Customized Signs: Follow the 3 Cs of Design

Good design is as a little design as possible. This principle, first laid out by German industrial designer Dieter Rams, refers to the idea that simplicity often makes for the best in design. We are often tempted to overcrowd and over stimulate costumers with loud signs. In realty, a clean and committed sign will get your business further. Without stepping foot into a graphic design class, you can follow these basic rules for determining appealing design.


Big and small, black and white, harsh and soft, in the business of designs not only do opposites attract, they complement each other quite nicely. In order to make that bolded font really stand out, there must be a subtle background. The principle of contrast may seem simple at first, everyone knows not to use yellow on a white background, but designers are constantly finding innovative ways to use contrast to draw your eyes in closer. The next time you examine a sign, look for contrast in size, shape and color. Notice how it holds your gaze for longer than a signs that neglect this design trick.


This principle may seem contrary to using contrast. The key is to use these principles in tandem. If you’re using contrasting colors, find another symbol or way of keeping the consistency. Is the lettering varying in size, but held together by symmetry? Consistency is also key when designing a series of signs. Like a collection going down the runway, good designers can play with contrast and color while finding a common thread. This triggers your brains memory and causes costumers to form a familiarity with your design and brand.


You don’t have to create a rainbow to stop costumers on a rainy day. The use of color should be used as an accent to guide viewers through the important information on you sign. Graphic designers refer to this as “eye flow.” Just like those bright orange cones direct traffic, your sign should use color to highlight important information and create a visual hierarchy. Using balance and a color that identifies with the mood and tone of your business is key to quality design.

Evaluating design can seem like translating a foreign language, but it doesn’t have to be a lost cause. With these basic rules of design, you can help determine how to best present your brand. Talk to the designers at Kachina Sign Center in Tucson for more tips and ideas on how to best present your brand.