Culture, Art and Colour in Signs

A Quickfire Guide to Creating Accessible Signs for Your Small Business

In any small business, branding is crucial. Creating the logos and other materials that will represent your business to the world can be a fun and exciting project and a chance to get your creative juices flowing; however, proceed with caution. While the temptation is certainly there to 'think outside the box' in creating eye-catching signs which will help you to stand out from the crowd, there are fundamental principles of sign design which must not be overlooked. Consider the following tips to ensure that you and your business get the most out of your signs.

Put Legibility First

One thing to never forget is that the purpose of a sign is to convey information. With over half of the Australian population reporting at least one long-term eye condition or visual impairment, it is imperative that efforts are made with signage to maximise the clarity of the information provided. When it comes to fonts, keep it simple. Avoid overly stylized text to maximise the chance that your sign can be understood by all and take efforts to ensure that there is adequate spacing between logos, images and informative text. Avoid excessive shadowing in favour of a more clearly defined typeface. In addition to aiding understanding, you will most likely be left with a cleaner, more professional finished product.

Consider Contrasts

For people with visual impairments, it is extremely important that text contrasts sufficiently with its background. Consider contrast in tone (i.e. light text on a darker background) and also contrast in colour. For people with colour blindness, red text on a green background or other combinations of green, red and brown can create problems with legibility. Avoid these colour combinations entirely to ensure that your business is easily identifiable from your sign. And always opt for a matte finish rather than a glossy finish on signs. Shiny surfaces reflect light, creating glare which can significantly affect a sign's legibility.

Maximise Font Sizes

For information included on exterior signs, such as your website or phone number, ensure that the featured text is adequately large. Consider the likely viewing distances for people viewing your sign, and adjust text sizes accordingly. It is prudent to print some sample text in advance, and test this out at a variety of distances to ensure that the sizes on your final sign are adequate and easily read.

The Take-Home Message

Whether you are designing your sign yourself, or handing the job over to a professional, ensure that the simple considerations offered above are followed to avoid alienating potential customers. Business can be hard to come by, so be sure to give your customers the best possible signs. Good luck!