Adding PCB Color to Your PCB Design: Aesthetics and Functionality

PCB color may seem like a minor element in electronic design, but it plays an integral part both aesthetically and functionally. Here we explore its importance as well as considerations involved with choosing an ideal shade for your PCB.

Aesthetics and Branding

Color choices for PCBs can add significantly to their aesthetic and branding value, creating an eye-catching and cohesive appearance that adds professional charm. By choosing hues that align with your brand identity or product design theme, you can achieve this. Incorporating brand colors or complementary hues add a professional edge that sets off final products.

Improve Readability and Troubleshooting Capabilities

Contrasting PCB colors can help improve readability and ease troubleshooting efforts. Light-colored boards with dark silkscreen or component markings offer better visibility, making it easier for readers to distinguish component labels and trace paths on them. This facilitates assembly, testing, maintenance processes while ultimately increasing efficiency while decreasing errors.

Manufacturing Considerations

As when selecting PCB colors, manufacturing considerations must also be taken into account. Different PCB manufacturers may limit available colors due to certain materials or fabrication processes; to avoid any disruption to lead times or costs it is advisable to check with your supplier beforehand.

Factors to Consider when Selecting PCB Color Options

  1. Functionality and Application: First consider your PCB’s intended function and application. Some industries have specific color standards they adhere to for identification or industry compliance – medical devices for instance often feature color-coded sections indicating specific functionalities or safety protocols.
  2. Heat Dissipation: Darker-colored PCBs tend to absorb and retain more heat than lighter-colored boards, so if your design involves heat-sensitive components or high-power applications, choosing a lighter color might help in dissipation.
  3. Optics Considerations: Consider how PCB color could impact optics depending on your application. In particular, for sensors, cameras or lighting applications which utilize certain hues that could hinder performance or accuracy of sensors/cameras/lighting components – so as to minimize interference with optical functionality.
  4. Contrast with Components: For optimal visibility and readability during production, testing, and troubleshooting, make sure the chosen PCB color contrasts well with components, silkscreen markings, and solder mask. This will increase visibility and readability, making it easier to locate components and trace paths during testing processes as well as production and troubleshooting processes.
  5. Environmental Considerations: If your PCB will be exposed to harsh environments like sunlight, moisture or chemicals, consider color stability and resistance as environmental exposure may cause certain colors to fade or degrade over time – potentially impacting aesthetics or readability.

pcb color

As stated previously, choosing an appropriate PCB color is a vital element of electronic design. By choosing an ideal hue, you can improve aesthetics, readability and troubleshooting efforts and meet specific design requirements. Aesthetics and branding considerations aside, it is also vital to take functional manufacturing and environmental considerations into account to make sure the selected hue fulfills all design goals and requirements.


  1. What is PCB color?
    PCB color refers to the color of the solder mask that covers majority of the PCB surface area. It provides a protective layer over the copper traces and makes the symbols and numbers printed on the board visible.
  2. Why are most PCBs green?
    Green is the industry standard and has been since the PCBs were first developed. Therefore, it’s often the economical choice. Green also has good visual contrast, making inspection and fault detection easier.
  3. What other colors are commonly used for PCBs?
    Apart from green, other common colors include red, blue, yellow, black and white. The choice of color often depends on the specific application, aesthetic preference or brand identity.
  4. How does the PCB color affect its performance?
    The color of the PCB doesn’t have a significant effect on the board’s electrical performance. However, different colors may affect the visibility of the traces and thus the ease of troubleshooting and inspection.
  5. Is there any difference in cost amongst the different PCB colors?
    The cost difference is generally minimal. However, non-standard colors or customized colors could lead to slightly higher prices due to non-standard production processes or lower volume productions.
  6. How is the PCB color chosen?
    The choice of PCB color could depend on several factors like corporate branding, aesthetic considerations, visual contrast for inspection, or specific requirements of the final application.
  7. Does the PCB color affects heat absorption?
    Darker colors (like black) can absorb more heat than lighter colors, which theoretically can lead to higher temperatures. However, in most applications this effect is minimal and other factors like copper thickness and board layout have a much greater impact on heat dissipation.
  8. Can I get a multicolored PCB?
    Yes, you can. However, due to the complexity of the manufacturing process for multi-colored PCBs, they are rare and may be more expensive.
  9. Can I choose any color for my custom PCB?
    You can choose any color for your custom PCB, but keep in mind that uncommon or custom colors may increase the cost and lead time.
  10. How is the color applied to the PCB?
    The color comes from the solder mask, which is a protective layer that’s applied over the copper. The solder mask is applied using a silkscreen process and it’s then hardened and cured using UV light.


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