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How to Design Posters and Signs

Posted On - 27/06/2014 08:08:03

This was the design the customer sent us. Would we help? Of course!‘Don't know if you can help?'

That's the title of an email we received some time ago. In it were the words: "The attached is going up on to a piece of board occupying a corner window; it's going to be 1.1m x 1.3m.  Can you give any thoughts!"

It was a design for a poster-come-sign. And as ShopTalk's here to help you, that's what we did.

What we've done in this blog is start by laying out the key design points the artwork raises. And we've finished by spelling out the key issues it presents and why the design suggestions we made are what they are.

The crucial factor in window displays…

This is where the poster would go - a good prominent position visible from the far end of the street…is understanding how they will be viewed. In other words where will the viewer most likely be when looking at the window.

Where they are and how they see your window dictates (yes, it doesn't hint or suggest, it prescribes) how your window posters and signs need to be designed.

This point is so important. The majority of this blog is about illustrating why this is so and what the consequences are. We will show you how this issue leaves 'taste' and 'cool' in the shade. It really is that impotant.

Now you might say, people could be right outside on the pavement, over the other side of the road or even further away. And they could. But consider this: small posters designed for close viewing can't be read far away. Whereas those designed to be read far away can close up.

Unless your passing footfall is exclusively in very close proximity to your windows – say you're in a narrow pedestrianized lane or narrow walkway in a shopping centre - you have to design to be read at a distance. All of which means unless there's very good reason otherwise, window signs and posters need to have large simple messages with a clear uncluttered design.

Use of graphics

Posters and signs in windows must be clear, so graphics have to be used with care – it's very easy to clutter a designEverything that isn't part of a text based message can be regarded as a graphic.

Blocks of colour, logos and pictures – they're all graphics. And given posters and signs in windows need to be clear, graphics have to be used with care – because it's very easy to make a design appear cluttered.

Remember, marketing has to work otherwise it's pointless. The only thing that matters is how well it creates enquiry.

Graphics make things look nice, but unless they genuinely enhance the message – that means clarify it, not just make it look cool – they are in the way. They are working against the design and reducing communication effectiveness. Don't add graphics to tart things up, add them because they genuinely make the design communicate better.

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