Stop signs. Warning signs. McDonald’s signs. What do the world’s most iconic signs have in common? They’re carefully designed to demand attention. While sign design is not one-size-fits-all, there are a few common traits every sign needs to be a success. Whether it’s a custom window graphic or an oversized outdoor banner, a successful sign needs to draw the eye, be easy to read and understand quickly, and compel the crowd to action.
Of course, your sign won’t be able to do any of those things if it blends into the background! If you want to create signs that stand out (and send your sales skyrocketing), you should first consider a few simple tips for designing signage.
Look at your sign location
Think about where your sign will be located. Will it be placed in a high-traffic setting like a highway or a busy shopping mall? If so, you may need to use bold, eye-catching elements to stand out against competing signage. If your sign will hang solo in a quieter atmosphere, a simple design with conservative colors may be enough to get your message out (and save some money).
You should also consider the local lighting and what types of colors and materials will surround your sign. This will help you…
Create clever contrast
Contrast is what makes your sign vibrant, visible, and easy to read, even from a distance. The more contrast your sign has, the easier it is to see – and the easier it will be to make your point to the people.
The use of color is one of the easiest ways to create contrast. High-contrast color combinations – such as black on yellow or red on white – automatically draw attention and improve readability, making your message harder to miss. Ideally, you should choose opposing colors for your sign’s main elements, such as dark text on a pale or neutral background (or vice versa).
Avoid fancy fonts when designing signage
Fancy fonts are great for wedding invitations, but they won’t help make your sign a success. Frilly, decorative fonts may draw the eye, but they’re harder to read and decipher. This can muddle your message even if it fits your brand image.
Instead, when designing signage, focus on fonts that are crisp, clean, and powerful. These types of fonts will give your sign a commanding presence that stands out from the crowd and is easily read by people passing by. To make it easy, you may choose fonts that were designed for your specific purpose: display fonts for headlines, body copy fonts for body copy, etc. Avoid using more than two fonts in one design, as this can cause confusion. Some of the most successful sign fonts include Garamond, Helvetica, and Arial.
Consider size and scale
The style of your font isn’t the only text-related task you have in creating a stand-out sign. You should also make sure your sign’s individual letters are appropriately sized for optimal visibility. To do this, ask yourself how far your sign will need to be seen. According to the experts, you should add one centimeter of letter height for every 1 meter of distance. If you want your sign to be seen as far as 100 meters away, your letters will need to be at least 100 centimeters tall.
Keep it simple
Simplicity is the golden standard for successful sign design. The more simple and direct your sign, the easier it will be to read and understand quickly – and you only have a few seconds to communicate with the crowd. Focus on short but impactful copy that communicates clearly in as few words as possible. Avoid using more than two fonts in one design, as this can create confusion.
Your visual design should be vibrant enough to draw the eye, but not so distracting that it takes away from your message. Don’t be wary of using white space, which helps draw focus to the most important areas of your design. For optimal readability, aim to design your sign with 30% of 40% of white space.
Use great graphics
People love visual imagery. Adding a graphic to your design can be an easy way to gain attention and help your sign stand out. It doesn’t have to be fancy – a simple logo or headshot photo could be enough to give your sign a competitive edge. What is important is that you choose graphics that complement your message and add to your design. Be sure to use quality images for any graphic you choose – blurry or pixelated images present your brand as cheap and careless.
Work with a professional when designing signage for your business
You want optimal results when designing signage? Connect with a professional sign design company – like the one at An Phat – to help you determine every detail and create the best sign for your brand. If you need help designing a spectacular stand-out sign, contact us today!