All About Typography - Part 1

Posted in Sign and Banner Tips, Style Guides and Design Tips

Here at, we want to be as helpful as possible, so, we’re at it again. Today, we’re going talk about how to effectively layout the typography in your design.

Planning It Out
The first thing you want to do is plan out your design. Brainstorm questions such as, what is most important to your readers? What is useful information they may want to know? What don’t they need to know? With Vinyl Banners and Signs, you only have one chance to give people the information they need. There isn’t a second page they can turn to where they can get more.

Typically, the most important information is the headline. This is usually at the top of your design and is the largest. There are other ways to show the importance but we’ll talk about that in a bit. This headline can be the name of a company or event. Or it can be announcing a sale you’re having. The headline is only a couple of words long and it has to to grab their attention.

Next comes your body text. This is the where, when, what, and who of your banner. This will normally be a different font from your head line and should almost always be smaller. This is where you want to include the address, phone number, times etc. Keep this information to a minimum but make sure people who see your sign will know what the banner is about. The more information you have, the smaller this text may need to be, and this can ruin things.

The Headline
When picking fonts for your banner, make sure they are easy to read. This is especially true with the headline. If it’s difficult to read, potential customers will move on without a second glance. There’s a couple ways to separate your headline from the rest of the design.

Headlines are usually at the top of the design and either centered or justified to the left. This makes sense as we read from left to right, top to bottom, so the most important information is at the top. It also causes it to stand out from the rest because it is on its own line.

Make It Big
It seems kind of obvious but the bigger the text is, the more it stands out. It draws your eyes to it and separates it from the rest of the text.

Use a Different Font
Using a different font for the headline is a great way to separate the headline text from the body text. To keep everything cohesive, keep your design and text to a minimum of three different fonts maximum. An easy way to add variation to your fonts without going overboard is by simply making the text bold, italic, or larger/smaller in size. 

Use a Different Color
One of the most effective ways to establish hierarchy is to use a different color for your headline. This can be done several ways. One way is to simply change the color of the text. If you have black body text you can use a red headline. Another option is to reverse the colors of the text and the background. Lets say you have red text on a white background. If you create a shape (I used a rectangle, below) that is red and add text to it that is white it will pop out much more then the simple red text.

Headline examples

These work best when used in combination with each other. A headline placed in the center of a banner with a larger text size is interesting to the viewer and makes your banner stand out from the more traditional layouts. You can also play around with the angle and spacing of the headline and see what works best for the design.

Body Text
With all the talk about the headline, we haven’t talked much about the body text yet. If the headline is what attracts the viewers, the body text is what keeps them there after the magic is gone. With any design, the body text should be be easy to read and informational. Each line should add to the design in some way. When designing a layout for a magazine, it may be a way to direct the readers eyes, but when designing banners, the text should give the viewer reason to linger.

When selecting a font for your body text, make sure it works well with the headline font. If they’re too similar, there really isn’t a point in selecting two different fonts. If they compete with each other, they lose their effectiveness. You almost never want to use more then three different fonts in a design. It will mess up the hierarchy of your design and your banner won’t be as effective because the design looks too busy.

Because body text is smaller, you’ll want to be more aware of the colors you select for your design. Make sure you select high contrast colors to ensure your text is legible. Legibility is also a good reason to pick a simpler font.

body text examples

Check out our Design Tips for more useful information regarding effective color combinations and text sizes.

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