The crowding effect of adjacent objects on the recognition of a target can be reduced when target and flankers differ in some feature, that is irrelevant to the recognition task. In this study, the mechanisms of this effect were explored using targets and flankers of the same and different colours. It was found that facilitation nearly equal to that of differently coloured targets and flankers can be observed with a differently coloured background blob in the location of the target. The different-colour effect does not require advance knowledge of the target and flanker colours, but the effect increases in the course of three trials with constant mapping of colours. The results are consistent with the notion of exogenous attention that facilitates the processing at the most salient locations in the visual field.