Commercial printing companies offering digital printing have made custom banners and signs for your small or medium-sized business increasingly affordable. But if you’re not big enough to warrant an on-staff graphic designer, you may still be struggling to come up with effective print designs. Here are a few tips you can keep in mind when designing advertising banners or other signs.
Vinyl banners offer small businesses a good value since they’re affordable, lightweight, and easy to hang (and re-hang) both in and outside. Custom vinyl banners can also be made in nearly any size and totally personalized for a business.
However, it’s important to think carefully about the size of the banner, particularly if you want to be able to repurpose it. The type, in particular, should be appropriate for the banner’s size and easy to read at a good distance. Take into account how far away your potential customers will be standing, either indoors or out.
Remember when designing outdoor banners that potential customers will spend only a moment—industry experts estimate that even billboards get four seconds of attention maxium—glancing at your banner. So choose a bold color scheme using between one and three shades. Banners and signs intended for inside use can use more subtle, soothing and complex color palettes, since you will have already drawn customers in and now want them to associate that pleasing experience with your store or business.
Resist the urge to fill your entire banner with words. Use images to convey your tone, and condense your message to just a short phrase, seven words or fewer, if possible. White space is an important part of good design, so remember that large format banner printing capabilities shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity to include paragraphs of type.
Sometimes, you can even use creative typography to make your copy a visual element itself. Just be sure that the most essential information—your business name, your contact information and your central message—don’t take too much deciphering.
What other tips do you have for amateurs trying to take on design projects? What design programs do you recommend for beginners? Share in the comments.