Font Story

Category:Fonts and Culture

Attracting attention and business: Capturing hearts with one glimpse of the fonts! Interviewing signboard makers (Part One)

Apart from font designers, what other profession spends time with fonts day in and day out? We recently visited designers of Taiwan’s traditional and modern signboard makers for a glimpse of the relationship between fonts and signboards and how the fonts evolved with the trend of design. Quality signboards can always promote business!

We are greeted with a variety of signboards every day the moment we step out of our homes. Good signboards attract the attention, while the best ones lure us to have a closer look and may even lead to purchases. Leo, the creative director of signboard design at Baoyi Advertising Design Group who has spent over ten years in the trade and designed signboards for famous brands and stores, stated that: “Signboards are expressions of fonts, images, and materials. The main purpose of signboards is to convey messages with fonts responsible for the main role. When designing a signboard, apart from considering the size and number of characters, is it also important to select different materials and colors that suit the style of the font. Even the outer appearance and interior design of a building are elements for the signboard designer to consider."


Characters are not only the most direct information people gain from signboards but also the first impression of the brand or shop. This is the reason why selecting the right font is half the battle. From past experiences of dealing with clients, Leo induced the preferred fonts for signboards of different industries. For instance, food services usually favor chubby and round fonts that encourage the appetite. Medical professions wish to convey a professional image and stability, therefore often choose minimal and neutral Hei font, while the fashion industry like sleek and elegant fonts that give a unique sense of style.

Compared to the humble signboards in Taiwan during the early days, modern signboards are rich in variety and decorated with colorful tones. The specially-designed light boxes and colorful compositions aim to grasp the attention among countless other signs. Following this trend, more and more stores are asking for their own unique fonts. A client of Baoyi even traveled to Japan to meet with a Japanese professional to write a few characters for them, proof that signboard fonts are a major part of brand impression. Invested effort will win the hearts of customers!
In the eyes of a creative director who has accumulated large amounts of knowledge on fonts, the production of signboards is more than merely placing characters. The diversity of fonts gives the signboard deeper meaning. When the right font meets the right design, it leads to good signboard design that reflects unique local spirit: the subtleness of Japan, liveliness of Korea, and vigor of Hong Kong. Next time when you are taking a stroll down the street, take a moment to savor the efforts invested in each signboard!

※ We give thanks to Baoyi Advertising Design Group for the interview for this DynaFont story. The images of signboards throughout this article are all works by the company. 

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