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Four Building Signage Secrets from our Signage Experts

Updated: Jul 17, 2019

A lot goes into designing a quality sign and even the most seemingly simple signs require plenty of consideration, skill and creativity. Signs need to be simple and easy to read, yet unique and striking – and grab people’s attention in a matter of seconds.


It’s a tall order, but the talented sign writers at Onform Signs are always up to the challenge. Here are four secrets that our signwriting team employs when they’re designing building signs in Auckland and across New Zealand.


1. Less is More


Did you know that the average building sign has fewer than five seconds to be viewed by passing motorists? When it comes to external signage, you don’t have a lot of time to catch people’s eye, which is why our signage team typically limit building signage to just seven letters or less.


Signs need not be overcrowded with too many words; they have to get straight to the heart of the message, communicating the business type and name as quickly and concisely as possible. Luckily signwriters are less Tolstoy and more Hemingway – we know how to make every single word count!

2. Fonts, Kerning and Negative Space


Getting lettering right is a very important part of a business’s sign and it involves more than

just scrolling through fonts on a word document and choosing your favourite one. Of course, the font has to match the style of the business – a funeral service using comic sans would look all sorts of wrong! – but while matching font to business style is vital, signage companies use several other, lesser-known tricks for effective and aesthetically-pleasing lettering.


Some of those tricks include contrasting font colours; combination fonts (using a different font for capital and lower-case letters); feature lettering (where a single letter within a word stands out from the rest); kerning (adjusting spaces between letters to make it easier on the eye); and negative space (leaving enough empty area on the sign to give the eye a break).

3. Think about Visibility and Readability


Sign makers don’t think about your sign in isolation – it has to look right on location as well as in the workshop. We consider the building’s environment to make sure your sign is visible and easy to read. How will the afternoon sun will hit your sign? Do we have to contend with busy traffic lights nearby? What are the colours of surrounding signage?


These are just some of the questions sign makers ask when designing building signs, and for any environmental challenges that design won’t fix, we have tricks like backlighting and 3D lettering.


4. Location, Location, Location


Just like in real estate, location is everything when it comes to building signs. While you can’t change the street your building lives on, signage specialists will carefully choose an ideal spot to place your sign, maximizing the number of eyes that fall upon it each day.


We consider which side of your building will be sign-written and whether the sign will be centred or off to one side. We think about the building’s height and where the majority of your audience coming from. The science of sign hanging will help us reach your sign’s potential.


Interested in putting these signage tricks into action for? Call Onform Signs in Auckland and speak to us about creating effective signs for your business today.



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