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This science fair project was performed to study the effect of text color and background color on viewing distance. The science project experiment involved using signboards with a dark green background and white, yellow, red and blue colors for the text.


Participants will be able to view signboards with white or yellow text and a dark green background from a further distance, as compared to red or blue text.

Scientific Terms

Traffic signs, safety warnings, speed limits, lighting


Traffic signs

Traffic signs are normally placed along road sides and over roads in order to provide information to drivers. The information provided consist of safety warnings, speed limits or road directions. Sometimes pictorial signs are used instead of words in order to internationalize the road signs and to minimize the language barrier.

A driver will normally have only a few seconds to glance at a road sign and understand its contents. The size of the wording, the color of the background and the color of the lettering are very important for enabling the driver to read the message at a glance.

The optimal viewing distance of the road sign is also affected by lighting conditions and the font type used. Longer and more complicated messages are better separated into a few signboards and strategically placed at a distance along the road. This will help to minimize the length of time the driver is distracted when looking at the signs.

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
2 days to prepare, 1 day for the science project experiment
Material availability:
May be purchased at a hardware store/supermarket
Safety concerns:

Handle the paper cutter and spray paint with care, using safety goggles and gloves. Adult supervision is required.