Why Consumer Products for Women Shouldn't Necessarily Be in the Pink

pink productsFifty years ago, Barbie pierced PANTONE 219C with her sharp stiletto heel and claimed pink forever in honor of girls worldwide. She rigidly extended her plastic arms and gathered pink en masse--in far-reaching hues and values.

We now have pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness (and the KitchenAid and Dyson appliances to match), CodePink, a women's campaign for peace, and shocking Schiaparelli pink reemerging on the 09/10 catwalks. Pink is used to connote female the way cats spray to mark their turf!

Women deserve representation across all facets of design--from electronics to tools, fashion, home products, and automotive. But that female expression is a heavy burden for one pretty color chip to carry. After all, a little known fact is that prior to the 1920s, pink was for boys and blue was for girls.

pink razrCompanies that are trying to communicate to a female customer must spin past just the color wheel. There is a new revolution that is about thoughtful design. This revolution is widespread and has staying power. I call this movement a feminization of design and it isn't about the color pink at all, or even about surface. Instead, it cuts right to the heart and emotion of the matter.

Furthermore, this powerful design expression is not exclusive, but inclusive of the male population. This new design language embraces: comfort, meaning, joy, clarity, sensual shapes, philanthropic purpose, and earth-minded mission statements. This new mission provides a soft landing to these harsh times and could never be defined by one color alone.

KitchenAidWhat do you say, women? What colored products would you rather see corporations offering you? Or do you feel pretty in pink?

Disclaimer:
The author would like to state that she actually loves pink, but doesn't want the hue to suffer under the undo pressure of representing an entire gender. After all, there is no one exclusive hue willing to shoulder the weight of the entire male gender.

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Laura Guido-Clark is an expert in the skin of consumer products--their color, materials, and finish. This is perhaps the area of industrial and textile design that requires the greatest understanding of the human heart. Laura has spent her life studying the always new and always surprising ways that human beings react to the look and feel of any given product.

Laura is the rare color and finish consultant whose expertise includes not just textiles but heavy manufacturing industries such as automotive, electronics, and major household appliances. This experience has given her vast knowledge of the raw materials and processes used in product categories across the board. Throughout her twenty-plus year career, Laura has analyzed the conscious and unconscious influences that drive buying decisions. Her ability to translate those influences into prescient forecasting and, ultimately, into concrete applications of color and finish has helped companies such as Samsung, Apple, Mattel, and Toyota design products that resonate with consumers and succeed in competitive markets.

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2 Comments

  • Ann Marie Shillito

    Manufacturers and designers are copping out badly with this 'pink' colour' approach to design. With a more considered approach to designing from the bottom up products will then appeal not just to women but to everyone. Below are 2 excellent articles from 4 women designers that give the best reasons for a more comprehensive approach and inform our potential customers about why our approach to software development is inclusive: http://www.femmeden.com/docume... http://www.femmeden.com/docume...
    Links to ours: www.anarkik3d.co.uk www.anarkikangels.co.uk

  • Ruth Reed

    Very thoughtful commentary on the meaning of womanhood and the meaning of color. I'm always happy to see companies appeal to women on new and diverse levels. I believe the things you mention "clarity, joy, sensual shapes, comfort and meaning" will greatly appeal to women as well as humanity in general. As a woman, these things certainly speak to me and I would love it if companies focused on these concepts more. Great article. Thank you for sharing it with us! (I must note as well....I do enjoy pink but have always been more of a green girly girl!)