Retail and Colour – How does colour affect the way we shop?

Paola Siltchenko

In Business, Design Posted


As shoppers, we often don’t realise, or pay much intentional attention to the role that colour plays in our shopping experience. Throughout this blog, we will explore the affects of colour and pattern, and attempt to understand how our mood is stimulated, and how this in turn effects our desire to purchase products.


We often associate colour in a retail environment with a promotion such as a sale, however I wanted to explore the use of colour within a store more generally – whether it is on the floor of a space, on it’s walls, or within the fixtures and fittings used.


Colour can often be used to make a statement, and this can be explored through the Louis Vuitton pop-up store in Chicago, Illinois.

The objective behind this design was to create an immersive experience that allows for visitors to not only enjoy the space as a retail outlet, but to create a gallery or museum like experience as well.

I believe that this makes consumers look at the items they are purchasing as being more exclusive, and this in turn creates a higher urge and inclination to purchase the product.

Louis Vuitton used this as a tool in a very successful manner. They were able to create a yearning for their new range amongst their customers – the pop-up store acting as a teaser of what is to come when they launch their new collection.

This tactful move also creates an environment to promote the LV brand both on social media and in reality – where individuals are attracted to the physical space by it’s bright and bold colour, as well as being attracted to the product itself with the same bright and bold colour.


Bold colour can again be explored through the Annakiki store in Chongqing, China – designed by Joy Season Studio. The aim of the store was to strike a balance between tradition and rebellion, just as the brand aims to do within the clothing they produce.

Within the store, the use of the colour scarlet is juxtaposed with the reflective element of the steel. The designers intentionally chose these two elements as although they conflict with each other – soft and hard, colour and metal – they are still able to work harmoniously and to compliment each other too – reflectivity and balance.

It is interesting to explore not only the bold statement produced by the colour scarlet – but the statement that is created by using spools of the coloured thread all throughout the store. The aim of this was to allow for the users of the space to feel the liveliness and realness of the clothing.

In my opinion, this is a truly impactful aspect of the design of the store as it allows for the consumer to start to understand the beginning to end process that is the production of the very clothing within the store. This connection can create an empathetic feel amongst the consumer, and therefore in my opinion, can allow for an easier sale of the product.


The third example that I would like to explore is the Glossier floral pop-up store in London, England. Designed by their in-house design team, this pop-up store was designed with the history of the building in mind, creating a heavily decorative space filled with colour and ornate patterns.

The intentional over-use of the custom floral pattern is intended to produce a playful embodiment of the ornate style of the parlous rooms and private members clubs from the 19th century in London and surrounding cities.

I want to point out the interesting connection made between the space and the product, and how both are made heroes by inverting the ‘normal’ way of making something the focus – which is often a plain background to allow for the product to stand out.

By placing the product on minimal displays with a lack of colour, texture or pattern, the product is able to shine and to be the hero as it is the only non pattered item within an overly pattered space. This is really important as the product does not get lost in the space, rather it is allowing for more focus on the product itself, which results in it’s sale.

Upon closer inspection, the floral print on the walls, floors and drapery is all the same, the difference lies within the specific colours chosen. These colours range from pastel pinks to rich greens, and all play their own vital role within the space. They help to divide each ‘room’, where there are different products and ranges displayed in their own individual way.

The creation of these smaller ‘rooms’ within one large space allows for a more familiar and personal experience within the shop, and this in turn creates a more comfortable experience for individuals to purchase a product.


The above three retail stores are great examples of how colour, used in a variety of different ways, can influence an individual to purchase a product without them even perhaps realising or initially intending to make a purchase. Whether is it from the exclusivity created by a specific choice of colour, or perhaps a bold statement created by the over-use of a colour everywhere else except on the product it – these are all techniques used by designers to make their stores more attractive to the customer.

As humans, we spend a tremendous amount of time indoors, whether it is at our home, workplace, or out in the public sphere – creating amazing spaces for humans to use, makes a huge positive impact to our emotional and mental state.

I think it is important to recognise and understand these design elements, as although some people may see them as a selling technique, they are an incredible element that transforms spaces from ordinary, to extraordinary.



By Paola Siltchenko
Junior Interior Designer at Prospace Australia

Paola creativity is fuelled by her passion for both art and fashion, focusing on designing spaces that showcase the importance of materiality and lighting for the perfect customer experience.