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I really have no idea with graphic design, but I was just wondering.

Comic sans is a very popular font for home-made signs to print out and tape to a door or something: enter image description here

Sadly, it looks terrible (and I haven't even installed it on my OS). However, things like that always seem to look terrible (to me), regardless of the font used.

Are there any tricks to make "signs" like that look more ... professional?

  • Most public signage uses a version of Helvetica as a typeface. – Scott Sep 5 '14 at 15:16
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    ...as for the actual question of what is the minimum for a notice to look professional, that seems like a good question to me. We've got quite a few basic design principles questions with stuff that'd be relevant, can't find them right now though... – user568458 Sep 5 '14 at 15:37
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    All uppercase letters do NOT help make a sign like that look professional. You are screaming at people from the start, not a good way to get people to do/not do something. A lot of decent fonts do not do all-uppercase well. And comic sans... well. You could use it as an inside joke. – benteh Sep 5 '14 at 16:15
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    A proper use of comic sans: i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--79wad1tL--/… – benteh Sep 5 '14 at 16:17
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These questions can have hundreds of answers. I will, however, try to give you some tips:

  • In design, you usually start by setting your goal. What do you want to say?
  • Seeing that it's just a typeset with a simple message, use a simple font. Overly styled fonts will draw the attention from the content (which should be your main component).
  • Make use of whitespace. Do not try to cover the entire area of your medium. It's a common mistake to think that those extra 10px at this scale will draw more attention to the message. It not (so much) the size, as it is the positioning of the text on your medium.

For ex.:

Example

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As this 'sign' is merely typeset words, the key is to study up on typography.

Some books to consider:

  • The Elements of Typographic Style
  • Thinking With Type
  • Stop Stealing Sheep (And Learn How Type Works)
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Using your companies branding/colour/logo, referring to a health and safety breach and putting the number to HR beneath might add a bit more sway

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