- Don't use a business card layout as a sign design. Using a business card is a simple solution that a naive customer could be happy with, it tops our lists of don'ts when it comes to effective signs. Using business card designs on signs usually ends up crowding the sign, bogging it down with details, and making the message unclear. Rather than use the entire business card, pick three key elements from the card, such as the business name, the tagline, and either a web address or phone number. Remember, when it comes to signs, less is more.
- Don't refurbish old plywood signs. Sometimes, it is just time to say good-bye. Old plywood signs repainted and re-lettered still look like old plywood, which does not age like a fine wine. Even with a limited budget make space for a permanent, up-to-date sign, rather than remaking an old sign. If your customer can't afford a real sign at the moment, a banner is a more budget-friendly option that can provide temporary advertising, which leads us to point number 3...
- Don't use banner material for permanent signs. Banners are an affordable option for temporary signs, but hanging above business doors they look temporary. Thus, the business looks "fly by night". Permanent signs are made with hard materials or substrates. Emphasize to your customer that a quality sign will bring in more business for your customers in the long run than it will bring in for your sign shop.
- Don't use standard size magnetic signs on the sides of vans or box trucks; there is a reason they make vehicle size graphics. A size 12 x 24 magnetic graphic looks ridiculously small on the side of a van because it takes up just a fraction of the available space! The negative space is all wrong. Vehicle graphics, designed larger to fill the space on the side of the truck, will attract more attention than little magnetic graphics. If you do use a car for dual purposes, such as for business and family use, you might employ small magnetic graphics on the doors.
- Don't use light lettering on a white background. If you are going to use yellow or any pastel covers, you don't want to pair it solely with white backdrop, since there is little contrast between the colors. If your mind is made up on white and yellow, outline the letters with a contrasting color, such as black, brown, or dark green.
5 Basic Sign Design Mistakes You Don't Want to Make