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A Good Sign Design vs A Bad Sign Design
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A Good Sign Design vs A Bad Sign Design

Blog  -  Sign Company Adviser

A Good Sign Design vs A Bad Sign Design

There are many factors to consider when designing a sign. Many sign designers simply put text in, set the font, set the colors, walk away from it and consider it done. Sometimes they do this because of time constraints, sometimes they do this because they just don't know any better or they've never considered any other way. However, it will cost you if you allow this kind of thinking and working to become part of your normal design routine. If you ignore some of the important rules of design, you will not see as great of a return business and your competitor will grow while you continue to struggle to stay in business. Yes, design is THAT important! If you have an effective design, your sign will be effective, resulting in your customers business bringing in more money, resulting in you having repeat business. If your design is ineffective, you will never hear from the customer again and never know why.

A wise sign designer will strongly consider all of the important aspects of proper sign or advertisement design because they want their sign to be effective for their customer so their customer can grow their business. This is important not only because of repeat business that their customer will bring, but more importantly referrals thanks to an effective sign design and a successful long term business relationship that resulted from a job well done.

Below are two examples of good designs and two examples of bad designs. We've provided examples for both one color and full color, depending on your customer's budget. Below each example you will find a list of reasons why each design is either effective or ineffective.

A Good Sign Design vs A Bad Sign Design:
(Simple 1 Color Sign Design)

Poorly Designed One Color Sign:

Sign Company Websites Blog - Advice - A Good Sign Design vs A Bad Sign Design

Well Designed One Color Sign:

Sign Company Websites Blog - Advice - A Good Sign Design vs A Bad Sign Design

Reasons this is a Bad Sign Design:

  • The top and bottom lines are using fonts that are difficult to read from a distance. A customer should never have to struggle (even a little bit) to read a sign, it should be easy to read at a glance! 
  • All of the fonts used here are too thin. Sign fonts should almost always be bold because a bold font can be seen from a greater distance as well as grabbing attention more effectively.
  • There isn't any contrasting sections, it's just three lines of text.

Reasons this is a Good Sign Design:

  • All the fonts used here are easy to read because they're bold, simple and do not have serifs. The more simple a font is, the easier it is to read from a distance. to prove this point, simply stand really far back from the or screen and see for yourself. 
  • There are geometrical shapes that will grab a customer's attention because it's not just text there are some shapes involved. There are also slight curves to the lettering bringing more character and attention to the lettering.
  • The top 1/3 of the sign has been reversed out which causes a substantial amount of contrast from one part of the sign to the next and this will grab the attention of your customer so much more effective than everything having the same background color.
  • There was consideration taken for the most important words on the sign. "50% OFF" is the first thing you read because it's the biggest and boldest which is what your customer will see if they only have a split second to look at the sign.

Sign Company Websites Blog - Advice - A Good Sign Design vs A Bad Sign Design

A Good Sign Design vs A Bad Sign Design:
(Full Color Sign Design)

Poorly Designed Full Color Sign:

Sign Company Websites Blog - Advice - A Good Full Color Sign Design vs A Bad Full Color Sign Design

Well Designed Full Color Sign:

Sign Company Websites Blog - Advice - A Good Full Color Sign Design vs A Bad Full Color Sign Design

Reasons this is a Bad Sign Design:

  • The words are difficult to read because of the complicated font choice. You should always use simple fonts, especially when using a gradient or variable background.
  • The top line's drop shadow causes the line to be almost impossible to read because it's so busy.
  • There is not enough contrast between the letters in the background making the sign almost unreadable at a certain distance and therefore useless.
  • The bottom line actually messes with your eyes because blue letters on a red or orange background will only blur together visually.

Reasons this is a Good Sign Design:

  • All the fonts used here are bold and effective because they're easy to read at a distance and they stand out well on the background.
  • There is a stark contrast between the black curved bar at the top and the gradient background it sits on making the sign an extremely effective eye grabber as people either walk or drive by.
  • All of the letters have correct contrast between its background thanks to outlines and drop shadows effectively placed.
  • It's a well-balanced design with respect to color because it uses the right colors right places.
  • There are it is actual depth in this design because of the effective use of natural drop shadows and a metal bevel effect causing the letters to look 3-D.

Again stand back from your screen and look at these from a distance as your customer will be. Also look away from the screen and glance at it for 1 to 2 seconds and think about what you saw in which one was more effective. This is why we placed them side by side.

 Here are some important criteria every sign you design should meet:

  • Can your sign's main message be easily read and understood from a distance?
  • Can your sign's main message be easily read and understood at a glance?
  • Are you using bold fonts?
  • Is there enough contrast between the background and the lettering?
  • Is your sign too busy? Does it have to much information on it, or too many photos/graphics?

Sign Company Websites Blog - Advice - A Good Sign Design vs A Bad Sign Design

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