Colour Information In Design: Understanding Colour Meaning In Packaging Design
Many areas of inquiry emphasise the significance of information (Davis, 1989; Baya et al., 1992; Najjar, 1996; Shooter et al., 2000; Wodehouse & Ion, 2010; Self, 2011), as demonstrated by the phrase ‘information age’ (Karabeg, 2002; Van Belle & Trusler, 2005). Computer science, information systems, and engineering have largely contributed to this field of study (Nickpour, 2012). Design is an information-intensive process that includes various strategies, resources, and tools (Baya, 1996). This information is broadly termed ‘design information’. It has been argued that up to 40 different types of information can be dealt with in one minute during the design process (Baya, 1996). Moreover, it is estimated that about half of the total effort in designing is spent in other works, such as information searching, planning, communication, cost estimating, reporting, helping others, and social contact (Hales, 1987). Given that a considerable range of information is sourced and used throughout the design process, it appears that the efficiency and effectiveness of the design process and its strategy rely predominantly on what information designers and brand managers have available and use.
Design information has been studied from various perspectives. For instance, Goodman- Deane et al. (2010) explored various aspects for developing design resources that focused on inclusive design. Lofthouse (2006) investigated the type of designers’
requirements in regards to eco-design tools. Nickpour (2012) explored designers’ information-seeking behaviour to enhance the use of people-centred information. Some previous studies have examined design information with a more specific intention to support conceptual design (Wodehouse & Ion, 2010), idea generation (Stolterman & Pierce, 2012), design decisions (Todd & Benbasat, 1992), and creativity (Johnson & Carruthers, 2006). Although colour is one of the critical design elements (Zelanski & Fisher, 1999), to date, no attempts at understanding colour as a component of information in design have been made.
Colour has acquired enormous importance in packaging and branding as a powerful visual cue (Aslam, 2006; Kauppinen-Räisänen, 2014). In the retail industry, colour (along with price) is a key differentiator for brand searching and identification, as most warehouse supermarkets more or less offer the same shopping experience through their methods of stocking and display (Aslam, 2006; Klimchuk & Krasovec, 2006). Additionally, colour is used as a communicator to convey product or brand meanings to consumers (Kauppinen-Räisänen, 2014). Thus, choosing an appropriate colour for packaging or a brand is tremendously significant for differentiating products and delivering brand messages that may affect consumer decision-making. Colour information1 has great potential to support designers and brand managers in the design process and strategy. However, colour is a meta-discipline that crosses diverse academic boundaries, such as science, design, art, history, and education. Due to the multi-disciplinary nature of colour, it is not clear whether colour information has been effectively utilised by users in design. A lack of use of colour information by users could result in inferior design outcomes. Moreover, existing colour knowledge derived from comprehensive (but generic) studies may have ignored the design context. A limited understanding of colour in design could lead to an unrealistic concept of design practice and strategy. These situations call attention to the need for studies of colour information