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To understand how your business can attract and retain colour blind customers start by reading our simple two-page document Creating a colour blind friendly retail experience.

clothes hanger with t-shirt

Normal Vision

clothes hanger with t-shirt - Deuteranopia


Colour blind customers are routinely ignored by the retail industry, see the two examples below:-

Product packaging and placement

The images below show how difficult it is for colour blind people to pick out products on supermarket shelves by colour. They also demonstrate how much of an impact blue and yellow can have on their buying choices. As a colour blind person, would you automatically be drawn to the blue product on the middle of the top shelf on the right simply because you can easily identify it? Would it then become your product of choice just because you know where it can be found on the shelf?

supermarket shopping

Normal Vision

supermarket shopping - Deuteranopia


‘Traffic light’ food labelling systems advising customers on the levels of fat, salt, carbohydrate etc within each product usually show high levels of each component in red, medium levels in orange and low levels in green. This set of colours is intended to show customers at a glance the average levels of each component within the product. But red, amber and green are colours which people with colour blindness often can’t tell apart, so they need to be provided with extra information.

Colour blind people do not use colour to navigate information –  they need other clues. This can be something as simple as text or a symbol, provided this information contrasts strongly with background information.

If information is also given in text, colour blind can seek it out but packaging companies don’t usually realise the importance of strong colour contrast between text and background information. Black text against a red background can be invisible to many people with colour blindness but it’s a common combination used in packaging and marketing. This can have serious consequences if your customer is diabetic and trying to work out sugar content, or worse has a nut allergy but they aren’t sure if certain allergens are present or not.

Solutions to these kinds of problems are not about removing colour, far from it – they are about how to present information in other ways as well as colour, so that information is available to everyone.

Retailer Sales and discount offers.

You might think that a big, red SALE sign in your shop window will be so obvious that no-one could possibly miss it, but you’d be wrong! Reds just don’t stand out to people with colour blindness so if you want to catch their eye and entice them in to your shop, you need to think differently. Once a colour blind customer is inside your shop you’ll also need to be sure they can see your on-sale items – and they won’t notice red sale tickets either. Clever retailers keep red sale tickets for customers with normal colour vision but subtly adapt them so they can be spotted by all customers.

Then there’s the issue of how you label individual products. Our two-page document Creating a colour blind friendly retail experience explains why it’s so important that products are properly labelled with simple colour names, both in-store and throughout each stage of the purchasing process on your website (see below).

sale signs

Red Sales Ticket

sale signs Yellow & Blue

Yellow & Blue Sales Ticket

Online retailing

How information is presented online can be the difference between making a sale or not therefore giving careful consideration to the use of colour on your website is extremely important. Your brand design is one thing but if you want to maximise sales it is essential that information is provided carefully to attract colour blind customers and make sure they can easily purchase from you. There are guidelines on how to present information online so it is accessible, including specific information for web designers on colour contrast ratios see the World Wide Web Consortium guidelines here.

This is only half the story! If you want people with colour blindness to buy from your online store you will need to ensure that you label all the products with a simple colour name, in text (not just by a colour swatch) and ensure that colour name follows the product right the way through the buying process.

Please contact us via [email protected] for consultancy advice.