Getting the Sign Colors Right

“Close Enough” isn’t good enough when it comes to your brand. Good signage has to match a business’ brand — everything from the establishment’s overall aesthetics, to the packaging, even their ad campaigns. If signage and branding don’t match, then recognizability will suffer as a result. A sign might be highly visible, but it won’t “click,”if it doesn’t connect with the product or business. But when it’s done right, when the sign colors and style match the brand, your signage will stand out and bring the customers in.  

Pantone® swatches are used by designers, printers and fabricators to ensure color consistency.

Color Consistency is Critical

Brand colors need to be consistent to project the full power of your marketing. An error in coloring will be noticed, whether overtly by those with discerning eyes, or subtly and even subconsciously by onlookers. On the other hand, the right colors can be associated with a specific brand even before the audience sees the logo itself.

For sign makers, getting the colors right is one of the most delicate part of the fabrication processes. What you’ve approved on the screen has to match what comes out of the printers, which are quite complicated machines. If there’s a difference in any stage of the process, from the very brightness and contrast levels of our monitors (or yours), to the file format, to the printer itself, it could spell disaster for the product. Then we’d have to redo the whole process.

This is why we take care to optimize our process. Color precision has such slim margins. Which is why those in charge of QA need keen eyes. Physical samples are also important; there are no screen brightness or contrast settings when you’re physically in front of the sample.

These steps ensure quality signage, which promote brand visibility.

Important Factors Affecting Color Perception

Boston Market logotype and signature stripes

The Boston Market Brand is instantly recognizable not only by the red logotype, but also the distinctive black and white stripes with red accents.

The variety of inks and substrates makes color matching a challenge. Care has to be taken in the planning stages to minimize these chemical and physical variations. The color composition has to consider the environment as well, the palette of the surroundings, the lighting conditions both day in and day out, and so on. An illuminated sign would have different considerations from a sign meant for natural daylight conditions.

So what do you need to look out for when doing QA for signs and their coloration?


The sign material’s whiteness and opacity; the texture, the roughness or smoothness of the surface; the sun and weather exposure it’s expected to face; and the material’s durability.


The chemistry of the ink and dyes, the whole gamut of colors, and the delivery of the pigments, such as inkjet, dye sublimation, offset, or laminate. There’s also a difference between dot pattern or continuous tone or solid.


Factors beyond the sign itself, including the lighting conditions of the area, surrounding conditions and reflections — whether the sign’s meant to be seen by pedestrians or motorists.

Branding Uses Perception

Branding is an ecosystem of visual and non-visual patterns onlookers associate with an enterprise. So even the way establishments look on the inside, the look and style of advertisements in flyers, online or in TV, will affect a sign’s aesthetics. Choose a sign company that understands this dynamic, and your audience will instantly associate your signage with the brand, and recognize the logo immediately. 

Signs to Your Specifications

Looking for signage with the right stuff, color-wise and in terms of material composition? Want sign services guaranteed to meet your specifications? Contact us for a consultation, so you can see what we have to offer!


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