Choosing the Right Glow in the Dark Colors for Your Designs

When creating designs with glow in the dark accents, the right glow color plays an important role. Choosing a perfect glow in the dark color will add visual interest and can play an important safety feature in your finished designs.

It is commonly assumed that most professional grade photoluminescent colors are only in safety Green. Most people think that there is little variety available when it comes to long lasting glow in the dark colors. This is a common misconception. Today there are many high performance nighttime glow colors available, each offering different brightness levels, longevity and color effects.

How our Eyes see Glow Colors

With high quality glow in the dark materials, it is important to understand that different nightglow colors have different appearance of brightness. This is based on the materials themselves and how the human eye perceives them. For example, Green nightglow will produce a high glow output and is the most popular color in the safety industry. That is because the human eye is highly attuned to seeing Green. The scientific explanation for this is that we do not have true color vision. Instead, we have two normal cone cells red and green and a third type of cone cell that is a mutant green. That is why Green tends to appear more visible to the human eye and is a good choice where high visibility is an important consideration.

A more detailed explanation of color perception is that the human eye is most sensitive to light wavelengths near 555 nanometers. That is the wavelength that Green occupies therefore making it the brightest, most visible color. Technically, Green is the brightest color actually making it an eye “irritant” as opposed to Red glow that emits the least amount of brightness and glow appearance.  In terms of brightness that is measured in wavelength per nanometers, Green produces the highest amount of illumination.

What Other Glow Colors are the Brightest?

Although Green is the brightest, high quality Blue and Aqua (Blue/Green) nightglows emit highly visible and long lasting glows at ~480 nanometers each. New stronger Purple nightglows are now available that offer a soft nightglow Violet glow that can last up to 8 hours. While not as bright or generally long lasting as Green or Blue families, warm colors such as Reds and Oranges offer an exciting visual alternative and emit light in rich deep colors. Colors like Reds and Oranges will usually offer less brightness and duration than standard Greens and Blues. Information about Color Choices and Color Guidelines is available on our site that can help designers in choosing the best glow colors for their project.

Color Perception 

So why do some colors appear to be more attractive to us than others? This phenomenon is called “non visual response to light”. This means that we interpret things like ambient light level and light color. In other words, the light colors emit instead of the actual picture. These “non-visual” reactions in our brain have natural rhythms, like the natural cycles of brain activity regulating sleep, seasonal disorders and other phenomena’s as well.

Glow Color and Aesthetics

Depending upon your project design, choosing the right nighttime glow color may not necessarily be based solely on brightness. Sometimes it has more to do with the mood you’re trying to create.  Different colors will reflect different emotions and effects. Red, for example, while associated with fire and blood, is also associated with energy and passion. Blue is associated with depth, purity and stability. In Europe and America, Orange is commonly associated with success, victory and enthusiasm. Purple is commonly associated with royalty and piety.

Depending upon what type of ambience you are looking to create, different glow colors will create different aesthetics.  For example, when you want to create a happy refreshing experience for children’s products, go with bright Aqua glow to stimulate these bright emotions.

Don’t fall under the misconception that all glow colors are alike. Based upon the objectives of your designs, choosing the right glow color can be critical to the look you are trying to create.