Basic Sign Design – PART I                       

                        Make signs work for you:  No one buys signs except to accomplish a specific goal.                                            A competent professional will immediately ask you two key questions:

How will it be used?  From how far away must it be seen?
No one can advise you without this basic information.  If you don’t hear these questions early on, go someplace else – fast! 

7-word rule:  Keep it brief.  People will see up to 7 words.  They must stop to read 8 or more. 

Hamburger Rule:  Feature your most important copy.  If you’re name is McDonald’s and you’re in the hamburger business, put the arches on anything and everyone in the world will recognize you.  If your name is Bob and you’re in the hamburger business, write hamburgers all over the place and put Bob in the small print.

Try it small:  If it looks good on the back of a business card, it will probably work on a sign.  If it doesn’t work small it will get worse as you blow it up.  Have 2 or more people read it.

Separate Ideas:  Best Signs convey a single idea.  If you must convey more, separate them graphically using color, panels, type faces etc. The 7-word rule applies to every thought. 

Advertising vs. Information:  Signs meant to sell should be artful, attention getting.  Informational signs should be brief, concise, easy to read, not too fancy.

3 Typefaces: NEVER use more than three typefaces on a sign.  Appreciate the difference between text (meant to be read) and display (meant to attract or be “arty”) faces, and use them appropriately.

Readability: Upper/lower case and Roman faces are easiest to read.  ALL CAPS and block faces read less well.  A border or inset line increases readability by 26%.


Information provided as a complimentary FYI