Revisiting Color: What Do the Major Retailers Use?

We previously discussed the psychology behind the use of color in retail environments. Now let’s take a look at examples of how some of the large retailers in the U.S. have used color in their stores.

One interesting aspect is how the marketers work to balance these psychological triggers with the retail branding in the store. Some of our examples below demonstrate that brand-focused colors seem to trump colors used strictly to influence decision-making.

  • Target – strategic use of Target red for obvious brand reasons, without over-saturating the store with the color. This still allows the red to convey energy and sale prices where necessary. Blue and yellow are also commonly used for seasonal merchandising in Target. Creative Displays Now designed, manufactured, and printed these bin displays and portions of the retail store signs for Target.target_red_displays_signstarget_blue_seasonal


    • Walmart – blue dominates the stores to enhance the brand. Blue is also known to create trust and security. Green is often found in the grocery areas, possibly to relax shoppers and/or imply freshness or natural foods.
    • Best Buy – blue, blue, and blue (even the carpet). Ok, a little yellow too. Best Buy rarely goes away from their brand colors on their point-of-purchase displays and promotions. Strong product brands (Apple, Sony, etc) seem to be the only exception. Displays that fall outside the blue really stand out (see Shrek image – Creative Displays Now produced this floor display for Best Buy).best_buy_blue_storebest_buy_sony_displaybest_buy_shrek


  • Home Depot – orange is said to be an aggressive color that creates a call to action. Home Depot consistently uses their branded orange color with both displays and in their permanent racking. It is interesting to note that their primary competitor, Lowe’s, is also very brand-color loyal, sticking primarily to blue and white as their in-store color theme. Creative Displays Now produced the Eco Options aisle sign below (also known as an aisle violator) for Home Depot.Earns Home Depothome_depot_green

By the way, here is a nice infographic about of the psychology of color as well as its impact on brand recognition.

What retail color schemes and branding trends have you noticed? Take notice of the color and its intent the next time you’re shopping around town or planning your next retail display or packaging project.

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