Choosing between color and monochrome in your displays

Irish news source the Independent recently examined some of the elements that have made for effective political campaign posters in the past. The main takeaway? Simplicity can be best, and this principle might be ported to the kinds of trade show banners and other posters that your business uses for special public appearances.

In the piece, Eoghan Harris examines some of the political posters that he helped to design during the 1980's and what he was trying to achieve in his particular artistic choices. He notes that his tactic was to favor strategic use of monochrome to combat some of the other trends notable during the time.

Specifically, Harris comments on the campaign posters for Mary Robinson and Proinsias De Rossa, two different candidates in different years whose posters used strong, basic black and white imagery to make their point.

"Both campaigns were politically and visually connected by my use of severe black-and-white photographs," Harris says. "This was an innovation at a time when garish color was all the rage."

It's important to realize that in marketing, color can be a blessing and a curse. While by no means should you avoid it without reason, there might be moments when going with a less vibrant style will be to your brand's advantage.

This motif of color being better pops up from time to time: recently, as Apple Insider noted, it surfaced in a Microsoft ad for Windows phones. In the ad, a black and white world is shown with the users of the specific product the only ones displayed in color to symbolize their individuality. But the article points out that "colorful" has been used as both a good and bad descriptor in advertisements for Apple and Microsoft products.

That might be a viable path as well. It all depends on the medium and the product, and custom-made signs might be the way to test out contrasts and see what is most effective.