Friday, December 28, 2012

Recognizing Bad Signage to have Good Signage

Walmart sign
For any brick and mortar, retail or wholesale business, good signage is essential to a business's success and image. A consumer frequenting a store of most any kind for the first time will agree that it was the superior quality of the signage that initially attracted him and peaked his curiosity to enter the store in the first place.


The color combinations of bad commercial signage are truly awful. Bland, dull colors are usually used. They have no visual power or impact. They don't attract the eye and they're not the least bit enticing or exciting. Two of the most studied colors for powerful signage are red and yellow. Think of McDonald's. Red on a yellow background or yellow letters on a red background are probably the most visually impressive, potent and readable. These colors make customers want to enter the store; they draw them in because the human brain reacts in such a positive fashion to the colors red and yellow.

Font Style and  Word Length

If the font style is too thin and skinny, the sign will come across as weak. If the font is too slanted or angled or is too swirly or artistic, this too can render the sign completely unreadable. And if a sign is unreadable, what's the purpose of having the sign in the first place? The best fonts are large-sized, thick letters in all uppercase, and in the aforementioned colors. Signs with this type of font are the most noticeable and the easiest to read. They make an impression immediately after only one brief reading. Moreover, if a store has too many words in its name, that will also definitely hurt a sign. One or two words at most come across strongest. Think of Sears, Walmart, Burger King, Target, Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks and Taco Bell.


The strongest signs are also illuminated ones, whether the source of illumination is neon gas or some other type of glowing, lit background that's built into or embedded into each letter of each word. Signage that's not iluminated comes across as weak, ineffective and not persuasive. They don't draw in customers, even if the business is well known. Without illumination, it'll rarely, if ever, be a busy store, no matter what kind of business it is. If all the major retail stores in the world have illuminated signs, whether they're franchised or not, then there's a justifiable and proven reason for it to be so.

Sources/Hyperlink References

When a company or organization wants to ensure that its signage is powerful, persuasive and highly visible, they should definitely contact a trusted, highly reputable signage professional in their local area to ensure good signage. 

Posted by Eric S. Burke, guest blogger

Saturday, December 22, 2012

No More "Drugs" Signage

Why don't they have "Drugs" signs anymore?

Here's a thought. When you're out and about in our Walgreens/CVS society you might have noticed that the word "drugs" has disappeared from signage.

Keeping this fact in mind, why do you speculate that this is so when decades ago, they were commonplace? Seems as if "pharmacy" is the PC word today. Goodbye drugs; hello pharmacy.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hey Dude, Sup?

Dude Motel, West Yellowstone, Montana

Hey dude, sup?

This sign in West Yellowstone, MT is a classic. Part neon and part plastic, the colors ring out yellow red and blue.

The term dude, first used in the late 19th century, referred to a meticulously-dressed guy.

In the late 1950s it became associated with the wild West when Dean Martin played John Wayne's drunk sidekick.

The modern meaning came about with the film Easy Rider when Peter Fonda's character "Wyatt" defined it as "a nice guy" or something similar.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

China Old Plastic Sign in Market

This old plastic sign in a China Market outdoors at night is a classic. I have no idea when this sign was built, but know for a fact that it was decades ago.

You can tell by its wear and tear, not to mention a view of the Chinese that could be a bit stereotypical, or not politically correct. Just as a word common in the mid-twentieth century--oriental or orient--is now taboo, many other stereotypes of Asians were common back then. 

Hmm...stereotypes of the Chinese by the Chinese...evidently so. These "China dolls" are typical the submissive and obedient caricatures that were common in the what-could-be-considered the Golden Age of Stereotypes in America.   

That word isn't used anymore, replacing it is the word Asian. Apparently the former denotes an "otherness" that to some is offensive.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wise Framing Decisions--The Essence of Fine Art Photography

Photographic prints are wonderful when framed, as are lithographs, paintings and digital art. When framing an image of a sign, I take great care to match the picture frame and have found some perfect custom picture frames online, frames that make the sign images I put in them pop out.

I get the images to look their best, appearing multidimensional with some picture framing basics, the most important being selecting light colored frame and mat for my images. Also, I always insist on glass, as that is what makes the image look the part--classy vintage art.

Keeping in mind that frame and mat are at the top of the list when it comes to selling art, I have made a careful decision in how the is looks framed. An outstanding effect takes place when I use chevron-colored frames with the best quality white rag mats, stunning additions that enhance the colors of my sign images.

In order for my image to fit snugly into the frame, I have to measure it correctly, remembering to measure the inside-of-the-frame dimensions then input the measurements into a framing calculator. When I get my frames delivered, I can get them out to the venders who sell my work. The process is a piece of cake once the frames are delivered.

Beautiful art work requires that I put in the time making the right design decisions. Just as my photographs need to be compelling and sharp--my framing has to meticulously planned.