January '23

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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 9 Step 2: The sign's job After you have identified the need, iden- tify how the sign could address the need. How will it perform the job? If it's safety or regulatory in nature, your design ser- vices may be severely limited in scope as these are typically regulated by code. In reality, the only sign types that get the luxury of creative design are informa- tional, directional and identification, and ego-driven signs. We'll address that cat- egory later. Remember, it's important to know what the customer expects the sign to say, even if their idea isn't the best. Step 3: It's more than just a job How about designing an informational sign that has a lot of details on what to do, how to do it, and when? It's easy to see how an informational sign, such as a pool rules sign, might be considered busy looking when compared to a sign designed for a three-second read. Not every sign is a three-second read, and not every sign car- ries the luxury of a 20-second read oppor- tunity. Knowing the role of the sign and how long the viewer has to read it is crit- ical to a proper design. Step 4: Minimize, minimize, minimize Yes, less says more and less usually wins in the three-second read category. So, ask yourself which details are not necessary for the sign to be effective. What can be eliminated or shortened without losing the meaning or the message? Step 5: Pay closer attention to what your eyes are doing and how they are feeling How comfortable or uncomfortable do your eyeballs feel when reading signs that are not properly designed? Your eye should flow from the upper left corner of the sign to the lower right corner, like a half-grown pup looking at every- thing and stopping just long enough at each new graphic or image to get a good idea of what it is before wandering over to the next cluster of text. Of course, this all needs to happen within three seconds, or within the allotted viewing time for each sign type. But for an informational sign, it's even more critical to create a well- paved path for the eyes to follow. Even with a 20-second read time, eye flow is important in order for the information to be conveyed — sometimes details must be conveyed in a specific order for instruc- tions to be understood properly. Self-serve car washes have examples of this type of informational sign. Step 1: Insert credit or debit card. Step 2: Remove wand and hold tightly. Step 3: Select wash type. Step-by- step signs are informational and require a longer read and an un-busy layout. In closing, pay attention to how the sign flows, and how the assets you have chosen work to help or hurt the message that is trying to be conveyed. GP "Dang, what did that sign say — noodles or some- thing — I could really go for some great Thai food." Why did the day view of this sign neglect the import- ant detail of the type of noodles they sell? Remember, not all finished sign designs are 100% the final choice of the designer. Clients have ideas too, and some- times a stubborn client has to have the sign their way. I have no idea if that is what happened here — all I know is that I can't really read it during the day to learn what type of noodles they sell. Redesign idea. Original design.

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