Guide to business signage best practice

If your business has a physical presence of any kind, or you exhibit or attend branded events, it’s imperative to invest in quality business signage that stands out from the crowd.

The right signage and logo design will help build brand recognition, both offline and online, and ultimately increase footfall and conversions.

Designing the perfect business sign isn’t a straightforward task though and getting it wrong can ultimately lead to you projecting the wrong style and therefore the wrong image of your business. Get it right though and the ROI for your business can be significant and long term.

Here then are six tips that will ensure all your business signage does what you want it to.

1. Get your branding right

Most businesses looking to create business signage will have a brand in place already, but if yours needs a little refreshing, then now is the time to do it.

A graphic designer can create a logo that meets the needs of your market and which will appeal to your target audience, but it’s important you have an idea of the end look and feel of your design so you can guide them.

This is especially important if you are planning to invest in substantial signage which will require a sizeable outlay. Equally, if you know that you have a rebrand on the horizon, consider investing in interim or digital signage to make the transition easier and less costly. Your finished logo needs to be distinctive, relevant, easy to replicate and in line with your brand values and product offer.

2. Know what your audience will be doing

When your audience engages with your sign, will they be moving, will they be waiting or will they be in a retail context, looking for more information? Knowing whether your sign will be in a point of transit, waiting or point of sale situation will help you to target your messaging more effectively.

The purpose of the sign will also determine its design and message. For example, an informational sign may be bound by safety legislation and may need to include braille. However, an informational or campaign promotion sign will offer total freedom of message and design. Clarify this before you move to the next stage.

3. Think about content

A business sign should have a headline, an explainer and a call to action. Use your words as a journalist would and only put essential and relevant information on there. Again, your sign designer can advise as to the maximum number of words that your signage size can accommodate.

Consider using visuals where these will communicate your message. Don’t make the mistake of cluttering your sign to ‘make the most of it’ – readers will be unable to work it out and will lose interest.

A good rule of thumb is to ensure the sign’s purpose and message can be absorbed within 5 seconds of reading it. Any longer and you’ll risk losing your audience’s attention.

4. Get the design right

The key for colour is to remember the 60-30-10 rule. Make 60 percent of the sign your principal colour, 30 percent your secondary and 10 percent in your accent, using your brand as a guide. Consider contrast too as readability is key. For example, a pale background will need a dark font to show up.

Avoid using fancy serif fonts which are hard to read unless they are accompanied by a simple font explainer.

Get the design right and your business sign really will be a fantastic investment that engages customers and encourages them to walk into your shop or wander over to your stall at an expo or conference. Perhaps more importantly, great sign design will mean people immediately recall your business when they see it again.

5. Consider placement

If your sign needs to be accessible, then it may need to be low on the wall for braille and for wheelchair users. If it’s an information or promotional sign, it may be better placed in suspension from a ceiling.

Think about factors such as health and safety and lighting. Will you need to illuminate the sign? If it is to be placed outside, then you will probably need to include lighting to ensure that it’s visible at night. In this case, electrics will need to be considered.

Your signage producer will be able to carry out a site visit and assess these factors and provide advice. This will usually have a cost attached which is then redeemed against any subsequent order.

6. Think holistically

One piece of random signage can easily get lost, so consider your signage as a suite of inter-connected marketing materials that provide a single channel of customer engagement in their own right, helping to drive customers to your store but also online to your website and social media accounts.

For example, a retail premise might consider outdoor A-boards with daily deals and messages; a physical and permanent piece of name signage for the shop itself; window signs could be digital and setup to change regularly; and indoor Point of Sale (POS) signs for seasonal promotions.

If you’re running a physical shop then you will also need mandatory health and safety advisory signage. Considering these signs along with your more promotional business signs could make for a better solution overall and enable cost savings through lower unit costs.








Last updated: 21st February, 2021

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