This is a fascinating question and, when I read it, my gut choice for
a noticeable and memorable billboard was yellow. I always notice
yellow because I feel it is hotwired into my head as a "warning"
color. Not necessarily negative, just a "take notice" color.
I then performed searches for you on the subject and located this from
an article by Kathy Prentice at
titled "New outdoor study reveals how people react to billboards":
"The study found that 74 percent of boards within a rider's field of
vision are noted and that 48 percent are read. While more women than
men notice outdoor ads, men are more likely to use ad information they
learn from a billboard when shopping. People between 18 and 35 are
more likely to notice an oudoor ad than people 35 to 49. Getting the
most attention were ads with bright colors, notably yellow, boards
that moved, and extensions. Bigger boards drew more notice than small
I found it interesting that my initial reaction matched this research
study result I later found. The article is noteworthy and goes on to
"If I were designing my ideal billboard, I'd make it simple," advises
Young. "I can't control how fast people drive by, so simplicity is
important. I'd have my corporate name prominently displayed so it
would be seen very quickly. I'd use color. And I'd do something
different, like use extenders as an attention getter."
I located some general color research at
http://www.colormatters.com/research.html and I found it fascinating
as well. One of the papers listed there is "Color associations" by
Olga Dmitrieva and is a PDF document located at
researches color association which is something to take into
consideration when choosing your advertising and logo colors.
Billboards are not mentioned but the study is an interesting one and I
believe it bears noting.
Also from ColorMatters is the article titled "Color and Vision
Matters" located at http://www.colormatters.com/optics.html and it
refers to yellow as an "eye irritant" - perhaps that is also why it is
noticed as evidenced in the study I cited. The article also notes the
color red as being able to produce an "after image" and this may
assist you in determining a color scheme for your advertising.
Another interesting study I located is titled "Testing the
Interactions of Atmospheric Color and Interactivity in Advertising
Response in the Computer
Mediated Environment" by Claire Allison Stammerjohan, Mississippi
State University. In the beginning, she states "this paper is
concerned with whether consumer response to advertising on the web is
similar to consumer response to traditional advertising, specifically
with regard to the effects of interactivity and atmospheric color."
Though billboards are not mentioned, I believe you will find the study
of interest. It is located at
Should you require clarification of any of the links or information I
have provided, please request it and I will be happy to respond.
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