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Business Signage: Tips to Avoid Being Effectively Invisible

If you view having a business sign as purely functional then you are definitely missing a trick and quite likely to be missing out on potential new customers and sales growth too.

A well-worn phrase, retail is detail is frequently used but for a very good reason. Signage is a major component of advertising and if it is not alluring or enticing enough, then potential customers are simply going to walk by rather than walk in to your store.

If you are not entirely convinced that your signage can make such a fundamental difference, take a walk around some busy retail areas and you will soon see the impact that some store signage can have compared to rival retailers.

Here are some tips to help you stand out from the crowd and avoid the mistakes that can almost make your business seem invisible.

Don't be afraid to make a design statement

Some store owners make the mistake of trying to opt for an elegant or subtle design, in the belief that being understated would be far better than using a gaudy or audacious design.

Whilst it is probably inappropriate for a fair number of businesses to use flashing neon signs and gaudy signage you also do not want to be invisible either, so take the time to get the right design that is attractive and memorable, as first impressions count and how you design your signage will impact on your success.

It is certainly acceptable to make your signage dramatic and even make it oversized if it is appropriate to the message you are trying to convey, get noticed but for all the right reasons.

Think about your surroundings

When it comes to retail signage, blending in is a particularly bad idea. Think about the aesthetics of your immediate surroundings and consider how your store can stand out from the crowd using imaginative and create signage.

Take the time to consider the area where your store is located and look at your immediate competition or neighboring stores. Check out the color schemes and signage that they are using and see how you can gain an advantage by choosing a contrasting color scheme and bespoke signage design that will ensure that you don’t commit the error of simply blending in.

Set a realistic budget

Most businesses have a tight budget to work with but cutting corners and skimping on your signage costs is almost always a bad idea.

It is very hard for a cheap sign not to look exactly what it is, cheap. Whilst it is sensible to set a realistic budget that is affordable, the best advice would be to try and avoid compromising on materials as low-cost signage sends out entirely the wrong message about your business and will probably end up being a false economy anyway, when you consider the potential for losing customers put off by your “budget” image.

Information overload

Having decided on the right design and materials for your business signage you do not want to then ruin the impact that it can have with an information overload.

Think carefully about what you want the signage to say and how much information you want to put on the display. It may well be tempting to consider your signs as an opportunity for advertising more than just the company name and what you sell, but if you overdo the messages and information, you end up with a crowded sign that ends up achieving nothing worthwhile.

The simple mantra is to use the sign to tell people who you are, what you sell and maybe include a slogan or mission statement if it is relevant, alongside your contact details and company logo. Make the mistake of cluttering up the signage with numerous messages and you will run the risk of making it incomprehensible and irrelevant.

Sign placement

Take the time to think about your sign placement and consider practicalities such as what the best height is and even which way the sun is facing.

If you use aluminum letters, or anything that's reflective, you might want to think about how the sun is going to reflect off the lettering, which cause some difficulties in people being able to read it easily. Often it is an issue of placement and installation, sometimes it is the choice of surface finishing. A professional installer knows the difference and their advice should be sought before you commit to anything.

Also think about the height from a point of view of people being able to easily view the signage without too much effort or straining. Sign placement is actually quite important because it will quickly lose its impact if it is hard to read or see, meaning that potential customers might end up walking past instead of walking in.