8 Ways To Avoid Signage Design Disasters

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Signage is a real minefield if you consider materials, lighting, installation, dimensions, and design. A graphic designer wants to do perfect work, and satisfy the client. There are numerous errors that happen in signage, and they can be avoided if the necessary precautions are taken. Everyone makes mistakes, but it is important to learn from them...and  it is even more interesting to learn from the mistakes of others. In any graphic design company, there are those errors everyone wishes they can forget. Some of them can cost a lot - but making mistakes in graphic design and signage is not shameful since it helps the designer to learn, and avoid such mishaps in future.

Signage is an essential part of marketing in business, and it is important to do it well. There are numerous signage mistakes that even professionals make now and then. Since your signage is the first point of contact with a potential customer, done wrongly it can cause a business disaster.

Read on to find common errors you should avoid. They could be costly in the long run, so learn from this to enhance your work.

1. Pay Close Attention To The Scale

One thing a graphic designer and signage professional should learn is that scale in relation to the surroundings changes everything. This is why the staff at Design Ranch make sample signage and tape them up in their respective locations to make sure they have the right size. It is disheartening to get to installation day, only to find the signage is too large to fit into the space.

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Alan Leusink, a creative director at Duffy, remembers that scale was a major challenge during the installation of signage at the Mall of America entrance. They were into the final steps of installing the sign designed to cover the four story entrance, when building regulations, materials, the rapidly approaching launch date, and finishes all came into play. Since the signage was to be applied in several sections, there was a mismatch between the intersections and the paint gradients. The designers made numerous attempts to fix it before the final installation. The process taught the designers it is critical to choose the right materials when working with signage. If the designers used a smoother or a lighter material, they would have done away with the multiple problems they faced. Since it was a new project, they should not have focused on materials that were in vogue years before.

When a designer is thinking about the scale of a project, they should remember that just because they can do something, does not mean they should. The staff at Sussner Design Company created a highly detailed border made from vinyl. They ran it around the full perimeter of the office space. Though the effect was amazing, the printer and the team spent long hours manually filling the tiny spaces in the design. It is critical to try and make the client happy regardless of how long it takes.

2. Test The Materials Once And Again

According to Test Monki, testing materials is not just good, it is critical. If a team is working on its first chalkboard sign, the leading graphic designer should spend long hours doing research on chalk, birch, sealants, rope, chalkboards, and rods among other important items. Once all items have been gathered, the designer should sit and think about the logo design while drawing some samples on paper. Once the logo is perfected, sealing the chalk on the board should follow suit.

If the designer forgets to test the materials, a simple spray on the sealant will erase the logo, leaving a weird screen behind. It will be necessary to wipe the entire board and start afresh. Instead of going back and forth, testing the materials should be the first step before thinking about the logo design. Your client will not remind you to test the materials, but they need the finished product. It is your role as the designer to test everything, and make sure your work is up to scratch.

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3. Work In Close Collaboration With The Signage Company

When a graphic designer thinks that they can go it alone in signage, they have got it wrong. Professional designers prefer to work closely with the signage company, since they will recommend easier ways of doing their work. If you, the designer, want to be successful and avoid too many errors, partnering with a renowned signage company is vital in your work. Design Ranch advises you to keep checking in as you work to make sure you are not diverging from the goal. And when it comes to installation, involve a signage company. You will be guided on the best position to place your work, since you do not want to conceal your efforts.

4. Communicate Every Detail

Gaby Nguyen, a design director at Test Monki, says he had to think fast to correct some grave mistakes he had made on acrylic menu boards belonging to Huti’s Free-Fire Grill. When the design was sent to the client, the designer indicated he had worked on half the size of the required board. The client did not tell the printer the menu boards are small. This happened the evening before the hotel was to be opened. When the designer reached the hotel, he found the client had already cut the boards to half the size so they could fit on the tables. Since there was no time to rethink a new acrylic, the client ended up printing the menus on foam boards. It is imperative to communicate every small detail, since this will save the designer and the client long hours of trying to rectify an error.

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5. Don’t Fit Too Much Information On A Single Sign

Graphic designers are used to minimizing on the available space. Remember that you want to make the best impression on your existing and potential clients. Do not try to push too much detail into a small space, as it will be impossible to read from afar. Cluttered or crowded signage poses difficulty to people who want to get the important information fast. It is advisable to choose a design that uses the white space that surrounds your logo. Such a design allows maximum readability and impact.

6. Place Your Signage Strategically

The position you keep your sign is as critical as to how it looks. Since you want it to be seen by as many people as possible, you should put it in significant places. Do not hide it under tall buildings, or far from the premises you are advertising.

7. Avoid Misspelled Words

This is an obvious error that is repeated more often than it should be. Once you are finished with your design sketch, it is important to have a third party proofread your work. Other than misspelled words, you should also avoid wrong usage of punctuation marks. Grammatical errors and misspellings portray you as a careless and unprofessional designer.

8. Don’t Use Too Many Colors

Some graphic designers think the more the colors they use, the better the signage, but too many colors is an eyesore to many people. As a rule of thumb, avoid using more than three. Let the colors contrast, not clash violently.

As a graphic designer, you could know more ways of avoiding errors in signage. Share your views in the comment section below.

Dipaparkan 27 November, 2017


Designer // Writer // Creative

Tom is a Design Correspondent for Freelancer.com. He is currently based in Melbourne and spends most of his non-work moments trying to find the best coffee.

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