Tuesday Tip: How to Make a Fiery, Furious, and Fabulous Protest sign for the Women’s March

How to make a fiery, furious, and fabulous protest sign for the Women’s March

Last year’s worldwide Women’s March was a powerful event. In the U.S. alone, more than 4 million people turned out peacefully in over 600 cities for what may have been the largest day of demonstrations in American history.

The 2018 Women’s March is coming January 20-21 to a city or town near you. Ready to make your own protest sign and join the march? Hey hey, ho ho! Let’s go.

Choose the best board

The backbone of a great sign is a good sign board.

Petroleum-based sign boards are very popular these days, but we’re not fans of these materials and do not recommend using them because of detrimental effects on the environment.

A great option is recycled, thick cardboard with recycled poster board attached to it. You should be able to find these at your local arts and crafts store.

Carry the day

Speak loudly but don’t carry a stick. The traditional wooden sign stick is now banned in some cities, so think about other options. A good one is a hollow cardboard tube, of the sort left over from holiday wrapping paper. Another choice is the easel back—those cardboard attachments you stick behind a picture to stand it up on a table. Get two and put them on either side of your sign.

Best, though, is probably a piece of string. Poke two holes in the top of your sign and use the string to hang it around your neck. Consider a shirt with a collar to avoid abrading your nape. Or make a sandwich-board sign and carry it on your shoulders.

Keep it simple

Many marchers opt for multicolored letters on a brilliantly hued background. They apply glitter and 3D additions. Sometimes these signs succeed but often they don’t. In a lively protest of hundreds or thousands, instant impact is key, so it’s optimal to design a sign that’s understandable at a glance.

Text-based signs in simple colors work well. White letters on black or black on white or orange on blue—any two contrasting colors are good. If you spell out your message in a rainbow of letters on, say, a red background, realize that the orange letters may not be legible.

Keep your message brief and your letters large. Before you ink them in, sketch them out in pencil. Use a ruler to keep them straight and evenly spaced. Take a step back to make sure your sign is readable from a distance. You might consider stick-on letters to make a neat sign quickly.

When a picture really is worth a thousand words

But let’s face it, signs with images can be memorable and a lot of fun to create. We all have that sign that stays on our minds long after the march is over. So if you want to work with images, follow the basic recipe for a successful logo: simple, impactful, and relevant.

  • Simple – a simple image is one a person can recognize as soon as they see it. Detailed artwork doesn’t work for a protest sign. Keep it simple!
  • Impactful – an impactful sign grabs attention and leaves an impression. Pick the one image that leaves the greatest impact. 
  • Relevant – your sign should have meaning that relates to the main point you’re making. Try to make one strong point with your sign. Edit any words that do not absolutely have to be there, or any images that detract from your main point.

If your protest sign art follows those three guides, you’ll likely create a powerful sign.  

See you at the march!

All that’s left is to decide what to say on your sign. That’s up to you. We remember the fiery, furious, and funny protest signs carried by marchers to tell Donald Trump that women (and other people) won’t take his hateful agenda lying down. Signs like “You can’t comb over misogyny,” “Takes one to grab one,” and “If I make my uterus a corporation, will you stop regulating it?”

Whatever you say, what’s most important is to say it. Show up and speak out against Trump at the Women’s Marches on January 20-21. We will, and we hope to see you there.

We’d love to post pics of the signs you create. Please share them with us!