While many businesses and advertisers have the best intentions, sometimes things go horribly, horribly wrong. From the hysterically funny to the absolutely bizarre, just Google “funny signs” and you’ll see thousands of examples. Bloopers, spelling mistakes, misinterpretations, and innuendo abound.
At best, you become the butt of some pretty terrible jokes or just look a little foolish. At worst, the integrity of your business is compromised.
So how does this happen? And how can you avoid making the same mistakes?
Whether it’s a matter of poor placement, bad grammar, unfamiliarity with a language, or just not paying enough attention, there are ways to prevent this from happening to you.
It all comes down to a thorough editing or review process.
1. Double Check Your Work
Before you look at anything, make sure you have a sound idea. Even if the design and language are all set, your initial logic may be flawed. If that’s okay, look at the design. Look at it again. Read the sign with and without the punctuation cues. Make sure you have punctuation if it’s needed. Have someone else look everything over, too, and you’ll avoid a head scratcher like this.
2. Check for Ambiguity
Is this sign warning pedestrians that a surface may be slippery when it’s wet or are they warning the reader that pedestrians in the area may be slippery when they’re wet? Make sure your signs don’t include a double entendre (which can actually be pretty offensive sometimes).
3. Never Trust a Translation Service
We understand, buddy. We all have those days.
If you’re not fluent in the language you’re using, ask someone who is fluent to proof your work before you finalize it to make sure your meaning is clear.
4. Don’t Use Quotation Marks for Emphasis
So who is this restroom for, exactly?
You might be using quotation marks for emphasis, but this is actually incorrect usage. You could also be using them for legal reasons or as a direct quote, but it’s better to avoid quotation marks around single words or phrases in your ads. Just be aware that italics can have the same effect. And placing emphasis on the wrong words can actually lead to all sorts of innuendo…
5. Check Sign Placement
Where will your sign be placed? Are there other advertisements, signs, or business names nearby that can affect the meaning of your sign by simple association?
6. Check Your Typeface
While the typeface (aka: font) you choose may look good on your computer screen, there could be some confusion when you actually implement it on a sign that will be seen from different angles. We’re hoping that this says MEGAFLICKS. 😉
Team Acme for Your Signage Needs
Whether you need a graphic for a barricade wall, a vehicle wrap advertisement, a banner, or some other kind of sign for your business, Team Acme is here to help you make sure your design is faux pas free (and effective!) Contact us today to learn more about our signage services including design, printing, and install. Or just get a quote!