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Only Limited by the Imagination: Color Sets Brands Apart

By: Abby Penning
Posted: August 28, 2012, from the September 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

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That can include anything from different colors, color effect pigments and ingredients to different amounts of those ingredients used in products. Linz notes, “The innovative and effective raw materials that are found in a prestige product strongly contribute to the consumer’s experience with the product. In a lipstick, for example, you want good color transfer; good payoff; a smooth, pleasant skin feel; stability of the stick—no oiling out; good wear time; consistency as the product stays on the lips; and a shade that complements the skin. Prestige products will choose innovative and more effective raw materials, and will come closer to achieving those goals.”

Because more and more, consumers are seeking something familiar as well as customized, and that often means color matching. In Spectra’s work to match product colors, Capik says, “We have a color chart, and we have [customers] give us a coordinating number and letter that says, ‘This is the color that I’m looking for,’ so that we know what we’re targeting and we know what they’re trying to match.

“They’ll say, ‘OK, I have this bath gel and I want it to look like this [a certain color and finish],’ so they’ll send it in to us,” Capik continues. “They’ll send in the colored base or what they want it to look like—their target shade—and we’ll also have them send in the undyed base so that we can do the work here. We’re very much about full service. A lot of the times, in any type of formulation, and of course in cosmetics also, there are other ingredients in the product that maybe the customers don’t want to disclose or maybe they don’t know, and it can vary from product to product, so we always like to get the base product here so that we can do the work and say, ‘OK, we know this is going to work. We tested it in this base that you provided.’ We’re more confident that way.”

Because the correctness of that color is so important, it can have a significant impact on a product and its success. “Color effect pigments can be used to dramatically spice up something as simple as a body wash,” Thornley notes. “A small amount, say 0.05%, next to nothing, in a body wash can create a stars-in-the-sky effect that is extremely eye-catching.”

Thornley even recommends using these color pigment effects to draw the eyes of shoppers to the product on the shelves. “In a clear bottle, these colored, pigmented products can really stand out,” he says. “This allows brands to spend less on some packaging components,” and it’s the actual product that’s engaging the consumer.

Thornley also notes that this strategy can be used for shampoos and conditioners, body washes, liquid soaps, makeup, even creams and lotions and beyond, and it’s an instant way to make a range of beauty products stand apart from their competition.

When it comes to color, color ingredients and color effect pigments, it’s all about using them in a way that best fits your brand. Even if that’s sometimes literally out of the box.

Abby Penning is associate editor of GCI magazine. She previously was the assistant editor for Skin Inc. magazine, where she won a silver FOLIO: Eddie award in 2009.