…”art and technique of arranging type.” It includes choosing the right typeface, or font, and how to make it work within your respective medium, which in our case includes all types of signage. While we may not have to make the same decisions as true typographers, we do consider type size and scale in when designing a sign. Here are some of the basic considerations that we, as well as many professional graphic designers, follow:
Choosing the right font is important when designing a sign. Some companies have a font already in place, while others just use anything close to Arial. Each font has its own unique characteristics and so you want to make sure that the font matches your overall business brand.
Each typeface/font has a different size, from being fat and wide, to thin and narrow. For most custom-made signage, we use a sanserif bold font, meaning a modern-looking font that doesn’t have “feet” (Time New Roman has “feet” vs. Ariel, a sanserif font, that does not have “feet”). We also strive to use as much of the space allotted as possible, making the text legible from far away.
Some signs require much text, and so the most important text is done in a much larger scale, while sub-text or sub-headings are slightly smaller. The larger text is then usually place towards the top. Many of the larger signs we create must be legible from a distance, so large text is definitely necessary.
Besides scale, color can help to define hierarchy, by showing the most important text in a color that really stands out, such as red. For most signage, we try to use the corporate colors of that company or business, to aid in corporate branding. There are also certain colors that just make text very had to read, such as yellow. We’ve learned that orange is Black text against a white background tends to be very legible from a distance.
Sometimes less is more, especially when you are limited on space. So the amount of text is important in planning out the overall sign layout. Even with large signs, you do not always want to fill the whole space. While you want to fill the space, you also don’t want to overcrowd the sign area. It’s important to show your key business information, such as phone number and hours of operation, but any additional information can be saved for a different sign.