulse to buy. Can you remember a time when colour persuaded you to buy? Or maybe you can recall an experience where the retailer got it wrong and colour turned you off?

All images copyright Yasmin Chopin Interior Design