Signs Your Sign Has Bad Design

There are a number of ways in which a sign can be well-executed, and conversely, there are plenty of ways in which its design can only hurt you. For the sake of relevance, we’ll focus on business sign design today.


As one of the leading sign companies in Philly, seeing a great one that knocks the socks off of our feet gives us quite an adrenaline rush, but the caveat is, the bad ones also make us cringe and cry. Let’s go over the what not to-do’s and from there, you can help us in our mission to make the signs of the world look great!


Too Much Clutter

Sure, you want the world to know about everything, EVERYTHING you do, so it can be tempting to try and squeeze way too much information onto one sign. But the problem is, through all that clutter, the likelihood that anything at all will be comprehended is slim to none. So when it comes to your sign, make sure to limit its message to a few of the most important aspects of your business, and once you get the customers in the door, you can tell them about all the tertiary good stuff you have to offer them! If you own a pizza place, you probably also have a bunch of other menu items besides pizza, but you don’t need to list them all on your sign.


Where’s the Hierarchy?

Hieratic scale, or hieratical proportion, is an age-old tactic used in art to allow viewers to easily determine who’s more important than others. Basically, the scale is skewed on purpose to show the most important figures physically larger, and higher above, than others. The same idea should be applied to text, but often it isn’t. Signs that show all text in the same size are subconsciously confusing because they don’t break the message down by importance. As a rule of thumb, your brand goes first and largest, followed by the basic service it offers in medium-size text, finally depicting tertiary information in the smallest font.



Illegibility is the root of all design-based evil. Don’t pick fonts that people can’t read! Sans serif typefaces are generally pretty legible, so when it comes to the important factual information, it’s usually smart to go with one of those. That’s not to say that you can’t use serif fonts, but just make extra sure your customers can read what you’re trying to tell them! What’s the point of communication if it’s communicated ineffectively?


Clash of the Colors

More colorful does not equal better. More color usually equals tackier. Complimentary colors are those that lie across from each other on the color wheel. For example, red and green. That doesn’t mean you’ll see red telling green how nice its outfit looks today, though. It means they’re as far off from each other as is possible. And when it comes to design, that means they help one another pop out. Red text over a green backdrop will stick out easily, in other words. Yellow text over a green background will not stick out or be easily comprehended at all. Make sure to limit your signs’ colors (to maybe two or three), and get their relationships straight; then you’ll be good to go!


There’s a lot to remember when it comes to effective design, but don’t sweat it too much! Whether it’s an LED sign for you Philadelphia area business, or something else, we’ll be glad to help you get squared away and create something stunning that impresses your clients. Give us a call today to learn more!