According to recent research by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, some 50 percent of consumers depend upon signage to learn about a business. Your store signage not only helps your customers locate your business, it also speaks volumes about you. The wording, the colors, the graphics, even its condition conveys a treasure trove of bold and subtle messages about the enterprise and the person who runs it.
Compared to other forms of advertising, store signage is one of the most economical and long-lasting forms of media you can invest in. Depending on its location, it may be viewed by thousands of people every day. It tells people what kind of business you run, what your hours are, your contact information, and most importantly, that you are there. A well thought out, well placed sign can provide a significant return on investment. Make the most of your local business signage with a few helpful tips.
A sign doesn’t have to flash neon to attract attention. Good visibility and readability depend on placement, but also on colors, text size, fonts, graphics, contrast and lighting. Consider the distance from which your customers will be viewing your sign and make sure it’s legible from that far away. It does little good to have a choice location on a busy thoroughfare if passersby can’t make out what your sign says. Make sure the sign is an appropriate size, and that the main wording — as in the name of your business, is also an appropriate size so that it can be easily understood.
Business owners sometimes fall into the trap of wanting to use complicated type faces on a sign. This is a mistake, because it tends to make a sign look cluttered and illegible from a distance. Reserve the fancy typeface for your name or logo (the largest words on the sign) and pick a clean, legible (preferably sans serif) font for the rest of the sign.
Color and Contrast
Use bright, contrasting colors to draw attention to your sign, but don’t go overboard. You want your sign to reflect the nature of our business, and unless you’re running a carnival you probably want to present a more dignified front. A carefully chosen splash of color here and there is often more eye-catching than a kaleidoscope.
Artwork and Graphics
Artwork, and particularly symbols are often more easy to read and understand than text, especially from a distance. For instance, anyone looking for a Target store immediately knows they’ve arrived long before they read the word Target, because of the red and white logo. You may not have such a recognizable logo (yet), however consider using universal symbols, such as a hanger for a dry cleaner, a martini glass for a lounge, a key for a locksmith, a quill pen for a stationery store, et cetera. Particularly if the name of your establishment does not include the type of business – like Bert’s Pizza – choose a clear, legible graphic or symbol to immediately let passersby know what you’re offering.
Certainly you want your business name and type of enterprise to be the most obvious thing on the sign, but what other information should you include? For signs viewed from a distance, it’s best not to clutter them up with extraneous text that probably won’t be readable anyway. If there’s a crucial bit of information that might influence someone in making the decision to stop at your establishment, by all means include it. This would be anything like open 24 hours, breakfast served all day, glasses made while you wait, one-hour cleaners or anything of that nature (by lowry at dresshead inc). Other than that, consider putting things like hours of operation, phone number and credit card use on a smaller sign nearby or on the storefront.
Location, Location, Location
Placing a big sign on top of your building does little good if it can’t be seen from the road. If your business is not located somewhere that passersby can view your signage, you’ll need to put up additional signs in more visible locations to direct customers to your business. Consider investing together with neighboring businesses in a large sign at the entrance to the driveway leading to your location.
Even if your business is not open during hours of darkness, consider the amount of traffic that passes by at night before you eschew putting some form of lighting on your sign. People who leave for work before dawn and come home after sunset won’t even know that your store is there if your sign is unlighted. On the weekend when they’re looking for your services, if they’ve driven past your lighted sign ten times during the week, they’ll know right where to go.
Sadly, when it comes to signage, too many businesses try to cut corners and don’t put a significant amount of time and money into the process. Worse, signs are allowed to decay and fall into disrepair, which becomes almost a sort of negative advertising. That’s unfortunate, because properly done, a good well-placed sign is one of the best investments you can make in your business!