(I am not picking on this sign in particular, only using it as an example. No doubt the people who designed this thought it looked good in the conference room - and it did - but as a sign it doesn't function well. There are millions of ineffectual signs like this in America alone. Oddly enough, the Authority has a standardized sign format which is a simple listing of destinations and arrows, but for some reason, they felt compelled to go with graphics on this sign, instead of sticking to the standard format).
Sadly, a lot of people fall into this trap - designing fancy logos that cannot be read from more than five feet away. After the hurricane, a local tree service put up signs on lawns of homeowners whose trees they serviced. They might as well not have bothered as the logo had a large stylized tree on it, which looked like a Rorschach ink blot. Maybe it was a tree, maybe a Denver omelette. Hard to tell. Worse yet, the lettering took advantage of another computer-generated nightmare - the ability to stretch and shrink letters. So instead of JOE BLOW'S TREE SERVICE we had JOE Blows tree serVICE with the key word being "TREE" and that word being the smallest on the sign. I could not tell if he was a roofing repair guy, plumber, HVAC tech or what. Worse yet, the phone number (the key ingredient) was in even smaller lettering.
These computer-generated signs are like so much that is computer-generated. It looks good on the display at the store or at the company, but in the real-world, it falls down flat. For example, HTML coders using state-of-the-art computers on high-speed fiber optic networks located less than 100 feet from the server, generate complicated pages with lots of video and graphics and photos, which are all slow-to-load on older computers and slower connections. We don't need a fancy graphical page to log into our bank account, thank you. This is not progress, it is regress.
Sure, we can put photos in our signs. And sometimes a catchy photo or logo "catches the eye" and gets people to read the sign. Other times, what looks like a neat photo looks like an ink blot when viewed from afar. Another sign on the island has a horse's head on it, and for about a year I could not figure out why they chose the face of an alien for a logo, until I walked up to the sign one day and saw, at about 20 feet away, it resolved into a horse's head.
Lettering on images is also problematic, as the contrast will vary with the background of the image. Some folks put green lettering on a photo that is mostly green (a Christmas Tree, for example) with the net result being you can't tell what the photo is and certainly can't read the lettering. Thousands of dollars paid for graphics, thousands more to rent billboard space - the net result is, no one can read it. You might as well just not bothered.
The best signs have simple lettering in high contrast and can be read from 100 feet away or more, from a vehicle traveling by at the posted speed limit. The best signs convey the basic information - what you are advertising, where it is located, what time it is open, what your prices are, etc. - the exact choice depending on the nature of the business. For example for a gas station, just "GAS $1.99 THIS EXIT! OPEN 24 HOURS!" is about all you need to say. A fancy image of the gas pump or children frolicking in a field of flowers is just confusing.
The less information, the better. Clear and concise.
And this goes for Garage Sale signs. I have seen so many garage sale signs done in pastel markers on 8.5 x 11 paper, stapled to a utility pole so they blow in the wind and fold over. The lettering is tiny - as if the author was too shy to advertise the sale. Better off to print something on your computer (set the font to 75 point and make it fill the page - set the margins to zero and orientation to landscape). Tape it to a piece of cardboard or some old political sign (which I paint with used house paint first) and "Wa-La!" you've got a simple, easy-to-read sign that someone in a car can comprehend in a nanosecond.
Sadly, bad signage is here to stay. We have all this technology so we feel compelled to use it. But I have lost count of how many "car wraps" I have seen where you can't figure out, for the life of you, what exactly it is they are trying to advertise and promote.
Technology is fine and all, but don't let the tail wag the dog (or the horse). Fancy graphics capabilities are fine and all, but sometimes a simple black-and-white sign with huge letters is more effective and sometimes less of an eyesore!