According to DPI Insights magazine/FLAAR Reports, indoor and outdoor advertising are a basic part of advertising. In most cases, you use large format printing. Currently, different techniques and different types of materials have been developed to make these advertising campaigns more creative. This article appears in Sign Africa Journal.
The biggest challenge is scale, since your signage is going to be a lot larger in size than what you are accustomed to. Other things to consider when designing signage are location, colour, typography, contrast and material the sign will be printed on. Thinking about each of these factors in advance will help you avoid mistakes in the long run.
Here are some things you should consider when designing or printing large format signs:
Indoor Or Outdoor
Whether your sign will be placed inside or outside is a determining factor, since indoor signs are less exposed to the elements, so you do not need as much protection as with outdoor signs. Since outdoor signage runs the risk of getting wet, you should consider using latex, solvent or UV-curable inks, onto any material that is waterproof, or apply a protective coating layer or lamination.
Media And Substrates
When deciding to print material for indoor and outdoor, we must understand that different materials are used for each environment and that can be affected by the longevity of the ink, exposure to light and elements, etc.
• Canvas: also in glossy and matte, which has similar characteristics to vinyl. The canvas type mesh is perforated after printing, enabling a higher resistance when it is placed in windy areas; and the backlight is used for illuminated advertising, since it allows the passage of light without changing the colours of the print. The advantage is that canvas and vinyl are materials that are impermeable and of higher strength.
• Sintra board sheet: a lightweight polyvinyl chloride print that is used for exhibitions, decks, backboards and outdoor marketing displays. Sintra printing is affordable, flexible and doesn’t require much attention.
• Window graphics: this type of product allows a type of advertising in which your vehicle windows or business storefront can be used to enhance advertising for a one-time cost (it depends on where you put it). Vinyl window graphics can be opaque, translucent (perforated to allow light in) or transparent. They can also have permanent or removable adhesive.
• Other materials which are used in printing are large fabrics and PVC, which are used in X-Banners, roll-ups or banners. They are not as large as structures and are useful for shops or outdoor use in conventions or events, which should be placed, moved and removed in a short time.
Outdoor designs should be simple, clear and easy to read, because you only have a few minutes to read them. Digital billboards should be legible from 152,4m away.
Use Bold, Non-Serif Fonts
Always use large, legible typefaces. At 152,4m (500 feet), thin lines optically fade or break up. Avoid decorative, italic, or serif fonts. As a general rule, upper and lower case sans serif fonts provide the best readability. When designing for digital outdoor, we highly recommend adding a thin dark stroke around the text to separate it from the background.
Stick To One Message Or Idea
Simplify everything. Don’t present a complex message or numerous images. Have one thing that you want your audience to do or to recognise. The best outdoor signs reduce a complex message to its essential elements.
Use no more than ten words total on the entire billboard – and that includes the logo/product tagline. We recommend seven words or less for the headline. Keep the words short for faster comprehension.
Being subtle does not work at great distances. Strong contrast in both hue and value are essential for creating good digital Out-of-Home campaigns. Signage design needs to be simple: it needs to grab your attention quickly with a clear message that is easy to read and visible from a distance.
Is it going to be placed on an existing structure, like a billboard, or is it going to be hanged? You need to think what kind of structure will support the sign in order to choose the media and format for the sign. Don’t forget to include a call to action and to make it memorable.