You are currently viewing Principles of Signage Design & Color
An eye-catching storefront sign with vibrant colors

Principles of Signage Design & Color

Principles of Good Signage Design: 5 Questions Answered by Experts

Are you curious about the factors influencing your business’s sign choices? Signage can help your business! It can attract customers and influence their shopping behavior. This article will share with you the principles for designing good signage. We’ll talk about color, fonts, and other important factors. We’ll also answer 5 important questions about signage. For example, how big should your signs be? And what font could you use? Not limited to but includes channel letters signs, painted signs, vehicle signage and entrance signs.


Key Takeaway Points 

  • Simplicity is key to effective signage design. And contrasting colors make signs stand out from their surroundings.
  • Warm colors make you want to buy, cool colors make you want to stay.
  • Consider color combinations and brightness impact customer reactions and cultural differences.
  • Red makes you want to buy things! Yellow makes you happy! Blue makes you trust! Black makes you feel luxurious!
  • Make signage readable for everyone by using large fonts, clear type, and high contrast. Add accessibility features like Braille and raised lettering.
  • Businesses can enjoy expert help in creating impactful signage to boost engagement and success.


Clear, easy to read, and signage with confusing graphic choices
Clear, easy to read, and signage with confusing graphic choices

5 Questions & Answers on How Sign Design Choices Impact Customer Behavior 

1. What are the most important factors to consider when I choose signage designs?

When you think of the design of your signage, consider these 5 important factors for the greatest impact:

  • By getting to know your environment, you can understand the placement of your signs and choose contrasting colors that stand out.
  • When deciding on color, try to use colors that contrast with the surroundings to make important parts of the message pop. Like a warm color sign pops when on light-colored backgrounds.  
  • Focus on key services, not everything. Keep it simple and avoid clutter. This will help readers to understand quickly.
  • Use typography to your advantage and vary font weights to focus on and highlight specific parts of the message.
  • The importance of blank space is to use negative space effectively to make your design stand out among competing signage. This applies even with painted signs.

Use these principles to make your business signs stand out and get your message across!


An infographic depicting the emotional responses evoked by different colors
An infographic depicting the emotional responses evoked by different colors

2. How can color influence my customers’ behavior?

Influencing your customers’ behavior with color is a powerful tool when used even with corporate signage or office signs. The right colors can attract attention, create a mood, and even influence purchasing decisions especially retail signage.


Warm Colors

Warm colors, such as red, orange, and yellow, are often associated with excitement, energy, and hunger. They are a good choice for signage that grabs attention or encourages impulse purchases. For example, a fast food restaurant might use warm colors in its retail signage to make people feel hungry and more likely to order food.


Cool Colors

Cool colors, such as blue, green, and purple, are often associated with calmness, relaxation, and trust. They are a good choice for signage to create a sense of peace or security. For example, a bank might use cool colors in its signage to make people feel comfortable and confident about doing business there.


Contrasting colors between background and letters work best
Contrasting colors between background and letters work best

Color Combinations

Some combinations of colors can also have a significant impact on your customers’ reactions. For example, red and yellow are often used together to create a sense of urgency. This is why they are often used in signage for sales and clearance events.



The brightness of a color can also affect your customers’ reactions. Bright colors are more likely to attract attention, but they can also be overwhelming. For this reason, it is important to reduce the use of bright colors in signage. Especially important when useing backlit or led illuminated channel letters signs.


Cultural Differences

The meaning of colors can also vary depending on culture. In Western cultures, red is often seen as a symbol of love and passion. But in some Asian cultures, it can have an association with death and mourning. It is important to be aware of these cultural differences when using color in signage. 


Indoor kids play area bright wall shapes, which complement the signage on a light background
Indoor kids play area bright wall shapes, which complement the signage on a light background


3. Do Colors Encourage My Customers to Spend More? And Which Businesses Could Benefit From a Color Choice?

These are general traits and not universal as they vary a bit with culture and traditions. Apply the following ideas throughout your marketing, branding, and decor for the best results. Applicable to either Indoor signs or outdoor signage, walls or features.


Red is a powerful color. It attracts attention, creates urgency, and drives impulse purchases. Retailers and fast food restaurants use red to sell more food and drinks. Technology and fashion brands use red to make their products stand out. Sports teams wear red to pump up their fans.



Yellow makes you excited, energetic, and happy! It’s used in food outlets, toy shops, schools, and hospitals to make you feel good. But excessive yellow can be overwhelming and induce anxiety. Yellow also attracts attention, used by taxi cabs and construction vehicles.



Orange is a fun and playful color that attracts attention. It makes people want to buy things! Toys stores, electronic, fresh food, adventure travel, innovative technology, and accessible financial services are all industries that use orange to get your attention. 



Blue is the color of trust. It makes people feel calm and relaxed. It is often used by financial institutions, technology companies, healthcare organizations, and travel companies because it makes customers feel safe and secure. Blue also represents innovation and creativity. Companies that want to project an image of reliability, dependability, and innovation often use blue in their branding.



Black is used in business to create a sense of luxury, power, and sophistication. It can make businesses seem more exclusive and confident. However, too much black can feel cold and uninviting. Black is also used to create mystery and intrigue, which can attract attention. It is popular in fashion, luxury goods, technology, automotive, and professional services. Black conveys elegance, timelessness, authority, and simplicity. It is a good choice for businesses that want to project a refined, upscale, and trustworthy image.



Brass, a warm and golden metal alloy of copper and zinc, gives a luxurious and elegant appearance. It suits luxury brands, furniture stores, home decor stores, restaurants, and hotels. Brass conveys sophistication, exclusivity, tradition, and warmth. Its durability creates a long-lasting brand identity, while its shine catches attention. Brass represents heritage, quality, comfort, and memorable brand identity.



Gold is a precious metal that is rare. It means exclusivity and prestige. Luxury brands, financial institutions, automotive brands, clothing brands, beauty brands, and legal and financial institutions use gold. Gold means luxury, wealth, prestige, timelessness, and shine. It means success, abundance, importance, and classic brand identity. Gold’s natural shine catches attention and creates a memorable brand identity, especially on a lobby sign.


Silver or Stainless steel 

Silver has an association with luxury, sophistication, and modernity. It suits luxury brands, technology brands, automotive brands, clothing brands, and beauty brands. Silver conveys luxury, modernity, sophistication, timelessness, and shine. It represents exclusivity, innovation, elegance, and memorable brand identity.


Color can be a powerful tool that can influence people’s spending habits. Businesses could choose colors with care in marketing and branding to increase people’s spending.



Signage font size visibility distance at traveling speed graph
Signage font size visibility distance at traveling speed graph


4. What fonts and font sizes could I use for my signage?

When designing signage, consider the following factors for optimal readability. Letter size is crucial, as it determines the readability of your message. Generally, for every 10 feet of viewing distance, increase the letter height by 1 inch. The average person takes at least 5 seconds to read a sign. Traveling at 30 miles per hour 24″ tall letters are readable within 5.5 seconds. 

Font type is also important; it’s recommended to use serif or sans-serif fonts for better visibility. Decorative and script fonts are harder to read, so adjust the letter height to accommodate. Contrast is key for the font color. Use colors that contrast with the background color of your sign, such as light-colored backgrounds with dark letters for best visibility. Consider sign placement and lighting conditions as well. 

For large-format outdoor signs, the recommendation is to use sans-serif fonts like Helvetica and Arial, while small-format signs can use serif or sans-serif fonts. Bold fonts can enhance readability, especially for important statements. Often used professional fonts are Times New Roman, Arial, and Helvetica. Avoid grunge, script fonts, or Comic Sans for a professional look.

ADA signs covey important information
ADA signs covey important information

5. How can I make my signage more accessible to people with disabilities?

Some new trends in signage design that you could follow include the use of contrasting colors to improve visibility and readability. Try to avoid glare by using non-glare finishes for outdoor signage. Another great idea is incorporating braille and tactile letters for accessibility. Otherwise, selecting appropriate fonts such as sans serif typefaces and using symbols to enhance communication. Try simplifying your designs by including only necessary content. And ensure correct installation according to ADA guidelines. Consulting with our team at Premium Sign Solutions, we can provide valuable insights and help in creating compliant and effective accessible designs.


Warm colors make signs pop when against a light colored background
Warm colors make signs pop when against a light colored background


Final Thoughts on the Principles Behind Signage 

We learned in this article by exploring the principles behind signage design and how color impacts consumer behavior. We also learned about font choices and sizes for easy reading. As experts in the field, we invite businesses to reach out to us for help in creating effective signage that drives engagement and boosts their success. Contact us to harness the power of signage and enhance your business’s visibility and appeal.

Let Us Help You With A Free Custom Sign Design Quote Today