Online Designer Tips and FAQs
What is the Online Designer?
For Users Familiar with PhotoShop, Illustrator & Corel Draw
Online Designer is a simpler and we believe more user friendly version of PhotoShop, Illustrator and CorelDraw. Users of those programs will notice the similarities (and limitations) and should be be able to maneuver the text, shapes and images with no problem.
I don’t know PhotoShop, Illustrator or that other program!
No Worries. Online Designer is a much simpler and intuitive approach to graphics design. If you know how to navigate around a website (which obviously you do), you have all the tools necessary to generate a design in our Online Designer. We also have a video and text version of help to assist you.
What height should letters be to ensure that my sign is readable?
When choosing letter height, a good rule of thumb is every 1 inch of letter height equals a preferred distance of 10 feet of perfect readability. However, the text is technically still visible up to 3 times the preferred distance. For example, 3” tall letters make the best impact within 30’; however, they can still be seen and read from up to 100’ away. You can use the “Show Grid” button on the lower right of Online Designer.
Text design also affects readability. Thin, script fonts look beautiful but can be hard to read from a distance. Choose bold fonts with highly-contrasting colors to make the best impact.
Sign Location Affects Letter Height
When designing your sign, consider how you will be using it, as well as how far away the readers you want to impact will be. For example, if you are placing a sales advertisement inside your retail store, your text only needs to be visible to the people in the store. 1-2” letters (or smaller) would work just fine. However, if you are hanging banners and want drivers on a nearby highway to be able to see them, design your letters at 3” or even larger.
Another important factor is to use contrasting colors when designing your sign. Text color with a contrasting background significantly increases the impact and visibility of your sign by making your text stand out more. On the other hand, using a background color that is similar to the text color can make your message almost impossible to see at any distance. Some of the most-visible text colors include black, red, and white, each of which can be seen the best with a contrasting background color. Readable distance can vary 10% depending on various color combinations.
The font type that you choose can also impact the visibility of your text. Very thin fonts and script fonts can potentially decrease visibility. When choosing fonts, you should select a bold style that is easy to read and sufficient spacing between letters (kerning). Test this by typing your message in a computer program using different font styles, colors, and sizes. Printing the document out and post it against a wall. Stand back and view the message at different distances to see how font choice comes into play when choosing the proper lettering for your sign.
Use of Standard and Special Effects
Experiment with a variety of Standard & Special Effects for each component of your design. Rotate, Opacity and Outline effects available to transform Text, Clipart and other images in Online Designer.
You can change the color of Text, Shapes and some Clip Art. Color changes are typically just available for native black & white images.
You can see how your actual text will look in different fonts by pressing the FONT button in the edit box of a chosen component and then rolling-over and selecting the “Display Text” option in the font list header.
The typical choices you are familiar with in most popular word processing programs.
This gives you an opportunity to outline your component in most cases. This is especially helpful in highlighting a light text on a light background and vice-versa.
You guessed it. This gives you the capability to rotate your image from 1 to 359° by using a combination of the 1°, 30° and 45° options.
Especially useful in layering your components (see To Front/To Back). Like many of the special effects, play with it to see it’s potential in your design.
Especially useful when selecting a different shadow color than your font color. Play around with it.
Flip & Mirror
Play around with it.
To Front/To Back
With most signs and banners, you don’t want too many components as it just confuses the message. But there will be situations where your text overlays a shape, Clip Art image or other text. Play around with different combinations of the To Front and To Back as well as the Opacity options in each component.
You can copy any image or text component by just hitting the COPY button inside the component you wish to copy. You can copy it as many times as you wish.
Sign Size/Material Change?
Now that your sign's size has been changed, you will be directed to the Designer to review your updated design and make any adjustments needed.
You might want to check for the following possible adjustments:
Adjust the size of Clip Art or Images
Adjust the Font Size of text
Move Text and Images into better positions
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