The Art Of The Sports Sign

15 04 2011

I write today’s post while multi-tasking and sprucing up my latest motivational sign to take to the Caps game tonight. I have quite a fruitful history of sign-making for sports events, and have even had my signs featured in publications, on the Jumbo-Tron, and on television, so I feel I am in a good position to give advice on the types of signs you should aim to make. Of course, the best signs are the ones that are recognized by the media, be it the Jumbo-Tron, the TV networks, or best of all, the actual players.

I think it should go without saying that the best signs show that the creator spent a lot of time making it. This all starts with a memorable catch-phrase. Sure, the ordinary team cheer, (“Let’s Go Caps!” or “C-A-P-S, CAPS! CAPS! CAPS!”) will work, but it’s overdone, and for the best sign, a more creative slogan is more memorable.

One of my earliest signs. This photo was actually featured in a brochure for the Capitals organization.

There are a few ways to go about crafting such a message. You could be derogatory to the other team (though I advise against this, as it’s still a family-friendly event, and being mean… just isn’t nice). Your message could be related to a specific player. Any of the team’s star players are suitable for fodder. However, I have even made signs for the not-so-popular players, to ensure equal opportunity in my fandom. Speaking of individuals, one of my better signs has focused on the team mascot. Basically, if you can grab the attention of anyone higher-up, you’re golden:

It's true. We are BFFs.

But sometimes, a simple team encouragement is your chosen path. I encourage having a wider audience, actually. Acknowledge your large audience, but target them with common theme, a specific situation:

I was told that this sign was actually shown on TV. NICE.

Of course, you could just scrap the team-specific message altogether, and go with something more generic. Sometimes if you can use a sign that’s good enough for one event, you can even use it in other situations. These kind of signs have to be exciting, original motivational messages. Once again, something such as, “GO TEAM GO!” is lame. You want a message with personality and pizzazz, like this gem:

Possible euphemisms are a memorable way to go.

Another idea for grabbing attention of those people in high places, is to create a new acronym out of a television network station’s letters. Mind you, you can’t use any old channel, as you should go with whichever network is airing the game. This will win the hearts over of the broadcasters and telestrators, and you will most likely be featured on TV. (You will however, need someone to record the game at home, in case this happens, as you actually won’t be able to view this monumental feat.)

So as you can see, there are a few ways to go, when making your sign. Although it should be a given, remember to use durable supplies when creating your sign. Cardboard and poster board will survive the throngs of crazy fans much better than a simple sheet of paper; especially if you plan on using your sign to more than one game. Glitter most always wins over the cameras. A masterful drawing of the team’s logo is admired. A scribbled, last minute sign; not so much. So get out there with your wit and your creativity and get those signs up in the air. You never know- maybe you will be rewarded for your hard work!

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