Version A assumes that the client wanted to keep all the copy from their old sign on the new one.
Version B is what I would recommend. The other copy from their old sign could be placed on the storefront windows, giving us more room for their primary message—which needs to be read in 3 seconds or less.

Design Clinic: Revamping the pet salon sign

One version with the client’s excess copy and one version without

By Bob Behounek

Posted on Thursday, June 20th, 2019

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Getting a call to step in and “spruce up a fading sign” can be a daunting task to say the least. How many times have you encountered signage similar to this example? It seems there are more signs like this these days than in the past. I can’t say how many times I’ve passed by this sign over the past two years. I have to say I never really noticed this sign or what it said.

For one, it is on a busy street—just one sidewalk width from the curb. The traffic flow is 35 to 40 mph, but most go way faster than that. You already see the problem, don’t you? In this location, this sign is set to fail right from the get-go. It’s loaded with lots and lots of information, all in one color, stretching from border to border, and the lettering is all about the same weight.

The rule of thumb for how many words we can read as we pass by a sign is usually 3 to 5 words in a three-second time span. If I’m counting right, there are some 20 words scattered over this advertisement. At best, I might—and I do mean might—be able to read just one thing while passing by at 40 mph. Reading all or most of this large amount of information would be impossible.

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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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