A Piece Of Cake Introduction To Layout In Sign Design

Philippines Bakery Ad PitoMPungKalabasa DeviantArt.com

Bread & Butter Bakery Banner

Even if your sign’s subject isn’t edible, the layout should always be tantalizing and appealing to your audience. This bakery ad banner seems to open up a whole world of possibilities for buying a cake for every occasion. Depth in the layout is created stylishly with one cake in the foreground as a focal point, yet the other cakes still look just as appetizing and detailed.

Now imagine these same cake images in different sign or banner layouts. What if they were placed in an oblong shape instead or in rows or columns? Likely, none of these layout strategies would be as effective in creating the interest and depth by adding one cake in the foreground and the others in two contrasting lines in the background. More than one cake shown in a larger scale in the foreground would split the focal point which is typically a big mistake in design. The layout lesson here is to consider your options to decide on a final image organization that follows basic design rules and commands the attention you want from your viewers.



Of course, another way to showcase multiple images in sign design is to overlap them as shown on this scrapbook page. The technique can work to display products as long as the effect isn’t too cluttered or difficult to view.

Pet Grooming Salon Sign Danville, Kentucky AwcCountryCaneCorso.com

Bubbles & Bows Pet Grooming Sign
Danville, Kentucky

This business sign above with an overlapped layout works because everything is still readable. The name of the business wisely stands out from the rest of the information in the sign because it’s angled to capture the eye and add interest to the overall design. “Juxtaposition” is the graphic design term for this layout principle that can also be used with images rather than text as in this scrapbook page below:

Scrapbook By Doris Sander DebbieHodge.com

Scrapbook By Doris Sander

Debbie Hodge uses this page as a good example of how placing an image off-center “within solid visual design” is going to help “catch the viewer’s attention.” Remember that you can often find inspiration for your own sign layouts in many places such as scrapbooks, book covers and even the way a room is designed in a home or business.

In addition to sometimes using juxtaposition in your sign designs, you may want to experiment with design principles such as an ‘E’ or ‘F’ shaped layout for your images and text. Don’t overdo it by using too many different layout concepts on one project and always think about your viewer. Every component of your sign must be legible and easy to view.

Grace Kelly Life Magazine Cover April 26, 1954 Life.Time.com

Grace Kelly
Life Magazine Cover
April 26, 1954

One image in a design can be really striking as this classic Life Magazine cover of Grace Kelly shows. On a sign, you’ll have to decide whether you want a single image or caption to stand out more in your layout. Brainstorm different ideas with your end result in mind before choosing the layout that will get your message across in the most effective way.

To get started in layout, using a grid — either actual horizontal and vertical lines to make squares across your design, or imaginary lines — can be really helpful. The grid method may help you decide on how much clear space to include in your overall design as well as how wide or narrow your margins should be because these elements, as well as the text and images, must all be balanced to fit into the grid’s squares.