Saturday, January 25, 2014

Signage - fast, frugal and fabulous


For anyone who has been to a Kevin Hennah workshop will know that it is all about signage and improving your clients navigation around the facility, just like a book shop.

We have a couple of bay ends that have slat wall on them, and we wanted to created these into special feature displays that could be changed easily, and we wanted to do it NOW - not wait for a sign maker to design, quote, order and make. A couple of years ago I attended a Hands on Literacy workshop at the Australian International School in Singapore and one of the workshops was on making professional looking signs.

What I had learned all came back to me in a rush and I created some signs for our library. I have documented the process below so you too can create fabulous signage for your library.

Firstly create your signs using any programme that will allow you to print. I made these sign s using Pages using Helvetica bold font, white lettering on a black shape.


Equipment needed :


  • A sharp Stanley knife/ box cutter
  • Scissors
  • Spray adhesive glue
  • 5mm foam board or thick card
  • A cutting board
  • A squeegy thing used to cover books.
  • A metal ruler (not shown)

Print out your designed signs, trim them with scissors so there is still white around the signs.


Lay the signs on the foam board to see how much of the board you will need before you cut it. These signs were made using 'scrap' foam board so we had to be careful where we placed them, check the board for lumps and bumps - and brush it down before hand to remove dust.


Take the board to a well ventilated area - preferably outside, spray the board lightly with the spray adhesive. Use just enough to make it tacky to touch (usually just one spray's worth). I usually do it with the board upright leaning against a wall, however, when I started, I did it with the board on the ground on newspapers. I would recommend you start with the newspapers to gauge how much mess you will make with the spray.


Take the board inside and place the trimmed signs on the tacky board. 
Ensure the paper is smoothed out without any crinkles and all of the paper is stuck to the board. 
Leave for a few minutes for the glue to set.


Take the metal ruler, line it up against where you want to cut. Ensure you are cutting on the outside of the sign to reduce damage to your sign.  



The picture below is of a bad cut caused by a not very sharp knife - the sharper the better. 

 Thankfully this one could be repaired by getting a sharp knife and trimming back a little bit.


One sign completed. The eight signs took about 35 minutes in total to create. The cost was minimal because we used recycled foam board, but the board is quite cheap to purchase new.


Cutting tips :
Use the knife with a long setting, using a punch motion to break the board surface, then an upright dragging motion to cut. Try to do the cutting in one movement to reduce cut marks. (have a long ruler).
Press down on the ruler firmly to ensure it doesn't move.


Cut a little bit past the sign edge you want, this allows the sign to pop out of the board easily.


Cut the board into smaller pieces before starting on the individual signs - this makes it more manageable to cut close and accurate.


The finished product stuck on the top of the Bayend with Blutack. 
It looks like a bookshop!

We already have signs for 'New Arrivals' and "Just returned" We are also planning to have Author focus displays and any others that take our fancy. When we do genrify the collection, the genre signs will come in handy!

This technique can be also used to mount pictures and other larger images from Blockposter to create larger displays. 

You can also add dimensions to usually 'flat' displays using the foam board, it also works on polystyrene board, use different thicknesses to create effects.

With this sign making technique we can do so many things!!


Have fun! (why not share your creations!)


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