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April 03, 2006

Nephew art signs are a tragic waste

A sign should enhance your brand and communicate a positive message about your business. It doesn’t have to be beautiful, but it does need to be appropriate.

I expect magic-marker-on-cardboard signs at the farmer’s market. And I expect well-lit permanent signs on retail businesses. What amazes me is how many businesses invest a lot in high-end sign hardware and nothing in the sign content.

(In fact, "nephew art" is a recognized problem in the professional sign business, and the source of many ethical dilemmas.)

A local bank has 18 branches and an acceptable logo. They did not ask the graphic designer to show them how to use the logo on signage, though. Every time I drive past their large, expensive, backlit, ugly sign, I think to myself that this bank doesn’t know what it is doing. (I was amazed to find out they have 18 branches.)

A local real estate agency spent a fortune on signs I see all over town. It is clear they didn’t spend a penny on what the sign looks like. The “art” is straight out of a word processor.

As a rule of thumb, you are wasting money if you didn’t spend a quarter of the cost of your new sign on the art. (This is why the magic-marker-on-cardboard signs are okay. At the farmer’s market.)

As a rule of life, you are wasting money if you have a sign made with art created in Microsoft Word. Or using the Papyrus font.

Posted by Bob Pritchett at April 3, 2006 05:00 AM

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As a designer, I understand why this is the case, but it may be good to note it for folks that don't. It's poor branding/identity and makes anyone or any business look average and not at all together... among other things. :)

Good article/post though!

Posted by: AH at April 4, 2006 12:41 AM

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