Get Conspicuous: Build A Standout Brand With Sign Designers In Bakersfield, CA

Get Conspicuous: Build a Standout Brand with Sign Designers in Bakersfield, CA

Any sign designer will tell you, if you want people to see your message, conspicuity is key!

Conspicuity is defined as the “ease with which a visible object is noticed in its environment by an observer who has no prior knowledge about its location” (Lasauskaite & Reisinger, 2017, p. 521).

There are plenty of ways to create conspicuity, and the more you employ, the more likely it is that your sign will stand out from the competition.

To that end, today’s post shares a few of our favorite conspicuity hacks, all of which you can incorporate into your sign design with ease.

Read on to learn more, or call (661)-379-6545 to speak directly with our local sign designers.

Create Internal And External Contrast For Better Conspicuity

In one study for the Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, which reviewed decades of research on sign design, author James Bullough (2017) stated that sign contrast “is the primary determinant of one’s ability to detect the sign in visually simple environments, perhaps more than size.”

To help your sign stand out, try to create strong internal contrast between your sign’s font and background. Most combinations of dark and light colors work fine, although some (e.g. white-on-black, blue-on-white, yellow-on-blue) work better than others (e.g. green-on-red). When in doubt, ask our sign designers for some high-impact color combinations.

For best results, you should also try to create external contrast—that is, contrast between your sign and its immediate background. Thus, you would not want to use a red-brown sign on a brick wall or a gray sign on the exterior of a concrete building. Once you’ve got your colors sorted out, you can also look for ways to create contrast using the shape of your sign, placing circular or custom-cut signs on square-bricked backgrounds, or placing angular signs in front of organic naturescapes.

Get Conspicuous: Build a Standout Brand with Sign Designers in Bakersfield, CA

This sign uses both internal and external contrast to great effect. Note the dark blue-on-white, and the use of a white, squared sign to jump off the organic green background of the display area. This sign also uses external illumination for a little extra pop, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves…

Choose The Right Colors For Your Display Conditions

In a study of highway sign visibility, researchers found signs with bright characters on a dark background to have the highest conspicuity under light surround conditions, while signs with dark characters on bright backgrounds worked best for dark or nighttime environments (Garvey & Kuhn, 2011).

Use these guidelines to inform your color selection. You should already be using a mix of dark and light colors to create contrast, so you shouldn’t need to alter your brand palette—instead, you may need to simply invert the colors used for the font and substrate to match your display conditions. If you’d rather keep your sign as-is, you can explore some external lighting options to make your “daylight palette” work anytime.

Light Up Your Message To Stand Out From Your Surroundings

A review of literature by Lighting Research & Technology found that illumination greatly improved sign conspicuity, which comes as no real surprise. But this is not a case of the more the merrier; on the contrary, Lasauskaite & Reisinger (2017) caution that “very high luminances should be avoided because even if conspicuity is improved, legibility might worsen.”

Improper lighting can also expose your business to fines, as per Bakersfield’s sign code, so you need to tread carefully here. But our sign designers can help! We have experience with all kinds of lighted signs, and we know Bakersfield’s sign code requirements by rote, so you’ll never have to worry about washing out your message or being penalized for an improper display.

Get Conspicuous: Build a Standout Brand with Sign Designers in Bakersfield, CA

Our sign designers can help you outshine the competition!

Book A Free Consultation With Sign Designers In Bakersfield, CA

Ready to crank up the conspicuity with your signage? Our sign designers can help. Call (661)-379-6545 or fill out our quick contact form to schedule an appointment online.


Bullough, J. (2017). Factors affecting sign visibility, conspicuity, and legibility: Review and annotated bibliography. Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, 1(2), 2-25.

Garvey, P. M., & Kuhn, B. T. (2011). Highway sign visibility. Chapter 11 In M. Kutz (Ed.), Handbook of Transportation Engineering.

Lasauskaite, R., & Reisinger, M. (2017). Optimal luminance of internally illuminated wayfinding signs. Lighting Research & Technology, 49(4), 521-533.


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