Signs o’ the Times

Alison Morris - January 13, 2009

Not sure what to do with all those publisher catalogs you’re tossing in the recycling bin or the F&G’s you’re occasionally allowed to keep after sales calls? Recycle ’em by turning them into signs for book displays! I’ve been doing this for years, and the results are eye-catching display signs that can sometimes do double-duty by also getting customers interested in the books whose images were incorporated into your sign.

What follows are some examples of signs (either letter-size or legal-size) that I’ve made for our store, like the one above, which is perfect for your next display of insect lore. Each of these signs was created by cutting out an image from a book catalog or part of an F&G then gluesticking it to a larger, colored piece of paper (preferably fadeless, so the sign will continue looking good for quite some time) and gluesticking words on top of that — either words I wrote out myself or words I printed out using one fitting font or another. (One of my favorite resources for downloading free fonts is After I’ve put together the pieces I want, I run the sign through our little legal-size laminator, which makes the finished product look more professional AND keeps it from getting mangled when we toss it back into "sign storage" until the next time we use it.

This National Poetry Month was too tall to fit well on the scanner, but I think you’ll get the idea…

This self-explanatory sign is one of my favorites:

Here are two variations on the same summer theme:

A sign for fall:

And a sign that gets plenty of play at our store, come winter:

I think I originally made this one for a display of vegetarian cookbooks. Might be time to put it to use again.

Don’t have any great pictures to use as jumping-off points? The right fonts and colors can make a sign work without any other embellishments, like in this sign (cut off a bit by the scanner!), which we’ve displayed alongside dragon-themed books:

and this one, which I made for a display of vampire books:

Anyone else have any favorite sign-making techniques? How about suggestions for spicing up in-store displays? Bonus points if your ideas involve recycling.

5 thoughts on “Signs o’ the Times

  1. Craig Virden

    I’m really happy to see that someone is getting use out of publishers’ catalogues. When I was a Random House, I always threatened to stay behind for a day and rummage through the hotels’ waste containers looking to see how much money we were tossing away. It’s a relief to know there is some collateral usage!

  2. maggie

    Very, very eyecatching and seemingly not that difficult. Great way to make books fly out the doors. Hmmm…I don’t see any citation of the artist, title, publisher or other copyright info on the images clipped from the catalogs….maybe I’m missing the fine print. Publishers &


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