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Last time we spoke about how colour plays a huge role in visual perception, emotion and human behavior. We delved into the fascinating topic of colour psychology, understanding our subconscious and how we react by the colours we see. For a reminder of the last blog post, we spoke about red, blue, orange, yellow, green and pink. Red is the most effective colour to use, blue is the most unappetizing colour, orange makes more sales, yellow is a great as a secondary colour in a logo, green makes food look healthier and pink is a good colour for food companies based around baked goods. 

Time to jump into the next round of colours!


What Black Means for Restaurants

Having a classic appeal, black is typically used to portray power, authority, strength and sophistication. Although it can be somewhat of a cold colour, black ink has the most contrast on white paper which makes the menu the most legible.

In a logo, black and white portray the sense of simplicity and leaving colour out can give a chic feel. A lot of restaurants use black in their logos for its simplicity and sophistication. When speaking of black food, it may not be the most desirable colour. 

Some of the top foods associated with black are black liquorice, squid ink pasta, kalamata olives, burnt ends, Jack Daniels and black rum. With the ever so popular rustic design in the food industry, black chalk boards have grown in popularity. However, try to avoid using too much black in your environmental design.


What Grey and Silver Mean for Restaurants

Grey and silver are classified as mature and reliable, although if overused can give off a sense of depression and no emotion. Straight out grey is not commonly used in food, grey is highly used in combination with accent colours that can be quite appealing. 

Seen mostly in packaging for teas, grey has an earthy tone to it and can be associated with natural ingredients. Silver on the other hand is far more popular, as it represents class and cleanliness. I mean think of those stainless steel counters. 

With grey, there are a few examples that stand out, particularly as mentioned in tea packages, labels and in combination with other colours on menus. Silver on the other hand is widely seen in primarily packaging alcoholic and non. High end brands with high-end print. 


What White Means for Restaurants

White stimulates innocence, clarity, purity and hope. White in restaurant design happens to neutralize food colours and contributes to glare. Although white space is crucial in menu design as it contributes to effective legibility of a menu. 

When used correctly, white can give off a sense of cleanliness or clarity and is usually most popular as a secondary or accent colour. When plating, white space can accent a dish bringing focus to the food. 

Just Google ‘food presentation’ and you will see. Although, if overused, things can become dull and plain, so always be cautious. White and negative space works well to accent the primary colour in most brands. 

As previously mentioned black and white logos are very common when the brand is giving a sense of simplicity and sophistication. 


What Purple Means for Restaurants

Generally purple is associated with royalty and a lavish lifestyle. Some other characteristics associated are wisdom, respect, power, creativity, dignity and spirituality. Although it is similar to blue, purple is far more tolerated. However, not a fan favourite by any means. 

Purple is not very common in food brands or restaurants, but can crop up in berries, wines, fruits and legumes. Oh, and we cannot forget our good ol’ Dairy Milk by Cadbury. They even trademarked the colour to be synonymous with their brand. 

Taco Bell is probably the most prominent purple logo in regards to large chains showing a contrast in the market. They rebranded to purple in 1995 and it has made her logo stand out from all the red and yellow that is for sure. 


What Brown Means for Restaurants

Brown captures the feeling of being grounded, sincere, reliable, wholesome, comfortable and inexpensive. Brown is associated with coffee shops, pastries and chocolate. Brown can also be used for organic presence, natural farming and can stimulate appetite. 

Most of the time organic food brands use brown alongside green to associate fresh and natural. Brands that are highly recognized using brown are Godiva, Hershey’s and Balzac’s.


What Clear Means for Restaurants

Having transparent or clear packaging is almost a dead give-away that a brand has nothing to hide. Clear resembles transparency, honest and in some cases healthy. This not only applies to food but when you have a large open window to your restaurant this resembles a safe space and encourages you to look inside. 

Over the past 50 years plastics have become a booming packaging source and it is not going anywhere, anytime soon. Again plastic and clear packaging shows the essence of the product which can be very successful when displaying food. 

Not all food is glamorous in transparent packaging. Beware of what foods do look appropriate in clear packaging and what does not. For example, refried beans in a clear container may not be the best bet as it would not be appetizing to see brown mush. 


Whether you are a graphic designer or a restaurateur a specific colour palette will influence your audience and create a reaction. Picking the right colour is essential to getting the right audience and the right response. A restaurateurs objective is to gain returning customers and customers enjoy brand recognition which is well established through colour.  Colours can determine the dining experience and the proof is here. Although these are just guidelines to go by, it is still important to research before picking your colour scheme because as we all know colour can be very subjective, so choose wisely. 



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