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Sign Tips 6 Tips for Designing Signs

By: Josh Rittenhouse

Signs can be tough to design! There’s a lot to consider. Will it be large enough? Will the text be legible? Is it going to look good?

I got together with Maggie, our designer on staff with a plethora of knowledge and experience with signs. Together, we came up with this list of tips to consider when designing signs.

1. Contrast – Contrast is vital when it comes to signs, indoor and out. The more contrast between the type and the background, the easier the sign will be to read. This becomes even more important if the sign will reside in a low-light setting.

2. Type – It’s a good idea to keep type simple and consistent. Besides any logo going on the sign, it’s generally a good idea to stick to one font and size it appropriately. A good rule is 10 inches in type height for 100 feet of visibility.

3. Message – Keep the message short and concise. A good rule here is 15 words or less. A good format for those words are either 3 lines of 5 words or less per line, or 5 lines of 3 words or less per line.

4. Resolution – The greater the viewing distance, the more you can get away with lower resolution images. Large outdoor signs that sit high up in the air can be low-res (150DPI, or less). Typically, indoors signs are viewed a little closer up and probably closer to eye level. In this case, it is best to have high-res images (150dpi and higher depending on how much the image is being scaled up). If you’re unsure if an image you have will work, feel free to send it to us and ask!

5. White Space – According to the United States Sign Council, a good ratio of text to blank space is 40% text and 60% blank space.

6. Contour Cut – If your sign is being cut to a specific shape, vector files work best. In order for the machine to know what shape to make the sign, it needs a path to follow. Vector files provide this path. Not sure how to create a vector file? We can help, just let us know what you’re looking for.

We hope these tips are helpful for you! If you have any question with your design, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask us!

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