When consumers were asked to choose colors for seven different parts of an athletic shoe, they tended to pick identical or similar colors for nearly every element.
They usually avoided contrasting or even moderately different color combinations.
A red and yellow athletic shoe? Not going to happen. Blue and grey? That’s more like it.
This is one of the first studies to show how consumers would choose to combine colors in a realistic shopping situation, said Xiaoyan Deng, lead author of the study and assistant professor of marketing at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.
The results support the theory that people like their color combinations to be relatively simple and coherent, rather than complex and distinct
“Most people like to match colors very closely,” Deng said. “The further the distance between two colors, the less likely people are to choose them together.”
However, there was one exception. A large minority of people chose to highlight a relatively small signature part of the shoe with a contrasting color far from the colors used in other elements.
Overall, though, the study showed that people prefer a simple design with few colors. While participants could choose from up to 16 colors for different parts of the shoe, the average person only used about four colors on the entire shoe they designed.
“Using a small number of colors simplifies the final design and reduces the effort it takes to design the shoe,” Deng said.
Deng conducted the study with Sam Hui of the Stern School of Business at New York University and J. Wesley Hutchison of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. It was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Consumer Psychology.
The study is important, Deng said, because it is one of the first to show, from a marketing perspective, people’s preferences for color combinations. Most other research on color preferences has taken a psychological perspective and simply asked people whether they thought two color chips would go well together.
“We had a very realistic situation in the study where consumers could clearly show how they would combine colors in real life,” Deng said.
The study involved 142 participants who agreed to go to the publicly available NIKEiD website and create a Nike “shox” shoe for themselves. At the site, they choose colors for seven elements of the shoe: the base, secondary, swoosh, accent, lace, lining and shox. For each element, they could choose between six to 12 colors.The researchers analyzed the color choices made by the participants and measured the similarity of chosen colors based on a widely accepted “color space” model.
But a large minority of people did choose to highlight one element of the shoe by making it a color that was unrelated to the others used, offering a strong contrast. Often, people chose this contrasting color for the “shox” element – columns in the heel and mid-section of the shoe that provide cushioning while running.
These shox are a unique component of athletic shoes and a signature component of this Nike product line.
“It seems that some consumers wanted this signature part of the shoe to really stand out from the rest,” Deng said. “It may be that they saw the rest of the shoe as a background for this one contrasting color. But we need to study that more.”
Deng said it was significant that consumers used only about four different colors in the shoe. The researchers calculated that they would expect consumers to use 5.48 colors per shoe, based on the conditions in this study.
“We found that consumers preferred to use just a small palette of colors in their shoe and closely matched colors within this palette,” she said.
But does this study really capture the participants’ general feelings about color combinations, or are the results only applicable to these self-designed shoes?
To test this, the researchers asked participants to rate how much they liked four Nike-designed shoes available on the website.
The researchers then created a “color coordination index” for each Nike-designed shoe that allowed them to relate the level of similarity between colors of a specific Nike-designed shoe to participants’ shoe preferences.
The results showed that there was a strong association between the color coordination index and the liking for Nike-designed shoes. This suggests the study really did reveal how participants liked to combine colors, Deng said.
Deng said the findings suggest that Nike may be offering more color combinations for each element of the shoe than consumers really need.
“If a consumer chooses a reddish color for one element of the shoe, he or she will probably only use colors closely related to red for the rest of the shoe,” she said.
“However, it is not the case that you can offer the same small palette of colors for all consumers. Each consumer may have a different idea of what color they want to emphasize. But once they make that choice, their palette tends to be restricted.”Contact: Xiaoyan Deng, (614) 292-2700; Deng_84@fisher.osu.edu
Xiaoyan Deng | EurekAlert!
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
23.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
23.08.2017 | Automotive Engineering
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences