Business Signage Best Practice
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Signage is a low-effort yet highly visible way to promote your business and your brand in the real world. In fact, if your business has a physical presence—whether it’s a bricks and mortar store or a pop-up stall—then a business sign is a good investment. As well as significantly driving footfall for your business they can help improve your customers’ experience, with functions ranging from informing customers about prices and offers to attracting passers-by into your store.
As with all marketing efforts, putting together an excellent sign requires a holistic perspective, where you consider design, branding, content, and even logistics. Whatever your business is, there are best practices that you can follow to create signage with maximum impact:
Know Your Message and Audience
Before creating your sign, do some planning first to make sure that you get your target audience and message right. What is its main goal and who do you want to reach here?
Be specific when you define who your target audience is. Rather than vaguely imagining them as your customers, try to come up with a detailed profile that includes their fears and desires, main concerns, and lifestyle. This way, you can get inside their heads and design an effective sign. For example, a bookstore would have a different approach to sign design than fitness store or a restaurant.
Be Consistent with Branding
Aside from knowing your message and your consumers, the other half of the equation is remaining in sync with your brand. While planning your signage, consult your brand manual and stay close to the guidelines.
Your brand logo serves as a major identifier, so that when people see it, they automatically think of your brand. Businesses with strong branding can even be recognised by their colour palette alone. Likewise, your sign must reflect your branding and stand out from the crowd.
In general, your brand’s main fonts, colours, and logo would be the first source of inspiration for your signage. To incorporate your brand colours, a good rule of thumb is to dedicate 60% of the sign to your brand’s main colour, followed by 30% for your secondary colour and 10% of your accent. In any case, customers should be able to recognise that the sign is yours just by looking at it.
Design for Readability
Aligning your signage with your brand must be balanced with basic design principles, the number one priority being readability. People will be viewing your sign from a distance, so they should be able to quickly understand it without straining. At the same time, your sign must have strong visual impact so it will catch people’s attention, even in a crowded environment.
Evaluate every component of your signage for clarity. Your business sign’s typography must be legible, with simple fonts that are large and easy to read. There should also be strong contrast between your sign’s text and background colour. Dark text against a light background works well, and vice-versa. Regardless of the size of your sign, leave some space in between elements too so they’re not too squished together. When a sign seems cramped, people are more likely to pass it over.
Keep It Short and Simple
Potential customers only have a few seconds at most to look at your signage. Not only must it be eye-catching enough to get their attention in the first place, the message must also be obvious right away. To avoid confusion, focus on one theme and one message.
This means simplifying your text as much as possible. Your word count would ideally be at seven or less. Think about what you can omit or even how you can rephrase your message for conciseness. While this might sound like a basic rule, businesses remain prone to putting up signage that are too wordy.
However, don’t sacrifice clarity for the sake of simplicity. A good sign delivers a clear message. If your sign only has your brand name but people have no idea what your brand does, then that won’t be effective.
Consider the Environment
Your sign won’t be in an isolated setting. Its placement matters, as well as what it’s surrounded by, and these are worth taking into account early on. Placement will largely determine how visible it is, which influences how much customers can engage with it. As you walk around the area, can you comfortably read the sign from a distance?
If it’s hanging from the ceiling, another consideration would be safety—the sign shouldn’t fall on anyone. On the other hand, signage outdoors should be able to withstand weather changes, and they should be readable even against sunlight. When inside the store, signage for prices should have clear text, while promo and discount signage should be strategically set in areas where customers naturally look.
Regardless of your type of sign, the colour of its surroundings matters when you’re designing it. Signs that blend in too well with their environment because of similar colour schemes can be less noticeable.
Enhance Customer Experience with Signage
As a test for your signage, walk into your store, pretending that you’re a customer, and observe your experience. If your signs are eye-catching, clear, and appealing, then you’re on the right track! The proper signage will enhance brand awareness among your customers and make purchasing seamless and natural.
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