- Don’t try to stuff too much content into the sign
- Challenge the status quo instead of replicating it
- Consider the environment in the design
There are graphic designers who get their assignments and quietly carry them out, even though they know a better way. There are others who don’t shy away at all. They’ll ask, “Why are you doing it like this?” And they’ll be ignored.
You see, the real difference between local signage and the ones direct from Madison Avenue lies in a few secrets that all experienced designers know. If you want your ads to be more professional, more efficient, and more effective, it’s time to take a leap of faith.
In honor of ignored graphic designers everywhere, here are the essentials of a great sign.
1. Say Less to Say More
There’s a simple rule in design: The more elements you add, the less impact each element has.
Too often, clients and marketers push for more and more to be included on a sign so they feel they have their ”money’s worth.” How many signs have you seen with an address, phone number, website, icon for Facebook, etc.?
The only thing an info dump like that accomplishes is weakening your true message. Tell them who you are and what you can do for them. The more direct your message is, the more likely it will be remembered.
In short, don’t feel the need to say everything in a sign. Say only what matters, and they’ll hear you.
2. Be a Little Weird
Do you want to get noticed? It’s easy. Be loud. Be bold. Be different. You can’t lead the pack if you’re blending into it.
Most of the time, designers are encouraged to copy signs that are already out there. That’s why, for example, so many attorneys have logos that look the same. You’ve seen it. Regal lettering, lawyer’s name on the top line, “law firm” on the bottom line. It’s fine, but everyone does it.
That’s why you should emphasize what sets your attorney-client apart right there on the sign. Does he cater to wealthy clients? Treat his logo like a 5th Avenue department store. Is he laid back, like a buddy with a law degree? Your sign will tell us.
For the people writing the checks, different can be scary. It’s a risk. But different gets noticed. Different is remembered.
3. Put It in Context
Probably the most overlooked item on our list of essentials is context. Where do you plan on displaying your sign?
A good designer knows that the environment can change how your sign will look. Is it being hung on a white wall in a black frame? Knowing that will affect the design.
Is it going outdoors? In the shade, or full daylight? Is it supposed to be read by passing drivers? All of these questions are crucial to getting the most impact out of your signs.
Give yourself the opportunity to have a sign designed for its environment, and you’ll achieve the height of professionalism: a sign that looks like it’s supposed to be exactly where it is.
Be concise, be different, be purposeful. It may not seem like much, but if you follow these principles, you’ll already be miles ahead of your competitors in understanding the essentials of a great sign.
And when you’re ready, you can find signs to fit any environment (from full backdrops to table banners to window decals) at eSigns.com.