Which Color is Best for Restaurant Signage?

Your signage client wants to know the best color to include in their new restaurant sign. The restaurant is fast/casual dining. What recommendation would you make?

Red should be high on your list. Why is red such an appropriate color for this business type?

First, red is a primary color that increases enthusiasm and stimulates energy. This quality alone makes it particularly appropriate for fast food restaurants.

Second, red causes people to react more forcefully. That is why the “sale” signs you see at the local department store are often colored red. Not only does red have stopping power (as in a red light), it also triggers a more decisive reaction.

Third, as a color with a wavelength over 570, red is visible to the cones in the human eye (vs. the rods) – and the eye has the highest concentration of red (vs. blue and green) cones. Using the red-sensitive cones in the eye is typically better for a sign that will often be viewed at night.

Last, the color red has the interesting quality of appearing closer than it actually is. This quality could also assist with the color’s attention generating capacity.

These facts about the color red are certainly not lost among the larger fast/casual restaurant chains. If you review their signage programs, they typically include the color red (including McDonalds, whose arches logo is known for bright yellow but also has red in their overall branding colors.)

This is also why red can be an effective color choice for other business types that are active at night such as liquor stores, bars and convenience stores. Channel letters with red faces can be an excellent choice for these businesses.

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