John McWade, founder of Before & After magazine, rebuilds a poorly designed informational sign, demonstrating the best, most engaging ways to showcase complex information.
- Got an e-mail recently with a design attached. The writer had contracted a local designer but didn't like the results she got, and was writing to ask for help. She had a big sign to make. It's a seven foot by four foot freestanding outdoor sign to be posted at a trailhead in the Seneca Meadows Preserve and Wetlands area in upstate New York. Seneca Meadows was recently awarded the designation by Audubon New York as an important bird area. So the sign is because those involved are proud of that and want to share the news with visitors.
We've taken this as a case study not because you're working on an outdoor sign right now, but because of how much it has in common with what you are working on. It's an informational sign meaning it's a display as well as a report which is true of almost any web page. It's also true of a lot of print. Brochures, posters, there's this big scene-setting message and there are smaller detailed messages all on the same page. So I think you'll find this familiar and I hope you'll find it helpful.
We're using common tools. Copy, type, photos and layout to put on a static page a presentation that'll connect with pretty much everyone who sees it.