“The Money of Colour”

Put your profits in the black, the blue, the green, the fuschia and even the red, but avoid a retail life of grey…


As the most emotional tool in the armoury of retailers, brands and manufacturers it is still sometimes surprising how little strategy lies behind the use of colour.

And for sure the ways to use colour are many & varied, from building category authority through to dazzling customers with image colour and a powerful focus on one of two seasonal hues. Ultimately it’s the logic behind the use of colour, linked to the proposition of the brand or retailer that should dictate its application. As the adage goes “Art for Art’s sake. Money for God’s sake” or in this instance “Colour for Money’s sake”

Whereas customers react emotionally to colour, the retailer must always react commercially!
How does colour benefit your brand and drive your performance.

For many retailers the assortment uses colour both as a spectrum of basics, and as the seasonal mood. However in either case it is important to find the balance between, base, tone and fashion colours.

Basic spectrums may include a seasonal highlight or two but must always be based on the best selling base colours that drive sales. As always the key to future performance is based in historic performance. When it comes to some things – “History does repeat itself”

Even seasonal assortment should be based on historically best selling colours. Perception and reality must work together to ensure that fashion colour is highly visible but quietly controlled in terms of unit depth. Interestingly Zara, who quite rightly have one of the highest perceptions for fashion, have one of the safest colour palettes, with the smallest % of options featuring fashion colours.

If “Choice is your proposition” then use colour to create the illusion, but base the buy on commercial concerns. Selfridge’s stationery wall is a fabulous statement created with colours with no sell-by date and shelf life which ultimately bears fruit; the Dulux paint mixer which offers an almost infinite range of colours is delivered through an almost infinite number of tins with a neutral base. Clever choice perception based on absolute commercial sense leaving the colour decision until a willing buyer is willing to pay for it.

Whole propositions can be built on colour such as “the White Company” whose stores are beautifully pure and protected, where the added-value and product dynamic comes through the exceptional taste, design and quality set against the safety-net of pure white.

So, put your profits in the black, the blue, the green, the fuchia and even the red, but avoid a retail life of grey…

Be clever with colour, commercial with colour and communicate with colour. Ignore it at your peril.


VM-unleashed works with retail merchandising teams to analyse and formulate strategies for colour management within assortments…


…here are a few people that we’ve helped that you may have heard of too…

Ferrari, Luxottica, Marks & Spencer, Primark, AllSaints, Carrefour, Camper, Cortefiel, Boots, Sainsbury, Sonae, Otto Versand, BonPrix, National Geographic, Flex, Gruppo Vestebene, Alessi, Eroski, Coin, Oviesse, Bally, Adidas, Sony, Clarks, Benetton, Orange, KappAhl, Imaginarium, Porcelanosa, Trucco and Ben Sherman.

some of our clients…

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if you would like to know more about our expertise, and how it could work for you, then please drop us a line.

+44 (0)7967 609849



I'm Tim Radley and I started VM-unleashed! in 2007, and as the one who makes most of the decisions, and does most of the work, then I guess that makes me the Managing Director. I've now been doing this sort of thing for over 20 years now, so hopefully i know my way around the retail block ...but hey, what do I know?


  1. I’m creating a new blog about literature ( what I’ve read, what I’m reading), but I’m having trouble thinking of a title. I like the idea of something having to do with an obsession with literature but I think bookophilia is on the average side. What do you think of Litophilia? Is it too similar to “lithophilia” Which means the love of stones? Any ideas? Thanks!.

    • Only one comment.
      I would stay clear of the “philia” ending.
      I think it has bad connotations at the moment.
      only my opinion, but consider it.
      Good luck.

  2. Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads up fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

    • Hi, Many thanks.
      Pleased you’re enjoying the material.
      Not a technical guy so can’t answer about the speed of delivery.
      Pleased its working for you.

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