Make Your Sign Shine

10 Ways to Make a Resistance Rally Sign That Rocks

With our most important agents for environmental protection in jeopardy — including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act, and federally protected public lands — it's more critical than ever to build a powerful force of resistance. And that means fighting with a clear message. A good protest sign is one of the best tools for doing just that, helping you stand out from the crowd and carry your message far beyond any rally, march or protest.

Here are 10 tips to help your sign(s) shine — and check out our slideshow of some great sign examples.

1. Throw a party.
Invite friends over for a sign-making party. You can inspire each other, share materials to cut down on cost, and proofread each other's signs to avoid typos. Research issues as a group and get ideas for the message you want to feature on your sign by checking out our Actions Alerts webpage.
2. Strong signs are good signs.

Use a sturdy base material. (Consider recycled cardboard to minimize your impact on our #crowdedplanet.) Decorate both sides so people in front of and behind you can read your message, doubling your impact with a single sturdy sign.
3. Keep it real.
Make your sign a manageable size. A gray wolf may not be the largest mammal in its range, but its influence on the ecosystem is significant. Your sign can have the same effect.
4. Short is sweet.
Keep your message short and to the point. Frostpaw, the Center's polar bear mascot, very effectively cut to the chase with his sign urging politicians to Keep It in the Ground at a Washington, D.C., fossil fuels protest.
5. Be neat.
Your sign doesn't have to be elegant or slick — and certainly not immaculate — but do try to minimize clutter, which will maximize legibility. Consider using stencils to make sure text is clear and well-placed.
6. Have fun.
Add personal flair and make your sign funny (as long as it's appropriate!). The slogans on the Center's Endangered Species Condoms packages are great examples of playful ways to illustrate how human population growth affects wildlife.
7. Make it pop.
Be careful which colors you choose, and keep the color palette simple. Make sure the color of your text contrasts with the background, so people can read it from far away. Experiment with mixed media, or draw or print out images to individualize your sign.
8. Know your audience.
Your sign has the power to encourage others to join the movement, so consider who you're trying to reach. A message like #WaterIsLife may appeal to a wider audience than #SaveOurRivers … since, you know, life's pretty important to everyone.
9. Be safe.
Don't mount your sign on a sharp stick, since many protests don't allow potential weapons. Instead, cut handles into the sides of your sign, or hot-glue a cardboard tube to the back of it for added support and visibility.
10. Share photos.
Share photos of your sign on social media — both before you use it, to publicize an event, and during the event, so people can see it in action. This will get your message out to an audience other than the people who see it in person. Tag @CenterforBioDiv and use #Resistance in your posts.

SLIDESHOW: Some of Our Favorite Rally Signs, Made By Us and You


Earth2Trump protest signs

A nice variety of protest signs at a rally during the Center's first Earth2Trump Roadshow of Resistance.

"Extinction Is Forever" sign

"Extinction Is Forever" sign — a classic. This is a simple yet powerful message that pairs well with all kinds of wildlife (and plant) images. This one also features the extinction symbol (check out the "O" in "FOREVER").

Frostpaw the Polar Bear at a protest

The Center's Frostpaw the Polar Bear always gets attention at protests — so he'd best have a great message, like the one on this clever sign.

Signs at immigration-rights protest

Signs at immigration-rights protest. Messages that rhyme or that play on a well-known tagline tend to stick in viewers' minds.

"Keep It in the Ground" signs at Los Angeles March for Science

"Keep It in the Ground" signs at Los Angeles March for Science. Professionally printed signs produced en masse are great for handing out to rally-goers who didn't bring their own.

Los Angeles March for Science

This man goes all out with two signs plus a "RESIST" hat, making it look easy to deliver more than one message at a time.

Los Angeles March for Science

A young protestor at the Los Angeles March for Science shows that creativity pays off!

Professionally made signs

These signs show that professionally printed doesn't mean boring.

Women's rights signs

There are infinite ways to express a single message or theme.



Banner image compiled by Anna Mirocha, Center for Biological Diversity