January '23

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Page 20 of 103

G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 3 • G R A P H I C S P R O 1 7 for bringing the appropriate asset to the front and center of the sign. 7. Color (an asset and a condition) — A dark color can be used to create a stand- alone box or shape where lettering can be placed in a highly contrasting color (if it needs to be seen), or lettering can be placed on the dark area with a color that isn't as contrasting. is allows the eyes to see it, yet not fight to read it if it's a secondary asset that isn't meant to dominate the sign. Yessiree, bad layout and balance most definitely affect the sign and its ability to convey its message. Too busy means it's not read, period. Detailed graphics and multi-shaded or colorful aspects in the background add to the visual confusion. Take a look at the example on page 16. is is a sign that was designed and mass produced for distribution among the manufacturer's local paint stores. ese were given out like candy at Halloween, and from my firsthand knowledge and personal experience in working with com- mercial painters, I can say that these light cardstock signs were rarely used. Why not, you may ask? ey were/are free, so why not use them? Here is why they don't work: • e background is too busy for the value of the message! Black is not the best choice. • e top of the sign is missing critical white space — making the text harder to read quickly. • e primary message is not centered, and the two words are placed on the sign incorrectly. • e company's name and logo would stand out better if they were smaller and therefore less crowded. To start off, my intention is not to pick on anyone or to bring attention to their work in a less than positive light. We all start somewhere. It takes time to learn this complex science of sign design, and learn- ing from the examples around us is one of the best, most practical ways there is for understanding how it works. I have no doubt that some of my early work was used as an example of "what not to do," like this example of one of my very first hand lettering jobs… before I realized that projectors existed. Let's look at some of the things that could be improved upon for the wet paint sign: WET PAINT — this message should stand out in the same way that STOP and DANGER do on traffic signs, but in this example it's hampered by crowded text, improper spacing, a too colorful- ly-busy background, and a lack of contrast between the multi-colored background 1986, one year into being a self-taught sign painter. Yep, pretty scary. I was so proud of this State Farm Sign. I painted it by hand well before my abilities, experience, and skillsets had a chance to grow into what they are today. We all have had our moments when our work didn't shine like it should have. My only intention here is to research and analyze the effectiveness of proper sign design to create learning opportunities for everyone to benefit from. By the way, last I heard there is no crying in sign design.

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