Design a sign like a pro: Expert tips to help your message stand out

By Chris Morell on Sep 20, 2023 5:36:47 PM

6 min read
How to Design a Sign Like a Pro: Expert Signage Design Tips

When it comes to promotions and events, signage is more important than you might think. And if you want to attract new customers, you're going to need to get your signage right. So how do you avoid the common pitfalls to design a sign that works as effectively as you need it to?

Read on to find out! This article looks at how you can design eye-catching signs that present your brand at its best. With these tips, you’ll soon be ready to turn simple concepts into fully realised displays.

Signage design | How to get started in 3 easy steps

You might be tempted to give a design company your logo and strapline, and just tell them to work their magic. Think before you do this! You must first decide on what you want to achieve and who you want to target.

1. Check your design elements

To design a sign that’s attractive, you need high-resolution files, like logos, patterns and imagery. If they’re outdated or blurry, then you may need to create new signage design assets. These should be clear, attention-grabbing, and in line with your company’s values and target audience.

2. Plan for the location or venue

If you’re attending a trade show, then you might need banners, a counter and exhibition stand. If your event’s outdoors, then you’ll need durable products that stand up to wind, rain and direct sunlight. High-quality printed banners, custom flags, counters and other display items come in various shapes and sizes, so you’ll need to adapt your design.

3. Choose a strong design tool

You can design a sign in two ways. Either give the exact signage measurements to a graphic designer or find a good online tool. The Raccoon branding store lets you upload your artwork or create something new, with hundreds of ready-made assets available. It even adapts your canvas size to fit the exact product measurements – perfect for playing around with concepts.

Design a Sign  Using an Online Design  Tool-1

How to design a sign like the creative experts

This advice will ensure your design is clear and effective.

Get choosy with fonts and colours

Eye-catching signs use the right fonts to target the right audience. Serif fonts feature small decorative lines that make them great for formal printing, but they’re not ideal for young audiences.

On the other hand, you might want to avoid an unclear script font like Papyrus or the much-maligned Comic Sans. If you’re giving detailed information, try a readable ‘sans-serif’ like Proxima Nova, Myriad Pro (the LinkedIn font) or Product Sans (the Google logo).

Many companies choose two branded colours that contrast well, much like Coca-Cola’s classic red and white. But you’ll also want to think about readability; Coca-Cola tends to place white text on a black background to make its messaging clearer. That’s something to consider if you’re planning to hang informative printed posters or rigid media boards.

The Role of Colours and Contrast Typography: From Fonts to Readability

Design for simplicity and clarity

Nothing will kill your message faster than visual clutter. The more complex the design, the more confusing it’s likely to be. To keep things simple, try adding just the essentials like your logo, a strapline and hashtag or QR code. The most eye-catching signs give design elements room to breathe, even when they’re truly massive.

When you design a sign, you need to step back and ask if your messaging is clear to people who know nothing about the brand. Convey your message with simple words, like ‘use’ instead of ‘utilise’, as fancy language is a proven turn-off, even for the most well-educated.

This advice will help your signage design reach more people, whether it’s through a 3-metre-long tension banner or a 2-and-a-half-foot sign wedge.

Signage Design - Make it Simple

Start with one great image

You don’t want to go overboard with imagery. In fact, the most eye-catching signs tend to feature one photo or icon to go with the text. That’s especially true when using a printed pattern with multiple colours. However, it’s often one shot that makes the design most memorable, and it’s sometimes of a person’s face. We’re all hardwired to respond to faces, and if you show happy, smiling people, you’re selling an aspirational goal rather than just a product or service.

The image will be the focal point of your signage design, so let it do half the work. Don’t cram it in a corner where it’ll be hard to make out from a distance.

If you’d like to go big with your imagery, consider using window films. There are lots of great options to choose from, including one-way vision and easy-to-apply static clings.

Signage Design - Use a Good Image Design a Sign - Window Display

More tips for eye-catching signs

  • Test your design with colleagues and customers
  • Order the text by hierarchy to prioritise information
  • Ensure your messaging can be read from far away
  • Use vectors for design assets whenever possible
  • Keep raster images to at least 100 dots per inch (dpi)
  • If unsure, you can always mock up several versions

Design a sign with our online customiser!

Now you know what to do, you can design signage that puts your brand’s best foot forward. Your next step is to visit the Raccoon branding store, where we have everything from sustainable vehicle graphics to roller banners, gazebos and exhibition stands.

Pick your product, choose the size and finishing options, then get started with our online customiser. You can either upload an existing design or create something new!

With many great assets and templates to choose from, you’ll soon be designing like a pro.

Visit the Raccoon Branding Store

Chris Morell

Written by Chris Morell

Content Writer for Raccoon, Chris has been writing online content since 2010. Always excited for the next blog, he loves turning complex topics into helpful and digestible articles.