The Sign Doctor   »  Step 4: Your main message – your theme

Step 4: Your main message – your theme

This is the nugget of information that you want people to remember above all because you’ve made it meaningful (relatable) to them. It is often called a theme and expressed in a thought-provoking sentence containing a subject, object and verb. Commonly, you’ll find them beneath an eye-catching title. Themes require some work so to simplify the process let’s take it in 3 steps:

1. What is your subject?
Answer: This sign is about soil

2. Good. Be more precise. What is your topic?
Answer: I want to talk about the importance of keeping our soil fertile

3. So what’s the message you want them to remember above all else, i.e. your theme? Answer: Once they’ve read my panel, visitors will understand that “soils are the foundation for a healthy countryside and healthy lives”.

Theme: Soils are the foundation for a healthy countryside and healthy lives

Reading this, visitors may think:
Foundation – Houses have foundations, or foundations must be solid
Healthy lives – My life depends on my health but the same goes for the countryside

Themes work because they spark people’s curiosity. They open the gate for you to walk down the path knowing there’s an interesting story to be told here. They also contain universal concepts, human traits that everyone understands and relates to no matter where they come from, such as love, loss and family, etc.

Can you identify the universal concepts?

Pick the most appropriate theme for this short text