Creating effective signage requires careful planning and attention to detail. Sometimes, a minor change can have a considerable impact on the visibility of an outdoor sign. Here are a few tried and tested design tips that should help you improve the effectiveness and the impact of your signage materials.
To start with, keep in mind that less is usually more when it comes to street signs. Always keep your signs visible and perfectly legible, free from clutter, and focused on conveying the message it’s meant to. Choose a typeface that’s easy to read and use attention-grabbing colors to emphasize the main messages. Also, keep your messages short and to the point. Cramming lots of words in such a small space won’t do you any favor, as people won’t even notice your sign. This is how the human brain works; we are designed to select the things we choose to notice from everything that surrounds us. Short and striking messages will find their way to your audience’s conscious mind much easier than endless texts written in too small fonts.
Always think about the people who are going to read your signs. More often than not, the intended audience of street signage is drivers or walkers speeding up to get to their destination. In the morning, they hurry to get to their office to start their workday on the right foot. By lunchtime, they may be more focused on finding a beautiful place to eat than to read signs they come across. In the evening, they may be in a hurry to get home to their families. This means that they are usually too distracted to pay attention to street signs.
Besides, you’re fighting for the attention of these people with hundreds of other visual stimuli. Huge billboards are showcasing happy people using various products. There are road signs. There are yard signs, building signs, and public function signs. Colors, shapes, messages are all inviting you to take a look at those signs. If you want people to notice your signs and offer them a few seconds of their time, you have to make sure they are worth their attention.
Choose Colors Carefully
The combination of background and foreground colors can also influence your sign on people passing by. Make sure that you allow for plenty of ‘white space’ to enable your sign to breathe. Use contrast to your advantage by choosing colors that contrast with each other. If, for instance, you use a white background for your sign, pick black or another dark color for the most essential message. If you write it in pale yellow, chances are people won’t see it from a distance. As the main point of signage is to be visible from afar, it comes without saying that you should ensure its legibility by picking the right color combinations.
Avoid using too many colors. You need to create a focal point for the eyes of the viewer to rest on. This is hard to achieve if you put the entire rainbow on your sign. Always pick the most striking and the most visible color for the most crucial message or design element. Surround this element with lots of white space. This is how you can produce a contrasting effect to help people notice your sign and actually read it.
Use Graphics To Improve Reading Speed
According to research, adding a border can result in an increase in the reading speed by up to 25%. This means that more people will be able to read and understand your message since they would need less time to do it. Even those in a hurry may be able to acknowledge your sign.
As you may already know, shape creates contrast. If you want a specific message to pop put from the other elements on your sign, consider putting it inside an irregular shape that contrasts with the rest of the layout. Those spiky stars that signal massive discounts are a good example of this practice. You can rest assured they work very well, since almost all shops make use of them during sales periods.
Logos and artwork are also significant, so choose them carefully. While you can add digital photos to your signs, you should weigh the pros and cons of doing it, as it may cause some viewers to miss the message because they focus on the image instead.
These are only a few tips to help you make your signs more effective. Feel free to use this advice to create billboards or street signs that everybody notices and remembers. Testing these signs before you actually send them to the production company might also help.