Published on January 25, 2024

Shadow Board FAQs

Written by Adam Serfas

Shadow Board FAQs

Utilizing shadow boards is the best way to organize and account for your tools. For that reason, they are essential components of all color-coding plans. And, just as each color-coding plan is unique, so too are shadow boards. 

Here at RSQP, our custom signage project specialist works one-on-one with customers during every step of the design and purchasing process to ensure everything from the material, tools, colors, graphics, and more is best suited to a facility’s unique needs. Over the years, we’ve created custom shadow boards for companies big and small and across every industry we serve. We’ve compiled some of the most commonly asked questions about shadow boards here. 

What is a shadow board? 

A shadow board is a type of tool board with shadows or outlines for tools used in a particular area. They serve as hygienic storage for tools in hygiene-sensitive and food-safe areas and, for those using color-coding plans, complete the plan by clearly designating where color-sorted tools should go when not in use. 

What industries benefit from using shadow boards? 

Many industries benefit from using shadow boards. Food and beverage manufacturing and processing, supermarkets and groceries, foodservice, healthcare, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical, and industrial facilities are all common examples. 

Are shadow boards favored over wall racks? 

Most often, a shadow board is preferable over a wall rack. Unlike a wall rack, a shadow board will have custom outlines for every single tool being used. That means it’s easy for tools to go back exactly where they should after being used, and a missing tool—something that can present a safety risk—is readily spotted. Many of our customers also enjoy the custom benefits that come along with shadow boards, more on that below! 

Can shadow boards help me meet 5S goals? 

Yes, absolutely. The 5S system relies on five major components or phases that should be considered as a framework for improving processes in a production line: sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain. Implementing shadow boards in your facility can help to achieve each of these goals. We have an entire blog post here dedicated to breaking down these benefits in a 5S workspace. 

Does my facility need more than one shadow board? 

Most likely, yes. At a minimum, a facility should have at least one board for every color in the color-coding plan. Depending on the size and layout of your facility, you may need more than one for each color, as ensuring tools are in close proximity to where they will be used helps to ensure the plan is followed as designed and tools do not wander.

What materials do shadow boards come in? 

Shadow boards come with four main base material options: Accu-Shield™, FB-X Accu-Shield™, Ultra Aluma-Lite™, and Max-Duty Aluminum. All of the details on each of the materials and their individual pros and cons can be found here

Are the boards FDA-compliant? 

The Polycarbonate FBX boards are made of FDA-approved materials. We are happy to share details on that if requested. 

Can I customize the graphical design of the board? 

Yes! We specialize in making truly custom shadow boards and can include your company logo, add graphics, patterns, and tailor the fonts and colors to perfectly match your brand at no cost. We’ve included chocolate drips for Hershey, a skull for Gymreapers, a bourbon bottle for Heaven Hill, and bubblegum for Mars Wrigley—you name it, we can include it in the board design. If a fun design will keep your team on board (get it?) with a color-coding plan, we are all for it! Looking for some inspiration? Scroll down for some creative examples of shadow boards we’ve helped design in the past! 

What information and materials do I need to have in order to place an order? 

The most important thing you need in order to place your order is the list of tools, including the part numbers and manufacturing information for every tool you need for your board. We also recommend including the tool part numbers in the design itself, as it makes reordering tools easy in the future. 

You’ll also want a high-resolution company logo, and if you have additional company graphics and font selections, those are great to have on hand as well to ensure a finished product that looks and feels like your brand!  

Do tools come with the board? 

Tools do not automatically come with a custom shadow board order. That said, if you would like to order tools at the same time, we can certainly help you with that. The board and the tools will ship separately, though. Tools will generally ship first if you order them together, so, at request, our team can include a label with the tools specifying that they are for the upcoming shadow board with information on who the package should be tendered to once it’s delivered.  

Do the boards come with the tool hooks and grips? 

Yes. Based on the tools list you provide, we will ensure stainless steel hooks and rubber grips for all of the tools. They will be included in the order along with the board. **Please note that they will be in a small pouch within the shipped box, so please discard packing materials carefully.** 

We pre-drill holes in the corner for the boards, so boards meant to be hung on walls are ready to hang when they arrive. You will need to supply the hanging materials to affix the board to its permanent location, as each facility will have unique safety requirements and wall surfaces that need to be accounted for with hanging shadow boards.  

Is there anything I need to remove from the board when it arrives? 

Some of our FBX and Accushield shadow boards will arrive with a protective film adhered to the board. You will need to remove the film before using the board. 

Can I re-order a board if needed? 

Yes. We save all of our design files for boards, so should you need an additional board or a replacement down the line, we can easily help with ordering a new one.  

What is the usual timeline for the order process? 

Generally, a first proof of a design is available within one week after initial contact with our team. Once a design is confirmed, production takes 10-15 days. After that, an order will ship out and arrive in 2-3 business days. 

What is the cost of a custom shadow board? 

As each board is custom designed, our team will provide you with a quote during the design phase of the process. 

What if I don’t want a custom shadow board? 

While most facilities will want a custom board to account for all of the unique tools that are needed, we do offer two combo kits with the tools included. We carry both a dry zone board and a wet zone board

Can I return or exchange a shadow board? 

Due to their custom nature, tool shadow boards cannot be returned or exchanged after printing. 

What if I still have questions? 

Our dedicated custom signage project specialist can help you with every step of the planning and ordering process. Should you have any questions, please feel free to email [email protected] or give us a call at 888-480-3330. 

How do I get started on placing an order? 

Ready to order? We have a shadow board design form here.

Example Shadow Boards