Sign Design Basics - 5 Important Rules

    Goldberg Sosa
    By Goldberg Sosa

    Rule 1: Give your letters space

    Having your letters too close to the edge of the sign always looks bad. Many beginners make this mistake in an effort to fit larger letters in.

    You can mostly use your eyes to adjust the spacing. It's often tempting to squeeze extra letters in, especially when you have a fixed width board to work with. A good solution is to reduce the letter size.

    Rule 2: Keep your borders in proportion

    Keep the border width and distance from the edge proportional to the size of the sign. Larger signs should have wider borders spaced further from the edge of the sign. You need to leave at least 7.5mm from the edge of the sign to the edge of any border.

    Remember, a border is decoration and can be overdone. Lots of signs may look better without a border at all.

    Rule 3: Use contrast

    Choose high contrast colours for your lettering. Blue on green for example is very hard to read. Choose vinyl cutting machine or silver letters on a black or dark green sign and black or dark blue letters on cream or white.

    Rule 4: Don't clutter your sign

    Cluttered or over busy signs are irritating to look at. The human eye needs something to focus on. If all the elements of the sign are vying for attention, your design will look bad.

    Try to have as few elements as possible. Different shaped signs can take different amounts of elements. Oval signs can easily have a house number, name and a picture. Curved rectangles look best with just a name and picture and rectangular signs look the best with only writing on them.

    Rule 5: Less space between rows

    There should be more space around the text than between the rows of words. This improves the readability and focus of the sign.