Whether it’s your exterior business sign, safety protocol, informational sign, or advertisement you want to ensure that your exterior signage stands out. One of the first things you need to consider for both print and digital are the best colors for outdoor signs.
Check Your Lease And Local Ordinances
Before we get into specific colors, check your lease and local ordinances to ensure you are clear on what type of signs you can hang externally and in your windows. You may be surprised to learn that your options are limited.
For example, many strip malls require all businesses to use the same color and font for their primary sign so that the mall signage is cohesive. Or they limit the size and placement of your exterior signs. Many cities limit the use of banners, reserving them for grand openings, going out of business, or short-term use for holiday and seasonal sales. Finally, you may be required to have a signage license or permit. Begin with what your restrictions are and go from there.
Creating Contrast With Text-Only Signs
Now that you know what type of signs you are allowed to hang on your building exterior, it’s time to consider color. In order for a sign to pop you must have contrast. This is why most banners and printed signs have white backgrounds and LED signs have a black background. You can of course order printed signs in a variety of color combinations, and high-definition LED signs have unlimited color and contrast capabilities. Here are some of the best colors for outdoor signs:
- A white background with black, red, navy, or black text
- A black background with white, yellow, red, green, or blue text
- A red background with white or yellow text
- A navy background with white or yellow text
- A light blue with black or red text
For Signs That Don’t Require Contrast
Not every outdoor sign needs to pop. For example, you may have a small metal, glass, or decorative plaque designed to place on your building exterior with your business name, unit number, logo, or tagline. In this case, blending in with the building exterior may be your priority.
For example, a clear number sign with crisp and clean white building numbers. Just be mindful when your signs don’t contrast, as they may be easy for your staff, students, guests, or customers to miss.
Choosing The Best Logo Colors
Take a look at the logo colors for both local and nationwide brands. What they all have in common is that most contain 2 colors, and few contain more than 4. There are a variety of reasons for this, some of which are related to ensuring the best colors for outdoor signs.
The most popular logo colors are primary colors, red, yellow, blue, green, pink, purple, and orange. These are often on top of a black or white background, but sometimes designed within a colored background. If the logo background is a color, then you will need to have a variety of designs made to ensure you can easily place your logo on exterior signs, social media, print signs, and other marketing mediums while maintaining a cohesive look.
When it comes to exterior signs, aim to use your logo in its primary colors, but if that doesn’t work with your sign design—transition to neutral colors that match or contrast with your ad or sign.
Neutral colors help sell items faster and as a result can help drive your bottom line.
Color Choices For Images And Videos
Between HD printing and HD LEDs, you can add crystal clear images to printed signs—and images and videos to digital signs.
For printed signs with images, you will still have the most impact with a white background. However, your sign or ad designer may be able to create enough contrast with a decorative border surrounding your printed image or graphics.
For LED signs, your color choices are unlimited. You still need to prioritize contrast but can go far beyond black and white backgrounds. Ensure your designer keeps ample negative space so that the featured image or motion graphic stands out. If it’s a video, ensure proper lighting so that you have the clarity of watching your TV.
Size And Scale
Color choice is a top priority, but the best colors for outdoor signs may vary depending on the size and scale of your signage. The smaller the sign the greater the importance of stark contrast, the larger the sign, the more you can play with color.
While a small sign can be mostly text, the larger the sign the more negative space is required to ensure text is easy to read and that images pop. For printed signs, be sure to view and approve a digital rendering before you print.
Don’t forget to consider font, of which Futura, Garamond, Bodoni, Franklin Gothic, and Helvetica remain the easiest to read in print.
Border And Frame Colors
After deciding the best colors for outdoor signs you’ll have to determine the border color for signs that require a housing unit or frame. Digital sign borders and frames are available in over 30 colors so feel free to be creative. You can never go wrong with black but consider matching or contrasting your border color.
Also, inquire about design options for sign borders. For example, most LED sign borders are square or rectangular—but you can also order your border in a variety of fun shapes for personality and style.
LED Signs Are Your Most Versatile Option
When it comes to choosing the best colors for outdoor signs, LED signs provide the most versatility. The bright LED lights automatically increase visibility, and each sign can post an alternating variety of text, ads, images, and videos. You can also preschedule and update your sign at any time.
If you’re in the market for a new LED sign, we invite you to check out our About Us page. Our signs are custom built to order per your individual specs. From text-only signs to full-color HD signs and everything in-between!