19+ Sign Examples, Templates & Design Ideas in Illustrator

Before there were GPS systems and Google-based maps, people relied on road signs to find out their exact locations. While technology has made it a lot easier for us to navigate around foreign lands, signs still play a significant role in our everyday lives.

A sign can be used for a variety of purposes. But for it to serve its intended function, it must be created clearly and carefully enough for viewers to comprehend.

Key Elements of a Sign

To make a sign that is visible, legible, and readable, it must comprise of the following elements:

1. Size: A sign should be large enough to be seen by its intended audience. Factors such as viewing distance and traffic speeds can take a huge toll on its readability, especially during dangerous conditions such as heavy rainfall and snowstorms. Thus, the size of your text along with that of your platform should be carefully assessed to ensure a better impact on viewers.

2. Color: Let’s take the huge McDonald’s business signage as an example. Based on color psychology, the combination of red and yellow in its logo design is believed to increase one’s sense of hunger. The said color selection is also known to have the highest level of color contrast, keeping the sign legible and readable from a distance.

3. Font: As much as you want to use stylish fonts to help your signage stand out, always remember to put function over form. It’s important to select fonts that are legible from an expected distance. Sans serif fonts tend to be a common option as they’re almost always easier to read from afar. So before you decide which ones to use, be sure to check out and compare different font styles for assurance.

4. Layout: Another component that can greatly impact the readability of your sign is the placement and organization of information. This is especially important for signs that carry a load of text for readers to grasp. It’s a good idea to divide them into sections and to arrange them in a logical manner to maintain a smooth flow.

5. Content: Whether you’re creating a business sign or a welcome signage, your purpose is made known through the content of your sign. Some signs are made to identify a location, promote a brand, or to list a store’s product or service offers. The content of your sign should make it easy for viewers to determine the message you are trying to communicate.

10+ Sign Templates

Business Sign

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Door Sign

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Emergency Sign

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Event Sign Template

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No Smoking Sign

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Real Estate Sign

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Sale Sign

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Security Sign

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Warehouse Sign

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Workplace Sign Template

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10+ Sign Examples

Bike Lane Sign

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Boating Safety Sign

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College Campus Welcome Sign

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Emergency Alert Sign

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Hazard Communication Pictogram Sign

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Hazard Sign

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Marine Caution Sign

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Road Narrows on Right Sign

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Road Repair Sign

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Warning Sign

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How to Create a Sign that Works

Signs are typically posted for public view. They function as a type of notice to inform viewers of a particular matter. Thus, a sign must provide accurate information to ensure the safety and awareness of its intended audience. So when it comes to designing and creating custom signs, take note of the points listed below.

1. Make use of universal symbols: Warning signs and those used for a similar sense ensure the safety of others. Knowing this, it’s essential to use universal symbols that the general public share a common knowledge of. The same rule applies for traffic signs and other road signs. Despite the language, cultural, or age barriers, viewers should know the meaning of the sign without second thoughts.

2. Convey meaning with colors: Colors allow us to interpret a message more clearly than usual. Aside from observing the right contrast of colors, consider choosing colors that convey a deeper meaning. The color red, for instance, represents danger and warning, while yellow signifies caution before proceeding. This adds emphasis and further meaning to what we already understand, therefore, leaving a greater impact to viewers. You may also see sign examples.

3. Use plain font styles: Unless you’re creating a sign to advertise your business or to guide attendees of an event, stick to a simple and plain text with your sign. This enables viewers to take in the information more quickly for an effective delivery. Entering text in capital letters can also help highlight the meaning of the sign. Be sure to experiment with typography before finalizing your text.

4. Proofread: There’s nothing worse than a sign containing a few minor yet noticeable spelling or grammar errors. Once printed, the only way to correct these mistakes is through a pen and an adhesive paper. So to ensure a clean and crisp design, remember to proofread your content before having it printed. You can also ask a friend or colleague to review the sign to gain input regarding how the sign appears and what they have understood from it.

Simple Tips to Make an Effective Sign

Since we’ve already established the basics of crafting a sign, it’s time we move forward to find out how you can achieve a clear, readable, and aesthetically pleasing layout. Refer to the following tips and you should be on your way:

  • Keep it simple: A good sign should quickly and clearly get a message across at first glance. Thus, using as few words as possible should be a challenge worth taking. Keep in mind that passersby, especially motorists, only have a few seconds to decipher what is conveyed in a sign. The length of your sign usually depends on its function and end goal.
  • Leave room for white space: The use of white space can never be emphasized enough. Along the lines of keeping it simple, this so-called white space refers to the blank area surrounding your texts and graphics. The last thing you would want to do is to overwhelm viewers with a wordy and design-filled layout, so it’s best to apply white space wherever necessary. You may also see price signage designs
  • Choose readable typefaces: Font choice is a crucial decision to make. This could affect the readability of your text elements in the best or worst way possible. Since unreadable fonts are basically useless, be careful when choosing typefaces. Using multiple font styles or all caps might not be a good idea either. Conducting various readability tests is also essential in ensuring the best outcome for your sign.
  • Select colors that work: Colors can be tricky at times. You need to choose a combination that not only looks good but also remains readable from a fair distance. Using colors that contrast beautifully with various outdoor elements is a good technique to apply as well. This should remain consistent to prevent a scattered and busy atmosphere.
  • Use images carefully: Some signs rely on images as opposed to texts to deliver a message. Though we tend to grasp illustrations a lot better, the wrong ones could potentially send the wrong message to viewers. This will only make it difficult for viewers to understand what you’re trying to translate through the shapes or figures displayed. Like a logo design, these images need to be clear, direct, and relevant to what viewers need to know.

Types of Signs

Signs are generally classified into the following categories:

  • Warning Signs: Signs that are placed outside abandon buildings, slippery floor spaces, and accident-prone roadways are known as warning signs. These signs alert civilians of potential risks and dangers caused by a variety of factors. They typically come in red or yellow colors (or a combination of both) to draw more attention. A warning or caution signage also uses texts and symbols to send a clear message to viewers.
  • Road Signs: Although road signs may be considered as warning signs, because of their significance in our day-to-day lives, it’s important to take a closer look into them. Road signs help ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians to prevent potential road accidents and other disasters caused by ignorance or reckless driving. Student drivers are required to learn these signs as they undergo a series of tests to get their license. These signs are enforced by various laws and provisions, and anyone who fails to obey them may suffer the consequences.
  • Business Signs: These are signs put up by business owners to inform employees and customers about certain matters. This can be anything from an Open/Close door sign to a Don’t Leave Your Belongings Unattended sign in the dining area of a restaurant. An indoor or outdoor signage used by businesses tend to be more creative as well. It’s important to keep these signs short and simple for easy comprehension.
  • Event Signs: This type of signs is often used to guide participants around the event venue. In a wedding reception, for example, some of your guests are likely to have a hard time looking for the event area, the restroom, or the open bar. Like  a table card, these event signs can help keep your event in order for everyone’s convenience.

Sign FAQs

What is a sign?

The definition of a sign can vary in different fields. But as a countable noun, a sign refers to a piece of wood, metal, or plastic containing words or images on it. It’s a form of communication used to direct traffic and keep travelers or passersby informed. This is a simple way of providing a warning, instruction, or information about something for those who might need it.

What is the difference between a sign and a symbol?

While signs and symbols are both considered as graphical presentations, what separates one from the other is how a sign is a language on its own that communicates a message to an audience, while a symbol is more subjective in nature and requires further interpretation by the viewer. The message conveyed by a sign is generally acknowledged by those belonging to a specific geographical location as well.

What size sign do I need?

The right size would depend on many different factors. This includes the amount of information to include, the distance between the viewer and the signage, along with whether the viewer is in a standing or moving motion. Parking signs, for instance, are usually 18 × 12 inches. A street signage for an office or store space, however, can be anywhere from 4 × 5 ft to 6 × 8 ft in size.

So there you have it! Communicate information through a clear and readable sign today with the help of the templates and design ideas provided in this article.