Attention to color is playing an increasing role in the development of product packages and in store merchandising displays, notes a report from a marketing communications organization.

According to the New York-based Howard Marlboro Group, color has the ability to create a certain mood or feeling and thus affects buying decisions in the store aisles where nearly 80 percent of these decisions are made.Some of the observations in the report include:

- Red is a powerful color that commands attention and is a powerful stimulus. Blue, on the other hand, develops the opposite reaction, as a tranquil and cool color. Blue is generally the favorite color of males.

- Green is often associated with freshness and nature, which accounts for its predominance in fruit and vegetable sections of supermarkets.

- The cosmetic field makes wide use of purple, so often associated with royalty and suggestions of opulence and wealth. Pink is most associated with femininity.

The report also notes that while black symbolizes death and mourning, it also is used to suggest sophistication, wealth and luxury. White also is associated with luxury, as well as purity, divinity and innocence. Brown conjures up thoughts of warmth and comfort.

Colors, used in combinations, also can be effective, says the report. One example: red and green, while complementary (opposite) colors on the color wheel, represent a strong contrast in both hue and value, which heightens legibility of labels or signs.