Designing an outdoor vinyl banner, teardrop banner or bow banner for your business is not as easy as it seems. Besides the obvious major decisions - such as shape, colour, size and wording - many people don’t realise how important the choice of font is in the overall effectiveness of the sign. In other words, a banner is pointless if customers cannot read it.
When it comes to design, there are a few things to keep in mind, but the most important is that the typeface is clear to readers. With only about three to five seconds to grab a person’s attention (for vehicle traffic, pedestrian traffic allows for a long time), choosing a font that gets your message across quickly is essential for the outdoor banner to be effective with increasing profitability. If it is difficult or awkward to read, people are unlikely to read the banner at all. Although there are only 5 main categories of fonts, within these categories there are thousands of different styles to choose from. The choice is endless, but there are a few that are favoured more than others.
This style of font is where letters have angular lines (called serifs) coming from the top and bottom. The most common example is the Times New Roman font, but other popular choices used in graphic design are Bodoni, Garamond and Trajan.
In French, ‘sans’ is translated to mean ‘without’. Therefore this style of font is without the angular lines, and is one of the best choices for banners and signs because it is the most legible. The most favoured fonts in this style are Frutiger, Futura and Helvetica.
Fonts that fall within the newpaper text category are generally used sparingly and primarily reserved for headings, as they are difficult to read. Developed around the handwriting of Monks, the text-style fonts are a good way for businesses to convey a renaissance impression.
Minimal use with these styles of fonts is recommended, as they can also be difficult to for an audience to read. Strong contrast colours should be used whenever this font is used.
Script and cursive
These, too, can be difficult to read, especially if the person is in a hurry. Although script (unjoined letters) and cursive (joined letters) resemble real handwriting, they can cause problems with delivering a clear message and are best used in a formal setting. Whatever style of font you choose for your outdoor banner, make sure that you maximise its effectiveness in a few simple ways:
- Determine your target audience and where the sign is going to be placed, as this allows you to ensure the font is the correct size for the reader. There is a vast difference between designing a banner for above a restaurant when compared to designing a banner for a roadside or highway.
- Minimise the use of colour. Signs that are too busy can be difficult to decipher. Try to have bold, contrasting colours.
- Stick to simplicity, and be concise with the message. Try to keep the word count at a maximum of seven words, as too many words adds clutter and confusion to the banner.
- Avoid mixing fonts where possible. Keep to just one to give the sign a consistent feel.
When you have finished your design, make sure you check out Easy Signs range of banners and flags to get the best quality and price for your signage.