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How Color Affects Outdoor Advertising

One of a business’s biggest investments is in marketing, and many times that consists of outdoor advertising.  With so many signs peppering the landscape of roads, highways, strip malls and shopping centers, how does one stand out above the rest?  What colors attract the most attention when it comes to outdoor advertising?  Does it really matter?

When it comes to banners, architectural signs, or any other outdoor advertising, colors really do make a difference.  Using the wrong color or color combination can convey the wrong message.  It can also make the message hard to read or understand.

What is one of the best places to start when considering what colors to use?  If one’s business has already branded certain colors in their marketing, then sticking with those color choices is the best place to start.  Either that or choosing one of the main colors and then going from there is another good idea.  This is when it would be a good idea to take a look at the color wheel.  They are easy to find and readily accessible on the internet.  Choose a main color, and then draw a straight line to the opposite side of the wheel.  That color would be called the complimentary color to the first choice.  If there are three colors one wants to use, then choose the first color, and draw three points to make a triangle.  This color combination will compliment each other well and be quite eye catching.

What are some things to consider when choosing colors?  Bright colors are easily seen.  High contrast colors and complimentary colors give better visibility.  If one doesn't already use a color scheme in other marketing pieces, what are some of the better choices to use in outdoor advertising?  There is a lot of money spent each year to come up with these answers, but there is also a lot that many of these researchers agree on.  Yellow is by far the color that most people would agree is eye catching.  It is a bright color which also makes it easily visible.  However, used with the wrong colors, it can create the direct opposite effect, like yellow on white.  Yellow with red or blue is a good combination.  If one were to look at the color wheel, they would see that blue is opposite yellow.  If one were to use the three point technique on the wheel, they would see that all three, yellow, blue and red, are cohesive and complimentary.

Some of the best colors to use for outdoor advertising are yellows, reds, blues, and oranges.  Used in the right, bright hues, they are all eye catching and easily readable.  Good combinations are blue and orange, red and yellow, or blue and yellow.  All of these colors convey different emotions in people and can help get the right message across to the customer.  Yellow, for example, gives people a sense of happiness and warmth.  Red conveys the message of urgency or speed and excitement.  Blue sends a message of trustworthiness, stability, and calm.  Knowing this, one can easily see why so many big businesses use these color combinations and why so much research is put into color and its effect on business signs for outdoor advertisement.




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  • Vinyl & Plastic Signs
  • Outdoor Signs


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