The average consumer is exposed to 3,000 ads and promotional massages every single day and business will do whatever they can to get a customer’s attention. Everywhere you look, there are signs flashing, flickering and proclaiming, “Buy This,” “Try That” or “Come Check This Out!”
As the Five Man Electrical Band famously sang, “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign, blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind.” They may be everywhere, but there’s no denying signs are effective in getting peoples attention.
Whether you’re trying to promote a big company, a small business or something in between, there are countless benefits to effective signage. With that in mind, here are some things to consider if you’re trying to design your own sign.
- Simplicity is king: In a survey, more than 80 percent agreed that signs can ‘convey the personality or character of the business.’ Keeping that in mind, when it comes time to design your own sign, remember to keep it simple.
Whatever your message is, you want to display it clearly and with as few words as possible. Why? Most of the time the viewers of your message have a very limited amount of time to see and decipher your message. Sometimes it’s only a few seconds if someone is driving in a car or walking by and sees a sign. You want to keep it simple with a three to five-word message that people can easily digest and then use to make a decision about your business.
- Be conservative with space: Whether you’re going to design your own sign on window decals, yard signs, promotional items, custom posters or something else, you want to avoid falling victim to TMI.
What’s TMI? Too much information. That means you don’t want your custom sign to be overloaded with words and graphics that overwhelm your intended audience. You want to leave about 30 to 40 percent around whatever images and text you use. If you need to convey more information, consider another medium such as a press release, but when it comes to signage, less is more.
- Make it readable: When you design your own sign, you want to keep the message simple, but you also want to make sure people can read it. There are all kinds of type faces available that you can use, but if you use something wacky like comic sans or fancy like script, people may not be able to read it.
Again, the name of the game is keeping it simple. Pick a type face that people can easily see and absorb. You want clear type faces and you can use bold or capital letters if you want to emphasize something. Remember, people will see and absorb your sign’s message in a matter of a few seconds.
- Make your color your friend: There are plenty of things you can do with color if you’re going to design your own sign. But as with all of the other points listed above, you want to make sure you use the right combination of text and color.
If you want your sign to stand out, make color work for you. If you use a dark color text like black or red, use a light background of white or yellow. Using the right combination of text and color can also give you a nice contrast if you’re putting your sign outside.
- Be careful with pictures: You’ve likely seen dozens of TV ads where there’s some kind of image. Sometimes companies know how to make images work and sometimes they fall flat.
When you design your own sign, make sure that any images you use are large enough to be seen, but also have some kind of connection to your business like a logo. When people see the golden arches, they immediately know it’s McDonalds. When they see the smiling visage of Colonel Sanders, they know it’s KFC. You want people to make that same sort of connection with your business.
If you want to design your own sign, the sky is the limit. But with all of the elements, you want to keep it simple. A short phrase in the right type face with the right color combination and logo will get a customer’s attention and make your business stand out.