The Right Font? Think Again!
Selecting the right font for each project is a major decision. Even the basic menu of fonts on a word processing program or desktop publisher gives you dozens to select from. How to determine which one is right?
The most important thing to remember when selecting a font to use on a sign is that simpler is usually better. All those decorative novelty fonts and fancy cursive scripts will look fine on a computer screen or even on a printed flyer. Printed in foot-high letters all the decorative elements will look cluttered and be hard to read. People driving by at high speeds will only see scribbles. Even though plain, sans serif fonts may look boring on the screen, they will be very legible on a large sign. If you are making a sign to give people important information than you should probably choose to save the fancy fonts for another time.
Color and Placement
There are certain positions on a page that draw a viewer’s eye more than others. The center of a page is good but it actually is not the primary position. On an upright banner (taller than it is wide), the primary design position is near the top, either in the center or in the top left. On a sideways banner (longer than it is tall), the primary position is on the left or in the center. Why is this?
Our writing is oriented from left to write so we begin to read by looking at the upper left hand corner of a page, even if that page is a large vinyl banner. This is where the most important information should be placed. Place images, details, and less important information near the right side of the page.
Color is another important consideration. Red is perhaps the most eye-catching of all color. Black is easy to see and will stand out in high contrast on any light-colored background. Blue and green are less attention-getting and can be used for items of less importance. Yellow and orange do not always show up well at a distance and are hard to read on light-colored backgrounds. These colors can be used for accent points but should probably not be used as a font color.
How Much is Too Much?
Color is the most eye-catching part of any design so it needs to be used a lot – right? Actually color works best when it is sparingly used. The colored elements of a sign should call attention to essential information instead of being used throughout. Bright colors such as red, yellow, and orange can quickly overpower an events sign and make it hard to read. Use color sparingly only on certain parts of your design.
Designing a banner requires a different approach than designing a brochure, flyer, or graphic for use online. Pay close attention to placement and think carefully about your use of color. Keep fonts simple and easy to read. These three tips will help you create effective banners for your next design project.
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