Most signs are advertising. Some are for identification or to direct viewers, but the job of most signs is to help sell something. The best tool for this is to let some part of the message—preferably the most important part—call out strongly to the viewer. It has to be dramatically emphasized. Many signs suffer from too much equality in the message. The company name, the service, the secondary information is all too close in value for anything to jump out. In the end, they deliver the information but no punch.
Jeff Devey, Jeff’s Graphics, Twin Falls, ID
Andy Bordi, Bordi Designs, Merchantville, NJ
Many signs suffer from too much equality in the message. The company name, the service, the secondary information is all too close in value for anything to jump out. In the end, they deliver the information but no punch. Contrasts in size, color and weight are the most common tools to push the message at the viewer. Contrast itself attracts the eye. We just naturally like to look at variety, like the front line of a car dealership. Sameness, like a parking lot filled with school buses, just isn’t that visually appealing.
Ray Sauder, Raynbow Signs, Teviotdale, ON, Canada
Brian Gavek, Gavek Graphics, Centre Hall, PA, Peter Poanessa, Keene Signworx, Keene, NH
Flip through a few issues of SignCraft and pay close attention to signs that catch your eye and deliver a legible message. Most likely, you’ll quickly notice the extreme use of contrast. The primary copy may be six times taller than the next tallest copy. You’ll see very dark on very light or vice versa. You’ll find very bold text with very light text. You’ll also notice that the primary copy shouts. Even if the sign is elegant, it probably has visual power that comes from effective use of contrast. This is far more important in signs than it is in other advertising, yet you’ll see that in effective product packaging and print advertising something almost always shouts.
James Dobson, Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia
Rich Dombey, Rich Designs Inc., Hillsborough, NJ
Kurt Dietrich, Speed Media, Grand Rapids, MI