Design

Signazon Designer Tutorial: Adding a Shadow

30 Sep
by Samantha, posted in Design Tips   |  1 Comments

Here’s a great design tip that you can use when creating your perfect sign using our online design tool. Customizing our templates is fun, and we try hard to make it as easy and user-friendly as possible. One problem some of our customers have is that their text that doesn’t stand out on the design. We always suggest using as much color-contrast as possible (i.e. light backgrounds, dark text and vice versa), but sometimes, depending on the design you choose, you can’t achieve this look.

Here’s a great example. The classic American flag template is one of our best-sellers, especially for rear window graphics. Adding text to this template can be challenging, as the background is so color-saturated. Often, customer designs look something like this:

As you can see, the text is hard to read and just doesn’t stand out against the background. So, how do you fix this? A simple shadow will do the trick!

First, select the text you have already typed. Then, click the Add Text button at the top of the designer. A new text box is added using the same styling (size, font, color, etc.) as your current text.

Next, type your text over again, exactly as it is written. Change the text to a contrasting color. Since the text here is white, we’ll choose black for the new text.

Select the new text and drag it over your original text, leaving it to the side slightly (like a shadow).

Finally, with the new text still selected, click the Send Back button located in the lower left-hand corner of the designer.

Voila! Your text now has a shadow, stands out from the background, and is ready-for-print!

 

Top 5 Rules for Political Sign Campaigns

19 Sep
by Samantha, posted in Featured, Political   |  No Comments
Courtesy of The Washington Times

When preparing to implement a political signs campaign, it’s important to have all your bases covered. This will likely be a large expense for your campaign, and you want it to be effective, so make sure you’ve dotted all your i’s and crossed all your t’s. Here are 5 important things to remember when ordering political signs.

  1. Be prepared—A sign campaign is a major endeavor, so make sure you’re ready to do it. This means allocating a budget, designing your signs, planning out your installation, planning the sign removal, etc. There are more steps than you’d think.
  2. Check for legality—You can’t place political yard signs in every location. Check with city officials, homeowner’s associations, business groups, etc., to determine where you can and can’t display a sign. Many of these groups even limit sizes, colors, etc., so to ensure you don’t waste money, check these things beforehand. For more information on sign legality, check out the Top 5 Legal Concerns for Political Signs.
  3. Design carefully—Hire a graphic designer if you have the resources, or at least research a bit of color theory and design. There will be no shortage of political signs around town, so it’s crucial that you stand out. Check out our post on political signs design for more information.
  4. Right size, right price, right material—Ordering the right kind of sign will make your campaign considerably more-effective. Research your materials and sizes to determine which one will get noticed and be right for your budget. You don’t want your signs to look cheap, but at the same time, over-extravagance sends the wrong message.
  5. Less is more—How you implement political signs will reflect on your campaign’s reputation. Above all, remember that less is more, when it comes to design, the number of signs you order, etc. Place fewer signs in strategic high-traffic locations rather than a more signs all over town in less-busy locations. This is less wasteful and produces a better return on investment.

Top 5 Tips for Designing Political Signs

14 Sep
by Samantha, posted in Design Tips, Featured, Political   |  No Comments
Courtesy of Evansville Courier & Press

Political signs, much like real estate signs, are commonplace in the industry. As an aspiring political candidate, it’s important to use campaign signs just to stay even with your competition. All political signs are not created equal, however—there are some definite strategies to use when designing your sign to make it more-effective.

  1. Create a “brand”—Think like a businessman (or woman). The point of your campaign is “selling” yourself (or, if you are a campaign manager, your candidate). As with any business, creating a brand is crucial for your campaign. This means creating a color scheme, slogan, logo, and any other brand elements necessary to make your campaign memorable.
  2. Make it personal—The message of politics is that every vote counts, so make sure your political signs connect with voters individually. Although you want your signs to look professional, they should also be personal. Include a picture of yourself, or some other clue that shows voters that you’re a real person who wants to represent them.
  3. Less is more—Political signs aren’t going to win the election for you; rather, they’re mainly-used to build name recognition. Thus, you don’t have to include your entire platform on the signs. They’re viewed quickly, so edit your content to only what’s completely-necessary.
  4. Encourage action—After viewing your sign, your reader should be motivated to take action by researching your campaign or even going to vote. Thus, include a call to action, which could be your website, the date of the election, etc.
  5. Stand out from the crowd—Every one of your competitors, plus candidates running for other offices, will be using political signs as well. Simply having signs isn’t enough. Make them interesting, creative, and personal.

5 Most-Important Yard Sign Design Elements

29 Aug
by Samantha, posted in Design Tips   |  No Comments

If you’re spending money on a yard sign campaign, it’s crucial that you pay attention to the design so that your signs will be easy-to-read, effective, and compelling. There are a variety of different things to consider when designing a yard sign—here’s the Top 5.

Note: In each of the following pictures, the sign on the right is the best choice.

Size

The sign on the left is too small to be read clearly from a distance. There’s not necessarily a “right” or “wrong” yard sign size, but consider what’s the most appropriate for your intended use. You can get whatever size you want, but make sure the text and the sign itself are large enough to be seen, but not so large that the sign overwhelms the space or doesn’t fit.

Color

With any sign design, effective use of color contrast is key. The sign on the left, while patriotic, just does not have enough contrast to stand out. Make sure your key information (such as a political candidate’s name) clearly “pops” away from the background.

Content

Keep in mind that your lawn sign needs to catch the viewer’s attention very quickly, so although you may have a lot to say, less is generally more. The for rent sign on the left is just too busy—most of the text can’t even be read, whereas the political sign is clear and simple.

Font

When choosing a font, you may be drawn toward beautiful, intricate scripts. These indeed look elegant, but compare the two signs above; at a glance, which one is easier to read? Yard signs are used to build recognition, so your sign should be instantly-legible.

Material

The material you choose can also affect what kind of sign you design. Assume the signs above are corrugated plastic (mounted with wire stakes). A political yard sign, seen on the right, is appropriate, because it’s temporary. For the dental sign on the left, corrugated plastic might not be the best choice, because this is likely a long-term sign—the customer should go with a metal yard sign or even window graphics.

8 Inspiring Wedding Yard Sign Designs

25 Aug
by Samantha, posted in Design Tips, Fun Stuff   |  1 Comments

Wedding yard signs are a perfect way to introduce your wedding, direct family around your ceremony, and add your own personal touch around your venue. Well designed wedding signs can incorporate your theme and send a heartwarming message to add to the emotion of your event. Wedding yard signs are the ideal signage for a wedding venue because there they are simple to place. There is no need to concern yourself with how you will hang it, if your sign will damage any furnishings, or if it will be noticeable. Yard signs are designed for effective simplicity and are versatile enough to fit any theme. Here is a collection of inspiring wedding sign designs and messages that could be a perfect accompaniment for your special day.

Courtesy of Diana Ma Weddings
A simple but elegant yard sign can easily be used to direct guests around a venue, steer them away from incorrect entrances, and even keep them out of the bridal suites. The rigid signs can easily be placed on chairs and stands to look like a simple prop within the wedding theme.

Courtesy of Go Jump in the Lake
Include a verse from your wedding vows on a custom designed yard sign to emphasize the oath and promise that you are making on your wedding day. It’s a great way to mark the entrance of your ceremony and announce the bride and groom.

Courtesy of DIY Unveiled
Create fun signs that express the love and character of both the bride and the groom. A simple message, the bride and grooms name, and a fun design are an inexpensive way to continue the theme across the entire venue and add sentiment to the ceremony.

Courtesy of Karen Tran Florals
A destination wedding, like a beach wedding, requires some extra touches to really bring together a theme and direct attendees. A theme-designed yard sign at your entrance, and signs placed around guest tables are a great way to help guests and add your style to the event. Add signs around gift tables, sign-in books, and guest tables with programs and gifts.

Courtesy of The Knot
Custom designed yard signs are simply a rigid material that can be placed in the yard, but that doesn’t mean that’s all it can do. Create a custom sign on the rigid material and place it in an elegant easel for a more unique way to display.

Courtesy of Event Angel
Help direct wedding attendant through your fairytale with this simple but heart-jerking message. Every little girl wishes for that storybook “happily ever after” moment. Tie in your theme with a vintage border for an antique or black and white wedding theme.

Courtesy of Green Wedding Shoes
Bring the yard indoors with a small yard sign design staked into flower pots. Finding a unique way to show your yard signs can add to the experience and is a great way to incorporate your garden theme into your reception room or add inexpensive accents that can make a world of difference.

Courtesy of Jamm Entertainment
Choose a wedding sign for your ceremony that emphasize your personality, shows your theme, and welcomes guests with sincere appreciation for their attendance. Think outside of the box when considering wedding yard signs and you can easily find a unique way to display them and a message that really means something.

5 Compelling Sign Messages

22 Aug
by Samantha, posted in Design Tips, Marketing Ideas   |  No Comments

An effective sign motivates the viewer to take action in some way. Sometimes, the sign specifically tells the viewer what to do, whereas other times the call to action is more subtle. Regardless of the way you implement it, it’s important to include something in your ad that stays with the reader after he/she is no longer viewing your sign. Here are some examples of compelling messages you can incorporate into your business signs.

Call Us—This newspaper ad for a dentist office is effective because it incorporates the popular strategy of “scare tactics” by alarming the reader with something that could affect them (a dental injury on the job). It proposes a hypothetical problem to get the reader’s attention, and then directs them right the solution (a phone number, in this case). Notice the ad doesn’t say “Book an appointment today!”—rather, it simply encourages the reader to call for more information.

Research Us—Sometimes an intriguing, and possibly even vague, advertisement can be very successful. The idea is that you give the reader enough to catch their eye and then the tools needed to find out the rest. A great example is this ad for The Andy Warhol Museum’s new iPhone app. Here The Warhol has incorporated trendy QR codes into its logo (which is usually a colon) to entice the reader to do more research. The website and App Store mention are also listed. Use this strategy for large vinyl banners that are to be seen from far away, or even a car window decal. The viewer won’t have much time to see the ad anyway, so you want to pique their interest enough that they’ll look you up later on.

Follow Us—Social media has taken society by storm, so another great strategy for your signs is to encourage the viewer to follow you on Twitter, like you on Facebook, etc. Once they get to your page you’ll have the opportunity to deliver your sales pitch, along with other unique and interesting content. Volvo demonstrates this concept here via a banner on the Youtube homepage, which encourages viewers to follow Volvo on twitter to stay updated on the new XC60 model.

Identify With Us—Many ads are used for branding purposes, so although there’s not a hard sales pitch, they still connect with customers and motivate them to buy a product. The key to these ads is to resonate with the viewer, so relevant images and targeted content are key. Your window graphics should have this focus so customers can clearly identify the purpose of your business. This Got Milk? ad is a great example—men all over the world can identify.

Shop With Us—Last but certainly not least is the shopping ad, which encourages customers to purchase your products or services. That’s ultimately the point of your business anyway, right? This Lane Bryant ad features not only a great deal, but also a deadline, which are the two keys to making this type of ad successful. Customers need to see value and urgency for the ad to convince them to make a purchase.

Although your ads should always be consistent from a brand standpoint, it can be worthwhile to vary your strategy and message to reach different types of customers. Not everyone likes a hard sell, whereas others won’t respond to a sign that’s too vague. A good mix of ads with different focuses will generally produce a great result.

Outside the Box: 5 Creative Sign Designs To Inspire You

19 Aug
by Samantha, posted in Design Tips   |  No Comments

In a world of microwave ovens, DVRs, and text messaging, society has tuned itself to expect instantaneous results.  As a business owner, that makes marketing a bit challenging. Potential customers won’t spend much time viewing your sign, especially if they find it boring. From window decals to vinyl banners, your storefront signage has to be creative and unique if you expect it to product any sort of return. I’ve gathered a variety of one-of-a-kind ads to get your creative juices flowing.

Victim Support—The visual impact of this sign is incredible. The script written directly onto the face makes you want to read it. This powerful ad takes a difficult subject and treats it with dignity and respect while still having a compelling message. From this you can take away that ads don’t always have to look pretty or perfect to be effective. In fact, many times imperfection is much more-noticeable.

Febreze—Playing with visuals always produces a successful ad, so if you don’t have a graphic designer you might consider hiring (or contracting) one. A design like this grabs your attention and keeps you looking for the hidden image and, ultimately, meaning. Don’t feel like you have to lay everything out for the viewer—sometimes they want to figure it out for themselves.

Maple Technologies—Another great example of the power of graphic design, this ad shows the creative strategy of playing with scale and space arrangement. Although the thumb drive is only in a portion of the ad, the entire design focuses on it. With this strategy, you arrange your business signs in a way that there is a focus on your business, product, or service.

Colgate—Here, Colgate shows an effective ad that is highly-conceptual. Don’t feel like you have to show the viewer something boring and generic because that’s what everyone else does. How many smiling faces have we seen on toothpaste ads? This ad may go over the heads of some, but I think it’s a winner.

Terminix—Outside the box on many levels, this Terminix display will most definitely get attention. Adding a third dimension to your signage draws in the viewer and makes them take notice. Anyone can hang up a banner, but not everyone can do something like this.

You’ll notice that most of these ads are from large businesses, but even small Mom-and-Pops can let their creative side show. In fact, when you’re working with a limited budget, sometimes you have to!

 

Helpful Tools for Great Sign Design: Color

15 Aug
by Samantha, posted in Design Tips   |  No Comments

Color is an extremely-important aspect of your sign design. Not only does color get the attention of the viewer, but it also elevates your message and connects your sign with the brand it represents. Choose your color scheme carefully, however, as a boring scheme will get overlooked and a wild-and-crazy color scheme will turn viewers away. It’s all about finding a balance that produces an attractive design that motivates your reader to call your business or come into your store.

If you don’t have brand colors or you’re not sure how to choose a color scheme, know that you’re not alone. Rather than just guessing colors, however, do some research into color theory to determine which colors will help you convey the message you want from your ads. Research, you ask? Well, you won’t have to look that far, because here are some great resources for determining what colors to use for your custom signs.

Like with fonts, you’ll want to do a little reading before going crazy with color. It will help, I promise! Here’s a great article from the always helpful Smashing Magazine. Author Cameron Chapman offers fantastic insight into color theory, showing real examples of how color is used in ads. It’s a must-read for those looking to establish a brand color.

I know some of you don’t have the time to read an article that long, so here’s a simplified version from TigerColor.com.

If you’re looking to be inspired (who isn’t?), check out the Design Seeds blog. Jessica uses visually-stunning pictures to create unique color palettes called “seeds”. You can search by style and by color, and if you find one you like, there’s an iPhone app to use for color-matching.

For those ultra-creative sorts, here are a couple of great theme creators.

Adobe’s Kuler is simply-fantastic. Choose from presets, or create your own. At the bottom, notice that your color codes are listed (HSV, RGB, CMYK, LAB, and HEX)—so whether you’re using this online or to print on a custom banner or window decal, you’ll have the specific color codes you need to match your theme.

ColorBlender is another great choice. With both an AutoMatch and Direct Edit mode, you can create until your heart’s content. I also love the Variations, so if you are almost there, one click produces a slight adjustment that takes you the rest of the way. You can even download the colors you need in Photoshop or Illustrator—your sign printing company will need these codes to make sure your sign matches the theme you created!

Ok, it’s time to turn you loose. Let’s see some great color—just remember, be unique, choose colors that send the right message, and don’t go color-crazy!

Helpful Tools for Great Sign Design: Fonts

10 Aug
by Samantha, posted in Design Tips   |  No Comments

The best message can be ruined by a poor font choice, so when you’re designing a custom sign to promote your business, choose your fonts carefully. There are a variety of font characteristics to consider, from legibility to weight to kerning. Unless you have a background in graphic design, these terms probably mean nothing to you. Since font can be directly tied to your business branding and the effectiveness of your advertising, I’ve gathered some great resources to help you choose the perfect font for your business signs.

The first step in the font selection process is to write your message. Don’t worry about your font choice, just get your content down. Yes, different fonts will make your content look different, but if you know exactly what you want to say it will be easier to choose how it should look.

Once you have written your message, do a little research on different types of fonts and their different characteristics. Here are some helpful articles that aren’t too high-level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Douglas Bonneville of Smashing Magazine identifies some of the main characteristics you should consider, and shows great examples. Pay close attention to the section on aesthetics—you want the font displayed on your signs to match the look and feel of your business.

This article by Juan Pablo de Gregorio of Typies Blog has great tips for choosing a font. Juan breaks down all the elements of fonts and shows pictures of each for you visual folks. I know you’ve always wanted to know what kerning means, so here’s your chance…

Now that you’ve gotten an idea of the different elements of fonts, here’s another important read. It’s also quite humorous, which will lighten up the weight (no pun intended) of this post. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lauren’s take on overused fonts is hilarious, slightly-inappropriate (you’ve been warned), and, above all, completely TRUE. Stay away from these fonts if you want to look at all unique and/or relevant.

Ok, ok, so enough lecturing—now it’s time to play around with fonts and choose the one that’s right for you! Here are some sites that offer thousands of great fonts to choose from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, if you’ve seen a font before and you’ve always wanted to know what it is, check out the What the Font? Feature on MyFonts.com. Here’s an example I did using the Twitter logo:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By now you should be an expert on font selection. That means we don’t want to see any more Comic Sans, Curlz MT, or for heaven’s sake, Papyrus! Are we clear?

7 Creative Salon Sign Designs

05 Aug
by Samantha, posted in Design Tips, Spa & Salon   |  No Comments

www.hairsite.com

www.behance.net

www.behance.net

…the results (www.behance.net)

www.behance.net

www.activerain.com

www.wanterings2010.files.wordpress.com