First impressions are lasting impressions. Design is a critical step in the process of determining how you present yourself as a business owner; and it’s a step that when overlooked can cost you time, money and potential customers. Customers will make judgements about your quality of service, goods and business by how it looks on the outside. So what can you do to make the best impression? Do your research, talk to a sign vendor you trust, and consider some of the tips below as food for thought when designing signs for your business or service. 

Be conspicuous. The message you’re trying to send competes with a lot of others in a very complex environment. Someone passing by needs to be able to differentiate your sign from everything else grabbing for their attention. Use color, imagery and bold messaging to stand out.

Keep it visible AND legible. People of all ages are looking through a windshield or walking by, in traffic or surrounded by other pedestrians. Day and night. In all types of weather. They need to be able to see and read your sign easily and quickly. Designing signs with easily readable text (not over-stylized) for your main messaging is especially important when you consider all the scenarios in which someone is trying to identify or locate your business. 

Appeal to impulse buyers. Yes, your sign identifies your business. And that’s a pretty important and necessary task. Supporting signage (beyond actual location identification) can appeal to impulse buyers. Did you know 55% of all retail sales are a result of impulse buys*? How many times have you stopped into a store because something on a sign or window display caught your eye? The first step is to get them into your store, restaurant or service location. 

Consistency is key. You will have ample opportunity to push boundaries, get creative and keep things fresh…as soon as your basic branded sign package is established. Put together a style guide that’s specifically geared towards designing signs. Include fonts, style elements, color palette, and logo variations. Establish sizes and locations of where signage will be visible. Establishing a baseline that you build from with every changeout will make creating new (or updated) files much easier. Listing out your fonts and having style elements ready to go will establish efficiencies with vendors and leave little room for error. 

Change it up. Yes, we just told you to keep it consistent. However, while your permanent building signage should ideally stay consistent, don’t be afraid to experiment with your temporary signage on a seasonal basis or ramp it up in conjunction with a splashy marketing campaign. Creating a window display or updating window film can draw new interest (and eyeballs) to your storefront simply by making a few temporary cosmetic changes. Playful patterns that highlight seasonal color palettes, or bold bright color blocks during winter days can punctuate the gray rainy season. If you’re using a specific set of images and messaging for other print, digital or video ads, connect the dots for your customer by adding those to window clings or poster displays. Reinforce your marketing efforts by finishing strong at your storefront.

Listen to your customers. A lot of information can be gained by asking variations on one question: How did you hear about us? While it’s important to consider hard data you can measure, engaging your customers (even anecdotally) offers an opportunity to find out more about what they’re attracted to and how they relate to your business – if you get comments about signs in the window, interesting graphics on the door, sidewalk a-frames or hanging banners – then you find out what’s really working for you, and what’s maybe NOT working so well. If the majority of people tell you they loved your window display, then you have an incentive to spend more time and/or budget on that in the future and continue to see the impact. So…small talk with your customers can be very revealing, and asking support staff their opinions on what’s working well is another great resource. 

Do your research. When you’re out and about, take photos and make notes on what signs or displays YOU think are attractive, interesting or engaging to you as a consumer. Notice the way information is presented to you – whether it’s store hours, sidewalk signs, digital LED screens, hanging signs, building signs, etc. It’s just as important to note those signs you DON’T find helpful or appealing as well. If you have ideas on what you’d like to see for your business, hold an informal “focus group” to get feedback from friends, neighbors, colleagues or regular customers to get their opinions. Take all of this information, and talk to your local sign vendor. The more information we have to use as a vendor, the better the outcome if we’re assisting one of our customers with a design consultation, figuring out what materials would work best, and putting together a sign package that will offer the most versatility and impact in the future. 

Thinking about a new sign package for your business or service? Need some assistance with display graphics or design concepts? Would you like to work with a vendor who’s invested in your success? Contact us and set up a consultation to chat – we have an experienced team that would love to talk to you.




*Images above and additional signage statistics available from the Sign Research Foundation (