As they say, great design is invisible. A well-designed sign or banner draws the viewer’s attention—not in a distracting way but rather an inviting and enticing way. But while great design is invisible and usually simple, it has a great many design principles underlying it. Here are a few things to keep in mind with sign and banner design.

Stick to 1 or 2 Typefaces

Having too many typefaces in your design makes it feel cluttered and incoherent, so you’ll want to stick to one typeface—or one typeface plus a second that differs enough from the first—for your design. Keep in mind here that there is a lot of versatility to be had with even just one typeface, as you can play with font size, bolding, italics, and capitalization to organize information.

Use Typography to Organize Information

On a similar note to playing with a single typeface, good typography can oftentimes take the place of punctuation, meaning you can convey your message more succinctly and more clearly. Use a combination of all capitalization, bolding, placement, and font size to give weight to the various pieces of information on your sign or banner. The title of an event, for example, might be bolded and in all caps at the top of a banner, while the fine, almost negligible details of the event are set in italics in a much smaller font at the very bottom of a banner.

Involve Color Psychology

Colors can have a huge impact on the mood people draw from a sign or banner. Red, for example, stimulates the appetite, while blue is brings about an air of relaxation—which explains why you see it on many spa websites and in hospitals. So when selecting the colors for your ad, be sure to keep in mind what connotations those colors might evoke. For more on color psychology, check out our post on color psychology.

Create Movement

It’s great to give your design movement, especially when that movement draws the eyes along the sign or banner in such a way that it helps the viewer digest information in a logical order. This can be done in a myriad of ways, but two examples are varying font sizes and placing text at the end of a “leading line” of an image or photo.

Keep It Balanced

There is a lot more to balance than simply keeping opposing items equidistant from the edge of the page. In fact, it’s best to rely on your eye here because the sizing of various design elements can influence how balanced your layout is. For example, a large circle will carry more weight on a sign than the small circle next to it; and then placing an item closer to the edge of the layout gives it even more weight. This means that a layout with a large circle located between the left and middle of the page and a second smaller circle located to the very right of the page can be perfectly balanced to the eye.

Make Only Purposeful Choices

Every element in your design should have a reason behind it. Why such a large photo? Why this color in particular? Did you go with a sans serif typeface to communicate a modern feel? This also means not adding superfluous design elements simply for the sake of adding them. In other words…keep it simple.

Design Principles for a Strong Sign or Banner Design

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