Color’s Cachet

Color plays a vital role in drawing customers to your door. Learn the basic principles of color theory so your merchandising signals harmony and invites sales.

Using a few key techniques to incorporate color can greatly enhance the visibility, saleability and ultimately the success of your retail business. Work colors harmoniously to provide unity and balance, while enhancing the overall appeal of your product line.

Here are some basic principles from color theory to keep in mind:

  • 60/30/10 rule: The primary color should be 60% of the design to provide unity. Thirty percent of the secondary color provides contrast. The remaining ten percent is the accent color that provides interest and makes a statement.
  • Color wheels provide great help when looking to pull colors together in a design, whether you are looking for complementary or analogous. Color design books also offer great combinations for you to use.
  • Emotion: Select colors such as blue for trust and calm, red for energy, pinks and purples for romance, a feminine and soothing touch and green for wealth.
  • Color blocking is when you combine two or more colors together without a pattern. It is most effective when viewed in successive blocks of color as in a rainbow.

ProactivGreen Goods

The color is pulled from the product packaging. Using the same color everywhere provides harmony through unity. This analogous color palette was picked for its calming quality as well as for allowing the product to contrast.

SpiritExteriorBold and Boo-tiful

Color contrast is the main element behind this store front design. The 60-30-10 rule is at work here. Can you guess which storefront colors form the percentages? The entire storefront is covered with a black matted vinyl. The entry portal is backed by an orange outline, as is a peek-a-boo window. The windows add movement and a touch of intrigue to make this storefront an attention-grabber that clearly states its identity.

Rural Route

The brown color from the reclaimed wood emphasizes the store’s theme: rural chic. A harmonizing color is created with graphics and reclaimed wood. Farm Boy Farm Girl’s exterior and interior finishes and the color palette enhance visuals and make the store feel like an old farm barn.

Stuffies2Toy Story

Here, secondary colors are used to complement the playfulness of company logo and the stuffed animals. Each side of the RMU is designed to create its own color zone providing interest while supporting the overall theme.

hurrycaneThe White Touch

White as the dominant color along with backlit white corner elements creates unity and a clinical approach. Pulling colors from the packaging helps create a strong visual. Completely wrapping the RMU in white graphics makes it stand out from all other elements in the area.

Brett Beaudette

Brett Beaudette serves as Lead Retail Designer and Design Manager for Mall of America, in addition to owning his own design consulting business, Ideal Productions & Design. Beaudette specializes in creating unique and successful inline, kiosk and RMU designs and merchandising strategies. He has been featured on HGTV and Travel Channel specials for his mall holiday décor and store design sets, and can be reached at
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