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Are Decoder Glasses Really a Thing?

Secret message glasses with red lenses
For some, the thought of secret message glasses conjures up thoughts of the augmented reality specs that have been in development by tech giants like Google and Microsoft. For others, they think of blockbuster spy franchises like Mission Impossible and James Bond, where clandestine codes are discovered with a secret agent’s special pair of decoder glasses. If you’re wondering whether decoder glasses are a real thing, the answer is a resounding yes!

How Decoder Glasses Work

The tech behind decoder glasses is not as complicated as you may think, but that doesn’t make the illusion any less effective… or entertaining. These secret message glasses can unscramble a message by filtering out all colors except for one specific hue. When you look at a secret message hidden in a jumble of colors, the ink found in the color of the lenses stands out, revealing the message that was before concealed to the naked eye.

This simple optical illusion has some very fun and unique applications that kids and adults alike can enjoy. Here are a couple of ideas for how you can use secret message glasses.

Use Decoder Glasses to Create Your Own Secret Message

A red tinted magnifying glass revealing a secret message

Want to create your own “top secret” message? You can easily do it with a pair of decoder glasses and a few colorful writing instruments. Here’s what you’ll do:

Step 1: Order a sample of decoder glasses from us! You cannot start your decoder journey without testing along the way. 

Step 2: Understanding your Colors - Decoders are all about filtering properly. If you are working with red lenses, your secret message artwork or text should be cyan or a light blue.

Decoder pattern color palette for secret message glasses

If you are using a blue lens, you'll want to make your secret message component yellow! 

If you choose to do a green decoder, which is a much more difficult lens to work with, the secret message needs to be orange. (We recommend starting with a red or blue lens).

Step 3: Conceal Your Secret Message: If your secret message is cyan, conceal your artwork with different red hues! You can add pink, orange, and yellow around the artwork to throw off the eye, but make sure the secret message component is only being hidden by the reds! See the example of the color palette you can work with for secret message glasses, as well as a deconstructed decoder to understand the elements! 

Red secret message glasses with a pattern and secret messageSecret message glasses with red lenses

If your secret message is yellow and you’re using blue lenses, conceal it with shades of blue. You can incorporate teal and green shades to throw off the pattern a bit; you’ll want to make sure to only cover the secret message with blue!

Blue decoder pattern with secret messageSecret message glasses with blue lenses

 An important step to note is, if you are using Illustrator, Photoshop, or other digital programs, make sure your decoder pattern’s transparency is set to “multiply” or manually make the artwork have some transparency to it! We’ve found that between 40%-70% transparency is a good range! If your pattern doesn’t have transparency, you won’t be able to see the secret message in the background.

Your decoder pattern can ultimately be anything you want. We work with small squares, hearts, smileys, squiggly lines, etc. Sometimes you can also just try to mix the elements together like the witch and ghost you see below! Play around with placement as you learn how decoder glasses work. As long as your colors are working together, you’ll be amazed at how well you can properly hide your secret message!

Animated image of red decoder glasses

Step 4: Test, test, and test again! Creating a secret decoder is not always easy, but ends up being a rewarding and exciting element you’ve created that adds to your design! Keep in mind, if you are going to end up printing your decoder message, digital files and printed files can look different. Once all your elements are put together, you’ll likely have to lower the transparency of your secret message! We tend to lower our cyan or yellow secret message image or text to around 50% for print, however, play around with it through test printing, and you’ll be able to figure out what transparency works for your secret message glasses! Once you nail it, it’s so exciting! 

Another helpful tip is to remember this is an optical illusion! You already know what is under your decoder pattern, so it will be much easier for you to see! That’s why we always recommend having a fresh pair of eyes to help you! 

Step 5: Let us help you! If you’re not into creating your own decoder pattern, but have the secret message elements, send them our way! We have experts that can help you. We can provide the digital file back to you, print the entire decoder for you on our popular Decoder Greets, or print a simple postcard! You can also create custom decoder glasses that match with your branded item, too! Whatever you envision, we’ll work with you to make your idea come to life! 

Step 6: Let your decoders shine! Whether they’re for marketing purposes or a fun way to invite someone to an event, decoders are a great promotional tool to get people talking, excited, and engaged. Slip on a pair of these secret message glasses to see the words jump right off the paper as the other colors fade away. It’s decoding magic. Enjoy your hard work and don’t forget we’re always here to help! 

This is a fun way to share messages with friends or give the kids a creative surprise. 

Use Decoder Glasses as a Fun Promotion for Your Business

Have you been looking for a way for your company’s campaign to stand out from the rest? Consider using decoder glasses as a way to drum up both interest and business. You can hand these novelty items out to your customers as a free giveaway! This is a fun and unique way to catch your customer’s attention. 

At Rainbow Symphony, we can help you personalize secret message decoder glasses. Simply send us your logo and any branding or color scheme you’d like to use. Before you know it, you’ll have a one-of-a-kind ad campaign that will directly tie into an increase in both customer engagement and sales.

A prismatic multicolor banner

Get Your Message Across With Rainbow Symphony

Decoder glasses have a multitude of applications for both commercial and personal use. Whatever you decide to do with your glasses, make sure you purchase them from a company that has the ability to give you top-notch customer service whether you want to buy one pair of glasses or a thousand: Rainbow Symphony.

For almost 50 years, our family-owned company has been producing and selling our secret message glasses right here in the USA. Don’t let our humble roots fool you, though. We’ve worked with some of the biggest companies and concert promoters in the country over the years, while also providing tens of thousands of pairs of glasses to classrooms across the nation. We offer worldwide shipping and a 30-day money-back guarantee on most of our catalog items. You can shop with confidence when you purchase from Rainbow Symphony.

Still want to know more about how decoder glasses work? Contact us today, and our staff of experts will be glad to assist you!



An infographic by Rainbow Symphony that explains how to create your own secret message that can be revealed with decoder glasses