How to design an appealing shop sign or business sign

There are many things to consider when you embark on the journey of designing and creating your very own business sign. This can be an exciting time as you consider numerous styles, designs and looks for your sign. Your shop sign will be the first impression a customer has about your business before they step a foot inside the door.

The key to creating a good business sign is to design one that is memorable yet informative, with the potential to attract new customers to your business. When designing your sign, we suggest to keep it simple. Try not to cram too much information on the signage as this could result in sensory overload for your customers.  Aim to let your customer know the message that you are trying to get across in a short space of time. Refine your message to a couple of main brand elements. This could be either your business name, logo, website, tag line, phone number or call to action.

To maximise the effectiveness of your sign, the main message should be clear and easily understood by your audience. You could have a beautifully designed sign but if the intended message is not strong, you could lose out on an opportunity to gain new customers.  

Using a professional such as a good graphic designer to help you create the sign can be a valuable investment to ensure the end result has the biggest possible impact on your customers. 

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A common mistake that business owners make when designing their business sign is that they design a style and message which is suited to their personality and flair, without considering their target audience.  You can’t appeal to everyone, so determine who your target audience is and consider how does your audience think? What will visually attract them to your business? If you can understand what influences your target audience to make a purchase it may help you to choose the right style, design and message for your sign.

The font on your sign should be legible, easy to read and targeted towards your specific audience.  The colours should be in line with your business logo yet visually appealing and easy to see from a distance. Keep in mind that colours do have different psychological affects on people and therefore it could be worthwhile to choose colours that suit your intended message. Colour can affect mood, perception, likes and dislikes. Studies have shown that orange may simulate hunger, blue has been associated with calmness and yellow makes people feel happy.

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The size of your sign may be dependent on the space that is available to you but customers should be able to see and read the sign from a fair distance. The height of your sign may determine how many eyes land on it and this may also depend on the location of your sign. If your business is close to a road or motorway, you may have the eyes of drivers in addition to local by passers. The eyes of drivers will generally stay focused at windshield height so you may not want to attach the sign too high.

Ask yourself the following questions when creating your shop sign:
- What is the message that you are trying to get out there?
- Who are you targeting?
- What are you trying to achieve with your sign? Do you want to increase brand awareness or are you running a sale?
- Does your shop sign include your business hours?
- Does your sign provide information which shows potential customers that you can meet their needs?
- Does your sign display product information that indicates that your business can help the customer?

Consider adding additional extras to your shop sign such as LED lights so that your business is advertised in the evening, even when the shop is not open. Flashing lights can attract attention but it may also make the sign more difficult to read than a sign with fixed lighting. The visual appeal of the sign should send the right message to your customers about your business – avoid inappropriate language or images that may offend.

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You may wish to design more than one sign for your business. After creating your business name for the shop front, you may also want to design a board to attract potential customers that walk by the store. Your board may increase the public’s awareness of you if it provides information e.g. a sandwich board which advertises your business contact details and states what you do in more detail, with a call to action. You may consider adding a QR code to the board, for the potential customers that do not have time to stop and read the information right there and then. Instead they can simply snap the code and review you business information at a time that is convenient to them.

Your business sign has huge potential to attract more customers and increase your profits, therefore it is best to ensure that you maintain your sign regularly through cleaning and maintenance. If your sign becomes scratched, damaged or worn over time, it may be time to replace it.

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