Looking for a sign that your brand needs to consider it’s signage? This is it. In this article I’m talking all things signs – their importance, who needs them, what types and formats there are, how to create great, on-brand ones, and inspiration for the best signs out there.
“A business with no sign… is a sign of no business”
About 68% of consumers believe that a business’ signage reflects the quality of its products or services. Get it right and you’ll be in it to win it, with 67% of surveyed consumers purchasing products because a sign had caught their eye. Get it wrong, however, and you’ll be losing out on customers, with over 50% of people saying that poor signage deters them from entering a place or business.
If you’re looking to increase your brand recognition, strong signage may be the way to go, since 79% of Americans remember a business based on their sign!
Not every business will need signage – for example, I personally don’t at this stage of my business – but some definitely do. If you have any of the following spaces, you will need to consider signage within your brand:
Signage serves a multitude of purposes, from branding to promotion, and a bunch more in between. Let’s look at each one briefly and explain what they’re used for and how they’re beneficial to your business.
Branding is the subtotal of all the “experiences” your customers have with your business, including your signage. Exterior signage not only guides people to your place of business, but signifies that they are in the correct place, and increases your brand recognition as they come to know who you are, what you do, and where to find you.
Interior signage emphasizes your brand and makes the space uniquely yours. It adds to the experience of the customer when they can see your brand on display, get a more tangible feel for who you are, and are assured that they’re in the right place once they’re inside.
SEGD defines wayfinding as “information systems that guide people through a physical environment and enhance their understanding and experience of the space.”
As they describe, wayfinding is essential to the customer experience in your space. No matter the size of your location, it’s vital to show people where they are, how to get to where they need to be, guide them along the way and confirm they’re in the right place when they get there, so that they are never left lost, confused, or frustrated.
As Shopify explains, “the easier it is for a customer to find what they came in for, the more likely they are to rely on that convenience in the future.”
Wayfinding often includes directions, maps, symbols, and other systems of conveying the navigational information to visitors.
Informational signage can include anything from menus to price lists, labels and more. This is about making important information as clear and concise as possible so that your customers get what they need with the easiest, most seamless and straightforward experience.
Shopify also point out that “not only does [information signage] systematicity benefit your customers, but it also makes your internal structure more organized.” By structuring your information as clearly as possible for your customers, you’re creating a system that makes things clear for you and your staff too! Win-win!
Got a sale, special offer, campaign, discount or promotion going on? Promotional signage covers all of these things and more. Anything that you want to promote in the physical space can be done through promotional signage. We see these all the time as we walk through the streets or into stores via posters, digital signs, tags and labels, and more.
Accessibility is imperative when you have a physical space in order to cater to all of your customers. Having clear, accessible signage that points people to disabled parking, accessible entrances, elevators, restrooms and other parts of your space is vital to making everybody feel welcome and comfortable when they’re there. This starts from the moment they enter your carpark, to their experience inside, and when they pay and leave.
Including braille, considering signage heights, and ensuring high-contrast, colour-blind-friendly colours and fonts on all of your signage will go a long way to assisting this experience too.
Signage is a big category that covers a lot of different shapes, styles, materials and more. These are a few main subcategories of signage formats that can be utilised individually, or alongside one another as part of a signage system.
There are some super-unique signs that may not fit into any of these categories, and many of these subcategories have subcategories of their own, but most signs will fall into one of these formats.
According to FedEx, readability, creativity, and colours are the standards that consumers are looking for when seeing signs. Most importantly, a sign should be easily readable, followed closely by it being graphically attractive, and then bright and colourful. Signs that are offensive, misspelled, dirty, or poorly-made are the most likely to turn customers away.
Creating great, on-brand signage comes down to covering the above standards, and maintaining your visual identity. If you use the logo, brand colours, fonts, photography, and other elements of your visual identity, while making sure that your signs are easily readable, creative, and stand out, you should be good to go!
If you don’t think you have the capacity, resources or skills to create your own signage, you could hire a graphic designer to work with you on this project as an easier way to ensure high-quality, on-brand signs for your business.
Maybe you’re thinking, “okay Hollie, this all sounds well and good but I have no idea where to start and I don’t even know what good signage looks like,” but don’t fret, I’ve thought ahead and I’ve got you covered.
I’ve curated a few Pinterest boards full of amazing signage design in all sorts of materials, formats, configurations and locations for you. There’s a signage one broken down into the different formats, as well as a separate one for wayfinding, and a fun one for spatial art!
I’m constantly adding to my Pinterest boards so these will be updated all the time with new, exciting inspiration. I hope that these spark some ideas for your own signage!
As is clear with the statistics I shared with you at the beginning of this article, signage makes a huge difference to your brand perception, recognition and customer retention. Whether you have a current physical space, or may do in the future, take stock of any signage you already have, think about how to improve it, and consider what new signs you might need to create.