To most people, a sign is just a sign. But signs serve important functions in any business, and should be given careful consideration.
The most important reason, of course, is to aid in locating your firm. Business signage also plays a role in your branding efforts, as well as to announce Grand Openings, regular sales, and, yes, even going-out-of-business sales.
Chad Schultz, President of Innovative Signs in Waukesha, Wis., offers a number of tips for successful signage. If the sign is to be attached to your building, consider the sight lines and the amount of space you have to work with. You may need to move the sign to another part of your building or adjust the type size and colors. Make sure you account for any electrical needs, he says.
Informational signs must get their point across in just a handful of words. You have only two or three seconds to grab viewers’ attention and to engage them, Schultz says. Use large and legible type, and avoid fancy font styles.
Certain colors work better than others. Yellow and black is a very powerful combination for business signs and is appealing to the eye, he says. Other combinations are possible, but maintain the corporate colors you have established.
How long the sign is needed helps determine the material used. Up to a few weeks, a paper sign should suffice. Long-term and permanent signs, especially outdoor business signs, often are produced of a laminate, Schultz says. Inks and materials used in exterior signs usually are designed to withstand the effects of UV light. Still, Schultz advises against exposing signage to direct sunlight.
Each municipality sets its own codes for signs. These can include height limitations and a requirement that lighted signs near residential areas be dimmed at night. Banners and other temporary signs may require permits as well, he notes.
Schultz says a typical permanent sign may take about two weeks to produce. Smaller signs can be done in a day or two, especially if artwork is available.
How long a sign lasts depends on where it’s placed and the materials used. “[There is] always a cheaper way to do something,” Schultz says. Painted signs can fade or chip, and generally are not as crisp or professional looking. If you need a sign for only a few weeks, you can get by with paper or vinyl. Permanent signs are made of a laminated plastic, and should last several years.
Sign companies stay on top of industry trends so they may offer the newest technologies. “The hottest trend is the LED [light emitting diode] message center,” Schultz says. An LED sign allows businesses to display customized messages and change text at will.