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Fades The gradient blend on these beefy Roman letters adds interest, especially with the inline and drop shade. While you’re at it, cutting away the sign’s background and adding a funky pizza graphic helps, too!

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Outlines Make that one or more outlines, and make that thin or wide, dark or light. On a medium-tone background a dark outline can make the lettering pop; this white outline does the same on darker backgrounds. There are plenty of opportunities to use multiple outlines, too.

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Outlines Make that one or more outlines, and make that thin or wide, dark or light. On a medium-tone background a dark outline can make the lettering pop; this white outline does the same on darker backgrounds. There are plenty of opportunities to use multiple outlines, too.

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Advanced convex You can wring a little more out of the convex effect by adding a third darker shade on the letter’s facets and maybe a glowline on the “peaks” of the vertical strokes.

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Advanced convex You can wring a little more out of the convex effect by adding a third darker shade on the letter’s facets and maybe a glowline on the “peaks” of the vertical strokes.

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Advanced convex You can wring a little more out of the convex effect by adding a third darker shade on the letter’s facets and maybe a glowline on the “peaks” of the vertical strokes.

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Advanced convex You can wring a little more out of the convex effect by adding a third darker shade on the letter’s facets and maybe a glowline on the “peaks” of the vertical strokes.

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Advanced convex You can wring a little more out of the convex effect by adding a third darker shade on the letter’s facets and maybe a glowline on the “peaks” of the vertical strokes.

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A design on the lettering A subtle graphic or texture on the lettering itself makes you want to take a closer look. The Maya Beach Club lettering uses the embossed effect on the graphics inside the lettering. Like all the work here, it was all done with a brush.

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A design on the lettering A subtle graphic or texture on the lettering itself makes you want to take a closer look. The Maya Beach Club lettering uses the embossed effect on the graphics inside the lettering. Like all the work here, it was all done with a brush.

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Good ol' convex No budget for carving? A simple two-color convex effect can add a taste of dimension.

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Embossed outline It’s a bit hard to name this effect, which is a combination of an outline and a convex effect, but it sure looks great.

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Embossed outline It’s a bit hard to name this effect, which is a combination of an outline and a convex effect, but it sure looks great.

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A design inside A subtle graphic or texture inside a beefy letter makes you want to take a closer look.

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Outlines Make that one or more outlines, and make that thin or wide, dark or light. On a medium-tone background a dark outline can make the lettering pop; this white outline does the same on darker backgrounds. There are plenty of opportunities to use multiple outlines, too.

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Transparency How about letting a graphic on the background appear to show through the lettering?

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Transparency How about letting a graphic on the background appear to show through the lettering?

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Transparency How about letting a graphic on the background appear to show through the lettering?

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Transparency How about letting a graphic on the background appear to show through the lettering?

Special effects can add a lot to the lettering

By SignCraft Magazine

Posted on Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

Sign makers have long been using special effects to make letters on flat signs more intriguing. Years ago it was common to add a quick shadow with a brush on the main copy, a few shades darker than the background. Gold leaf lettering got an outline and a drop shade. Today, digital printing has made gradient blends easy and other effects not only possible but practical.

In his studio on the island of Koh Tao, Thailand, Rob Cooper adds all sorts of effects to all sorts of letters—mostly with a brush. On the town’s busy streets, most of the viewers are on foot, which gives a little extra time to lure their eyes to a sign with the look of dimension or texture or depth that really isn’t there on a flat sign.

Take a look at these examples of Rob’s work, and see if they inspire you to watch for new opportunities to catch the viewer’s eye and draw them in for a closer look.


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