Sign Basics & Tips
The highest contrast color combinations are:
- Black on Yellow
- White on Black
- Yellow on Black
- Black on White
- Blue on White
- White on Blue
- Blue on Yellow
- Yellow on Blue
- Green on White
- White on Green
- Red on White
- White on Red
Text Size vs. Distance
How tall should your text be?
Maximum Readable Distance (feet)
for Graphic Design & Branding
Whether you like to keep things simple or go all out, our team of professional designers will meet with you and create the design you crave. From stock signs to complete branding, we are up to the challenge!
If you’re a new company looking to create a logo from scratch, or an existing company looking to enhance your current logo, we can make it happen.
for Case Study: Vectorizing JPG Logos
Sometimes a company has used the same logo for decades, and sometimes we receive small web-size files that need to get printed six feet wide. We can make almost any file format work … but here’s an example of a customer’s logo file that inherited issues over the years. Our bird friend lost a little here and there (check out those feet), so when it came time to print their new van … we knew he needed help!
We can create a vector file from your old logo, and update any parts you’d like — then we give you those files to take and use anywhere. Getting a shirt embroidered? Getting Yeti cups screen printed? It’s your logo; you deserve the original high-res files to take your business anywhere. Because we’re confident once you work with our staff, you won’t want to go anywhere else.
for Case Study: Copyright Images
After we wrapped an SUV for Doggie Dude Ranch, they asked if we could also do a fun wrap for their dune buggy. They call it the Road Runner, like from Looney Tunes, so could we print those characters on there?
Unfortunately, we cannot print copyrighted images … but we offered to draw a custom character that would be legal to use. Thanks to our talented staff, we were able to create a really cool scene, and doing it as a partial wrap saved hundreds of dollars for the customer.
Copyright Laws vs Fair Use Rule
It is the customer’s responsibility to have permission for us to print trademarked and copyrighted images. We assume you have permission to use your own company’s logos, brands you’re certified to service, vendors you endorse, etc. In fact, it’s possible they will pay you a small reward for featuring them in your advertising.
But our professional design team will speak up if we question whether copyrights are being used unlawfully, and we reserve the right to decline projects unless proof of permission is provided.
From the example above, Looney Tunes is obviously controlled by Warner Bros. All national sports teams are carefully protected by their leagues, as well as food and beverage companies. So no matter how much you love the Dallas Cowboys, or Monster energy drinks, we are not allowed to profit from the printing of their logos.
“But I’m a FAN and I’m advertising for them!”
Copyright violations carry a penalty of up to $150,000 per infringed work if the misconduct was willful and intentional. Trademark violations (unlawful use of a word, name, symbol or device) carries civil penalties or even jail time. The questions being asked in court are:
- Strength of the trademark: Is it well known and recognized?
- Proximity of fake goods to the real merchandise
- Similarity of the trademark to the knockoff
- Evidence of actual confusion by shoppers
- Marketing channels used by the alleged infringer
- Degree of scrutiny likely to be exercised by the consumer over whether the item is infringing on trademark rights
- Infringer’s intentions when creating the item, and
- Likelihood of the expansion of product lines.
In essence, could a shopper aiming to purchase licensed, official gear be diverted by this product? Did you benefit commercially from the infringement? You can paint a blue star on the side of your own truck, but we’re probably not going to print a “cowboy blue” star bumper sticker.
Big brands have the resources and incentives to protect their identity. Most likely, you will receive a cease and desist order to destroy the item, and you will not receive a refund from us. If you’re small enough, you could get away with it — but we’re not interested in thinking small. Our company mission is to help your business grow! Contact Us for more information.
OSHA & ADA
ADA signs must have non-glare backgrounds and characters. (Exception is for reflective parking and other traffic signs.) Glare and reflection are a major problem for persons with vision impairments, and particularly for the elderly.
All signs must have a high dark to light contrast between characters and their background. The important issue is not color, but lightness and darkness. Thus, a sign with very light gray letters on a dark charcoal gray background would be fine, but a sign with red letters on a black background would not.
All signs must have “easy to read” typefaces. The rules are different for signs that identify rooms and spaces, and signs that direct and inform. That’s because persons who are “functionally blind,” that is, have no usable vision, are able to locate doors, and therefore can locate signs adjacent to doors that identify them, but have no consistent way to find directional and information signs that could be located anywhere along corridors.
Directional and informational signs can use upper and lower case letters (recommended by many experts for visual readability) and “simple” serif typefaces of a non-decorative nature. No condensed or extended typefaces are allowed. Strokes are of medium weight, not too bold or too thin. The size of the letters is dictated by the distance of the sign from the expected position of the sign reader. Signs high upon walls or overhead must have 3 inch high characters (measured by the uppercase character).
Signs that identify rooms and spaces are to be located adjacent to the door they identify so they can be located by persons who are functionally blind. For the most part, one sign is used by both tactile and visual readers, so there are compromises to assist tactile readers. However, it is possible to use two separate signs with the same information. Tactile signs require uppercase characters in sans serif typefaces. (Helvetica is not required, other sans-serif typefaces can be used.) The characters can be from 5/8 inch to 2 inches high. The Braille must accompany the characters (below the characters) and must be Contracted Braille (formerly called Grade 2 Braille). The signs are installed 48 inches minimum from the baseline of the lowest raised character and 60 inches maximum from the baseline of the highest raised character. If pictograms are used to identify the space (example: restrooms with gender pictograms), they must be in a six inch high clear field and accompanied by a tactile character and Braille label below the field.
There are four symbols that stand for accessibility:
- International Symbol of Access, or “wheelchair symbol.” It’s used generally to show that persons with mobility impairments can access entrances, restrooms, or pathways.
- The other three are specifically for persons with hearing impairments:
- The “ear” symbol is the International Symbol of Access for Hearing Loss, and is used to show the availability of an assistive listening system.
- The “keyboard” symbol stands for a TTY or text telephone.
- The “phone” symbol with sound waves stands for the availability of a volume controlled phone.