Color in real estate advertising is coming more and more into general use. This is particularly true as the real estate broker has extended his operations until he draws his customers from the far corners of the continent, and must use circulars, magazines and periodicals of wide circulation as his advertising media.

Color aids in intensifying an advertisement. It serves to attract attention and hold the interest. It assists in association of ideas, and thus performs a vital function in helping to make an advertisement easier to remember.

Intricate color schemes or involved art advertising that employs colors should be left to the commercial artist or an advertising agency, always with the reservation, however, that a practical real estate man is the best critic of a real estate advertisement.
In other words, the element of salesmanship in advertising must not be forgotten.

Contrasting colors are for the purpose of attracting attention. These should be utilized on window cards, outdoor signs, billboards, flash circulars, and in other places where it is desired merely to convey a single impression at a glance for instance, to a person driving by in an automobile.

It requires harmonious colors and milder tints to hold the attention and induce pleasant contemplation of an advertisement.

It is impossible to outline a hard and fast rule for use of color in real estate advertising. One should of course strive for pleasing combinations.

Black and white are not usually considered in discussions of color. Properly used for intense contrast or for harmonious effects, they often rival elaborate color designs.

Generally speaking, Nature’s blending of colors is a happy guide to follow. Nature prefers greens, blues and purples for backgrounds in her out-of-door pictures. The greens are in the grass and the leaves, the blues in the sky, the purples in the distant
hills and the horizon.

In relief against these we find many colors, including the pink and white of the early spring blossoms, the black silhouettes of the trees, the yellow of the sunlight, the rose and gold hues of the sunset, etc.

It is well to remember that just as gold and silver are the precious metals, so are they the precious colors. They are effective with almost any other color or combination of colors, and always dignify and never offend if discreetly used.

Of course, all colors should be properly balanced in any art work. Otherwise they offend the eye.*

Where attracting attention is the main object the following contrasting colors are used frequently with pleasing effect:

Red and white.
Blue and white.
Orange and black.
Black and carmine.
Gray, silver and scarlet.
Green and white.
Red and green.
Red and yellow.
Red, yellow and green.
Red, yellow and blue.
Red, yellow and black.

Red has peculiar power to attract attention regardless of what other color or colors may be combined with it. It is intense and gives great contrast. Pleasing two-color combinations that are never offensive are those in which a shade of the principal color is used for a background. For example : Dark blue lettering on a light blue tint. Dark brown lettering on a light brown tint.

A practical guide to artistic color combinations followed by leading printers and engravers is as follows :

* See “Grammar of Colors” and “Atlas of the Munsell Color System,” by A. H. Munsell of Boston, Mass.

See “Commercial Engraving and Printing,” by Charles W. Hackleman.

Color of paper Color of inks

  • Black Dark red, gold and white, light blue and silver.
  • Light blue Light red, dark blue, light yellow and yellow brown.
  • Dark blue Light blue and white, green and orange, dark red and gold.
  • Light brown Green, gray and lilac, dark brown and silver.
  • Dark brown Light drab, orange, black and white.
  • Light green Gold, dark brown, orange, dark green.
  • Dark green Gold and white, black and light green.
  • Light gray Dark blue and gold, dark gray and red.
  • Light red Rich green, blue and white, olive and gold.
  • Dark red Dark green, orange and dark blue, white and gold.
  • Light yellow Red, light blue.
  • White Emerald green, navy blue, crimson red.

    Brilliant colors and high lights generally are used at the top of a picture or design, while the heavier, mass coloring is more pleasing at the bottom.

    In magazines and periodicals color effects are used to advantage because the manner of printing and the stock used permit it, and because a magazine is not usually read and cast aside. It remains in the reader’s possession for weeks and sometimes months. He thus sees the advertisement many times, and if the art work is properly done, the advertisement will be more impressive each time it is seen.

    In magazines and periodicals the most desirable space is the cover pages in the following order: Front page outside, back page outside, front page inside, back page inside. In other parts of the magazine the right hand page is most desired except in the center of the booklet, where it opens naturally.

    Space on the page is usually preferred as indicated by numbers.

    Real estate sign boards and window cards form one of the most important advertising media for the real estate broker.

    The sign is essentially a poster. Its main purpose is to attract attention. It is not necessary that it convey a definite selling appeal. It should be so planned that the reader can see all it says at a glance. It should be of simple but dominant design,
    one that will make it possible for a passerby to recognize it without even reading the lettering on it. Like any other form of advertising, however, it should be pleasing in appearance.

    Few words should be used. “For Sale,” “For Rent/’ “For Lease,” are stock phrases on most real estate signs. “Open for Inspection,” and “Offered by,” have replaced these, however, with many institutions, on the theory that “Open for Inspection”
    is a pleasant suggestion and invitation, while “For Sale” is abrupt and carries with it the thought that the owner does not desire any one to view the premises unless inclined to buy.

    The colors and lettering should have due regard for the probable distance at which the sign must attract attention. There should be plenty of contrast. A sign should shout but not scream.

    A sign left on a property too long, a sign that has become disfigured or dirty, a sign that is illegible or partly pulled from its hangings, should be removed. It is effective sometimes to move a sign from one position to another on a lot, or to take it down for a few weeks and then replace it.

    The question always is arising in the real estate business as to the advisability of carrying names of salesmen on signs or in other advertising.

    The office organization should be such that the salesman gets just treatment on all his properties without the necessity of using the name in the advertisement. Doing so tends to distract the attention of the customer from the real object, which is the sale of real estate and not the personal aggrandizement of a salesman.

    It is advisable frequently to call attention to the personnel of an organization. A separate advertisement should be devoted to such efforts, rather than carrying the names of salesmen on signs or in other advertising. Thus handled, more dignity attaches to the advertisement and to the concern, and the salesman will reap more genuine benefit from it.

    Commercial billboards are not used often in real estate advertising. If they are used, the law of repetition must be followed. One board will not produce results. Neither will a few boards justify the expense. Several placed at strategic points might pay returns.

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