Sign & Digital Graphics

October '17

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66 • October 2017 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ARCHITECTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL I am obsessed with signs and sign design. But before my first job at a sign com- pany, it was not like that. My first day on the job at a custom electric sign company was a tough one. Why? Simply because I was a graphic designer who had zero experience designing signs. In my mind, I was con- vinced I could design signs. My attitude was, "I am a designer, why do I need to learn to design signs? What's the differ- ence?" When I speak with a graphic designer about sign design, the most common phrase I hear is, "I can design signs; What's so hard about it?" To explain signage to a graphic designer does not usually work. I've tried that dozens of times. In some cases, a person has to learn the hard way and get frustrated. Eventually, a designer will say some- thing like this: "You're the sign maker, just make the sign!" A better way to speak with a graphic designer about signs is a question-based approach. In this article, I will share tips and techniques that helped me become a self-taught sign designer, and eventu- ally, a professional sign designer (since I make money doing it). Using these tips, and following up regularly, in time, you should see a positive difference with the skill level of a graphic designer. Training is not easy, but your business will be bet- ter off with it. We all know that "I can design signs" is a belief most designers have. However, when discussing sign design with a designer, a different approach must be used. This approach involves asking a willing graphic designer a series of ques- tions about their sign knowledge (i.e., material used with sign types, basic sign drawing conventions, etc.). After pos- ing these 10 questions (and others you invent), a graphic designer will almost T H E T E C H N I C A L S I D E O F S I G N D E S I G N Designing Buildable Signs Tips and techniques for a designer to quickly grasp sign design. B Y M I K E B U R K E Since 2002, Mike Burke has been the lead sign designer for three electric sign companies in Los Angeles. He currently works for, doing subcontracting sign design and technical drawings for more than 10 sign compa- nies in the U.S. He has written three books related to the sign business. He can be reached by email at To learn more about this technical drawing process to speed up your art department, visit www.SignBusinessBooks. com. Ask for a free sample download of any eBook on his website. that should be asked in an interview with a graphic designer A question-based approach will avoid frustrating your designer.

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