Designers Employ Colour Cues To Alter Food Perception

Would you consider taking a bite of a bright blue pizza or sipping a grey cocktail? A good appetite and unnatural colours rarely mix. Colour is closely related to the appeal of food and drink. It’s the most important sensory cue for setting our expectations about taste before we dig in. The psychological impact that colour has on the perception of flavour makes it a powerful design tool.


Palette for Your Palate, an online exhibition, is an inspirational example of the effect that colour has on mood. Vancouver outfit Tealeaves invited chefs and mixologists to develop recipes and cocktails based on three things: the brand’s tea blends, matching colours picked by the Pantone Color Institute, and associated moods. The project explores the subconscious role colour plays in emotional engagement. ‘Our reaction to colour is, for the most part, intuitive and emotional; only 5 percent is rational,’ says Pantone’s Laurie Pressman in an interview posted on Warm colours can evoke feelings of comfort or anger, while cool colours often generate calmness or sadness. Tealeaves’ invitation resulted in drinks like Kevin Spicknell’s Peppermint Tea Margarita, a vibrant cocktail that references both the brand’s Organic Peppermint Tea and a striking shade of blue: Pantone 290 C.

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