Colour Combinations Abstract art pic - with text





10 Best Colour Combinations for Sign Boards

When you are thinking about your sign board artwork and poster design, there are quite a few factors to consider. The font of your text, the size of your logo, and the types of images you select – all of these will affect the look and feel of your branding materials. However, no one factor is as important as the colour scheme that you choose.

Colours are one of the most important aspects of branding and marketing. Do you think that McDonald’s and Subway happened upon the colour yellow by accident? How about Waitrose, Starbucks, or BP – did they choose green on a whim? Does M&S stick with simple black and white for lack of any better ideas?

The answer to these questions is a resounding ‘of course not.’ These multinational corporations spend a huge amount of time and money researching the colours of their logos, branding, pavement signs, and marketing materials.



Colour Brainstorming ideas and designs - at desk with colour chart



How colours evoke and influence emotion

Colours are extremely influential on our mood. Some people report that they feel more calm and collected when they are in a blue room, or more anxious and prone to overeating in a yellow (now McDonald’s and Subway’s colour schemes make even more sense).

Pablo Picasso one said, "Colours, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.” They really do have an effect on your mood, and on the behaviours that you exhibit.




Table of 12 colours with meanings of use and emotional influence

COLOUR:

EMOTION:

INDUSTRY:

USED TO:

RED EXCITEMENT
ENERGY
PASSION
COURAGE
ATTENTION
ENTERTAINMENT
FOOD
SPORT
FIRE PROTECTION
CHILDRENS PRODUCTS
STIMULATE
CREATE URGENCY
DRAW ATTENTION
CAUTION
ENCOURAGE
ORANGE OPTIMISTIC
INDEPENDENT
ADVENTUROUS
CREATIVITY
FUN
ART
ENTERTAINMENT
FOOD
SPORTS
TRANSPORTATION
STIMULATE
COMMUNICATE FUN
DRAW ATTENTION
EXPRESS FREEDOM
FASCINATE
YELLOW ENTHUSIASM
OPPORTUNITY
SPONTANAITY
HAPPINESS
POSSITIVITY
FOOD
SPORTS
TRANSPORTATION
TRAVEL
LEISURE
STIMULATE
ENCOURAGE RELAXATION
AWAKE AWARENESS
ENERGISE
AFFECT MOOD
GREEN SAFETY
HARMONY
STABILITY
RELIABILITY
BALANCE
ENVIRONMENT
BANKING
REAL ESTATE
FARMING
NON PROFIT
RELAX
BALANCE
REVITALISE
ENCOURAGE
POSSESS
LIME GREEN GROWTH
HARMONY
FERTILITY
KINDNESS
DEPENDABILITY
ENVIRONMENT
LEISURE
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY
ENTERTAINMENT
EDUCATION
RESTORE ENERGY
PROMOTE GROWTH
NATURE
REJUVENATE
LIGHT BLUE FREEDOM
SELL EXPRESSION
TRUSTWORTH
WISDOM
JOY
ENTERTAINMENT
COMMUNICATION
CHILDRENS PRODUCTS
TECHNOLOGY
AEROSPACE
DRAW ATTENTION
INSPIRE TRUST
SUGGEST PRECISION
COMMUNICATE CONSCIOUSNESS
STIMULATE PRODUCTIVITY
DARK BLUE TRUST
RESPONSIBILITY
HONESTY
LOYALTY
INNER SECURITY
SECURITY
FINANCE
TECHNOLOGY
HEALTH CARE
ACCOUNTING
REDUCE STRESS
CREATE CALMNESS
RELAX
SECURE
CREATE ORDER
VIOLET IMAGINATION
SPIRITUALITY
COMPASSION
SENSITIVITY
MYSTERY
HUMANITARIAN
PSYCHIC
RELIGION

ENCOURAGE CREATIVITY
INSPIRE
COMBINE WISDOM AND POWER
CREATE IMPRESSION OF LUXURY
INTUITION
PINK COMPASSION
LOVE
IMMATURE
PLAYFUL
ADMIRATION
CHILDRENS PRODUCTS
WOMANS PRODUCTS
BEAUTY
FASHION
COMMUNICATE ENERGY
INCREASE PULSE
MOTIVATE ACTION
FASCINATE
ENCOURAGES CREATIVITY
BROWN RELIABILITY
STABILITY
HONESTY
COMFORT
NATURAL
AGRICULTURE
CONSTRUCTION
TRANSPORTATION
LEGAL
FOOD
STABILISE
IMPLY COMMON SENSE
SUPPRESS EMOTIONS
CREATE WARMTH
GREY NEUTRAL
PRACTICAL
COSERVATIVE
FORMAL
QUIET
ALL INDUSTRIES
*MOSTLY USED IN
COMBINATION WITH
OTHER COLOURS
CREATE SENSE OF COMPOSURE
DEPRESS ENERGY
ASSOCIATE TIMELESS
COMMUNICATE MATURATION
BLACK POWER
CONTROL
AUTHORITY
DISCIPLINE
ELEGANCE
ALL INDUSTRIES
*MOSTLY USED IN
COMBINATION WITH
OTHER COLOURS
HIDE FEELINGS
INTIMIDATE
RADIATE AUTHORITY
CREATE FEAR
ASSOCIATE WITH MYSTERY


How do colours affect consumer behaviour?

The field of colour psychology suggests that different shades and tones affect our mood in many ways. They can soothe and relax the mind, or they can rile you up and cause anxiety. Experts say that they can even affect the things that you buy, and how much you are willing to spend. We all have preferences about the colours that we like to wear and surround ourselves with, but maybe there is even more than just preference as to why we choose them.

Here are some of the most common consumer behaviours and feelings associated with different colours:

  • Blue: Blue is stable, and can evoke a feeling of safety and confidence in a product.


  • White: White is fresh, clean, and sophisticated, and can bring youth and modernity to mind.


  • Silver: Silver evokes a sense of modernity and can even feel futuristic and innovative. This is a cutting edge colour for your branding and signage.


  • Yellow: Yellow is associated with bright, sunny emotions, and can make people feel happy and bold.


  • Black: Black is timeless and sophisticated for a reason, and is associated with power and wealth.


  • Red: Red is powerful, bold, and sexy! It screams ‘look at me!’ and helps catch anyone’s attention. There is a reason that red is associated with high heels, lipstick, and sports cars.


  • Grey: Grey might be understated and a bit bland, but it can suggest stability, timeless reliability, and simplicity. It’s perfect for products and brands that are associated with ‘flying under the radar.’


4 examples of a-board pavement signs



How do colours catch the eye?

When choosing colours for your window signage and pavement signs, you need to consider how effective they will be at grabbing the attention of potential customers and passersby.

As we evolved into modern humans, we have retained some of the more ‘animalistic’ aspects of our ancestors. For instance, we tend to see bright colours more easily and with more prominence than we see neutrals. In our ‘lizard brain,’ they signify a bounty of food, or a potential predator approaching us in the distance. There is a reason that apex predators, such as lions and tigers, evolved to blend in with the background!

As a result, we don’t tend to notice neutral colours with as much interest as we do with bright and bold hues. Red tends to be the colour associated with sale signage and price tags, because we tend to see red from a great distance, and it really catches our attention.

The means that the best colours for pavement signs and outdoor signage in general are bright and bold. Fire engine red, neon green, bright yellow, and electric blue are all popular and effective choices.

However, don’t write off black, white, tan, and grey so quickly. There are plenty of successful brands and businesses that use these shades to great effect, such as the aforementioned M&S and its black and white logo. The key to making these shades work is using contrast. By choosing the right contrasting neutrals, you can strike a balance and create the perfect signage.



Marks and Spencers shop front example of powerful black and white logo



The basics of colour theory

You might remember learning about the colour wheel back in primary school. The primary colours red, blue, and yellow are the source of all other shades ad hues, and secondary colours come from mixing these colours together – think blue and red making purple, yellow and red making orange, and yellow and blue making green.

From there, you have tertiary colours, which come from missing primary and secondary colours. For instance, you can mix blue and purple to make a vibrant blue violet. Adding white to any of these will create a pastel version of the colour. Shades that can be found on the opposite sides of the colour wheel are called complementary or contrasting colours. Examples of contrasting colours include blue and orange, or red and green.



Colour Psychology - chart



Contrasting colours for signage

Now that you are familiar with the very basics of colour theory, it’s time to start thinking about contrasting colours for signage. Colours look and feel different depending on the context in which they are placed, and the other colours that are near them.

For example, if you place a specific shade of yellow on a blue background, it will look more bright and bold. However, the same yellow on a plain white background will seem washed out, and almost imperceptible. It’s the same shade, but the experience for the viewer is very different.

Now you can see why, when it comes to designing your signage, choosing your colours is important. The text is the most important element on the sign, so make sure that it really ‘pops’ and is the easy to read, especially at a distance. The highest legibility necessitates a brightness difference of 70% or higher. This means that you should place a light colour on a dark colour, or vice versa. It may sound simple, but you would be surprised how many people neglect to consider this when designing their pavement signs!

Here are some of the most visible and high contrast colour combinations for signage and logos:

  • Black background with white lettering
  • Black background with bright yellow lettering
  • White background with black or dark grey lettering
  • White background with dark blue or bold red lettering
  • Red background with white or yellow lettering
  • Dark blue background with crisp white lettering
  • Light blue background with black lettering
  • Yellow background with black or dark blue lettering
  • Forest green background with yellow or white lettering
  • Pale pink background with navy blue lettering


10 best colour combinations for sign boards - all 10 example

Feel free to play around with the combinations above in order to really make them your own! Remember to keep your existing branding colour scheme in mind.



Keeping your signage consistent with your brand

In order to present your business in a professional manner, you always need to think about ‘putting your best foot forward.’ When elements of your branding are disparate and disjointed, it can really send the message that you don’t pride yourself on your work. It’s easy for things to start looking messy and disorganised, which is the opposite of what most customers want to see.

In order to enhance your brand, keep your branding, colour scheme, and font choices consistent across all signage. This should include (but is not limited to) your business cards, letterhead, name tags, and website.

While you might have started off doing your own design in the early days of your business, when it comes to building a successful brand, it pays to go professional. In order to take your business to the next level, you should pay an expert to design your logo, branding, and sign design. Everything will look and feel more cohesive, and you will attract a higher echelon of clientele.

Are you struggling to design your own pavement signs? Get in touch with the expert team here at Red17. We have the knowledge, experience, and creativity to ensure that your signs stand out from the crowd – and catch attention. Call or email us today!



Burger sign - demonstrator strong colour branding







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Group of graphic designers checking on colour