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The Ultimate Guide to Ordering Signage

The Ultimate Guide to Sign Design

When you are looking at a possible replacement of an existing shop front sign or launching a new business requiring signage, there are a number of possible issues you will need to consider. It is not just the case of having a beautiful picture and some stylized writing. In order to obtain a ‘fit for purpose’ standout sign, it is crucial that careful design work is undertaken, as this may be the difference between a robust advertising tool and a waste of your time and cash.

Design pointers

Once you have a base idea for your design, you will need to evaluate what is the pertinent information you are trying to convey to your target audience. Is it your logo, business offering, website or even a special offer you are currently promoting. For example window graphics can be used to convey opening hours for a business like a dentist or solicitor however for a retailer they will use the window space like a bill board for advertising the latest offer or sale. You need to be concise with this information as a congested or cluttered sign will not give you the required visual impact. We highly recommend discussing your objectives with our designer who will guide you in the best way to present the information in a fresh clear and effective manner.

Think about fonts and structure of sentences

You may feel that you want your sign to STAND OUT, so using capitals would be a good choice right? Wrong! There have been numerous studies carried out that prove, the most effective signs use the correct Syntax of a sentence, using both upper and lower case.

Does your vehicle wrap POP! or merge into a blur

This is hugely significant part of the design process; colours that do not work well together will not have the required visual impact on the passing customer. They will scan the sign, and decide within a millisecond if there is something worth actually focusing on. This is the first introduction your company has with the potential customer and needs to be visually stimulating, professional and concise. At Sign A Rama our professional design team will be able to guide you through this process ensuring your vehicle wrap POPS or your pavement sign draws in the crowds. Look for yourself at the example matrix below and it is literally clear what colours work well together.

When selecting a colour theme for e.g. a new ‘ Roll Up /Pull Up’ display stand you may also want to contemplate the meaning you want to convey to your customers.

Another important consideration is space. The technical term for this is negative space. This term is a pivotal part of art and design, and the basic principle is that, negative space or a spot on your signage, have no words or graphics and give a clear demarcation, so there is no overcrowding.

An example wouldbeifIcontinuedwritingthisparagraphwithoutanyspace........

Is that hard to read? It is the same with signage, space gives a clear uncluttered look and enhances your message.

Lighting your sign

Just because you close at night doesn’t mean you should stop advertising. Consider illuminating your sign but make sure that the light source is shielded from the viewer to prevent any glare. The most cost effective way to light a standard metal sign panel or a projecting business sign would be through the use of halogen down lighters these can be bought at your local hardware store/ electrical wholesalers and installed very easily the light output is determined by the wattage. There are other more expensive but aesthetically pleasing options such as trough lighting which is very attractive and provides a continuous light across the top of the signage housed in metal custom coloured. Customers often opt for a sign that is actually a light box in itself. This is produced from an aluminium box panel with an opal plastic face illuminated internally with florescent tubing. These can be a real beacon in a busy high street giving the customer the exposure needed to stand out from the rest. They can take the form of fascia shop front light box or a projecting double sided wall mounted light box. For the purpose of individual lettering used in business front signage the traditional option was custom made neon glass available in a range of colours however the advancements in lighting technology has resulted in neon becoming pretty much obsolete unless used as a standalone sign. The lighting option of choice for business owners, interior designers & architects is the LED light nodules. These are extremely robust, economical to run, weather proof and available off the shelf reducing the need for custom made neon lighting, reducing costs and lead times and similar to neon available in a range of colours.

Readable Distance

The location of your sign is one of the major make or break factors that need to be addressed. Ideally a sign should be clearly visible from all angles and distances. The aim is to have a person notice it long before they have reached it; otherwise they could bypass it without a glance. As well as this someone with low vision must be able to read it up close. The optimum height for a sign to be placed at is eye level, usually 1400-1700mm above floor level, but signs may be higher depending on the size. Your signage on the premises should be clear to see but not obstruct any through-ways. Hanging signs are a good method of avoiding this problem but they must not hang lower than 2200mm from the ground to avoid creating a head height obstacle.

Below is a chart comparing letter size with its readable distance?


The format of your design file is very important. It is vital that you make sure your imagery is at a high resolution, preferably 300 DPI. Otherwise what might look good on a smaller screen in your file may end up looking very pixelated and blurry when it’s blown up to its full size. The below image shows the difference between a high DPI image and a low one.

Generally, the most recognised formats for design/imagery are:

Vector Files

EPS – Encapsulated Postscript

AI – Adobe Illustrator

Raster Files

JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group

PSD – Photoshop

PDF – Portable Document Format

For more information on how to produce the most effective signage for your business please contact a member of our expert sales team today 01 862 3852 and we will guide you through the entire process from material, size, content, design layout, lighting and fitting.

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