Sign & Digital Graphics

April '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • April 2019 • 19 that elude the general public. It is such a foreign concept for anyone on the street to know anything about a business iden- tity or branding signage. On the other hand, people under- stand product brands with no problem. Mention hamburgers or chicken wings. People know exactly where the clos- est In- N-Out Burger or Buffalo Wild Wings is located. Products have value. Signs have temporary value and are used as a momentary visual tool to achieve a means to an end. After that, signs are taken for granted. Remember, the public pays nothing to interact with signs. And signs have no taste at all. Within a sign business, once a design is complete and a customer approves a design, it must go directly to a sign estimator for pricing. This process is usu- ally done without the knowledge of a designer, outside of the design depart- ment. The sign business is a business. Once a customer approves a price for a sign, a design file must become a produc- tion file and be sent to a sign fabricator. More often than not, a completed sign design is manufactured, not printed. A designer, any designer, working for a sign company will struggle with learning their graphic design-slash-sign design position until they accept and absorb the following 3 rules. Sign Design Rule 1. You have to want to learn. This attitude is a pre- qualification to learn anything. There are many books and schools on the sub- ject of graphic design. But there are no how-to books or formal schooling for sign design. This is a fact. Although this fact is slowly changing. The negative to this conundrum is, you have to learn it. The positive side is, you increase your skillset portfolio. Sign Design Rule 2. As a designer, you must look beyond the print world. Immediately, you must begin to look at design from a point of view based within a physical environment. That means you have to visually see where a sign will be installed and how people interact with it. Why? Because you will need to assess the value of its design. Question: what is a sign's final destination? Sign design must consider, angles, heights, distances, vehicle and people movement. It must also consider letter heights, letter stroke, logo recognition, user readability and usability, as well as aethetics. People will use your design, emotionally, to make decisions. If you design well, you might get an "oooh" and "aaah". Sign Design Rule 3. An acquired sign design skill is more than just design? You will be required to know how to write basic specification for a sign, assign Pantone Matching System ( PMS) colors for paint, select vinyls from a swatch book, understand the basic tenets of drafting, such as scale and dimensioning, among a host of other things. But don't fret, it can be learned. Look at it like this, if you ever design a logo for a company, immediately the design will be sent to a sign company to be qualified. Qualified? Every design created outside of the sign industry must be submitted to a sign company in order to be built. It must be quali- fied. If a graphic design does not meet a minimum standard for manufacturing, it is rejected as "we can't build this." The design is then sent back to the original designer to be changed, to be modified. If a graphic designer is at a loss for what to do in order for a graphic design to be made into a sign, this is the main reason to learn professional sign design. Ask a professional sign designer what this means. SDG To learn more about this technical drawing process to speed up your art department, visit Ask for a free sample download of any eBook on the website. Pantone matching system.

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