How to Make a Kickass Protest Sign

Get your point across in a limited amount of space and attention span.

Photo by Mirah Curzer on Unsplash
  • Lettering with feeling
  • Striking, bold colors
  • Vivid symbols and images

Catchy, Memorable Slogans

Photo by Jeremy Sacco
Photo by Author, c/o the Memphis Civil Rights Museum

Say it With Feeling; Letter it With Feeling Too.

We’ve all had that person at work who WRITES IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Turns out they have an inner protestor, slowly dying inside, languishing in the wrong profession. Out on the street, capital letters are a must. How else are we going to show people we mean business? Like we said before: street protest is not dialogue. It’s shouting.

Photo by Derick McKinney on Unsplash
Photo by Bob Adelman

Striking, Bold Colors

In flora and fauna, red, yellow, orange indicate warning and danger. When we combine these colors over black and white, we can create very energetic, attention-getting images.

Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash
Photo by Elvert Barnes Protest Photography
Credit: Black Lives Matter / Design Action Collective / Josh Warren-White

Finish Up: Add a Memorable Symbol or Image!

Symbols allow us to communicate ideas in the relatively limited space of a placard. In fact, the word symbol derives from the Greek symbolon (σύμβολον), which is an amalgam of syn- together and bole, a throwing, a casting, the stroke of a missile, bolt, or beam.

Image by Author; credit Gerald Holtom
Diagram: Gerald Holtom
Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash

Putting it All Together

Photo by Jessica De Jesus —


With a little consideration, patience, and application of these simple but powerful things, we’ll have an effective, standout presence for the change and justice we seek.

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