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Background/Foreground Contrast of Window Stickers, Plus Decals for Brushed Metals


Contrast of Background-Foreground Graphic Colors of Car Sticker for Windows, and Will Decals Stick to Brushed Metal?

Question: I’m designing a simple two color sticker or decal for car windows, and wanted to know which you would recommend – A) light copy on a dark background, or B) dark copy on a light background?

Answer: This is a great question, and one I can demonstrate visually which one works best. To start with, though, I’ll tell you what we’ve advised our clients for over twenty years on this very subject.

Drive down a busy street in the town or city where you live and glance at various signs that line the streets. What signs grab your eye? 90% of the clients we had do this exercise said that light letters and a dark background definitely caught their eye more quickly than dark letters on a light background. The other 10% were undecided.

So, the short answer to your question is that your first option (A) is the better option for grabbing attention. So, is there a time when you want to buck the trend? Possibly. If you want multi-colored graphics or copy, it may not work to reverse the field, so to speak. In this case, you would want to stick with a light to white background or the copy would be lost. For instance, if you want to promote your band, the “Rainbow Girls,” and your logo mark is those letters in the color of a rainbow, that would not work well on a dark or black background.

Conversely, you may notice that the Nine Inch Nails use a stark white on black motif for their band, and it sticks out like a sore thumb. You can see their logo from a long way off and know what it is because of the stark contrast.

Different Color lettering on black background

from carenhackman.com

Experiments have been conducted as to the best color combinations for visibility, and the number one combination is bright yellow on red (think of a very large and famous hamburger franchise) and the second is bright yellow on black. Third is white on red, the white on black. So, to be seen (if your message or logo mark is simple), those would be the colors to look at first. Of course, white or yellow on a darker blue or green will also play well, so don’t pigeon-hole yourself too much if you have colors you use frequently with your business or organization logos.

Question: Is it a recommended use to stick a decal to brushed metal, or will it not stay stuck?

Answer: While this is a non-standard usage or application for a decal or sticker, I would recommend that you test a decal or two with some different adhesives. If you’re wanting this to be a permanent application, like on a machine or a panel, there are some very aggressive adhesives that you can use in these instances.

Decals for metals metal stickers

The bigger issue here is, is the metal new and clean? And how rough is the brush. In my experience, most brushing of various metals will not affect the adhesion of most permanent adhesive vinyl decals. If you want to place a temporary adhesive type vinyl sticker on a product that you intend to be removed on purchase, I would simply request samples from your favorite decal supplier and test whether there was enough stickiness to remain on your product until after it’s purchased. A word of caution, though. Static cling stickers will NOT stick to a brushed finished metal unless it has been clear-coated to a very smooth finish.

Find removable stickers and decals printed on custom graphics here: www.visigraph.com/custom-decals-stickers-magnets-and-labels/removable-stickers-and-decals/


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Barry K. Brown

Barry Brown has been in the Sign, Banner, Decal and Display Business for over 20 years. It isn't what he thought he'd do with his life, but he says he knows too much now to do anything else!

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