April '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 A P R I L G R A P H I C S P R O 8 7 SIGNS ARE VIEWED FROM A DISTANCE Sign design involves a lot of upfront understanding of the client, the sign materials, the client's customer (the one read- ing the sign), the read time, letter height calculations, font considerations, and arguing over how many words are actu- ally needed to get the point across from 200' away. Not to mention, the client logos (which look great on your phone) at 200' away look more like a tangled mess of fancy-looking fonts battling it out over a game of Twister. e dierences may seem petty at rst, but they are core to the disciplines that make each designer pull their hair out as they struggle to produce a design that is intrinsically for- eign to their discipline. Remember, there is another important element that print/ web/screen designers get the luxury of using to their advan- tage, and that is the viewer's ability to stop, scroll backwards, move ahead, and review the image on the screen or page to see the details they are looking for. Sign designers don't have that luxury. ey have on average 3 to 4 seconds to get the point across. All the info needs to be conveyed and must work together to inform the viewer in just 3 precious seconds as they glance up from their phones to catch a glimpse of the billboard on the side of that bus. Why didn't your eyes go to the smaller white copy first? White is the opposite of black, so it has the highest contrast value, yet your eyes went to the yellow on black copy first. The reason this happened is not because of the size of the letters on the sign; it has more to do with the amount of space that is left around the letters and the high-contrast value between the black and yellow, which work together and make the letters legible. (All images courtesy Matt Charboneau) Filling up every available space on the sign is actually a practical reality for a few, rare businesses. These few exceptions can be seen on signs that list the times, fees, and "where-to-board-the-boat" details for snorkel- ing, diving, scooter, and individual or group charter boat and bicycle rental package tours signage. I will say no more.

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