June '22

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G R A PH I C S - PR O.C O M 2 0 2 2 J U N E G R A P H I C S P R O 6 5 lobster tail, or behind the wheel of that automobile in three seconds or less, that is an example of how creative sign design approaches the job that the sign must perform from the mindset that there are only three seconds to plant that seed in the mind of the customer who is returning home from a long day at work. THE FIVE-SECOND RULE OF RETAIL SIGNAGE I say retail signage because let's face it, if money isn't somehow involved in the mes- sage, then it's nothing more than regula- tory, safety or instructional signage (pool rules, no parking, etc.) Retail sign design means that you are "encouraging an emo- tion" within the viewer to do something that involves coming inside, looking at, trying on, sitting behind the wheel, etc. Alternately, retail graphic design is typi- cally never constrained to the ve-second rule; it's usually open to how long the viewer chooses to stay on that page or look at that advertising. Grabbing and keep- ing the viewers' attention in that scenario takes an entirely dierent skill set that the professional graphic artist must master to meet their clients' needs. In that case, the advertisement would also have a job to per- form; however, comparing the two is a lot like comparing a pictograph to a full-page ad in a magazine. This is the number one reason that graphic design skills do not transition to sign design, never ever, and vise-versa. Ig- noring these dierences is the reason why some logos that look great when viewed on your phone end up looking more like clown vomit when digitally printed onto a sign panel viewed at 250' away. KNOW THE CORE DISCIPLINES e core disciplines of sign design teach a graphic designer how to convey a thought or an idea quickly and succinctly within three seconds or less at distances typically greater than 24", versus graphic design for hand-held phone or tablet viewing, or close-range media such as a touchscreen menu, or an annual report, which can pro- vide all the details but requires a longer period of time to view, read, and absorb. Yep, this happens in our industry daily. In fact, it's gotten so bad that I have been motivated to write this article. ere is a false condence that seems to be present in the work of some great graphic designers who are simply not aware of these dier- ences until it's too late. In fact, it seems like it's never consid- ered until after thousands of hats have been printed, shirts embroidered, and stickers made before the idea of how "THAT LOGO" might look as a sign, when viewed from 400' away, at 40 mph is even considered. In most cases, this involves a redesign of the logo to make it readable at that distance, in three seconds or less, and a sign designer is usually the one who must perform this task and do it in such a way as to add to the readability of the logo in a favorable way. is also requires a customer exible enough to understand and roll with this necessary adjustment. A sign is much more than a pretty pic- ture, graphic, or design. A design is a sign only if it has a job to do. Period. Without the task to perform, it's really the eye candy of our industry — that which can bring a smile to one's face, or tear to the eye. Now, looking at graphic design from a functional standpoint provides you several options on which types of design disci- plines you choose to hang your hat on. How will you incorporate your existing skill sets to expand your understanding of how outdoor signage can help the cus- tomer (if it's done correctly)? GP MATT CHARBONEAU started his career in the sign industry in 1985 as Charboneau Signs, later changing it to Storm Mountain Signs. In 2017, he published the reSae Sin Sure ied uide,and proides sin desin trainin at his site ontact hi and . Just symbols alone can push, direct, inform, or alert. Symbols alone can also have double meanings. Words clarify everything, and certain words can save lives.

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