Almost Home Pet Resort: Before This client wanted me just to repaint the existing metal panel, but decided that they needed a better image...and I agreed. I
Almost Home Pet Resort: After I routed Corafoam HDU on my ShopBot and finished it with Porter exterior acrylic paints. Installation was done using studs out the back of the panel that went into holes in the wood fascia. Silicone sealer assured a tight waterproof seal. Whenever possible, my installations have no hardware showing on the face of the sign.
Northside Church of Christ: Before The church building is set off to the side of busy I-35 in Central Texas and not very visible. The sign’s colors are bland with little contrast.
Northside Church of Christ: After The new design incorporates a dark background for better contrast and a metal cabinet added to the top for a little class. The letters are 20-lb. Precision Board HDU board, and the concrete block background was finished with exterior acrylic paint.
Bell County Flooring: Before Even though this 4-by-6-ft. sign is viewed from a short distance, the abundance of copy and random layout makes it hard to read, and thus is not as effective as it could be.
Bell County Flooring: After By dividing the copy up into blocks, increasing the contrast and allowing the lettering to “breathe,” the impact is much greater.
Welcome to Cameron: Before Obviously, this sign had seen better days. It had not been maintained and, like so many clients, they installed the sign and then planted bushes in front. Fortunately, a drunk driver took it out and a replacement was necessary.
Welcome to Cameron: After The original was sandblasted redwood, but my panel was Corafoam HDU board. While basically using the same design and colors, there are subtle changes to negative space, placement, kerning and a cleaned-up logo. The woodgrain background was done on my ShopBot CNC router and Aspire software, using a texture effect file from Dan Sawatzky’s Texture Magic: Woodgrain CD.
Temple Square: Before The sign original was a 4-by-10-ft. overlaid plywood panel between two 6x6 posts. The customer was a new owner of the old complex and just wanted to repaint the original sign.
Temple Square: After With a little prodding (and a sketch) they agreed to the new layout. The new design hinged on the word Square and the use of panels. Overlaid plywood panels were added to the existing posts, and the smaller boxes were made in the shop and attached. The space between the panels was filled with overlaid plywood. The lettering was done with Gerber 3M High Performance vinyl, and the panel was finished with 1 Shot Lettering Enamel.
Wall Street Apartments: Before A 4-by-8 seems to be the default size for most sign projects. Stick on some vinyl and cash the check
Wall Street Apartments: After But with a little time and effort we can actually produce a sign that enhances the client’s image. The “after” sign is still a 4-by-8, but the copy determined the shape of the sign. I also used colors that are not normally seen, at least in my area. This is a flat panel painted with exterior acrylic paint and Gerber 3M High Performance vinyl film for the graphics.
Texas House: Before Two words identify the cabin at this retreat and conference center. What more would you want? It’s spelled correctly, and the client got what he wanted.
Texas House: After A little thought can advance our designs to a higher level where we are doing more than “selling letters by the pound.” Yes, it takes more time and effort,and the price has to be higher. For sixty years my statement to the client that questioned the price was, “This sign is going to make you more money that it made me.” This sign was done with¾-in. overlaid plywood, exterior acrylic paints and high performance vinyl.
Summers Mill: Before The manager had the above cut-vinyl-on-aluminum sign made, but It still lacked character and did not convey the quality atmosphere of the campus. The owner came to me when he wanted a new, small directional sign for the office, so I suggested a design that would update the old plain arrow sign—and also proposed an entrance sign that was more inviting to the public.
Summers Mill: After He agreed. The new panels were made of ¾-in. overlaid plywood. The main sign is in two pieces, and the Retreat and Conference Center panel is a separate sign that covers the seam. The illustration is a digital print on vinyl. All installation hardware is from the back. As a result of this sign, we replaced almost every sign on the site with the new design and new materials.

Before and After

What a difference the principles of effective sign layout can make

By Raymond Chapman

Posted on Monday, June 29th, 2020

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
One of the most popular sections of the very early issues of SignCraft was the “Before and After” articles of George Seelander. It was inspirational to see a mediocre layout turned into a masterpiece with just a few simple changes. None were museum quality but rather were great examples of how the everyday, ordinary project could be made most effective by making the layout and colors both readable and effective.

To many of us, those “after” photos became the tutorials that we studied over and over, trying to discover the secret to a successful sign. This was during an era before computers, the Internet or the willingness to share knowledge from one sign person to another. Thankfully, SignCraft came along and opened the world of creative sign design to us all.

These are some of my before-and-after examples. They are not intended to belittle the original designers, because we all have those things in our past that we would rather forget. At any point in our careers we are doing the best we can do with the information we have at the moment.

Read this article and many more like it with a membership to SignCraft.

Already a Member? Click here to log in.
- or -
Join today for full access to all of our exclusive content!
- or -
New users get 7 days FREE — Register Now!

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x