Many signs, banners, and commercial graphics are eye-catching, communicate effectively, and spot-on in their design. On the other hand, the signs and banners that are poorly designed turn viewers away, are confusing, or are just plain ugly! So, what makes a bad sign or graphic?

Signs Gone Wrong

We’ve all seen the bad signs posted on social media that have missed the mark for various reasons. Whether it’s a typo, misused wording, or unintended meaning. When signs go wrong, they can be a big hit on social media and even get plenty LOL comments, but this isn’t the type of attention you want for your business.

The Characteristics of a Bad Sign or Graphic

  • It uses bad color combinations and contrasts
  • It’s difficult to understand and confusing
  • It’s off-brand and doesn’t look like the rest of company’s visual branding
  • It doesn’t share the business’s most important message
  • It’s poorly designed and lacks information hierarchy
  • It doesn’t utilize the space available
  • Fonts are too small and difficult to read
  • No phone, website, or any form of contact information is given

Back to Sign Basics

On any type of sign, banner, or commercial graphics, the message should be obvious. All your graphics should be on-brand using your company’s established logo, colors, fonts, or other design elements. It’s not a good marketing practice to share several different branded looks across different advertising channels such as your print ads, vehicles and website.

A successful brand builds trust: it’s recognizable in many forms and relates to the consumer. You want to be sure to have consistent visuals in your branding and carry the look of your company’s brand throughout all your marketing. Sharing who you are and what you stand for, should be shared across media in a unified way.

If you don’t know how to start defining your brand. Our blog, Who’s Defining Your Brand?, is a great short read, and starting point, that asks simple questions to get your mind thinking about your brand and how you want to present it to your target audience.

A Little More About Your Brand… It’s More Than Your Logo.

Recognizing, promoting, and unifying your brand can be the difference between profit and loss, between success and failure. In an article by Inc.com, How the Power of Brand Purpose Can Save Your Business, they shared their thoughts about branding, “Put simply, brand purpose is the reason you exist, your point, the why you, instead of a dozen others. And the reason for existing is almost never to make a widget or offer a product or present a service. It’s deeper than that. Your brand purpose comes from what you offer the consumer that no one else does. Why they want to work with you, and not someone else.”

Keep It Simple

Obviously, the most important task of any graphic advertisement is to share a message. That’s accomplished by staying on brand and keeping it simple.

Whether a consumer is driving, or walking, there are thousands of messages fighting for their attention — signs, banners, billboards, and other advertising is everywhere. It’s impossible to take them all in, and even the best only receives a few seconds of anyone’s attention.

When designing graphics for a moving vehicle or a sign that people drive by, less is more. Short and sweet, simple, and to the point are the keys to creating a graphic that does its job. And what’s that job? Its job is to capture people’s attention and then share a message. Too much information, too many words, multiple images, and distracting colors take away from the task at hand. If you want your brand to grab attention and your graphics to pop, keep it simple.

Listen to Your Designer

I don’t know who designs all those bad signs on social media, but if I had to guess, it wasn’t a professional graphic designer. An experienced graphic designer can save you from the embarrassment of any unintentional, off-putting, or offensive messaging. There’s a lesson to be learned…the lesson is to let the professionals do their job. Ask for their advice, give your input, share your purpose, and then, let them create the best graphics for

Forbes.com explains it best in their article, How To Work Successfully With A Graphic Design Firm: Tips For Entrepreneurs And Business Leaders. Allow your graphics professionals creative leeway rather than forcing them to paint by numbers. You won’t get your money’s worth if you require them to execute precisely what you have in mind, rather than letting them add their creativity to the equation, so take a leap of faith and find out what they can come up with. Be open-minded to fresh concepts that offer the possibility of making your message unique and memorable.”

An experienced graphic designer can save you from the embarrassment of any unintentional, off-putting, or offensive messaging.

If you’d like to avoid the embarrassment of a bad sign, our professional staff of graphic designers specialize in large format signs, banners, and commercial graphics, such as graphics for windows, walls, and floors. TKO Graphix would love to help you with your next commercial graphics sign or banner.

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