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Grow Your Business Sales & Marketing

Consumers Prefer Simple Product Design and Coloring

If you’re aiming to make your product, your store or even your marketing materials more appealing to customers, the key is in the coloring.

Consumers prefer similar colors in product design, rather than contrasting color combinations, according to new research by Xiaoyan Deng, a professor of marketing at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.

Deng allowed study participants to design their own athletic shoes by using colors for seven different parts of the shoe. The results support the theory that people like their color combinations to be relatively simple and coherent, rather than complex and distinct.

“Most people like to match colors very closely,” Deng said. “The further the distance between two colors, the less likely people are to choose them together.”

Overall, though, the study showed that people prefer a simple design with few colors. While participants could choose from up to 16 colors for different parts of the shoe, the average person used about four colors, the researchers found

“Using a small number of colors simplifies the final design and reduces the effort it takes to design the shoe,” Deng said.

Deng conducted the study with Sam Hui of the Stern School of Business at New York University and J. Wesley Hutchison of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  It was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Consumer Psychology.