Big Sign Design Tips: How to Handle Billboards and Large Signs

Big Sign Design Tips: How to Handle Billboards and Large Signs

When it comes to sign design, size matters! Though many design principles translate from small to large scale pieces, there are some important considerations you need to make when working with billboards and big signs. In today’s post, we share some big sign design tips; read on to learn four ways to build better signage from our team.


  • Big signs shouldn’t mean big word count. When it’s time to layout a business card, most people understand the importance of brevity, but this same understanding doesn’t always translate to sign design. It’s easy to show some restraint when you’re working with a 3.5” by 2” card – space is tight – but billboards and large signs have so much canvas to work with that it can be hard to resist overdoing things. Too many business owners confuse longer messages with better ones, and end up boring or confusing their reader. Worse still, they force readers to search for their brand name, message, and contact information. A big sign can make a big impact without a huge wall of text. Just like any other sign, big billboards should be designed in a way that makes them easy to read and take in at a glance from long distance. The industry formula is often referred to as the “3 by 5” rule, which suggests that the best signs have either: 1) three lines of text, up to five words each, or 2) five lines of text, up to three words each. Keep this rule in mind as you work through your drafting phase.
  • Think carefully about your location. Where will your sign be set up? This is a very important consideration to make during the design phase. If you intend to place it on the sidewalk, you must ensure it’s not too big to interrupt the natural flow of foot traffic or create any blind spots at crossings and corners. Billboards that will sit at the horizon should be painted in colors that contrast with the background of open sky. Moving signs such as car-mounted advertisements should be highly visual, succinct, and require very little reading.Location will also influence a number of other sign display factors. Certain areas may be regulated by local bylaws controlling the types of messages, images, or words that appear on your sign. Be sure to check the local policies surrounding business signage before you sink too much time into development.
  • Go big with color. Big signs are big opportunities to capture the attention of your business’s target demographic. Use colors that represent your brand’s energy and emotion to further your identity, and evoke feelings with passionate reds, cautionary yellows, or mellow greens to make your ads more compelling. You should show restraint with your words on big signs, but embrace your wild side with color accents!
  • Don’t clutter your graphics. In terms of images and graphics, big signs do best with bold, singular visuals. A simple focal point helps catch readers’ eyes, rather than disorienting them and encouraging their eye to wander around – and usually off – your sign.


Get more help with billboards and big signs

The Sign World team offers free consultations for business owners seeking help with large signs and billboard design. Visit our website at and give us a call to book!

About Signworld

Signworld is a national organization with more than 240 independently owned sign companies, which provide commercial custom signage and graphics. It’s personable, creative, rewarding and ideal for people-oriented individuals who have the desire to learn how to manage a sales and production business. Signworld has been a part of the industry’s profit and fun since 1988. With over 27 years in the business, Signworld has established itself as the leader in the no-royalties and no-rules sign business concept. The ongoing support and training along with state-of-the-art equipment helps leave the competition behind. For more details visit –


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