Having a brick and mortar business means that you must have unique signage to get noticed. This is of paramount importance if you operate on a main thoroughfare in a bustling urban centre. When it comes to exceptional signs, business owners must consider integral components such as logo design and branding services in order to grow and flourish. In this article, design experts discuss 9 ways to make your business sign stand out on a busy street.
“Making signage stand out first requires thoughtful visual design and legibility, which can only be creatively mastered by walking and photographing each viewpoint or angle looking onto your business from across or down the street in all directions. The biggest mistake is designing any signage or canopy on a computer alone, without eyeballing every other neighboring sign and vista on your street that’s also competing for business or eyeballs. Font and lettering and what your business actually sells must be beautiful and readable up close, far away, and even from windows and rooftops above –– especially if any family name, offering, or service words on your signs are difficult to pronounce.
Making signage stand out also requires the perfect color, contrast, and routine cleaning. There is nothing more deterring than ugly, brash, faded, or dilapidated signage or canopy fabric. We have always advised clients to have a back-up sign or custom printed canopy set in case of a harsh storm, vandalism, or other damage. Replacing or refreshing unkempt signs outside your business is akin to having a clean kitchen or spotless bathroom or spot-free wine and water glasses inside your business.
The final tip is to remove any cacophony, flyers, debris, or scars from your entire business window, door, stoop, or façade. The more noise junking up the exterior of your business, the less effective your signage will be. Think sleek, elegant, and clean. Have a bulletin board in the back of your shop if your business – like a local coffee shop serving as the town crier – gets plastered with requests to pin up promotions.
Bottom line: If you take the competitive design, graphics, colors, and cleanliness of your exterior signage as seriously as you do your marketing or advertising or social media, you will have perhaps the best looking and most profitable business on your entire street.”
Baron Christopher Hanson, lead consultant and owner, RedBaronUSA.com
“The first thing to consider when you’re looking at your business signage is how people will actually see it. Are you on a high-trafficked road? If so, what speed are the drivers going, and how much time might they have to gaze at your sign. Are there other distractions along the road, like billboards, or do you have a premium placement with no distractions around?
After drivers, consider pedestrians. Are people looking at the sign from a few feet away, or across an avenue? Lastly, consider other forms of transportation that might bring potential customers within viewing distance, like bikes, or public transportation.
Often, the first step to designing a sign is simply being transported around the sign in all of the various ways that a potential customer will eventually do so themselves. After doing such a study, you should have a good sense of not only how big a sign must be, but whether or not people will be able to read beyond just the business name. If they’re only going to be glancing for a second or two, you can potentially put the business and a website URL. In those cases, you’ll want to make sure that any brand colors are particularly emphasized. One handy option to consider is getting the background fo the sign done in your brand colors, and using your logo in only black and white.
For the lucky businesses that are placing their signs where customers will glance for longer than a few seconds, you should use that time to place additional copy, whether that be a phone number or promotional slogan.
Having a sense of how your sign will be seen, where it will be seen from, and how long someone will be looking at is essential to picking out the right elements for your perfect business sign.”
Flynn Zaiger, CEO, Online Optimism
“Despite the number of new and modern promotional strategies available, a lot of businesses still choose to use traditional promotional strategies like signages. For me, the most important design elements you have to focus on when creating signage are font and color. That is why to make your signage stand out, focus on these two elements. For the font, choose a style and a size that is easy to read. You can use various font styles and font sizes in your signage but make sure that you won’t go overboard. For the color, choose bright and high contrast colors to make your signage eye-catching. Aside from focusing on the font and color that you’re going to use on your signage, some other ways to make your signage stand out are:
Keep your message short – Most people won’t make the effort to stop just to be able to read everything that is on your signage. So, try to limit the number of words to a number where everything can be read even with just a short glance.
Choose a good location – No matter how good your signage is, if you place it somewhere where people won’t be able to see it much or won’t be able to see it properly, then what is the point? So, make sure to choose a good location to place your signage.”
Samantha Moss, Editor & Content Ambassador, Romantific
“The best sign is a simple sign. Attention spans are also shorter these days and a street is full of other signs vying for the little attention we have. There is not very much time and the viewer is likely to be in a moving car from quite a distance. This means a very detailed sign and small text are a no-go. You will need a different design to that of your business card! Since you can’t include all your contact details on your signage make sure you put your main preferred method of contact. There is not much point putting a huge phone number if you prefer email. It is also an easier call to action. Color is important and you should use this. The best color to use is your brand’s main color. Make sure your text has as much contrast as possible. Think can they read this from down the road. In terms of actual manufacture of the sign, you want something very durable. This will be a big cost and you want it to last. It is worth going more minimal and use basic core branding so that the overall design of the sign is more timeless. Having a more timeless design will mean that there is less chance your sign will look outdated before the sign starts to deteriorate.”
Kassandra Marsh, Graphic Designer, Lakazdi
If you operate a business that has a storefront location, it is crucial to understand how to make your business’ sign to grab the attention of a passerby. You want to distinguish your brand identity from competitors and create a design that will attract customers. In addition to your signage, you will also want to think about things like business card design which is an extension of your physical location. Ultimately, utilizing superior graphic design elements is essential to establishing your brand to it will thrive and grow.
Sarah Bauder is a senior content specialist at Little Dragon Media. Sarah has a degree in journalism and has a decade of experience writing content at numerous renowned publications. She enjoys writing about digital marketing, business, entrepreneurship and more.