Learn the Basics: Sign Design

April 19, 2016 Hannah Hochstetler

Good signage design comes down to one basic principle: clarity. Too many times do I see banners with either too much information, or information that is hidden by the business of a background or an explosion of images.

Many people try to cram as much information onto the sign as possible; aiming for a one-stop viewing experience. However, this ends up defeating the purpose of the banner. The goal of signage is to get a main message across while directing viewers to a location where further information is available. By giving the viewers all of the information in one place, it all becomes lost within itself.

Below are a few tips to creating effective and clean signage:

    • Keep it simple
    • Use Large type as it can be read easily from a distance
    • San-serif fonts create visually clean design, but serif can work too. 
    • Cursive fonts can become messy and hard to read
    • 1-3 colors keep the banner in cohesion
    • Condense the main message in to 5 words or less
    • Use the 3 second rule - if your message does not come across clearly in under 3 seconds, there is too much happening in the design
    • White space is your friend
    • Not every inch of the sign has to be filled with something
    • Photo backgrounds can add interest, but can also distract if used improperly

Keeping these thoughts in mind while designing your next sign will create a clear communication flow and will allow for flexibility should any details change. If you have any questions about creating an effective sign design, don’t hesitate to reach out to our design team.



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