Psychology of Wrapping Paper. Is the Color of a Gift Important?
Now that we are in the holiday mood I have been noticing that red and green colored wrapping paper are all around the stores. There are a few companies trying to incorporate other colors and modern designs, but I believe that people still prefer wrapping and receiving gifts with the traditional colors, green and red just scream Christmas, joy and tradition. This is an example of how seasonal colors affect the colors we choose in our products, including wrapping paper. Getting closer to Christmas we see lots of gifts wrapped with red and green, while Easter we see lots more pastel colored surprises and Halloween, of course, is all about orange and black.
I was born in March, so spring is my Birthday season and I receive lots of pink or pastel colored wrapped gifts and I think it’s because of the colors of the season, not just because I’m a girl.
Here is an example of how seasonal colors affect the wrapping paper we purchase. Check out that Angry Birds wrapping paper, it doesn’t have anything to do with the Holidays, but with all that green and red, stores mix it right along in the Holiday section of the store and it totally works! If you walk around the store and have a kids Birthday coming up, it’s more likely that you would buy the Angry Birds gift paper in red or green, these colors are obviously trending right now, and don’t expect to see that stop until well into the new year.
Talking about girls and boys, gender can be another reason for choosing different wrapping paper colors. Normally boys receive more gifts wrapped with green, blue, red and black paper, girls tend to receive more pink, purple, yellow, orange and white. There are some occasions like Christmas parties and Weddings, when it is common for girls and boys to receive the same colored wrapping paper, but for birthdays we tend to choose a color that we think is acceptable for the gender.
The style of the gift is another reason we choose a certain color of wrapping paper. Is the gift handmade, elegant, fun?
There is something special about a shiny or sparkly wrapped gift, those ones that look glamorous and make us feel like they are expensive. Like wedding gifts that are mostly wrapped with white, cream, silver or gold paper, they look elegant and chic.
I also have noticed that if you are giving a handmade gift, you are going to try to wrap the gift in a creative way and maybe use a couple of natural colors. The handmade movement brought us the idea that kraft paper was original and creative, even though this kind of paper is not expensive, it has that special status of uniqueness.
The cultural aspect is important as well. I was born and raised in Mexico and I don’t remember the colors of the wrapping paper being very different from here, but I do remember that traditions brought other varieties of prints and patterns to the stores. Again Christmas is a great example while in the States we see a lot of Santa Clauses and reindeer, even a menorah or two, in Mexico you might see wrapping paper with the three wise men, which is a commonly celebrated holiday there along with other places in Latin America.
What about seeing the colors of the brand’s we love on the wrapping paper. Brands are investing lots of money in paper bags and wrapping paper with their logos on them, the reason, marketing, but we buy it because people love receiving and giving gifts with the logos and branding from the companies we love and identify with.
Ok, ok, so we all agree at this point that color is really important for the giver and the receiver of a gift. The giver tries to express something about the gift with the color in the wrapping paper, a tiny sneak peek or an extra detail to add to the celebration of a special occasion. The receiver perceives this and decides if the gift is exciting or not. All that just by checking out that wrapping paper, long before they even see what’s inside. But why are we so obsessed with wrapping and opening gifts?
Daniel J. Howard, professor of marketing at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, wrote a really interesting article about it. He described an experiment when they gave some free gifts to a couple of people and made them write reviews about it. All of them received the same gift but a couple of them got it in a plastic bag from the store. Others in a pretty wrapped box with a bow. Who do you think wrote the better reviews of the gifts? The wrapped gifts made them feel special.
I personally believe that we love wrapping gifts for the element of surprise. The time and detail a person put into wrapping a gift makes us feel that we need to like it, because somebody invested time or money on this.
Here is some color psychology that can help you choose the correct color wrapping paper depending on the occasion, season, gender or style of your gift.
What colors describe what you want to say with a gift? Have you ever thought about all those things that affect the colors of the wrapping paper that you buy?