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What Makes a Good Sign? Effective Sign Design Tips

Effective Signage

Having signage is important for any business but having effective signage is crucial.

But what makes a sign an effective or good sign?

There are a few proven ways to make sure your custom sign generates the results you are looking for. And in this blog, we will share with you what exactly makes a sign great and some design tips so you can create effective signage in no time.

What Makes a Good Sign?

For effective signage, you’ll first need to choose the right type of sign, then you’ll want to make sure your design includes the following:

  • The right placement or environment
  • The right material to accommodate its environment
  • The proper messaging that attracts and relates to your audience
  • A clear, easy to read, and eye-catching design

You want your sign to be eye-catching yet simplistic. It should drive traffic to your business and increase engagement without being overwhelming.

The goal for your sign is to get your message across fast and effectively which means you will need the perfect sign design that follows the above rules, and these sign design tips below can help.

Sign Design Tips for Effective Signage

1. Choose the Right Type of Sign

Types of Signs

Understanding the purpose of your sign is important when choosing which one to use. One of the biggest factors when choosing the right type of sign is your budget, however, no matter how big or small your budget is, you need to consider who your audience is and the message you are trying to send them.

Some signs are successful at delivering certain messages while others are not.

For example, wall decals and floor graphics are a great option for interior use or for storefronts while yard signs and banners are perfect for placing outside near the road, or other places where there is high visibility.

2. Create the Perfect Message

What is the purpose of your sign? Is it to simply direct your audience, to promote a sale or grand opening? And who is your audience? What message will they be more attracted to?

To create the perfect message, you need to make sure it relates to your audience and delivers the intended purpose.

For example, if you are designing a restaurant sign, think about how you can tailor your message to your specific audience. What do they care about most and how can your sign’s message make your audience feel like they are getting the best value? Are they interested in happy hour, rewards programs, or pizza deals?

3. Keep the Environment in Mind

Consider the background when designing your sign.

The environment is important to consider when designing your sign. You want the environment to complement and elevate your sign.

Misplaced signs and misuse of signs can often lead to confusion or distort the message you are trying to send. For example, a “grand opening” sign is best placed near or at the entrance of your location or other place where there is high traffic.

You also don’t want your sign to be lost in its environment. For example, if you’re placing a wall sign on the exterior red brick of your building, you want to avoid using too many reds or other colors that will blend into the brick and compromise readability.

4. Keep the Design Simple

Keep in mind that a straightforward, simple yet stunning sign design is most effective.

Whether you are designing a poster, banner, window graphic, storefront sign or any other type of indoor or outdoor signage, you want to keep the design simple.

To keep your sign design simple, you’ll want to make sure your sign includes:

  • A short and compelling message that gets straight to point and generates interest
  • Enough negative space between design elements for better readability and so it stands out more
  • Limited amount of design elements—don't include 20 images on one sign, your sign will become overwhelming and turn people away

Less is more when it comes to many things, but especially with sign design. Keep your message concise. The average person will only spend a few seconds looking at your sign, so you need your sign to grab their attention right away.

5. Choose The Perfect Font

Poster sign design. 

When designing your custom sign, fonts play a significant role. If your company already has branding in place or a set typeface in your brand guidelines, you will want to continue to use those fonts within your sign design for consistent branding.

However, if your logo uses a decorative font, and you have not chosen a secondary font, you’ll want to invest some time in finding a complimenting, easy-to-read font, like a sans serif font, to use for other messaging like within your sign design.

Another thing to consider about your font is the size. Consider how close your audience will be when they first notice the sign. You’ll want to make sure the size of your font is large enough to be visible from this point.

6. Color & Contrast are Key

Choosing the right colors and making sure your sign design has contrast are essential for effective signage.

You should use your brand’s colors to maintain brand consistency or colors that compliment and represent your brand and message depending on the type of sign you are designing. For example, a logo sign needs to be consistent with your brand colors while a sign promoting a sale can venture into other colors but should still represent your brand while enhancing your message.

Also, make sure to use contrasting colors throughout your sign to help make your custom sign stand out and to increase readability. Keep light-colored fonts on dark backgrounds and dark-colored fonts on light backgrounds.

7. Don’t Forget Consistency

Keep your restaurant sign designs consistent.

Brand consistency is extremely important, and your sign designs should be consistent as well to optimize your results and help build better brand awareness.

For example, if you have a banner, poster, and table tent that are promoting the same message, like a big sale, you want the design to be the same as well on each type of sign. The more people see something the more they will remember it increasing the chances they will act in your favor.

8. Use Imagery

Depending on the type of sign you are designing and its purpose, imagery may not be necessary.

However, in most cases, imagery or graphics that relate and enhance your message should be included.

Choose images of high quality that attract your audience. For example, if you are in the real estate industry, and are promoting a house for sale, include an image of the house. Or if you are designing a menu board for your restaurant include a few images of your most popular dishes.

Make sure to also take into consideration the placement of your images. You want to make sure where your images are placed within your sign design does not interfere with the text, making it hard to read. Place everything in a way where your design elements flow together so your audience can view your sign with ease.

9. Choose the Right Material

Different sign materials for effective signage.

There are many different materials to choose from and depending on the purpose of your sign you will need to choose the right material, so your sign is built to meet your goals.

Indoor signs can use any material an outdoor sign would however outdoor signs need to use a material that is made to last through any weather condition like aluminum, vinyl, PVC, or Acrylic.

You also need to consider what the life span of your sign will be. Is your sign's purpose just for a special event or is it going to be used for years to come? For example, PVC or aluminum will last longer than foam board or coroplast.

10. Find the Right Printer to Print Your Signs

Once you’ve figured out the right environment, material, message, and design for your sign, you’re ready to bring your effective signage to life. Which means it’s time to find the right printer.

At Conquest Graphics, we specialize in wide-format and custom signage and our experts are here to help you create the perfect sign that meets your goals and budget. Just click the button below to get started and to explore our most popular signage!

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