The world’s favourite colour

By Madyson Laurent, Head of Graphic Design

In our industry colour is one of the key factors to be considered. It is about setting a mood, an identity so when someone walks in a space, or opens a brochure, they immediately recognise the brand.

We know that every colour has a meaning and that all of us perceive them in a different way, because we reflect on them, our personal stories and experiences. When we came across our paper supplier G.F. Smith’s ‘World’s Favourite Colour’ project we had to learn more about it. They kindly accepted our invitation to visit and give us a talk.

It inspired us so much that we thought we would share it with you.  G.F. Smith is constantly searching to expand their knowledge and collection and in order to find their 51st Colorplan they decided to take a different approach.

Although as a child having a favourite colour is evident, it becomes less important as an adult.  They decided to start a project world-wide, all gender, age, social category and country mixed in one, so the outcome could be an objective combination of answers.

And so it began.  Over four months (January to April 2017) voters were directed to an interactive colour picker where they were also asked for a few details and the reason for their choice.  Once the submissions were entered, data analysis and algorithm took care of selecting colours, by grouping them with a technique similar to pointillism. 

And the result?  The world’s favourite colour is Marrs Green!  But, being one of the finest paper makers in the world, G. F. Smith couldn’t stop the project there.  Their ambition was to translate this colour to paper.  The resulting material was such a success that it is now available world-wide, and one of the most popular in their collection.

To take it even further, they combined all the survey results and, thanks to the qualitative data they collected, they were able to associate words and emotions to different colours.  People’s comments were particularly optimistic and positive, opening-up questions about our relationship with colour and how we associate colours with feelings. 

It would be interesting to repeat the survey in a few years to see the results using a different concern and economic context.

If you want to find out more about G. F. Smith’s project we recommend reading their published report at https://worldsfavouritecolour.info