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These are my notes from session two of the pre-conference at the 2011 Orange Conference.  The presenters were Matt McKee and Kenny Conley.

Matt:  If you are a church using quippy sayings on your sign.  Stop it

Kenny: If you use Algerian font, Stop it.  I also don’t like Comic Sans

Matt: Every sign you create is about your message

Rule #1 of making signs: No more handwritten signs

Rule #2 of making signs: Never forget rule number one

Why should I care?

Kenny: We carry a really great message.  We are communicating all kinds of things, but our core message is very important

Kenny: You are a communicator and a large part of that communication is through signs.

Kenny: Anytime you hand something out or hang it on a wall, you want people to be able to understand it.  Design is important to help stay clear.

Matt: You really are being judged, whether you like it or not.

Matt: Everything you do is a message.  It is a sign.

Kenny: Effective signage is about 93% design and only 7% words

Matt: Don’t hide your website on your sign/billboard. Make it clearly visible

Matt: (In regards to certain signage) There is so much going on, I’ve missed the message.

Kenny: You don’t have to be a graphic artist to design great signs. You can design great signs.

Kenny: It doesn’t have to be fancy, as long as the audience understands what you are saying.

4 Simple Rules of Design

  1. Contrast
    • Create difference.
    • Make things boldly different to draw attention to the one thing you want to say
    • If they only see this for one second, what do I want them to see?
  2. Alignment
    • Alignment says everything is on that sign on purpose
  3. Repetition
  4. Matt: We live in a world that likes to read in 140 characters or less.  Bullet points and repetition are important

  5. Proximity
    • Group things that are related to each other close to each other

Matt: White space allows you eye to focus on something.

White space is good.

Kenny: To help you remember the four simple rules, remember CARP- Contrast, Alignment, Repetition.

If you have trouble remembering CARP, remember, if you don’t do this, your deign will look like CRAP.

Tools of the trade

GIMP is a free photoshop-esque software. Pages for Mac. Photoshop

Kenny: Using Microsoft word to design signs isn’t condusive to creating.  It is not functional enough.

Buy an old version of design software. It still does what you want, but costs way less.

Pitfalls of design

  1. Image Size
  2. Font Type
  3. Unintended Message

Matt: Image size is important.  You do not want fuzzy images.

Kenny: Use stock exchange. or spend the money on istockphoto

From Jared: They also talked about some links towards the end.  I’ll try to get some of that stuff on here later.