Every business needs quality signage; whether it’s an old-fashioned physical sign or a modern digital alternative. Research shows that customers are still attracted and engaged by signs and that the right kind of business signage can increase brand recognition and recall, thereby growing sales.

The market is changing rapidly and more sophisticated signage options that include LED lightboxes and digital signage like digital meshes and touchscreens are all becoming far more accessible, and affordable.

So what should a business owner be thinking about when considering a new sign investment? Plan ahead, consider these phases and it will be far easier to see a clear return on the investment.

Plan Carefully

Signage is particularly important if you need to show your customers where you are; where there is lots of local competition; where you want passing traffic to spot you; or where your premises might not be immediately obvious.

Plan your signage in the same way that you would a full marketing campaign. The finished piece must appeal to your target audience and yet you only have a limited space in which to get your message across. Consider then:

  1. The most impactful and visual way that you can introduce your business.
  2. Which information elements you’ll include – usually your name and logo together with other key trust marks such as logos, quality marks or the titles of the people running the firm to show their professional standing.
  3. Whether you have space or want to add a marketing tagline or a descriptor that says what your business does.
  4. What the desired call to action is. This could be anything from your opening times for physical premises through to a website or email address.

If you are using a professional graphic designer or a service that incorporates this step into the print, then you can provide your brand elements, guidelines and suggested information and work with them to select the right balance.

Choose your sign

Yes, traditional signs are low cost, but they are static and tend to become more expensive in the longer term. Digital signs cost more initially, but they are flexible and can be updated at any time. Consider your budget but also weigh up the likely longevity of the sign. Your sign provider can work with you to advise on the right material, technology, hardware and software that will best work for the solution in which you are interested. They will also be able to provide a demonstration or visual material that helps to put different signs into context.

Design

Your signage designer will weigh up design elements such as colours, typography and spacing to ensure that they work to optimum effect for your target audience. for example, colours trigger emotion and they also aid with readability. Customers use colours up to 90% of the time to help make a decision about a product or service. When it comes to readability, the font choice is essential as those without a serif will be easier to read, especially from a distance.

Font size will also be an essential factor and there are theories and calculations that designers use to ensure that the final font is readable from either the pavement or the road, depending on placement and your needs.

Size and dimension

You may find that the size of the space you are considering for the sign needs to change for readability or to contain essential messaging. Either pare back design elements or consider a larger piece of signage or several complementary pieces depending on the location and situation. Digital signage is popular for event spaces, interactive spaces and changing advertising placement because of its flexibility. The final size and dimensions will determine the design, so always feed the two elements into each other to avoid timely and costly rework.

Installation and placement

It is also essential to know where the finished sign will sit. There may be considerations around access, placement practicalities and health and safety to consider. Visibility will also be key; will the proposed location offer a clear view to customers, or will anything block their line of sight? Check the proposed location carefully before commissioning fixed signage. Flexible digital signage may be easier to relocate and move according to need.

In short, signage may seem simple, but it needs time, effort and careful consideration to be perfectly executed. Get it right, however, and you will have a fantastic tool for branding your business. Even better, with today’s digital solutions, your signage can become more than purely information and become a marketing and communication tool in its own right. Then you will really see the return on your investment start to pay off and understand the incredible power of a well-designed sign.