Yard Sign Design Elements
Ugly, unreadable or confusing signs will not help your businesses, political venue or event advertise a great message. They will hurt it.
Customers shouldn’t have to decipher your sign; its purpose and message should be immediately apparent. When it’s time to make a sign for your business pay close attention to the elements of sign design. These include the size, color, font, content/images, and materials used.
- Sign Size:
The sign on the left is too small to be read clearly from a distance. There’s not necessarily a “right” or “wrong” yard sign size, but consider what’s the most appropriate for your intended use. You can get whatever size you want, but make sure the text and the sign itself are large enough to be seen, but not so large that the sign overwhelms the space or doesn’t fit.
With any sign design, effective use of color contrast is key. The sign on the left, while patriotic, just does not have enough contrast to stand out. Make sure your key information (such as a political candidate’s name) clearly “pops” away from the background. Extensive research has been conducted to find which color combinations are most easily read. The best combinations are text of either black, dark blue or red and a background of yellow or white. White text is the most difficult for the eye to process.
Approximately 8 percent of men in the United States are colorblind. Dark blue text on a yellow background is the combination most easily discernible for people who are color blind.
An Effective sign imparts its message quickly and clearly. Keep in mind that your lawn sign needs to catch the viewer’s attention very quickly, so although you may have a lot to say, less is generally more. Three to five words is considered ideal in this scenario.
Be careful when using images on your sign – the image should make an immediate connection to your business in the customer’s mind. Your logo is often the best image to use on your sign. It makes the connection in the reader’s mind between your business and your message and builds brand consciousness at the same time. Images can be used to replace information but can be too much when paired with a lot of text.
Studies show that 30% to 40% of your sign should be white space. The space doesn’t actually need to be white – this applies to backgrounds of all colors and refers to space void of text or images. White space allows the eye to be drawn to the text – which, after all, is the message you want to convey. Too many images or too much text can confuse the reader.
If your customer can’t make out the words on the sign it’s useless.
When choosing a font, you may be drawn toward beautiful, intricate scripts. These indeed look elegant, but compare the two signs above; at a glance, which one is easier to read? Yard signs are used to build recognition, so your sign should be instantly-legible.
The typeface on your sign must be legible, especially for drivers who want to read it while driving by. Avoid cursive or novelty fonts. A sans serif font (see examples below) is the easiest to read on typeface larger than 14 pts. Examples include Helvetica and Arial. While you can certainly emphasize one word by using a different font, don’t mix several fonts on one sign.
A sign is not something that should be hastily designed and thrown up in your store. Before you begin the design, spend some time thinking about the message you want to convey. Do you want to tell the customer about a special sale? Increase brand awareness? Give customers detailed information about your product selection? You won’t be able to convey all of these messages on one sign. Instead, let several signs each take on one task. You’ll be able to choose the appropriate elements to let each sign do its work most effectively and you’ll get the most return from each sign.