Tips to have attractive signs & billboards

by | Apr 23, 2020 | Articles

Designing a sign for an upcoming event shouldn’t make you panic because designing a sign is not much different than any other project. The only difference is scale. It’s usually larger in size than what you might be used to. Though, they are other things you need to consider when designing a sign and they are:

Firstly, you need to think about Size and Scale; you should take time to know the size of a standard yard and a bulletin billboard. However, Signs have to be read and understood from a distance, often by people who only have a few seconds to look in that direction.

Secondly, it is important to consider your location because knowing how big a sign will be and also knowing where it will be located, thinking about it in terms of primary placement. Also, Location plays an important role in determining other factors about signage and Make sure you plan your signage for the most visible and highest traffic area

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Also, Location plays an important role in determining other factors about signage. There may be local rules as to the types of messages, images or words on a sign as directed by the local government. Always make sure to check code and regulations in your area before designing a signage. Make sure you plan your signage for the most visible and highest traffic areas first, and consider multiple versions of a similar design.

Go Big with Color and Graphics

Color can be one of the most important design decisions you will make when working on a sign project. You should approach it with two things in mind.

  • Branding and identity
  • Contrast and visibility

Sometimes these two concepts will get in the way of each other. Generally graphics and color in general should be bright and saturated. Avoid light colors or pastels. Opt for colors that have a lot of contrast, especially between the background and images or text.

In terms of images and graphics, pick a single element and go big with it. Your design has to catch someone’s attention in a second and a single, simple focal point will help.

Let look at this illustration, you have a sign on a billboard nestled in a bunch of evergreen trees along the highway. If the background of the sign is also green, or of trees, how visible will it really be to passersby?

Always Plan color and graphics accordingly, one of the “old school” rules of billboard design is to “never use a blue background.” That’s a little extreme, but a sky blue background might be a bad idea.

Simple Typography and Message

When it comes to type, keep it simple. Aside from the company logo, pick a single typeface. Opt for a sans serif with uniform and medium to wide stroke widths. Think about lettering in terms to 10 to 100. That is 10 inches of letter height for every 100 feet of visibility.

Then consider the total number of words. The message should be as simple as the typography. For the greatest impact, signs should not contain more than 15 words. The industry formula is typically referred to as the 3 by 5 rule. It breaks down in two ways:

  • Three lines of text, up to five words each, or
  • Five lines of text, up to three words each
  • If the words are long, decrease those counts.

Other typography considerations include the use of bold or italics. Bold lettering can help aid in readability from a distance. You just have to make sure letters are properly kerned so that there is no confusion from a distance. Avoid Italics on your design because they are often

Contrast Matters

While contrast is an important part of any design project, it is especially important when you only have a couple of seconds to catch someone’s attention. Every focal point needs to be clearly distinguishable.

When it comes to contrast matters; type, size and simplicity are key factors. With color, it comes back to pairing hues that stand out from one another.

While there is no perfect set of color combinations for signage and contrast, there are a few that stand out as being easy to read from a distance and they are:

  • Black and white
  • Black and yellow
  • Blue and white
  • Blue and yellow
  • Green and white
  • Red and white
  • Red and yellow

To create even more contrast between the sign design and environment, consider a boarder design. A simple, thick white or black box encasing the sign image can help set it apart from almost any other condition.


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