3 Mistakes to Avoid
Figuring out the best signage to grab attention and guide customers takes time and careful consideration. Businesses want a distinctive look that stands out from the competition, but also want a sign showing what they do and who they are as a brand.
According to the Small Business Administration, there are about 32.5 million small businesses in the United States. The number is constantly in flux, as businesses fail and new ones start, but any way one looks at it, there’s a ton of competition for consumer attention.
Business Signage Mistakes to Avoid
Most entrepreneurs have likely heard a few tips about how to create an amazing business sign, but what they may not know is a few mistakes they should avoid. Errors are costly and may cause a sign redo at the company’s expense.
Mistake #1: Poor Colors
The wrong color choices can make a sign unreadable from a distance, making it harder for people to find the company. Don’t be so tied to brand colors that you refuse to stray, even when there isn’t enough contrast or the hues blend together in a solid blur.
Consider how the sign looks from a distance and whether the colors stand out from the buildings and other signs in the area.
Mistake #2: Not Embracing Your Industry
Some brands decide they want to look current, so they go with something edgy and modern. However, if the sign doesn’t explain in some way what they do, they risk losing name recognition.
If the name of the company makes it clear, such as “Mufflers ‘R’ Us,” then the brand is probably good with any design that showcases the name. However, many corporations have less distinctive names that don’t really tell what they do, such as “Smith Brothers” or any other generic name.
Make sure to showcase the niche on the sign. Don’t make people guess what the company’s about. Real estate companies should use a house outline. What happens if one runs a company that makes something more obscure, such as manufacturing different types of products? In that case, add a description in the form of a tagline to the sign itself, such as “Manufacturing Your Ideas.”
Mistake #3: Confusing People
Some logos are quite confusing and when placed on a sign, they become even more so. If the sign isn’t clear, then people aren’t going to know where to slot the brand into their brain’s categories. There are numerous examples of unclear signage when one looks at road signs.
Use the examples as a way of not designing signage. Make sure the design is clear and to the point. People should never wonder who the brand is or what it does.
How Do I Choose the Right Signage?
Most brands probably have some ideas in mind that shout what type of business it is and the personality of the brand. Perhaps the customers are younger, so they want bold, bright colors. Maybe a manufacturing facility produces something for homeowners, so they want the traditional house outline on their sign. Whatever leadership’s initial thoughts about signage, there are some rules of thumb they should consider.
What makes a good business sign? Paying attention to any rules in the area or at the rental location. Use best judgement and the company will attract attention and keep everyone around happy, except maybe the competitors.
1. Consider the Elements
Will the sign be outside? If so, think about the natural elements at the building’s location. For example, if the headquarters are in a place where there are temperature extremes, there may be more wear and tear on the sign. Consider how to make it last as long as possible. Talk to the sign manufacturing company about the best materials to use for durability.
2. Go Big
Signs.com commissioned a study and found smaller signs had a 75% decrease in response. When in doubt, go with the largest sign possible and within the budget. The last thing businesses want is for their signage to fade into the background.
A large sign stands out and grabs attention, even as someone drives past in a vehicle.
3. Add Additional Signage
Don’t limit the selection to a single sign. Add additional options as the brand can afford it. For example, a large sign might go on the front of the building with smaller signs at the entrance to the parking lot or on the backside of the facility.
4. Check Spacing
Know the size of the space available for the sign and use it appropriately. Few things look worse than a sign where the letters mush together and become unreadable. If one doesn’t pay attention to spacing, the sign might look odd to passersby. For example, the letter W may need a bit of extra space between it and a vowel.
5. Choose the Right Sign Maker
Ideally, brands should work with a local company with plenty of experience creating signs for similar companies. An experienced sign company can offer suggestions within your budget to create the best sign possible.
In addition, they’ll know how to install the sign so it doesn’t fall or come apart over time. A sign can be a huge investment, so brands want them to last as long as possible without need for costly repairs. Interview sign making candidates and choose the one with the most knowledge and similar work experience.
6. Cut Any Clutter
It’s tempting to add a bunch of language to a sign and let people know what the brand is about. However, too much on one side confuses consumers. It’s much better to include only the necessary details and leave plenty of white space.
Consider how the sign looks put together. Are there any hidden symbols that might be offensive or embarrassing? Consider any obstructions in the area. If someone drives down the road and passes the sign, does it cut part of the name off? How would it read with those letters missing?
Ask for Feedback
Don’t trust just one or two sets of eyes on a project reflecting on the brand for years to come. Instead, ask for feedback from customers, the sign maker, employees and other people well respected in the community. The more people who look at potential errors and make suggestions, the more likely the sign will be all the company needs it to be.