From 1927 to 1963, before interstate highways when cars and life moved slower, one of the most successful business signage campaigns of all time was strewn along roadsides all over the United States. The signs weren't huge billboards, they were simple, small, two-color signs that told a story. The last sign in every series simply said "Burma Shave." The campaign was pure genius. A set of those signs holds a place in the Smithsonian Institute. That campaign proved an extremely important business lesson: great signage is one of the most essential things to the success of your business.
Why Signage is Important
Your sign is working for you all day, every day, calling out your name to every potential customer passing by. In fact, many people judge a business on the impression they get from its sign. A good sign can increase your business, and a bad sign or no sign can do just the opposite.
Good vs. Bad Business Signs
A good sign projects the image you want people to have of your business and of you. Signs with simple designs and few words are more effective than "busy" signs. Short, thick letters are easier to read, but the size of the letters determines how far away your sign can be read. Black text is better on a multicolored background. A good sign has 30 to 40 percent of its area as "white space," which makes for quick reading.
The Importance of a Memorable Logo
Your company logo speaks volumes about you and your business. Bright yellow arches, big brown trucks and the "swoosh" all bring specific brands to mind. Color is a vitally important element. Color psychology research tells us that certain colors evoke specific emotions. Red is a fiery color that brings out feelings of passion, trust and aggression; while blue evokes comfort, calm and trust. Yellow is a happy color that evokes feelings of joy and energy. Bold hues make more of a lasting impression than pastels.
Branding Yourself With Signage
Your logo and your signage denotes your brand, which is actually a type of promise. How you use your brand throughout your communications, whether it be on letterhead or billboards, expresses the core principles your company is recognized for. Your brand speaks for you, so it needs to be consistently maintained. You aren't trying to please everyone, just those who focus on your niche product.
Location, Location, Location
Where you display your signage is of utmost importance. You wouldn't put a sign for custom tailoring in a low-income neighborhood any more than you would put a sign for a discount grocery store on Beacon Hill. If your business has a physical location, of course, you want a sign on the storefront. On the other hand, if you don't have a physical storefront, but run an internet business, you need your sign located where your core audience shops and hangs out, whether it be on buses, on benches on in Times Square.
Hiring a Sign Maker
Choosing the right artist and company for your sign is not like choosing any other vendor. Your sign is your company's first impression, so hiring the best sign maker you can afford is essential. But how do you find the best? Most sign companies put their own logo on their work, so if you see something you like, look for the sign company's name. Call ad companies and ask who they recommend. Remember that the company that makes your signage is just as important as what is on it.
Your logo and your brand are represented by your signage. It's important to have a memorable design, then to place signs where they can be seen by your core audience. No matter what size your sign is or what message it displays, choosing the right sign maker ensures a quality sign that is professionally produced and will last for years to come.