The Impact of Color and Texture

Color texture example using dahlia soap.Neenah Paper

Colors and textures are inherent, inextricable parts of design that help connect brands and messages. Henri Matisse, the gifted fauvist known primarily for his painting — but who later turned to a medium close to our hearts, cut paper — once said of his love of color, “A certain blue enters your soul. A certain red has an effect on your blood pressure.”

Example of color texture using a silkrose red box design.Matisse knew gold on blue gives the sense of serenity, while the underlying red seems to promise a sultry surprise inside.


Color is one of the most powerful and noticeable forms of communication. It directs us: Red makes us stop and green lets us go. It speaks to us: The sunshine yellow of blooming daffodils tells us we’re finally free from the long, long winter.

Whether it’s the utilitarian message of Home Depot orange, or the delight that comes with spying a box in Tiffany blue, color can create instant brand recognition, and be used to generate an emotional response.

Neenah makes it easy for designers to create stand-out pieces by offering a kaleidoscope of paper colors to choose from – and if your color isn’t available, Neenah has 150 years of accurate color matching experience to create the precise shade you need.

Peacock packaging for bath products.  Peacock Parfumerie uses colored paper with minimal inks to package its sensual, aromatic brand.


Mia piuma black packaging design.It takes just a hint of crisp white on sophisticated blue paper to send a brand message of understated luxury.


Example of color texture in jewelry cardstock.Nothing says French style better than a luxurious, well thought out but “let the subtlety do the job” approach.


As with color, surface textures can also elicit sensual responses.

According to Nielsen Books & Consumer, both hardcover and paperback books outsold e-books in 2014. While the e-reader is here to stay, people still want to touch and feel print on paper. As outlined in this recent white paper published by Neenah, our inherent need to hold and examine printed matter is further supported by Millward Brown’s research study, “Using Neuroscience to Understand Direct Mail,” which reports that “Tangible materials leave a deeper footprint in the brain… Physical materials involve more emotional processing, which is important for memory and brand associations.”

Theo big daddy marshmallow packaging.The textured packaging of Theo Chocolate creates a mouth-watering experience before the package is even opened.


“Textures draw us in, asking us to engage and spend more time examining a piece. Rough, toothy textures are active, calling out to the viewer for interaction. Smooth textures can create a sense of quiet, restful luxury,” says Tom Wright, director of advertising and design, Neenah Paper.

Designer Debbie Millman, president of Sterling Brands, says in this short video on the inspiration of texture, “Touch, through our hands, goes through to our hearts and to our brain. The more textural that experience is, the more likely somebody will be to want to continue that engagement.”

Gary Farrell pinot noir label utilizing texture.The warm, inviting texture of the Gary Farrell wine label gives buyers a sense of the rich experience that will come with a glass of its Pinot Noir.


Maker's Mark whiskey label with color texture.Ahhh, Maker’s Mark. The warmth of this classic whisky can be felt just by holding the bottle.


Color and Texture with Neenah
Neenah provides the tools that designers and brand managers need to create those messages, and fulfill their visions.

Personal Proof: See your artwork on different paper colors and textures, before the final paper specification. Upload a design, select a paper, and Neenah will mail you your proof.

Adobe Swatch Exchange Files: Integrate accurate paper colors into the workflow during the design process. Files are available for every Neenah Paper brand.

Inspiration Gallery: See some of the most creative uses of color and texture in packaging for small businesses and big brands like Sephora, Terlato Wines and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Neenah Cabinet: Search, browse, view and compare all Neenah papers at once with the easy to use virtual swatchbook cabinet app – available for all devices.

Swatchbooks: Neenah’s full family of swatchbooks shows the wide range of colors and textures available across all brands.

Visit for more information on how Neenah’s paper colors, textures, samples and packaging solutions can help elevate your brand message.

Personal Proof is a registered trademark of Neenah Paper.

Dahlia soap box with red and gold color texture.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


© 2002 - 2024 PaperSpecs

Log in

Forgot your details?