How To Use Colour Effectively

Good signage is about brand image, message, and readability.

Use of colour is important in all of these.

Unlike print or web advertising, signage needs to be readable in low light, the rain, and direct sun. Fine pastel text might look good, but it doesn’t make your message easy to read.

There is a simple rule for maintaining readability in difficult visibility: Print your sign design in grey scale. If you can't clearly read it, neither will your customers in bad visibility.

For good readability:

Do choose text colours that contrast in intensity with the background colour.

Don’t rely on different colours of the same intensity for text and background, e.g. red text on a blue background. It looks bright, but if you print these in greyscale, the text and background are hard to distinguish. Therefore, readability is bad in low light.

Once you have grasped this principle, use of colour in signage is the same as other forms of graphic design. A good guide to colour schemes can be found at colorschemedesigner.com