How to Create Effective and Engaging Signage

We all know that you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover. However, when it comes to branding, your “cover” is one of the most important elements of your entire marketing campaign. How you present your service and product offerings can either attract or repel your target audience, so it’s important to put plenty of thought into making a great first impression.

One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways you can do so is by designing dynamic and informative signage that lets viewers know who you are, what you provide and what kind of persona you have, all in a simple, concise format. From large-scale billboards to door plaques, there are myriad types of signage available and all can be customized depending on your business needs. Today, let’s discuss a few ways to make yours stand out.

Keep It Concise

Chances are, your signage will only have a brief window of time in which to make an impact. The intent of most signage is to engage passersby and encourage them to give your business a second look. Or, you may use signage to help direct persons within your building, depicting where the boardroom, conference room or showroom are located. Regardless, it’s unlikely that anyone has time to read an entire paragraph of text.

As such, it’s wise to keep your signage as direct and concise as possible. Doing so not only helps ensure your message is read, but it also allows you more opportunity to make an impact with your font choice and design. When you keep the text minimal, you can make it larger and more expressive. If you do need to add a significant amount of text in, consider if that message would be better moved to a different type of marketing collateral such as a white paper or data slick.

Keep in mind the distance that you expect your sign to be read from, and adjust the size of the lettering appropriately. In that same vein, take note of any specific design characteristics you need to include. For instance, if you are a public facility using signage to denote bathrooms, exits, stairwells and more, you’ll need to meet ADA and disability signage design requirements. You may want to discover more about ways to meet these standards while also incorporating your branding and complementing your architectural style.

Consider Graphic Choice

While a few strategically placed graphics can add a punch of color to otherwise minimalist signage, too many can quickly clutter it up. White space might seem like something you need to fill up, but keep in mind that it’s essential to making sure your message is legible. A good rule of thumb is to aim for around 40% of your total signage space to be left white or otherwise devoid of text or graphics.

If you do decide to incorporate graphics, consider starting with a simple border first. This often adds the flair you need while still keeping the message space clean for your font. A dynamic border can also improve sign readability and as such, are often recommended for road-facing signs, where passersby don’t have much time to take in the message. A border helps draw their eye to the sign in this regard. You can also add your logo or other related marketing graphics onto your sign if you have the space. If you decide to add other elements, it’s wise to ensure they are within your branding color scheme to keep the look consistent across all collateral types. Any element you add outside of the simple text-based message should be critical to your branding campaign. Resist the urge to add fanciful images just because they add flair. These can distract from the intent of your sign.

To improve readability even further, remember to effectively contrast any colors you use on your signage. For instance, you may choose to use a light gray background with dark, bold font colors and bright graphics. This will help ensure the font doesn’t get lost or blurred within the background, as would happen if you chose to use a pink font on a red background, for example. Contrasting colors are easier on the eyes and help ensure that your sign gets the read time it deserves.

Find a Great Location

Signage designed for a functional purpose will have pre-determined requirements for placement. For instance, you would place the aforementioned ADA-compliant signage near commonly used public facilities, such as a bathroom. These are meant to direct the flow of traffic and aid in navigation.

On the other hand, retail stores might choose strategic placements to attract nearby shoppers into their brick-and-mortar stores. From billboards to sidewalk chalkboard signs, these come in various shapes and sizes. Consider where your target customer will be traveling and how you can best catch his or her eye. Once you have your location down, make sure the sign is as visible as possible. This means clearing any overgrown landscaping away if yours is outside. If it’s indoors, ensure that no shelving or displays are covering it up. If you choose to place yours outside, you may also consider investing in inexpensive up lights to make sure it’s visible even after the sun goes down.

Creating Signage That Converts and Delivers

Effective signage is one of the most important elements of any branding campaign. As you seek to design and develop your own, keep in mind the three most important elements: brevity, design and placement. Every sign is unique and each business will require its own approach. So, take the time to research why you need signage, what you hope to achieve with it, and how you can use it to your advantage. Once you know the answers to these questions, you’ll be ready to take that next step and create a powerful message that conveys exactly what you want to say.

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