Sign Sellers’ Guide: Managing Color For Bigger ROI In 2021

Sign Sellers' Guide: Managing Color For Bigger ROI In 2021

Today’s post shares some principles of sign color theory to help you design high-performance business displays. Read on or call 888-765-7446 to find a sign design expert near you.

Strategic Sign Coloration Increases Impressions, Impulse Sales, And Branding

Research by the Seoul International Color Expo documents the following relationship between sign color and sales:

  • 6% of survey respondents said visual factors were the most influential for purchase decisions
  • 7% of respondents indicated that color was the most important visual factor at play
  • 80% of respondents think that color increases brand recognition
  • 52% of shoppers do not return to stores due to overall aesthetics

Moreover, according to Shopify research, colored signage gets read up to 42% more often than identical ads printed in black and white.

Clearly, color counts when it comes to driving in-store sales and brand recognition. But what colors work best?

That depends. Every color has its own meanings and associations. Strategic pairings can greatly enhance brand recognition, impressions, and impulse sales. For instance:

  • Research by the Journal of Orthomolecular Psychiatry found that the color pink slows the human endocrine system, relaxing tense muscles—no wonder Pepto Bismol spent so much on their signature pink formulation! If you’re selling muscle-relaxers, massage tools, or other self-care products, pink might be your best bet for sign color.
  • According to a study published in the Emotion journal, people react faster and more forcefully to red signs because this color is programmed into our psych as a cue for danger. Sign buyers can exploit this hard-wiring to grab customers’ attention with red signs advertising big sales promotions or safety information.
  • Green is associated with emotions relating to health, tranquility, nature, and wealth, which makes it ideal for signage advertising all-natural products, organic goods, and outdoorsy equipment.

Consistent Color Choices Improve Sign Clarity, Compliance, And Wayfinding Outcomes

While reviewing the details of a large sign project involving the overall redesign of parking signs in New York City, researchers at the Information Design Journal (2009) found that a “lack of understanding of parking signs” had resulted in the issuance of 9.5 million parking tickets, amounting to $600 million paid in parking violations.

To improve parking sign comprehension and compliance in the future, the research team analyzed the effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction of the new designs, in hopes of identifying some universal best practices.

Their findings indicated overwhelmingly that participants preferred parking signs with “consistent color” (Akwera, 2009, p. 114). Wayfinding and regulatory sign systems made up of mismatched colors appeared disjointed and incongruous, and significantly underperformed in comparison to uniform color palettes.

So what’s the bottom line? Quite simple: consistent colors increase the performance of sign systems. Whether you’re trying to direct visitors, alert them of parking regulations, or promote new products, consistent colors are easier to spot and more engaging than multicolored signscapes, which can be overwhelming and off-putting.

Find A Local Signworld Sign Shop For More Color Selection Tips

Call 888-765-7446 to get connected with one of the 330+ Signworld design experts around the country.


Akwera, G. (2009). Design impact on New York City parking signs: Motorists pay $600 million in parking violations. Information Design Journal, 17(2), 109–121.



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