business signage

Best Colors to Use for Business Signage

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For solo entrepreneurs to small businesses to major corporations, the first advertising investment becomes the logo and its first home becomes the company’s business card and sign. The key is to find a design that scales well from business card to billboard. Color contributes hugely to that and can make your sign readable or unintelligible.

Your business sign needs to combine the appropriate colors for psychological appeal and long-distance readability. That means choosing the right colors from the color wheel and the appropriate hue to convey subliminal communication.

Color Theory and Psychology

The first rule of advertising design says stick to a two color design. Ignore your favorite color and turn to research instead. Psychology studies determined what effect each color has on the average human being. For example, blue, especially darker blues, evoke business confidence. Bright yellow evokes happiness. Choose the right color family for your needs based upon the emotion it will evoke.

  • black and white represent professionalism and elegance,
  • blue represents business confidence,
  • brown represents stability and earthiness,
  • green represents health,
  • orange represents joy and optimism,
  • pink represents femininity, love,
  • purple represents royal, mystery, wisdom,
  • red represents stimulant,
  • yellow represents happy feelings.

Complementary Colors

Choose two colors that complement yet contrast with one another. For example, dark blue or black on white. Use a color wheel to determine two colors that work together for visibility and convey the subliminal message desired. A light color on a dark background or the opposite, a dark color on a light background, provides an inviting message that’s easy to read.

Compelling Colors

Choose a compelling color that helps convey brand identity. According to studies of trademarks, color represents 80 percent of a person’s recognition of a trademark or logo. Think of the sunny yellow McDonald’s uses or the deep blue of IBM. Those compelling colors prove memorable to consumers. Avoid trendy colors. Choose a traditional, compelling hue for longevity.

Color and Photographs

Simple, single color themes provide the most professional look. A full color photo can emphasize your message, but done wrong, it detracts from it. If you need text to overlap with image, use a color that viewers can easily read over the image.

Color and White Space

The term white space refers to the areas of a page or print with no information – without text, graphic or photographic elements. If you printed a full page of text, the top, bottom, left and right margins would likely be the only white space on the page. You need white space for a sign or billboard to remain readable and aesthetically pleasing. The most pleasing designs use a 60/40 percent split with 60 percent devoted to white space. That leaves you 40 percent of the sign to convey your business name, logo and message in a legible, large type face, also called a font.

Click here to learn more about color theory, sign design and how to draw more business to your company through advertising.

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