Outdoor sign design is simple, or at least it should look simple. There is certainly a need for creativity, but to be effective it still needs to adhere to basic design principles.
Most importantly, outdoor sign design needs to be easy-to-read with high contrast lettering. It needs to be visible and instantly readable from fairly long distances. After all, the purpose of the sign is to provide clear direction or information. Here are a few things to consider in sign design:
Know the Environment
Knowing the environment where your sign will live will help it stand out and get noticed. Will it be positioned low where it will compete with a complex background such as a group of buildings, a parking lot, or even crowds or moving traffic? Will it be positioned high where it will use the light-colored sky as its background? Or will it have a backdrop of dark green trees and foliage?
Consider all these environmental factors so your sign will stand out against them. This makes color a critical factor in visibility. Make sure it will stand out from its background environment.
Keep It Simple
While it may be tempting to place numerous graphics and detailed text into the layout, avoid such complex design. Although it may look fantastic on the computer monitor, save it for the brochure. Too much information will only serve as clutter and reduce the impact of the message. Keep the message simple with big, bold type that contrasts the background.
Remember that the sign may be viewed from 20, 30, even 50 feet away. A billboard may be viewed from a half mile away! In the case of mobile graphics or wraps, consider that the vehicle may be moving when someone attempts to read it.
Be sure to use branded graphics, colors, and logos, especially in directional campus signage. A consistent approach breeds familiarity and keeps the viewer searching for those recognizable branded signs.
Looking for help with your outdoor sign design? Contact Leinicke Group for direction.