Pink: How important is a colour to your brand’s retail strategy

If you’ve been on Instagram recently you will have noticed a restaurant opening in New York City called Pietro Nolita, you probably haven’t heard anything about the menu but you will have seen the interior decor: Pink. So much Pink. In fact the NYTimes even published an article called ‘The New (Very Pink) NoLita restaurant making Italian healthy’. Then there’s the rise and rise of accessories brand Mansur Gavriel whose perfectly curated Instagram feed also celebrates pink for its current AW16 collection, and for those of you who love candles, you’ll have no doubt stumbled across the brand Boy Smells, which specialises in selling candles that come in their perfectly pink candle holders.


restaurant Pietro Nolita

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So what’s with all the pink? Well, it’s the 2016 colour of the year according to Pantone and so it’s no surprise that the colour is dominating retail and social media at the moment.

But, the dominance of this colour got us thinking, how much does a colour affect business brand strategy? And is it a good idea to align yourself with a single colour? Anyone based in Dalston, east London will have seen the rise and rise of summer pop-up tiki bar Palm Club, which used a carefully curated pink and palm print interiors aesthetic to create a social media buzz and get customers through the door. And according to studies, colour is everything;  the Institute of Colour Research found that between 62% and 90% of subconscious opinions are based on colour alone. Then earlier this year artist Sir Anish Kapoor sparked a debate by saying he owned the rights to the colour Vantablack. While the colour blue is in the design spotlight at the moment, as new pigments are discovered.

So is basing your marketing strategy around one colour, just good sense?

“Using tone on tone or block colour is a really good way for retailers to cut through the noise on a crowded space like Instagram,” says Laura Saunter, WGSN Business & Strategy Editor. “It helps people to immediately focus on something and makes your brand more memorable – especially when there’s so little time to capture attention on social media, it gives them something to latch onto – almost a visual anchor, if you will. Look at Acne or Mansur Gavriel for example – these are brands which have used pink in a really successful way to almost define them now. Acne Pink transcends gender spheres, it’s not kitsch or girly – it’s refined, gender neutral and most of all, it’s very Instagrammable.”


WGSN Colour editor, Hannah Craggs concurs, there’s simply no denying the dominance of this key colour. Below she offers up some context, charting how this pink came to be on our radar, as well as offering a word of warning to brands…
“The much reposted and reblogged “Millennial pink” is the poster child of this pink power wave. Which also seamlessly crosses over with one of Pantone’s colours of the year, Rose Quartz. This rosey hue not only encompasses the growing gender neutral message but also builds on the hugely popular mid-century minimalist Scandi trend. However, has the market met its sugar sweet saturation point?
As much as this balanced mid-tone satisfies all our nostalgia driven dreams, brands must apply caution when aligning themselves closely with a specific hue as colour has the ability to wordlessly communicate a brand and its ideology.  Millennial Pink is veering dangerously close to “too much of a good thing” territory.”

Weigh into the discussion, down in the comments below. What do you think?



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