In this paper we discuss the optical response of laser-written plasmonic colours on silver coated via the atomic layer deposition of alumina. These colours are due to nanoparticles distributed on a flat surface and on a surface with periodic topographical features (i.e. ripples). The colours are observed to shift with increasing alumina film thickness. The colours produced by surfaces with ripples recover their original vibrancy and hue after the deposition of film of thickness ~60 nm, while colours arising from flat surfaces gradually fade and never recover. Analysis of the surfaces identifies periodic topographical features to be responsible for this behaviour. Finite-difference time-domain simulations unravel the role played by the alumina thickness in colour formation and confirm the rotations and recovery of colours for increasing alumina thickness. The coloured surfaces were evaluated for applications in colourimetric and radiometric sensing showing large sensitivities of up to 3.06/nm and 3.19 nm/nm, respectively. The colourimetric and radiometric sensitivities are observed to be colour dependent.