While people seem to have a loose understanding of Graphic Design, they often minimize the layers of complexity and the scope of the field. It is generally understood that graphic designers do art electronically, but design goes far beyond social media. Between fun graphics for concert posters, the packaging on literally every product in your home and the logos and branding for businesses; the scope of what a graphic designer does is broad.

What is Graphic Design?

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According to Wikipedia, “Graphic Design is a process of visual communication that utilizes typography, photography, iconography and illustration. Graphic designers work to create and combine symbols, images and text to form visual representations of ideas and messages.” They combine elements of visual communication and communication design principals to create a visual representation of the ideas and message at hand.

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Every day we come in contact with hundreds of applications of the work of graphic designers, and yet we don’t often think about them. “Common applications include corporate design (logos and branding), editorial design (magazines, newspapers and books), way finding or environmental design, advertising, web design, communication design, product packaging, and signage.”

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All of these elements are highly interconnected, but today we are going to focus on what graphic design in the sign industry entails!

Sign Design and Graphic Design in the Sign Industry

When it comes to designing signs there are a few essential elements: Typography, Color Palette, Branding for the Business, Shapes utilized, dimensional elements and questions of lighting all play a critical role in designing any sign!

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Typography: “Typography is the art of arranging letters and text in a way that makes the copy legible, clear and visually appealing to the reader. Typography includes font style, appearance, and structure which aims to elicit certain emotions and convey specific messages.” Typography is especially important with sign design because the purpose of a sign is to get your business noticed and provide useful information, if the font is illegible in any way that defeats the purpose of the sign.

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Color Theory: When it comes to the colors used in a sign, a company logo or any artistic outlet there are specific theories that govern the emotions and impact given colors have. Many people are familiar with Primary colors (red, yellow and blue) from childhood art classes, but color theory goes beyond color wheels. Choosing a color palette that is pleasing to look at is essential for a successful brand, logo and sign. Sign designers need to have a solid grasp of how different colors work together.

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Color Psychology: Along with traditional color theories as to which colors work together, there is a science behind how colors make you feel. Red is a color of passion and excitement and creates a sense of urgency which plays a part in why it is so often used in fast food restaurants. Blue is said to be a calming and healing color and it is linked with qualities of loyalty and security which validates its common use in security and finance industries. When it comes to what your branding makes others feel about you, selecting the correct colors is essential!

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Branding: When it comes to having a successful business, a cohesive branding package is paramount. “A cohesive, well designed brand can differentiate your business from competitors, build trust with your audience and give them the right first impression.” Having a set branding guide with variations of your logo, defined fonts, colors and design elements significantly improves the ease of promoting your business. The more specific you are in the guide, the more likely your brand will be cohesive across all platforms!

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Shapes: Just like how the colors you choose impact the appearance, the shapes used in both logo design and sign design have a significant effect on how your business is perceived. Circles and rounded shapes are secure and continual whereas rectangles and squares are representative of stability and balance. These elements are key when it comes to designing a sign because rectangles are the norm and the element of stability is overcast by the commonality of the shape.

Dimensional Components: Unlike other applications of graphic design, sign design revolves around three dimensional elements. While many signs are flat with printed or cut vinyl applied to them, there are many dimensional components that a sign designer needs to consider when it comes to designing a unique and memorable sign!

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Illumination: Many signs remain unlit, but when various illumination methods come into play (internally, halo lit, front lit et.) the process develops another level of complexity!

The goal of a graphic designer in the sing industry is to create an image or message that attracts the attention of the traffic (foot or vehicular) passing by and instill an image or message to the reader that is attention grabbing and memorable. Balancing all the elements can be a complicated task, but when they all come together it creates a bold and effective sign package!

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As a local full service sign company, we specialize in sign design: from logos to monument signs to vehicle wraps and everything in between! Our graphic designers and sign design specialists are experts in their field and are eager to create a custom sign package for your business!

Want to learn more? Contact us today for a free quote!

We believe that getting you noticed is PARAMOUNT, and that starts with a beautiful sign design!

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