5 Custom Sign Design Strategies

Custom Sign Design

Custom sign design is a fun, creative process, but it’s important to approach this task with clear goals in mind. For most business owners, sign design goals are simple: companies want to end up with clear, concise, and engaging copy that compels the reader to take the desired action, whether that’s visiting a website or stopping by a physical store location to peruse the daily deal.

In order to accomplish these custom sign design goals, we recommend the following strategies, assembled and presented to you by our expert sign design team. These basic principles carryover to any custom sign design, whether you’re creating a winning trade show banner or a cutting-edge digital display.

  • High-contrast for high-impact. Too many custom signs allow their messages to get lost by implementing designs that make it difficult for the eye to naturally distinguish between different elements. Generally speaking, the contrast between the sign’s background and font is usually positively correlated to its legibility – the higher the contrast, the more legible your sign will be. With this in mind, dark backgrounds should utilize light foreground colors, and vice versa.
  • Use the 3×5 rule for better content layout. Another common design mistake is packing the sign with too much text. Avoid clutter at all costs; make every word work overtime to convey your message as quickly and succinctly as possible. Keep the type size larger to ensure your sign is readable from a distance, and force yourself to include only the most important information.
    The 3×5 rule is a handy strategy to keep your custom sign design in check. This rule dictates that you should either use 3 lines of 5 words (or less), or 5 lines of 3 words (or less).
  • Pick the right text styles. Unless you’re trying to duplicate the font used elsewhere in your corporate branding, it’s generally a good idea to keep your text simple. Never use more than two fonts in a single design, and be careful with italics, as these can be tricky to read from a distance. Just like with printed text, bolded lettering, bullet points, and larger lettering can greatly improve readability, so factor these into your sign design where appropriate.
  • Color and perception strategies. As discussed earlier, contrast is key, so your color choices should be made with this in mind. Choosing the right colors will help you place your foreground elements ahead of your background elements, perceptually speaking.

    In terms of the three primary color options, you should know that the human eye is most sensitive to green, with red coming in a close second, and blue falling in last place. Furthermore, you should avoid filling the whole sign with a rainbow of color, as this prevents the eye from focusing and decreasing the impact of your sign’s key points.

  • Focus techniques. Building on our previous point, focus techniques allow you to direct the viewer’s attention to the most important parts of your sign. Try to remember the “visual hierarchy” of different design elements. Using headlines, graphics, bright colors, and high-contrast signals to the viewer that they are reading critical information.

You can learn more about custom sign design at


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