How to make a sign stand out with eye-catching colours

Posted on: 29 December 2015

In a world of information overload, where eyes are bombarded by advertisements, signs and media, it can be hard to make a business sign stand out from the crowd. A crucial element in making a sign distinct from everything around it is colour. But how do you make a sign attention-grabbing without being garish?

A sign's colour scheme should draw the eye while still looking professional. Think of a good business sign as like a suit. It should draw attention subtly by being well-designed, not by being bright purple with yellow polka dots. Here are some tips for getting the right balance of pizzazz and panache.

Stick to the brand

When making a sign for a business, it's likely that you'll have an existing colour scheme to work with, whether it's in the company's logo, visual media or branding. As this will likely be appearing on the sign, don't even think about other colours until you've explored the potential of that colour scheme.

Signage colours should highlight the company's logo and branding. Find out what the colours used in existing logos and branding are and pick out one or two of the best. Keep a note of their HEX codes -- the six digits made of letters and numbers that are used to pinpoint colours digitally for use in all different imaging programs.

Developing the colour scheme

Of course, you can't just use existing colours from the logo for the whole sign, as doing so will stop the logo showing up at all. Imagine taking a blue logo and putting it on a sign the exact same colour blue -- it would be impossible to pick out the logo on a store front.

Instead, make a colour scheme that draws on the logo colour. There are several tools available online for making a palette out of a base colour. These can either pick out different shades of the base colour, like finding lighter or darker versions of a certain kind of blue, or they can find a palette of complementary colours that look great with the base colour. Entering a shade of blue, for example, might return suggestions for creams and greys that highlight that particular kind of blue.

Psychology of colour

Lastly, the colours on the sign should say something about the company. To send a clear message, consider the psychology behind different colours when choosing which ones to use in a palette. Gold, for example, is associated with luxury. Great if you are designing for a yacht club, but not if you're advertising a budget store!

For more tips or for help with the design, work with a local sign company like Landells Signs