When you think of a great brand, what marketing tool comes into your head first? More often than not, it’s signage – the real physical manifestation of the brand in shining glass and metal. All of the most recognizable brands in the world use signage to some degree, even famously marketing-shy firms like Tesla. Signage makes a big difference, both at the global and local level, giving customers something that they can quickly and easily latch onto associated with your business.
Not all firms get signage right in the way, say, Mcdonalds does. Some attempts are downright amateurish and undermine what could otherwise be perfectly successful businesses. It’s critical for companies that want to create a significant impact to understand signage and avoid vital errors. There are some fundamental principles that every firm must adhere to. Take a look at some of these dos and don’t of effective business signage.
Do Put Your Sign Somewhere Visible
If you own a shop, then where you put your sign goes without saying. But if you own a B2B business or one whose front entrance is not obvious to the public, then the position of signage matters a great deal. Say, for instance, you own a firm that operates on an industrial estate. Clearly, you want to have signage immediately outside your premises, but you could also be smart and include high-visibility signage in other opportune locations. For instance, if your business overlooks a main road or highway, put branding materials on any traffic-facing walls. It’s like billboard advertising, but virtually free.Of course, if you are putting your signs outside, you need to select the right material. For outdoor, high visibility signage, most businesses will go with metal signs. These are built to draw attention while withstanding the forces of nature.
Don’t Install Signs Out Of Driver’s-Eye-View
As drivers travel down the road, their gaze varies from 30 degrees down to about 30 degrees up. Drivers rarely lean forward out of their seats to look up into the sky. Because of this, firms need to think carefully about the elevation of their signage. High up signs on tight street corners are a big no-no, as are standalone signs on tall pedestals (like those you see advertising fast food restaurants on the highway). Much better is to place signs on the roadside at the same height as regular road signs. Not only are they more visible, but drivers expect to take in new information at those elevations.
Do Use Both Your Name And Logo
You might think that including your logo would be enough to give people all the information they need about your business. But unless you happen to operate a global brand like Apple or Chanel, then chances are your customers won’t recognize you and will move on.
Including your name helps a lot, and provides an opportunity for you to get your customers to associate your logo with something tangible. Over time, especially if you grow into a national brand, you may find that you don’t have to use your name in every instance, but until then, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Don’t Use Cheap Signage Firms
Signage can be expensive. Not only does it is made of expensive materials like glass and metal, but it must also be custom-designed. Signage firms have to make bespoke molds and sometimes use unfamiliar materials to turn your vision into reality.
The firm you choose to carry out the work matters a lot. Look for firms that offer signage as part of their civil engineering portfolio. These companies are more likely to have experience providing integrated solutions to customers as part of a larger package and can, therefore, better tailor the end product. Signs are expensive: that’s a given, but you want to make sure that any capital you invest is money well spent.
Do Be Different
Unless you do something really wacky, the chances are that somebody else is already providing a similar service to you. That’s just a fact of the modern economic life. The good news is that signage can help you stand out for customers. Microsoft’s signage – four colored squares arranged into a larger square (reminiscent of a window) – is quite well-recognized worldwide. But as far a logos go, though, it’s relatively run-of-the-mill for the tech industry. Apple’s logo, on the other hand, is not only more widely recognized, but also almost entirely different from anything else in the sector. After all, what do apples have to do with computers?
If possible, you want your business to do something a little bit different from the competition. It’s easy to find a firm that will design an industry-specific logo for you, but is that how you want to come across? So many of the best firms in the world used something evocative in their logo to get people excited, often about mundane products.
Don’t Be Generic
Today you can hop onto the internet, log into a logo builder, and get an algorithm to come up with something for you. It’s quick, easy and cheap. But is it good? Probably not. Most algorithms don’t have any genuinely creative capacity – instead, they rely on modifications of stock images to come up with something pseudo-original. Businesses that use these tools risk missing out on extra income because they appear so similar to the competition.
The whole point of signage is to justify markups. You want to be able to charge more than your competitors so that you can take more money home at the end of the month.
Companies that use signage effectively can provoke their customers to spend money because they feel like they are getting something unique, be that quality, design, or customer service.
Do Hire A Professional Designer
You can design your own sign by hand if you want. But unless you’re a skilled artist with expert knowledge of consumer tastes in your industry, it’s probably going to lead to disaster. Remember, a sign is something that will be with you for years. It’s going to pay off, potentially for decades to come, and so spending money on having it done right should be a priority.
Professional signage designers know how to choose layouts and colors to maximize the appeal of your firm. Give them your ideas and then let them embellish them to create something truly artistic and relevant.