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Monday, January 26, 2015

Colour Contrast in Signage

In reviewing signage for legibility, noticeability, and creating good first impressions, it is important to know the importance of colour and how it relates to your design and sign. Calibre Signs will explore Colour Psychology in another blog, but for now we are looking at the other 2 colour unusual colour schemes that can be used- or maybe should be avoided. Here is a quick chart showing some of these combos:

Now, one side note that should be addressed, is colour blindness. Some people cannot differentiate between grey scale tonal values, red, blue or green. Aside from that, we cannot account for what portion of the population will not be able to properly see your colour contrast due to this problem. Just note that if your signage is being used for Emergency or Safety Issues, not to use red/black, red/green, blue/yellow together because the sign may not be readable. Another colour problem, is what I call, Vibration. That is the difficulty the eye has absorbing two particular colours together. For instance, for me, reading red and green together, gives me a headache, because these two colours are virtually indulating, or vibrating, and fighting against each other. Using two brightly hued colours together will also cause this "vibrating" or "after-image" effect. Good examples of the after-image are magenta on lime green and reverse. It is not a good idea to use these colour combinations in your sign design because they are troublesome to viewers. This problem compounds when the sign is wordy and the font is small, and concentrating to read it is very difficult. My advice is to avoid these colour combinations. Sometimes you will notice mobile temporary signs use the flourescent colours to catch your eye. Using these colours as more long-term would probably be a mistake, because eventually viewers avert their eyes to avoid the clashing colour combinations. Ugly may catch your attention initially, but then it will be avoided. Using proven colour combo winners or even the complimentary or analogous scheme would be a wiser choice using black and white as needed.

Complimentary Colours 

RED/GREEN

YELLOW/PURPLE

BLUE/ORANGE

Complimentary Colours are the colours that are across from each other on the colour wheel and are thought to be harmonious together as they "compliment" each other. Analogous colours are three adjacent colours on the colour wheel which are known as "monotone" colour schemes. ANALOGOUS.

Armed with this new-found colour knowledge, you might be one step closer to deciding what colour scheme you might want to adopt for your own signage needs. Watch for Calibre Signs' The Psychology of colour and how it relates to design. Until next time..

Posted by Stephanie at 11:17 AM
Edited on: Monday, June 12, 2017 1:43 PM
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