Making your own Shanghai street sign

At my recent engagement party we had designed some personalised Shanghai street signs! A lot of people asked me how to make one, so I thought I'd provide a tutorial.

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If you're not familiar with Shanghai street signs, this is how modern signs look! You'll still find older green signs around Shanghai, but all signs in central Shanghai use the new format.

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My first step was to recreate the shapes, colors and fonts in Illustrator. If you don't have Illustrator you can download a 30 day trial version from Adobe as part of Creative Cloud.

You can download my completed Illustrator AI file here.

For fonts I'm using 黑体-简 for the Chinese text and Helvetica for the English text. You can substitute similar fonts if you don't have those on your computer.

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It's best to convert text to outlines before sending to a printer - you can do that in Type > Create Outlines.

Next, I contacted a printer: I can recommend PicJoy in Shanghai - you can email them on print at picjoy.com. For 2 copies on A2 sized foam board, 1 side printing, matt lamination, they quoted me just 50 RMB.

In 1-3 days you should receive your street signs! You can easily cut them out of the board using an Exacta knife and a ruler.

If you make your own Shanghai street sign, do send us a picture!

Matt Mayer

Matt Mayer is a founder at ReignDesign. Matt is from the UK and was based in Shanghai for ten years. He is now living in Bangkok, Thailand.

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