You have finally decided what your new custom sign should say and look like. Your original custom sign will have a graphic designed with bold, eye grabbing colors and a short but catchy slogan that people will remember. You have even decided on a custom sign material and size appropriate for your building. All done and ready to order?
Don't forget that good custom signage, like good business, can be found in the details.
And one of the most important details in a custom sign is the font, or typeface, used in its lettering.
As significant as the design of custom signs are in attracting attention, the type of print used for lettering is just as important. However, many people neglect this detail in creating their custom signs or assume incorrectly what type of font works best. With literally hundreds of typefaces to choose from, how do you decide which is best for relaying your message on your custom sign?
The first step is defining the style of your custom sign.
Typefaces can be organized into a few simple categories: professional, conservative, classic, retro, whimsical, and kid-like. You may shy away from anything 'kid-like' or 'whimsical' for your real estate business, but you may not want 'conservative' for your children's clothing store, either. Decide what the feel of your product or service is, and then go to one of the font categories that fits your custom sign's message.
Examples of each are as follows:
Professional: Paltino, Goudy Modern, Book Antiqua, Copperplate
Conservative: Myriad Pro, Avant Garde, Helvetica Oblique, Ramn Serif
Classic: Goudy Handtooled, Times New Roman, Futura, Arial
Retro: Eurostile, Brewer's Bold, Bauhaus, Verve
Whimsical: Aristocrat, Spumoni, New Berolina, Biffo
Kidsy: Khaki, Parade, Ravie, Kids
Many people assume that all capital letters in bold print will attract attention to their custom signs better than anything else. There are times when using all capital letters does catch the eye. But be careful - too much bold or capitalization can also be taxing on the eye and cause brain fatigue, even in the few seconds it takes to read a custom sign. By that point, interest in the custom sign's message is gone, and the purpose of your custom sign has been voided.
The brain is trained to view a variety of shapes and sizes at once. And while consistency in lettering style is important in your custom sign for maintaining attention, so is breaking up the letter size. If you really desire using all capital letters, then do so in one word, such as the name of your business, and leave the other letters, such as a slogan, in traditional, initial capital letter style.
As for bolding your typeface, make sure this is easy to read on your custom sign from a distance. Often, the darker the letters on a custom sign, the harder it is to read from the road. Your custom sign viewers have about three and a half seconds to read your sign before they are glancing up at the next sign, so visibility from the road is crucial to your sign's lettering.
Which brings us to the next point...
Curvy, scrolled script may look pretty on an invitation or a business card, but such messages are intended to be read up close. Not so with custom signs. Custom signs are meant to be interpreted at high speeds in the blink of an eye, rendering fancy, cursive script nearly impossible to read. So resist the temptation of using fine commercial script in your custom sign, even if it conveys an elegant look suited to your business. A nice conservative typeface can send the same type of message on your custom sign while allowing potential customers to read your lettering with no problems.
There are valuable fonts available in both serif and sans serif styles, but many sign professionals prefer a sans serif font for a custom sign. The reason for this is that serif styles add short horizontal lines to the tops and bottoms of letters and slightly distract from the custom sign's effectiveness, while sans serif fonts have no excessive lines and provide readers with strong bursts of lettering, making custom signs particularly easy to read quickly.
This is not to say that your custom sign will be ineffective if you choose a clear, appropriate font that is serif. This is just a trick of the custom sign trade, so to speak, that could possibly increase your custom sign's viewing impressions.
Remember to determine the style of your business in choosing a font for your custom sign. Also remember to avoid using script lettering, too much bolding, or too many capital letters. And finally, think about a sans serif font for maximizing your custom sign's visibility. With all of these typeface hints, you should be sure to create an effective custom sign design for your business.
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