BEST PRACTICES

SOLUTIONS FOR UNFRAMED 2D WORK

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LAYOUT AND DESIGN TIPS FOR VINYL

  • Most often, vinyl signage is used on the Title Wall to display the exhibition title and artist name. 

  • Create your files using vector-making programs, such as Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, and AutoCAD.

  • If using images or graphics, they must be vector-based graphics. 

  • Effective vinyl signage uses traditional 2D design principles. 

  • Organize content with hierarchy. Hierarchy helps to clarify content, improves readability, and improves aesthetic flow. Make use of bold and italics. Make the title larger than the name, and the name larger than the date. 

  • Effective vinyl signage considers the amount of space available using content edited for clarity, brevity, and impact. Create a unified composition and find balance across all components of the text. 

  • Use easy to read fonts. High contrast makes text easier to read. Black text on white background is standard. 

  • Size it appropriately. Text that is too small is hard to read and text that is too large takes up a lot of room and commands attention. More than one paragraph of text may be more effective printed on a larger piece of paper and mounted to a substrate (mat board or foam core). Know the size of the space you intend to install the vinyl so everything can be sized correctly. 

  • Good legibility accounts for many factors, including knowing when to use serif fonts and sans serif fonts, font size, color, and placement. 

  • It's always a good idea to see what see what works well and maybe more importantly, what does not work well. Visit museums or galleries, or search online for inspiration. 

  • For information on how to cut and install vinyl, see the Exhibition Design page section on Basic Guide to Creating Vinyl Signage.

Understand when to use serif fonts and sans serif fonts.

Scripts and other decorative fonts are hard to read for large blocks of text. They are also hard to weed and install. 

USE THEM FOR TITLES

INSTEAD!

AND use an easy-to-read font for

important info, like your name!

LABEL DESIGN AND PRODUCTION

 

Labelsfor individual works and artist statementsare an extremely important component of your exhibition. Well-crafted labels demonstrate profesionalism and the attention to detail a good exhibition requires. Labels with substandard printing, careless mounting and sloppy cuts will be removed and you will be asked to redo them. Use the following tips to create clean, professional labels.

  • Write your labels using word processing software, such as Microsoft Word, to help check for proper grammar and spelling. 

  • Design your labels using software such as Adobe Illustrator or InDesign. Labels can be simple and minimal with only the most important information, or you can also use this as an opportunity to thematically and visually connect all components in your exhibition through color, motifs, or typefaces. 

  • Print your labels on clean paper. It's recommended to print more than one copy in case you have troubles during mounting or cutting. 

  • Using clean hands, mount your labels to substrate. Mat board is recommended over foam core as mat board is much more forgiving when cutting. Use a spray mount or other adhesive to ensure a smooth, flat surface when your printed paper label is attached. If there are wrinkles or bumps, start over. 

  • Using clean hands, use a straight edge and sharp, clean blades to cut your label. Utility knives often are a good blade to use, as they are sturdy enough to cut cleanly through mat board, and it is easy to change the blades. If you are making many cuts, it is recommended to change your blade often to ensure the cleanest cut. Make sure your final label has straight cuts and crisp 90-degree corners. 

  • After cutting, if you notice some edges could be cleaner, you can use fine-grit sandpaper to sand down the edges of the mat board for a nice, clean finish. 

  • Labels are mounted to the wall using either removable poster putty or blue painters tape. 

  • As with all other exhibition components, look for inspiration and ideas in other exhibitions and online.