Chosen for it's vibrancy and visibility by railway engineers, Signal Yellow is both functional and cheerful. All the colours pre-figured with 'Signal' (Black, White, Grey, Yellow, Red) contrast sharply with each other, but perhaps because they are pure colours un-tainted by other hues, they seem to sit well together – are they properly described as a family of colours?
In chosing the colour scheme for Coventry University Hub, we started by selecting the external colours for the fritting of the glazed curtain walling – Signal Black, Signal White, Signal Grey were selected to provide as neutral a palette as possible. We knew we wanted to have strong colours for the interior bespoke furniture to draw the eye inside the building, but our original experiments with a variety of primary colours was unsuccessful and somewhat reminiscent of a nursery. Although the answer was effectively staring us in the face it took some time to reach the decision to use Signal Yellow. Also it was a choice that required courage on the part of the University – given the extent to which we proposed to use it – not only all the bespoke furniture, but the Reception, stairs and external columns.
In our view the key to the success of the colour scheme and the use of such a strong colour is the context in which it is seen. The design features a significant amount of exposed concrete which we supplemented with a range of greys, soft browns and tans, khakis and olives to produced a subdued calm background for such a punchy energetic hue.