Larry H Miller Ford window graphics

Outdoor Color Provided by Nature

MAY 14, 2019| SpeedPro of Denver


Studio Stories

And by SpeedPro Denver’s Great. Big. Graphics.

Have you gotten comments about how easy it is to find your business? If not, it’s time for an update along with the spring cleaning. We want to share some well-researched tips on how to visualize and design the right signage for your business.

Make it Noticeable

Three out of four shoppers will visit a new store for the first time based on its signage, while many shoppers say a store’s signage is a direct reflection on its product and service quality. Numerous studies from both industry institutions to public research universities drive this point home–your organization’s outdoor signs have the power to increase store traffic.

The International Sign Association states that a successful outdoor sign holds four qualities:

  1. Detectable
  2. Conspicuous
  3. Legible
  4. Comprehensible

With these four key traits in mind, start visualizing your new signage.

Pick an Emotionally Relevant Color Scheme

Decades of research have gone into understanding color psychology; the science of how certain colors elicit specific reactions within viewers. Businesses harness color psychology to pick branded color schemes, selecting colors and shades that trigger a set of emotions they want to be instantaneously and even subconsciously associated with. From playful to authoritative, contemporary to classic, youthful to mature, luxe to price-conscious, colors help convey your company’s “personality.”

Signs that are designed using one of three established color-theory methodologies can boost professionalism, legibility and their overall appearance:

  • Biadic or triadic color schemes: Biadic or triadic color schemes pair colors based on their position on the color wheel. As the root of their names suggest, biadic schemes use two opposing colors, such as yellow and purple, whereas triadic colors use three colors equally spaced on the color wheel, such as light orange, purple and green. The results are high-intensity imagery with natural light and dark components.
  • Gradient schemes:  Also called monochrome schemes, gradient schemes select one dominant color, then accent it with various shades of that same color. Signs with gradient schemes may lack the high-contrast intensity of biadic or triadic color schemes, but they can appear more polished and luxe.
  • Split complementary schemes:  Split complementary schemes pair one dominant color with two other colors that sit to either side of the dominant color’s direct opposite. For example, if the dominant color is red, the split-complement colors are light green and teal since those are the colors on either side of the red’s direct opposite, green. Split complementary schemes lend signs a brighter and more complex color palette while maintaining high levels of contrast but can take extra work to balance attractively.

Prioritize Readability

Is your font easy to read and are you thinking big enough? A good industry rule of thumb is the 10-by-1 rule, which states one inch of letter height can generally be read at a maximum of ten feet away.

Consider Using Texture or Depth

Texture provides contrast for outdoor signage, which increases both its readability and general appearance. Signs that include these visual elements also have an easier time distinguishing themselves from the crowd, their detailing allowing them to pop on the street.

  • Shading:  Shading increases letter readability. Signs can incorporate shading into the design itself through fonts and prints or by placing lights around the sign to cast strategic shadows.
  • Tone and hue contrast:  Contrasting colors give letters and graphics a natural pop. Signs with contrasting colors using the methodologies described earlier will naturally increase depth and textures.
  • Pop-out material or textiles: Signs are often tied to the appearance of the 2D materials they are fashioned from. While this most often includes base substrates like vinyl and canvas, it can also incorporate elements that look more 3D, such as contour-cut signage.

Go Digital

Digital signage shakes up the conventional, static signs spotted along the street. Since these signs use screens instead of printed substrates, they are innately brighter and flashier, plus are more readily customizable. Businesses can easily swap and replace the text and images on its digital signs without having to install something new every time branding efforts change.

Digital signs are especially beneficial if your operation changes its products and services frequently. For example, an ice cream parlor could advertise its flavor of the day, a restaurant its weekly menu and a gas station its daily fuel prices and snack specials.

Light It Up

Adding a light source to your signs will turn your outdoor signage into a 24/7, weatherproof advertising canvas.

The most common backlit signs use LED lights and frames surrounded by a fabric overlay that serves as your sign’s front face. When switched on, your sign illuminates text and graphics from the inside out. The results are enhanced sign aesthetics, clarity and readability, plus one of the easiest ways to stand out from other signs on the street.

Include a Graphic

More than half of consumers prefer signs containing both text and graphics, as opposed to only eight percent who prefer text-only signage. With over 85 percent of consumers saying they glean a company’s character or personality based on its outdoor signs, including graphics becomes that much more important.

Researchers believe this success comes down to heuristic cues. Signs with graphics can relay additional branded information about a business or service. Compared to text-only signs, graphics are language-less and have the potential to be instantly recognizable.

Outdoor signage represents your business. It conveys a tone and a personality, as well as what customers can expect when they step foot inside your space.

With these tips in mind, contact SpeedPro Denver today and we’ll get started on your new outdoor signage!

Great. Big. Graphics. It’s what we do. Give us a call at 303.426.4199, email or visit to talk about your large format print jobs. We provide free estimate and will come to you. To see and read about more print jobs we’ve done, check out our Studio News, read some glowing reviews and browse our impressive, extensive portfolio!

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Greg Ellison