We should pay attention to the following tips in color technique when designing packing boxes: One, the complement of the color and the wrappage. Second, the contrast between the color and the color itself. These two points are the key in color applies.
1. The complement of the color and the wrappage
How shall we start talking about the complement of the color and the wrappage?
The outer color of package could reveal or cast light upon the inner packing materials.Once people’s eyes fall on the outer packing,they can by and large perceive and associate the inner packing material. As for this question, I have mentioned it for many times in my former essays. However, if we could walk into a store and look at the shelf, we can see that this kind of complement has not been reflected in many commodities. The consumers could not think from outside to the inside and could not think out what’s inside the package. Thus, this could not help promote the sales of the product. The normal color of outer packing should follow this rule:
（1）Speaking from industries, the dominant hue used for food packaging is light yellow or pink, since they give us a feeling of warmth and intimity. Green is usually used for tea. Beverage: green or blue. Wines or cakes: bright red. Infant foods: rose. Cosmetics: the major hue is rose, pink and white, light green, light blue, dark coffee so as to give a feeling of warm and refined. Clothing, shoes and hats are usually packed in deep green, deep blue, coffee or grey so as to give a feeling of steady and elegant beauty.
Speaking from property of the products, as for food, golden is usually used for cakes and desserts since this color gives us the impression of smelling good. Red or green is usually used for beverages like tea and beer, symbolizing the rich and fragrant flavor of the tea. Tomato sauce, apple juice uses color red so as to suggest the natural quality of the products. Though in the packing of some goods, the dominant hue is not the color that is close to the attribute of goods, but if the packing is done by a master hand, you can surely find the contents symbolizing the color lump, color dot, color streak in the picture of the outer packing. These should be our favorite work. You can find such example in the packing of some clothing, cosmetics and even some wines.
2. The contrast between colors
Next, we will talk about the contrast between color and color. It is the most easily expressed but also hard to grasp in the packing of goods. There is a popular saying in Chinese calligraphy and painting, “airtight that the wind won’t come through, spacious that a horse can run through”. Actually, it is talking about contrast. In packing designs, this contrast is very obvious and very common. The contrasts include: the contrast between deep and light color, the contrast between light and heavy, the contrast between dot and face, the contrast between simple and complex, the contrast between elegant and vulgar, the contrasts of color used ,etc.
（1）The contrast between deep and light color
It is the most widely and frequently used in packing designs. It is also commonly seen in many graphic designs (It refers to posters, hang pictures, etc). The so-called contrast between deep and light means the deep color and the light color skillfully appear on the same picture and create a visual effect that is quite harmonious. For example, we usually use large areas of light color at the bottom while drawing pictures on them with deep colors. For example, light color at the bottom, and use coffee to draw pictures on them. Or use light yellow or white pattern lines in coffee color lumps; for example, light green at the bottom and deep green on the top; pink at the bottom and bright red on the top; grayish at the bottom and black on the top. These are all the contrast between light and deep color. This kind of packing is most commonly seen on the packing of cosmetics or western wines, especially wines from Western Europe. China’s Changyu Dry Red Wine and Shuanghui’s sausages as well as Xijie’s meat use this kind of packing. This kind of packing form is also common in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. The visual effect it creates is sprightly, simple and direct, mild, simple but elegant.
（2）The contrast between light and heavy（ or between deep and light）is also important technique in the application of colors in design. In this kind of contrast, simple but elegant color is usually at the bottom while solemn deep patterns are on the top, thus giving expression to the theme and name, trademark or slogan of the packing goods. Vice versa, sometimes large areas of solemn deep coloring matter are at the bottom. Then use simple and elegant color to decorate a color lump or the whole pattern. In this light and heavy contrast, general pigment color contrast and changes in temperature have harmonious color contrast. The contrast between harmonious colors is light green VS deep green, light coffee VS dark brown, pink VS bright red. The contrast between warm color and cool color is black VS white, red VS blue.
（3）The contrast between dot and face(or between big and small). It’s the contrast between a centre or a centrostigma and the overall picture, namely the contrast between small sector and big sector. In our daily life, especially in the packages of washing cosmetics, we can see the whole area is clean with nothing on it and only at the center there is obvious little cubes (or elliptic type or small circle) of heavy color .The picture on the little cube gives expression to the theme of the brand name and name of the wrappage. This is not only combination between dot and face but also contrast between big and small.
（4）The contrast between simple and complex
We can see the package of Tongyi 100 instant noodles, the lower part is the product photo and on the upper end is green and red, with 100 standing out. Look at the cover of the 66th edition of Packaging World. The bottom is crowded by the real photo of a straw plaited article in a large area, so crowded that the two word Packaging World got inside the mess. But at the center of the picture, there is a clean round gap in which mark the words “This paper shall have expanded version in 2000.” “Subscriptions at the local post office are welcome.” Simple and direct, the core idea is originally conveyed. I have once seen the packages of boiled dumplings and flavoring. The whole picture is interwoven with many colors such as green, dark, which aims to give expression to the trademark but also the name, and the patterns serving as foils. As a result, large areas of complex designs dilute the major subject of the instruction, creating a feeling of suppression and restlessness. Thus, the sales are also affected.
（5）The contrast between elegant and vulgar. The vulgar serves as a foil to the elegant. The vulgar is expressed by nasty, messy and unordered colors（actually shows great originality and this is a kind of expression in western oil painting---namely modern abstract art. For example, on a packing picture jumbled colors are spread on at random and then by the side or in it we cleverly express the theme of the pattern. This is a very interesting story. Apart from packaging, the binding of books, advertising, posters and casual columns on TV have tried this.
（6）The contrasts of color used . The contrast, in essence, the differences between many coloring matters form this contrast. The techniques of expression is: the contrast between light and shade(or between yin and yang)；the contrast between warm and cold ,for example the contrast between red and blue；the contrast between motion and quietness, for example the contrast between the quietly elegant and calm background and lively patterns and characters; the contrast between light and heavy ,for example the contrast between deep color and light color.