Signature Making 101

Undead Billy Mays

Contributing Poster
Reaction score
Hi Graphics Community

I want to take a little time and break down some design basics for those of you constructing signatures for fellow players. It has become an unappreciated art and we aim to remedy that :icon_cool:

I have the tribal wars community and other designers for helping me get interested in the field I work in today. I have always had an appreciation for art both physical and digital but Tribal Wars is where I really started to put that interest to work.

Creating a signature can be done in many programs. I started with a glorified MS paint program, moved to gimp and then on to Photoshop. As long as you understand the basics of design you can create a good signature without fancy tools and programs (but they do help)

I want to use this as a basic overview and I'll be adding to this thread as time goes on. Please feel free to ask questions, discuss methods, or even offer suggestions. I don't consider myself the most expert of experts but I do have some experience which I want to share.

For this post I'll use this signature


Lesson 1: The rule of thirds (The golden ratio)

3 is a designers number and it's a friend to anyone creating a signature. When I am doing a signature or just any piece of work really I try to remember this rule. It is taught to be more aesthetically pleasing to the senses. You do not need something interesting at every point but you do want points of interest on at least one of these marks. I chose to put the wording on the top right and have the head centered on the entire right line. This is not a rule you ALWAYS have to use but it will help to balance your compositions more often than not.


I'd love this thread to be as interactive as possible so feel free to post sigs you are working on that may need some help with this element of design. I want to start with the basics so if you are way past this feel free to contribute by helping newer designers with projects they may be struggling with.

Thanks for reading!


  • Kanye.jpg
    25.1 KB · Views: 12
  • Kanye3rd.png
    148.5 KB · Views: 9


Non-stop Poster
Reaction score
Awesome thanks UBM within 12 minutes of me posting on the other thread that my sigs aren't always great that was dedication :lol:

Undead Billy Mays

Contributing Poster
Reaction score
Lesson 2

This is where most signatures can either make or break. The use of type/font is uber important when putting together a good composition. There will be different schools of thought on this and every case is different but as a general rule, the signature should not be overpowered with the wording. I always found the biggest challenge when a player wants every name, every world they ever played on represent on the signature due to the distracting factors surrounding it.

I put together a quick simple signature with one of my favorite games. Again it follows along the golden ratio (rule of thirds) but is pretty plain jane. I will throw a disclaimer up that this is a little more of an opinion area but will still have design elements included in conversation. I welcome discussions or even criticism on anything I put out here. Criticism is what drives design to new heights.


Good Example 1: Relevant text in images is a good use of the composition space. I did not feel the need to show the logo in it's entirety because the gist of the image is still there. Using filters, the bioshock logo isn't completely overpowering the signature.


Subtle Example: Words are not overly important with good imagery. With this version I brought in some different colors to help out the very small light words. The words do not have to be plastered all over the signature to make it effective.


Bad Example 1: It follows the rule of thirds but that doesn't automatically throw it into the realm of good design. Proximity is something we will discuss in another article but that's why the text doesn't work in this situation.


Bad Example 2: Everything wrong with text.


These are just some examples of approaches used with signature making. Hopefully it will give you some alternate solutions to just picking a font and slapping it on.


Great one UBM, I always finish the sig and wonder where the heck to put the text and what font

The bad example #1 I honestly like it, maybe because the text is not too big, but other sides of it need some work

The good example #1 the text is kind of too big for my likin :x

The subtle one is BRILLIANT tho <3

Keep up the awesome work, I wait forward for these posts

Undead Billy Mays

Contributing Poster
Reaction score

The composition should direct where your eye travels. What is your point of focus? After hitting your point of focus, where is your secondary point of focus. You don't want the viewer to do too much work to look all around your piece in order to see everything. Its our job as designers to make it easy for them.

Where is your eye drawn in this? Whats the second thing you notice, and whats the third?
Does this adhere to the previous lessons in this thread? You decide!


Whats wrong with this one? Proximity also refers to the boundaries of your work. Take a look at the top of the hilt on the sword, and the glare on deadpools head. Both are interacting with the top line in a way they shouldn't. Either allow a point to go fully off or leave it some breathing room as in the first example. Second, the moon although not a bright white - takes a secondary focus distracting the viewer from the original subject.


Use of thirds: Check
Boundries: Check


What are your thoughts on this one below?


Best example for last


It is occasionally okay to draw your proximity away but treat that as an exception and not a rule. This is something that i had to get over. Originally I wanted to continue to make sure my text was just as important as my subject when designing signatures. The truth is my designs became so much better when i started following these simple rules and stopped trying to fight against it :)

What do we want to see next?