It’s a sign, not wallpaper
The use of posters to inform staff, direct customers or advertise products has been around for a long time. With updates to technology and a myriad of apps like Canva available, anyone can create posters in a couple of clicks… or can they?
Psychology plays an important part
When social distancing measures were first implemented cross the UK, signage was very reactive. Bold colours and lots of negative visual aids to “stop” behaviours and habits. Knee jerky reactions create fear and this comes across in the design of the sign. The public or your staff and customers were like rabbits in headlights as our work or leisure environment turned into a complex mix of confusing information, done in a slap dash way. In defence of many social distancing signs, it was unexpected, never seen before and understandable as to why many got it wrong.
How to get it right
Here are a few basics to consider when creating your signage:
What are you trying to say? Is it as simple as no entry, or is it a list of safety instructions? Generally, your sign will be read top to bottom, left to right. Aesthetics are actually really important to the reader so consider the balance of any images
Your text should be seen at distance, especially true if your sign is in a high footfall area or entrance way where people are unlikely to stop and simply read on the move. Make it clear. If your brands font doesn’t scale up, you’ll need an alternative
It’s easy to get lost in creative excitement on this one! Colours need to complement each other. Text needs to read on the background colour, how many times have you seen that mistake? Use colour wisely, fashion expert Gok Wan used to say, if you are going to colour clash, then go big, not so true on a sign!
The material you use for your sign is as important as the design. It can determine the overall look and feel, how well your colour and text come across and the longevity of your sign. Utilise materials to your advantage and go with what works, not what you fancy!
Ideally any sign will be in a location it can be easily seen. Often signs are used to signpost and are up high or in dominant hot spot locations. This isn’t true of every sign. Sometimes they have to be in awkward places but where possible, walk the path of your viewer before you fix it permanently