Avoiding Bad Signs

Giving bad signs is never a good thing! We’ve seen so many examples of bad signs, we’ve almost become numb to them. Many people make the same mistakes over and over, so we wanted to provide a concise list of tips to ensure you’re always being clearly understood by your clients!

Be Clear!

An incredibly common mistake for amateur sign makers is not being clear with their message. Whether it’s misspelling words or simply not conveying your message well, there’s a lot that can be lost in translation. Be sure someone who isn’t familiar with your company or cause can easily understand why or how to contact you. Keeping it simple is often the best way to go when advertising on a car or yard signs. Assume most of your clients won’t spend to long analyzing your sign, so make your point quickly.

Consider Your Colors

One of the fastest way to make a bad sign is to use a bad color scheme. While using contrasting colors is the best way to go, if you’re planning on being creative be cognizant of like colors. We’ve seen blue signs with purple text. Or black signs with blue text. These are incredibly difficult to read, especially when you’re trying to see them at a glance. More than artistic expression, signs need to be easily and quickly readable. If your customer has to spend a few seconds interpreting what they’re seeing, your sign will be ineffective. Try black on white or contrasting colors like yellow and green or blue and red. These will ensure your signs are easy to ready on the go.

Pick The Right Size

Sometimes bigger is better, sometimes not. It’s always best to consider the final use of the sign when determining a size. As a general rule, you’re probably safe going as big as you can, but in some cases you could choose to go small. Great times to make smaller signs are for store displays or general labelling. Car signs are great big and banners are basically the king of big! When you want to go huge, you’ll buy a banner.

Usually products are sold in fixed or ranged sizes. This means you’ll either be choosing from some pre-defined sizes or determining the size yourself. If you’re unsure of the best size it never hearts to take some measurements!

Use Clipart Sparingly

Clipart and other design elements like photos can be fun and add character to your signs. Sometimes it’s tempting to get a little carried away with clipart. It’s fun to add characters and images to signs and make them feel a little more interesting. However, having too many clipart will convolute your message and take away from what the primary focus should be – selling your product or service. We recommend keeping clipart and logos to 1/3 or less of your
total design area.

A good starting point would be to simply upload your logo. If your company is smaller and doesn’t have a logo, this is where clipart can come in handy. Say, for instance, you’re a flooring installer and you want a magnetic sign for your work truck. You don’t have a logo but you want people to remember you. Using a clipart of a roll of carpet or a construction worker in place of a logo would be perfect. It gives your sign a little pop and something for people to remember you by other than just your business name. One clipart is fine, but once you start adding multiple clipart pieces it starts to get a little more congested on your sign.

Include Relevant Information

Most of these tips seem obvious, but this one may be the most obvious of all. How will someone know how to get a hold of you without proper contact information? What if you don’t necessarily need someone to get a hold of you, you just need to mark a parking lot or display your logo? Usually contact information like a phone number, email address or website is a safe bet for a sign, but in some cases it’s not necessary. Occasionally you may just want to display your logo or company name.

Hopefully this set of tips helped steer you in the direction of creating awesome signs and avoiding some of the most common missteps when designing your own signs. We’ve seen it all, from people who didn’t know they were graphic designers to those who think they are but… well… aren’t. Keep those awesome designs coming and we’ll keep writing!