The other day at work I was driving to my next job when I pulled into an intersection waiting to turn left. I noticed that the vehicle across the intersection from me, also waiting to turn left was another lawn care company. I could clearly see that because I noticed it was a full size pickup truck pulling a medium-sized trailer full of lawn care equipment. As he turned left and drove by me, I noticed his trailer had some business signage with his company name on it. The only problem though, was even though he was only 30 or so feet away from me, his company name and phone number were all illegible. This was because he was using a font and font color that blended into the full color photo background he had printed on the vinyl wrap. There was absolutely no contrasting colors. His signage was literally like trying to read this sentence.
He was trying to do too much with his logo and trying to make it look fancy. Good design does not have to be fancy, or complicated. In fact in most cases good logo and signage design is just simple and well thought out. For example the logo and signage I use for my own lawn care company. My trailer is a custom-built design that has tall side walls much like an enclosed trailer. This is great for hauling debris or things like mulch and soil, but also because they act like giant billboards. The trailer is painted all gloss black, and all the graphics and signage is either a lime green or white. In fact the logo for this website was inspired by my lawn care companies colors and logo’s, using the same colors and font but without the grass picture.
See how the contrasting black background really makes the font and colors pop! You can easily read my logo and signage from a significant distance. It’s highly visible across parking lots and high traffic areas. Sometimes I find people think just because something can be done i.e.. full color printed wraps, that this is the way it should be done now, regardless what worked in the past. The problem is that in the hands of a poor designer, being able to print full color photo graphics often leads to a cluttered and muddy looking mess, making the text illegible. Keep it simple, and use contrasting colors that compliment each other, and remember that negative space that is to say the space on a sign that does not have graphics on it, is equally an important part of good design.