For a recent community event here, they needed three banners advertising a barbeque chicken dinner. Sounds like fun - sign me up!
Overview: Design your banner on the computer, print it out *really* big, trace it with carbon paper onto a blank banner, and color it in with Sharpies. It takes a little time but is very inexpensive, and looks better than a freehanded version.
- One pack of broad chisel tip Sharpies in black, red, blue and green. (Cost was less than $4.00.)
- Large plastic banners. These were obtained a few years ago from the local Coke distributor. Just call them up and see if they have any. They would love the free advertising. (Free.)
- Computer and printer. (On hand.)
Step One: First I designed my layout in Word. I put each block of text in a separate text box. When designing text like this there are a couple things to think about:
Use a minimum of two different fonts, preferably three. You can go to four (as I did here), but you need to do this with care. Too many fonts will make your sign look cluttered. The goal is an easy to read sign that catches the reader's interest.
I had a sort of rustic looking font for "BBQ Chicken Dinner", so I chose a couple fonts with a different feel two them for the next two pieces of information. For the bottom line, I wanted to use the same font as for "BBQ..." but it didn't look right when I sized it down. So I hopped onto Dafont.com (my *favorite* free font downloading website) and found a similar font that would work at a smaller size. Tip: You can italicize one of your first two fonts to make your third font.
Have on major focal point; in this case it is "BBQ Chicken Dinner". It is the largest text because it's the most important part, e.g. what you want people to notice first.
Once you've chosen your focal point, don't compete with it. (Sort of like makeup - if you've got more eye make-up, don't do bright lips...)
I added some color to break up the design and add emphasis.
Step Two: Next, I wanted to print this out very large on multiple pages (a.k.a poster style). I didn't have a way to do this on my printer, so I saved the document as a PDF file. In MS Word, this is one of the choices in the "Save As" dialogue box.
Once my PDF document was open, I chose "Print". In that dialogue box, I chose "Tile all pages" in "Page Scaling", then 900%.
I had to play this part by ear. I kind of guessstimated - my original was smaller than 8" x 11.5" and my banner was 33" x 71". I printed it out in draft form until I got the size that fit best on my banner. Warning: I got a bajillion blank pages. I just reused them.
Step Three: Next, I arranged the pages for each line of text and taped them together. I arranged them on top of the banner until I was happy with the layout. Tip: Sometimes it helps to squint your eyes until you just see blurry shapes. This blocks the part of your brain that wants to read the text and you can evaluate how the shapes of the elements work together.
|Can you feel your eyes squinting?|
I flipped the banner over, so the Coke logo was on the back. (Oops, sorry Coke.) Next I taped my first line of text in place and slid some carbon paper underneath. Then I just traced around the printed type. (Doesn't my mom make a great hand model?) The tracing doesn't have to be perfect. Just close enough to keep the general feel of the font you're using.
I lined up each successive line of text individually to make sure that it was centered and well spaced.
After tracing everything, I (okay, we - Mom helped a ton) colored in the lines with the sharpies. Using small strokes helped us get better coverage. I also totally geek out on this part because I love feeling the shape and flow of different fonts.
Turned out pretty good I think. *Note: I did see that the ink faded in the sun somewhat. But you couldn't tell unless you were looking really close.
Also, I decided the font for "Founder's Dining Hall" was too thin so I "bolded" it by drawing a thicker line outside the carbon tracing. I was careful not too make the letters run into each other.
(And, by the way, the dinner was delicious!)