LED Sign Blog

Simple LED Sign Programming Tips: Understanding RGB Color Choices

Posted by Greg Pappas on Aug 20, 2015 4:19:00 PM

This blog post will be the first in a multi-part series to teach you how to easily and effectively program content for your electronic message center (EMC). Whether your display is a single color, or a full-color LED sign, you can use this series of blog posts as your reference guide to keep your EMC looking its best.  These tips and tricks will help you to maximize your ROI and keep the attention of your audience as they’re drawn to your professional and attractive digital artwork.

Deciding on Color Saturation For Your LED Sign

A full color LED sign showcases color by mixing Red, Green, and Blue LEDs (R,G,B) to display a seemingly endless number of color options. The best colors to use are those with high saturation. This refers to colors with less white in them. You can also use web-safe colors, but be sure to avoid colors with similar values. Or, colors that have R,G,B numbers that are very close to one another. 

The Importance ofContrast in Digital Signage

You may decide to use multiple colors in your LED display artwork. This can include text color, background color, or background images. You should use colors that have a high contrast, or very simply put, use a darker color in the background and a brighter, more saturated color for the text.

How to Use Color In Your LED Sign to Inspire Emotion

Color can have more meaning than just beautification or contrast. It can also invoke emotion, and impact your viewers in a psychological way that lets them absorb and understand your message just as easily as the words written on the screen. Use the psychological properties of color to your advantage when programming your EMC. Keep these emotions in mind when selecting your colors. You can speak to your customer with your text, as well as

the color you’ve selected. Here are a few examples.

  • 11Red – Excitement, Energy, Courage, Stimulating

  • Orange – Comfort, Warmth, Inviting, Fun Yellow – Optimistic, Creativity, Self-confidence, Cheerful

  • Green – Nature, Healing, Reassurance, Peaceful Blue – Intelligence, Trust, Calm, Serene

  • Violet – Creativity, Spiritual, Luxury, Authentic

  • Black – Glamourous, Efficiency, Strength, Security

For Your LED Display, Forget the White Background (and white space!)

As we know, an EMC uses Red, Green, and Blue LEDs to create color. In order to create white the LED sign is going to turn on all of the LEDs to their maximum intensity. This is going to draw a lot of power and ultimately strain the system over a long time period. Considering our knowledge of contrast and color saturation, we can recognize that a white background will also make it difficult for us to follow those guidelines as well. You should feel free to use the color white in your messages, but avoid making the entire background white whenever possible.

A graphics designer may have been taught that white space is key to a great design. This doesn’t work as easily on a typical EMC. In most cases you should use the largest font size possible and fill up the entirety of the screen with your message. If you’re unable to use the next larger font size, consider simplifying your message to use fewer words. This can help you fill more space with your important message, not empty space.

Final Notes on RGB Color Choice for Digital Signage

A graphics designer may already understand all of these principles, but they might be surprised to learn that some of their most basic rules no longer apply in the world of Electronic Message Centers. An EMC (also referred to as an LED Sign, LED Billboard, or LED Display) requires a few adjustments to the systematic art of graphics design. Anyone can take these simple techniques and turn their own digital artwork into repeat business, increased patronage, and endless compliments for their organization. Stay tuned for the next installment of this series where we will discuss a few other simple tricks to enhance your EMC digital artwork.

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Topics: LED Technology