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Gaining Attention: Color of Signage

The second factor in gaining attention with signage is the color and contrast of the signs. The proper contrast in the tone value between the letters and background is vital to obtain strong visibility. Tone value is the difference between light colors (white, ivory, tan) and dark colors (black, brown, navy).

Selecting a color that appeals to all people is extremely difficult because color preferences shift and the audience to whom the communication is directed shifts as well as their ability to see and recognize colors. As people become older, the ability to distinguish colors declines. In designed signs, one color may be a highly effective communication device for one market segment, but it may not be effective for another group that is older. Varying visual clarity and the altering environment, which includes factors such as time of day, season and location, influence the selection of color patterns in maintaining consistency.

North American Signs recognizes that many organizations develop market segmentation.  As the segmentation develops, and the organization identifies its particular market, the sign and total graphics package can enhance and promote segmentation strategy.  We have specialists who can choose colors that best match the preference of your market segment.

Bright colors and colors that differ from their surroundings stand out and attract attention more effectively than colors that are similar to their surroundings. Unusual color combinations will attract more attention than ordinary color combinations. Some colors or color combinations that attract maximum attention may defeat the important objective of creating a high-quality image.

Perceptions of distance vary with color. For example, on a black background text or graphics of equal size in hues of yellow, orange, blue, violet, red, and green may appear to vary in distance from both the viewer and the background. On the black background, yellow appears to advance, while violet seems to blend or recede – making it appear more distant than any of the other colors. Conversely, on a white background, violet pushes forward while yellow recedes.


All of these factors must be considered when choosing colors for your signs. With 80 years of experience in the signage industry, North American Signs can develop customized solutions for each client so that the colors and contrast in the designs of the signs will gain attention most effectively.



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