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  • Use Word to Create Awesome Signs

    Home Forums AskWoody support Microsoft Office by version Use Word to Create Awesome Signs

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        This applies to all versions of Word

        Using Word To Create Awesome Signs
        Overview:    When the need arises to create a sign such as “For Sale” many people opt for poster board, markers, and hand lettering.  Usually the resulting sign doesn’t accomplish the desired effect of being noticed and readable.  Take for example a local school group having a car wash where the students stand on the street corner holding a poster board advertising the car wash.  All the driver sees from a distance is a teenager holding a poster board and by the time the driver is close enough to read the writing on the sign the driver is more concerned in not hitting the teenager than reading the message on the sign, thus the sign did not accomplish its goal.  Many people do not consider using Word to accomplish this task because they think Word only makes documents on letter size sheets of paper.   You can use Word to make some really awesome signs that noticed be noticed, read, and have that professional printed look.  The following explains how to create awesome signs using Word.

        Requirements:    In addition to Word you will need to have a printer to print what Word creates.  The standard color printer that most users have will do the job….a special printer is not needed.  Even the cheapest color printers available will have the ability to create these signs with Word.  The office supplies (paper, adhesive, etc.) needed will depend upon the size of your sign, but will be available at Wal-Mart or office supply stores.

        Planning:    The first step is to envision where the sign will be placed and at what distance you want the sign to be noticed and read.

        1. Placement – Where the sign will be placed determines the most important characteristic of a sign….to be noticed. The sign has to be noticed before it can be read.  The higher the sign is placed above ground or floor level, the less chance your sign will be blocked by people or cars and thus noticed by more potential customers.  Inside buildings signs should be placed at least 6 feet above the floor (higher than a standing person).  Outside signs near streets should be at least 5 feet above the ground (higher than the top of most cars).
        2. Background Color – Once the height placement is determined to prevent sight blockage of the sign, consider the background where the sign will be placed. Contrast is the key to making the sign noticeable and color is the key to contrast.  Select a background color for the paper or poster board that does not occur in the area where the sign will be placed.  People notice differences and will notice a color that is different from the surrounding colors.  A car wash sign at a street intersection  that is hot pink color will be noticed more than a white sign because it will be the only thing colored pink in the area while the light grey of the concrete streets and numerous white cars do not provide much contrast for a white colored sign.
        3. Size – The size of the sign will depend upon how far away you want people to notice and read the sign. The size means not only the size of the paper the sign is on, but also the size (and thickness) of the lettering used.  In my example of a car wash, you want the driver to notice, read, and decide to get a car wash before the driver comes to the turn to enter the car wash area.  While the poster board is large enough to see, the writing of the message with a marker is impossible to read until you are within a few feet of the sign and too late to get the message and decide to take part.
        4. Letter Color – The choice of color for the letters on the sign goes a long way in making the sign readable. The more contrast between the background color and the lettering color, the more readable the sign will be.  Make all letters the same color, as words with different colored letters may look pretty but are more difficult to read.
        5. Graphics – Adding graphics (logos or photos) to a sign make the sign more noticeable, but will require the reader to take more time looking at the sign….get the sign’s message and view the artwork. If the reader’s time to view the sign is short (such as a passing car), then graphics will compete with the message and defeat the purpose of the sign….less people get the message.  If the reader can stop and view the sign (i.e. walking inside a building), then the graphics may be the reason why the reader stopped to view the sign and then reads the message….more people get the message.


        Using Word to Make the Sign:
        Most users know how to use Word to make a sign on letter or legal size paper, so the instructions below are how to make larger signs using Word.
        To use Word to create larger signs you increase the font large enough that each letter or character fills an entire page, print each page, and attach the pages of large letters to a poster board using spray adhesive.
        Word can increase the font size to 1638, but font sizes from 500 – 600 (depending upon the font selected) is all that is needed to have a single letter fill a page.  To select these larger font sizes in Word that are not listed in the dropdown list, highlight the current font size and type in the size you desire.  Depending upon the font you select, experiment with different sizes to get the largest letter without Word starting a new page.  After the first letter is set to fit the page and the cursor is flashing after the letter, hit the enter key and Word will start a new page for the next letter.  The word of the message will become a multipage document with each letter on a separate page Makes printing easier).
        Obtain paper spray adhesive and poster board (Wal-mart or office supply store).  Spray the back of each letter page with adhesive and apply to the poster board.   Straight edges of the poster board and the paper will make alignment easier.

        The results will be more readable from a distance and that will result in more people getting the message, which will result in a better outcome for the project.
        This can be adjusted as desired such as a smaller sign with 2 letters to a page in landscape view.  Graphics can be added as total separate pages or inserted anywhere on a letter’s page.

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