Design Clinic: Storefront sign

Using color to control the copy

By Bob Behounek

Posted on Monday, October 19th, 2015

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As I travel around town, my hope of finding signage that creates interest and intrigue is dwindling. The overall lack of design leaves me somewhat empty. I know circumstances vary and are ultimately partly responsible for what we see these days. But it leaves me wondering: Does much of the sign community not understand the importance of effective design, or are their hands tied behind their back on most sign projects?

Our subject sign this month falls into that same category. On the positive side, we see plenty of open space on this beauty supply sign—almost too much. The design has limited contrast in type weight, color or size. Maybe the sign criteria for the strip mall required that all signs use red graphics on white. Or maybe this job just went to the bottom-line low bid.

Strictly identification White fascia with a white sign background creates a very albino feel with no borders created by color or shape. All the type is upper- and lowercase. Looking at the sign quickly as we pass by, nothing really jumps to the forefront. It all sort of floats in midair, not wanting to catch our attention in any way.

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Bob Behounek has spent over 40 years as a sign artist and pinstriper in the Chicago, Illinois, area.

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