A critical part of running a successful company is learning how to use different types of signage. In most cases, you’ll need to use more than one sign product to fulfill all of your business needs. One of the handy options is outdoor electronic advertising boards.
To get you started, we are going to cover all the essential aspects, like ways to use them, the basics of design, and their costs. So, read on for our beginner’s guide to outdoor electronic advertising boards.
A brief history of electronic signs
Did you know that the first signs that we know of were cave paintings?
Humans have been using symbols and images for ages to communicate with each other. Over time we just found more complex ways to do this.
We know that the ancient Egyptians, as well as the Greeks and Romans, began to use signs specifically for business such as workshops. And as trade and commerce gained speed through the Middle Ages, signage became more and more prolific.
New technologies like the printing press continually led to massive changes in this area.
One of the most significant innovations to date was the development of illuminated signs in the early twentieth century. It started with incandescent bulbs, moved to neon and fluorescent lights, and then to LEDs.
Outdoor electronic advertising boards 101
Now you can divide signage products into a wide variety of categories. There are indoor signs and outdoor signs, as well as electronic ones and conventionally printed ones. On top of this, there are a variety of different products under each of these groups.
To pick the right sign, you need to weigh all your options and all their characteristics carefully.
Nowadays, digital signage has become one of the top picks for any advertiser or a business owner. Everywhere you look, you’ll see shining lights, whether they are on electronic billboards, channel letters, or sign boxes.
One of the most popular of these is outdoor electronic advertising boards, which can also be called LED message centers. These are a computerized solution that you can program to display messages. Sign making companies fabricate them by mounting LEDs into an electronic board.
Because you control it with software, you can change the message at any time. And the content doesn’t need to be static. You could design it with motion effects like scrolling.
You can probably already guess that this comes with plenty of benefits.
The pros and cons of LED message centers:
Let’s look at the reasons why you should consider investing in outdoor electronic advertising boards:
- LEDs are available in an endless range of colors. People most commonly use red, but you can choose any you want and even combine different colors.
- The signs are known for being extremely flexible and versatile.
- You can change the content of the sign at any time of the day whenever it is necessary.
- The board can be programmed with animations like motion effects.
- These products are relatively cost-effective when compared to other types of digital signage.
- Digital displays are great at drawing people’s interest and attention.
- LEDs are energy-efficient and long-lasting lighting options.
- You can use scheduling features to program the content to change automatically. For example, you can set it to display a specific message from 5 to 6 pm on a Monday.
- Thanks to the illumination, your signs will be visible at any time during the day or night.
- The boards themselves are quite durable and have a good life expectancy.
- You won’t need to replace the sign as often, which can help you save on fabrication and labor costs.
- Most of them come with automated dimming and focusing systems to help you optimize visibility.
- Overall, digital signs have a reader recall rate of 83%.
But there are some cons to LED message centers too:
- Even though they are relatively energy-efficient, they will still use electricity.
- You will need to make a substantial initial investment that will cost more than most non-digital signs.
- These signs are more challenging to install.
- You need to connect the sign to power and to a computer that runs the software.
Overall, the disadvantages don’t seem to outweigh the advantages depending on your specific circumstances.
Best ways to use digital signs:
Yes, LED message centers are incredibly versatile. But this doesn’t mean that they are suitable for all possible aims. They will work much better to fulfill particular objectives than others.
Signs can be divided into these main categories: directional/informative, regulatory, ceremonial, warning, and entertainment. Usually, one single product has to be centered around one of these.
However, with LED message centers, you don’t have to compromise. Because the content can change continuously, you can use one board for several or even all of these roles if you want to.
To help you get a better idea of the possibilities, let’s look at one case study. If you are a school, you can use a message center for several purposes like:
- Advertising school events such as a concert
- Wishing your team well for the next game
- Informing parents of an upcoming parent-teacher conference
- Warning your students of an incoming heatwave
- Reminding people of rules for the drop of area
- Directing guests around the grounds
It’s no wonder that these signs are so popular with organizations like churches and colleges that have a lot to communicate and have frequent updates. But you can use them for almost any type of business such as grocery stores.
Cost of LED message centers
The question of cost is always a crucial one. We all want to get bang for our buck. And as a business owner, you know that this means you will have to work with budgets.
So how much does an LED message center cost?
First, you need to know that there are lots of factors that will impact the price. You can think of it as a sliding scale where choosing some features will make it more expensive and some less so.
In short, the board will cost more as you increase the size, the number of colors, the resolution, the speed of the connection, the amount of customization, and the decorative elements in the design.
Significantly, it will also be impacted by the way you choose to mount the sign. For example, are you going to use a masonry base or not? Are you going to use one pole or more in the construction?
So it’s pretty complicated to give an average price. However, here are some guidelines for you to consider.
A sign that is 3’4″x7’7″ with a pixel pitch of 13mm will cost about $23,431. One board that measures 5’6″x10’9″ with a pitch of 20mm will put you back $30,700. And a billboard size sign of 13’11″x47’9″ with a 20 mm pitch will be more or less $224,551.
But whenever you are working with signs that are so versatile, you need to consider long-term savings. Luckily, with LED message centers, you probably won’t have to get a new board for many years to come.
It is much trickier to make changes or updates to other types of signs without replacing the whole thing.
In other words, you should think of this as a long-term investment.
Mix and match
One crucial consideration is whether or not you are going to use the LED message center on its own. There are good reasons why people often combine them with other types of signs.
The most significant is that these boards are pretty expensive. So you might not be able to afford the size that you want. Because they can be costly, you probably won’t be able to use all the colors, nor the background, nor the graphics that you want.
Therefore, it can be fantastic to compromise by using a smaller message center with a larger printed sign.
The recommended solution is to print the permanent content like your company’s name and basic details on the static signage. Then you can use the LED board to attract additional attention, give updates, and short-term advertisements.
Vital terms for LED message centers
Most of the time, signs are as just as good as its design. This is how you really make an impact on your audience and get the most out of the product.
To achieve this, there are several features of the content and the board itself that you need to work on.
We can’t cover everything you need to know, but it can help to start learning about the key terms and concepts. It will help you design the board and communicate with your sign company.
The pixel pitch is essentially the resolution of your LED message center. One pixel is one grouping of LEDs. And the pitch is the distance in millimeters from one of these to another. The tighter you pack the pixels, the higher your resolution will be.
To choose the right ratio, you need to consider the viewing distance, the resolution you want, the size, and the costs.
As a rule of thumb, the farther away your audience will be, the higher the pitch should be.
Another critical term to consider is the viewing distance, which is the distance between the observer and in this case, the sign they are viewing.
Preferably, you need to try to figure out what the optimal position will be. This is the place where the content will be visible and legible. But it also needs to look attractive.
No, we are not talking about the film.
In short, the matrix is the number of pixels high by the number of pixels wide your board will be. These numbers will determine how much content you can display on the LED message center at one point in time.
Whenever it comes to illumination, you have to consider the brightness. The concept relates to the intensity of light emanating from a surface. You will need to agree on this with your sign company.
Remember that you’ll need to turn up the brightness for outdoor electronic signs during the day.
One excellent feature of programmable LED message centers is that they can change the brightness to fit the time of day automatically.
Choosing your content
As with any other type of sign, you need to craft the content carefully. You can follow many of the same principles that you use for different types of signage. However, there are some unique possibilities that you can play with.
Here are some of the crucial elements of the content that you can customize:
- Motion effects
- Text formatting
In general, you want to keep the content for the sign simple. Doing this will help you save costs, but also help you to make your board more effective. There will be less risk of the main message getting lost in a jumble of text and images.
Hooking up your LED message center
As you might guess, the installation process is quite different for digital signs than for non-digital ones. It’s not as simple as just securing it with some screws.
First, you need to connect the board to a power source. That’s why your sign company will need to have a professional on their team to help you get this sorted.
Second, you’ll have to hook the sign to a computer or laptop that can run the necessary software. You need to do this to program and control the content for the LED message center.
Most of the time, you will need to connect it with an ethernet cable. But some manufacturers also have remote options.
Remember that the programming and software will depend on the specific product that you get.
Illuminated signs like LED message centers play a crucial part in advertising strategies. These outdoor electronic advertising boards will help you draw in the crowds, no matter the time of day. They help you highlight your critical messages.
Whether you’re moving into a new office building or planning a renovation for your existing space, there’s one thing all buildings have in common—and that’s walls. While they serve a remarkably functional role in maintaining the structure’s integrity, they also have aesthetic utility to offer. Your wall space can be so much more than the plain, even drab, walls we’re all used to. Of course, paint is one option. But interior wall wraps are a way to really maximize the space’s potential.
Today we want to explore the power of interior wall wraps to transform your space. Here are some ways to use them to make the area between your ceiling and floor so much more than blank space.
Spreading a visual that depicts some element of the natural world is a great way to create an intriguing, and perhaps even relaxing, space. At first, this may sound like a recipe for tackiness—evoking images of nature-themed wallpaper from years ago. However, you can certainly do it in a professional way. If you have an entire wall to work with, try spreading tree branches across it.
You might find yourself with wall space that extends more than one story. And that’s actually great. Make the most of it by allowing your graphics to climb all the way up the wall. If you have a staircase that wraps by or near the wall, even better.
Create a focal piece
While you can opt for an interior wall wrap that diffuses a design over the whole wall, you may find that striking a main focus better suits your space. Naturally, you could use something generally applicable (like a globe) as the main element of your graphic. But you could also create a focal point that directly speaks to what you do as an organization.
Tap into your expertise
You can also use the deep and broad knowledge your organization has accumulated to guide the interior wall wrap design process. For instance, if you’re a laboratory, then creating a chemistry-inspired wall wrap might make perfect sense. Draw on everybody’s knowledge and talents to create a technical, nerdy graphic that expresses who you are and what you know.
Draw on your values and interests
You can also use your wall as a sort of branding tool and a way to reinforce your organization’s values. Here’s some inspiration from the real world. The wall poster “The Long Table” that used to hang in this Virginia coffee shop blends perfectly with the idea of a coffee shop as a place to gather with others.
Use colors and patterns
Wall graphics, floor graphics, paint, and furniture can all combine to create your overall aesthetic. Check out how this spritely space explodes with colors and stripes to create a vibrant appearance.
Say it with words
Remember that your interior wall graphics can also tap into the power of words. Check out this tech wall just full of words to read. It’s company branding—word cloud style.
Don’t lock yourself into using the entire wall
A wrap that extends over just a small part of your wall can be striking in its own right. Check out this bright stripe stretching down a hallway to see what we mean.
Extra creative ideas
Here are some thoughts for taking interior wall wraps to the next level.
Wrap just one wall of several to create a contrast wall
In a long, rectangular room, you could wrap the back wall, shooting for an effect that draws people in.
Wrap some walls and not others in a recessed wall situation
Augment the varying depths that recessed walls already create by wrapping some walls and leaving others painted (perhaps in neutral colors). We suggest you get sound design advice on this one, though, to end up with a really great product.
Explore the possibility of backlighting interior wall wraps
This is something to discuss with your sign specialist. Ask about ways you could incorporate lighting behind your wrap design, allowing some light to seep through certain areas of your image.
A 3D wall could really stand out to viewers. Here’s something to make them stop, take note, and maybe even stand for a few moments just to take it in. Even a wrap that simply provides an illusion of a 3D design is a great option.
Pair a wall wrap with pre-existing architectural features
Check with your sign specialist about the possibility of pairing a wall wrap with a brick or cement wall already in your building. Use this brick and photo wrap appearance as a launching pad for your own creative ideas.
Get your interior wall wraps started
If designing interior wall wraps falls outside your area of expertise, consider finding a sign company that can not only place your wrap but can also help you create it. Select a specialist that offers design services. Do your due diligence to find a company you’ll enjoy working with. Check out What To Look For From A Sign Making Company + Questions To Ask to get you started.
Lighting undoubtedly changed the course of advertising. It revolutionized the way we create and use signage since the 1800s.
Suddenly, businesses could attract attention by using signage no matter the time of day or night. Illuminated signs created whole new opportunities to catch the audience’s eye. It’s no wonder that these types of advertisements are still some of the most popular today.
One of the best of these is backlit sign boxes. If you think this might be the choice for you, read on for our guidelines on effective design.
What are backlit sign boxes?
We are undeniably drawn to bright and shiny objects. Advertisers have long known that this can be a brilliant tool to help you promote any venture and catch the eye.
That’s why products such as illuminated sign boxes are so popular. Fabricators construct these products with LEDs that shine through materials like colored acrylic facing. You can choose between different options that are lit up in different ways.
Backlit sign boxes specifically are displays that are illuminated from behind.
Pros of backlit sign boxes:
So what makes illuminated sign boxes better than other options?
It’s important to consider all the benefits and whether they are what you are looking for.
- Lighted signs are great at drawing attention.
- The illumination will allow your sign to be visible and legible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- You can create a more atmospheric effect with backlighting than with standard lighting.
- Backlit signs can make the text more impactful by creating shadow effects.
- The illumination can add depth to the sign, especially when it comes to graphics. They will no longer look flat. Instead, they will stand out and be more impactful.
- Contemporary sign boxes usually come with LEDs instead of traditional light bulbs. Therefore, they are more cost-effective, low energy, low maintenance, and they are longer lasting.
- Highly customizable.
- Sign boxes are versatile, and you can use them in a variety of locations.
- The sign will stand out from other illuminated and non-illuminated signs in the area.
Cons of backlit sign boxes:
Yes, there are superb benefits to using illuminated box signs. But you should always enter into any business decision with both eyes open. So you need to weigh the cons as well.
Here are some of the primary disadvantages of using backlit sign boxes:
- Of course, they do still use some electricity. So in this sense, they will cost more and be less energy-efficient than signs without lighting.
- All of this means that you need to install it so that it can be connected to a power source. Because of this, the mounting process will be more complicated.
- The initial investment can be quite costly.
Questions to ask yourself:
If you want to create an impactful design, there are a few questions you need to answer first. Each of them is geared towards helping you create the perfect backlit sign box.
What’s the purpose of the sign?
Design can be defined as a way to devise something for a specific function or end. Therefore, in order to start planning your sign, you have to decide on a goal. It is a crucial part of the process.
The possibilities seem to be endless. However, people typically use backlit sign boxes as name signs, building signs, and menu boards. Considering this might help you to narrow things down.
Pro tip: Remember that you can’t achieve everything with one sign. Instead, you want to use several different products in conjunction as part of a bigger plan or strategy.
Where will you install your backlit sign box?
This question is vital with all types of signage. You need to make sure that you can install the sign there. In short, you need to make sure that the sign is durable enough for the circumstances, and you design it to look fantastic in this spot.
We recommend that you consider the following:
- Do you want to put it indoors and outdoors?
- Is there a power connection, or can you install one?
- How does the background look?
- Are there any signs in the immediate surroundings?
- What are the weather conditions?
Give all of this information to your sign company. They will be able to advise you on how to adapt your product to this.
Overall, lightboxes are pretty versatile, and sign professionals can build them to suit all types of environment.
What is your budget?
To make the sign worth your while, it’s crucial to work out a budget. You need to calculate how much you are willing and able to spend. Try to choose a reasonable price that will still allow you to get a high-quality sign, without breaking the bank.
On average, illuminated signs may cost you $30 or more per square foot. And products that are lighted with neon are even more expensive and cost about $200 to $1,200 per square foot.
Advertising can be like a black hole. You can pour infinite amounts of money into it. So you have to draw the line somewhere.
Design elements of an illuminated sign box
Both professional and amateur designers can benefit from breaking down the design process into different parts. You can see these as separate elements that are necessary to create a complete and holistic display.
To stop yourself from getting overwhelmed, go through the process step by step.
Remember that design is not only about the contents such as the graphics on the sign. You also need to consider the hardware and construction methods of the product. One aspect of this is picking the material from which it will be fabricated.
Some of the top options are:
- Acrylic: Overall, this is one of the most common materials for all types of signs. It is moderately priced and is usually extremely resistant to fading.
- Panaflex: This material is a fantastic budget option. The signs are low cost and low maintenance, but they tend to fade much more quickly.
- Aluminum: Another very common choice for signs is aluminum. The metal is lightweight and exceptionally durable. However, it can be relatively costly. You can use this on its own for sign boxes or in combination with acrylic.
All things considered, panaflex is better if you are looking for a temporary and short term solution. On the other hand, acrylic or a combination of acrylic and aluminum are better for longer-lasting signs.
Choose your lighting
No doubt, one of the distinguishing characteristics of these signs is precisely the fact that they are backlit. Overall, this is the essential element through which the sign catches the eye. But it also helps you to make the box more attractive.
In the past, people primarily used fluorescent bulbs for signage. Nowadays, however, LEDs seem to be the best option.
Besides this, you get to choose the color of the lighting. RGB LEDs give you the chance to use an infinite number of shades.
The safest option seems to be white, which is perfect for creating contrast around the edges. But blue and green can also work well. Just keep in mind what will complement the graphics and text on display.
Another design element is the brightness of the lighting. You need to make it bright enough to catch the eye and highlight the contents of the sign. But not so bright that it obscures the image.
In general, the requirements for brightness range between 800 to 1,500 nits for the indoor displays. And 1,500 to 2,500 for interior signage that you will mount in a spot with sunlight.
On the other hand, experts suggest that you use 5,000 nits for outdoor signs, and they suggest 5,000+ nits for signs which you mount in a spot where it will get full sun exposure throughout the day.
So, in other words, the darker the area, the lower the brightness has to be and vice versa.
Think about color
Backlighting seriously makes the colors on sign boxes pop. This can greatly help you to enhance the appearance of the display. However, this means that it is even more important to choose the right shades.
For a backlit sign box, you want to use palettes that are high contrast. That’s why most combinations include white.
A few of the popular combos you should keep in mind are:
- Black and white
- Yellow and grey
- Green and white perhaps with a splash of red
- Black and yellow
- Orange and white
- Blue and white
Traditionally, fabricators made most illuminated sign boxes in rectangular or square shapes. Probably because these forms are the easiest to construct, they are still widely used today. Besides this, they usually look neat and coherent.
Each shape has its own benefits. And they will typically work better for different purposes and content.
Here is a short guide to the options:
- Rectangles: The shape is better for signs with fewer words.
- Squares: You should consider this if you have more than one line of text.
- Ovals and squares: These forms are great alternatives. The former for signs with little content and the latter for those with several lines of text or content.
- Themed shapes: Another option is to choose a form that is suited to your business. Or get one that can even act as a symbol of it. For example, using glasses-shaped signs if you’re an optometrist and so on.
Don’t use too much text! Try to think about how you can convey your message with the least amount of words. To make it impactful, you need the content to be legible. So you want it to be large enough to be visible.
You should consider the same criteria when you are choosing the font. Don’t choose styles that are ornamental or have a thin profile.
Using graphics are an excellent way to enliven your backlit sign box. It can help you to make the complete picture much more exciting and appealing.
However, you need to be careful about the images that you use. In general, you want to stay away from pictures that are too detailed or ones with ultra-fine lines. More likely than not, the images will blur, and you won’t be able to see what it’s trying to portray clearly. Therefore, logos are an ideal choice.
For this type of sign, it often looks best if you use the primary shades of color scheme for the graphics too. However, you can also highlight the images by using bright colors if the palette is neutral.
Choosing the right combo
One more design element to consider is whether you will use it on its own or not. Illuminated sign boxes can usually work very well if you combine it with other types of signage. These combinations will help you to get the most out of both of them.
All in all, one of the best ways to use backlit sign boxes is to mount them on larger monument signs. It is a good option if you are looking for shopping center signage or ones for a school.
However, a backlit sign box tends to work better on its own for building signs. For example, people love to use them for bars, night clubs, restaurants, and retail outlets that are open at night.
Are you planning on changing the sign in the new future? Or do you think it’s at all likely?
If you are on a tight budget, you probably don’t want to replace an entire sign. Not only is it uneconomical, but it can also cost you time and extra effort too.
Luckily, you can prepare for this eventuality.
A standard backlit sign box typically has a single continuous front panel.
However, you can ask your signage company to create the box with several panels. They can connect these so smoothly that you won’t be able to tell the difference. And if you want to make small adjustments, you only need to replace the relevant parts.
As seen in the development of the backlit sign box, all types of signage and advertising are continuing to evolve. And there are no signs of progress slowing down. With this in mind, it’s important to use a combination of old products and methods along with new ones. This is a surefire way to make sure to get the most out of your signs and advertisements.
Electronic signs for schools are one way to keep students, parents, and the community informed. You may have seen plenty of these message displays whether in your own community or elsewhere. Create your electronic signs for schools thoughtfully so that the end result meets or exceeds your expectations.
Things you may want to do
Here are some thoughts that may help you shape your signage plan. We’re going to explore them in the form of do’s and don’ts for your signage journey.
#1 Do prioritize accuracy
Ensure your information is accurate. There’s no way you want to accidentally stick the incorrect date for a school event on your sign. Even though you can change it later, you can’t guarantee that you’ll reach everyone with the update.
#2 Do spell every word correctly (and double-check)
Be sure to check your spelling and grammar before you release your sign’s message to the world. It’s a great idea to get a second or third pair of eyes on the sign’s text before you make it public. Naturally, messing this up could be embarrassing and lead to misunderstanding.
Keep in mind that you are an educational institution. As such, there’s a presumption that you know what you’re doing when it comes to teaching students. The very best way to undermine the confidence of outsiders is to demonstrate publicly that you don’t know how to spell words. After all, if you’re supposed to be teaching spelling to your students, and you can’t seem to spell yourself, what are passersby supposed to think?
Example: Spelling done right
Take as an example, this sign for McKinley Elementary. Not only is their sign simple and easy to read, but it also incorporates a possessive plural noun ending in s—not an easy task! So, congratulations to the message creators for pulling it off well.
#3 Do ensure the visuals are clear
Make sure your sign’s text is legible. Also, provide enough contrast between your text and your background. You want viewers to be able to make out your text easily.
Example: steer clear of signage that’s hard-to-read
Granted, it may be the lighting, the perspective, or the photo quality, but this school sign doesn’t give the immediate impression of being striking and easy to take in at a glance. Try to form your signs so they create an easy, enjoyable experience for the viewer.
#4 Do share items of community interest
You can share community news/events even if they aren’t always school-related. Remember that your sign is a platform for broadcasting information. And it doesn’t have to all be intimately tied to your school. You can share information to help keep the community safe—like reminding people that there’s a burn ban in effect. Or you can congratulate community members or groups for a job well done—like congratulating the local minor league baseball team on a win, perhaps.
Things you don’t want to do
Now let’s dive into a few things to steer clear of with your electronic signs for schools.
#1 Don’t underdo it
Don’t create text so small that passing drivers can’t read it easily. The last thing you need to do is contribute to unsafe driving practices by creating a distraction for drivers. Make your text large enough that it can be taken in readily.
#2 Don’t overdo it
Try not to fill your sign with so much information that it can’t be digested. Naturally, you want to let viewers know what they need to know. But there is such a thing as too much information. So, don’t go overboard.
Example: A three-word message with impact
Here’s a school that made a statement in just three words. Thanks to the repetition and the exclamation points, we get the idea—they want people picking up books.
#3 Don’t leave out key information
Naturally, you want viewers to see your sign and take action (if action is appropriate). Don’t leave viewers hanging by giving them just enough to be interested, but not enough to actually take the next step. Are you hosting an event? Then, be sure you place as much information as necessary about the location, date, and time of day so no one’s lost about what’s actually going on when.
Example you don’t want to repeat: electronic sign gone south
Here’s a parting admonition—make sure your school’s electronic sign has appropriate security surrounding it. You don’t want to repeat this Texas story. Hackers made their way into a road sign and displayed their own text.
Electronic signs for schools and more
Once you’ve begun planning your electronic signs for schools, remember that there are other signage options, too. Banners can help you promote events, and yard signs can assist with that, too. Gather ideas for fundraiser signage with our How To Advertise Fundraisers For Your School Or Nonprofit Event. And learn about incorporating signage into classrooms with The Educator’s Guide To Effective Signs For Schools & Classrooms.
Signs are all about communicating. Different kinds of signs are better geared toward conveying different types of messages. One of the best ways to communicate lots of information is through LED message centers.
Before you create any type of sign, you need to do some research on how to use it. To make it easier for you, here is our guide to helping you use LED message signs for your business.
All about LED message signs
Let’s start with the basics. LED message signs are also called message centers, digital displays, reader boards, or electronic signs. These are flat panels that use an array of light-emitting diodes as pixels for a video display.
A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor device that emits visible light when an electric current passes through it. It isn’t particularly bright, and it is usually monochromatic, so each little bulb will only project one color.
These are computerized signs. Therefore, they will need to be programmed, and you can change their content as much as you want.
Most businesses use these signs to display mainly text. This is a very efficient way to use them. However, you can include graphics too.
Benefits of electronic message centers
You always need to weigh the pros and cons of different types of signs. It will help you make the right decision every time. First, figure out what you are looking for, and then whether the specific sign will fit the bill.
So if you’re wondering, here are the key benefits of using LED message centers:
- You can set up a schedule for when you want specific messages to appear. For example, show specific content only on Fridays from 9:00-11:00 am.
- They are incredibly flexible, and you can change the content an endless number of times. Best of all, you can do this whenever you want to.
- LEDs are long-lasting and are an energy-efficient alternative to traditional lighting like neon.
- These signs are very cost-effective, mainly because you need to replace them less often. And you don’t have to pay each time you want to make any small change.
- Depending on the manufacturer and sign company, you will be able to choose between a range of shades of red and amber. Some specific products might be able to display other colors as well.
- More options for reuse
- Signs with illumination are far more likely to catch the eye of any passersby.
- The lighting improves visibility during the day and night. Therefore, you will have a 24-hour presence.
- You can usually control the brightness and dimming of the sign with software.
On the other hand, these signs might require a slightly larger initial investment than with other types of signage. However, it is all about long term planning and utility.
If we had to pick two words to describe LED message signs, they would be flexible and versatile. Who doesn’t need a bit more of those?
Uses of LED message signs
As we’ve said, all signs are meant to convey information. But some are just better at relaying certain types of info. This is typically based on the structure, appearance, size of the product. But also significantly on the amount and type of content that you can display on one board.
Based on all these features, here are some of the best uses for LED message signs:
- To make announcements about your business
- For advertising sales
- Promoting new products or services
- Displaying trading information like your opening hours
- Showing the time and date
- Notifying people about events
- Welcoming customers
- Giving directions or instructions inside your business
- For general advertisements
These are just a few examples. In most cases, if you think it, you can display it.
Where should you mount LED message signs?
The question plays a significant role in making sure that you get the most out of your display.
Once again, in this respect, these signs stand out for their versatility. These signs are pretty durable and can work well in a variety of settings. The primary limitation is that you will need to connect it to electricity. You will also need to link it to a computer of some kind with an ethernet cable.
Indoors vs. outdoors
Luckily, you can use these signs indoors or outdoors as long as you can still connect them. So ask yourself, where will it achieve its maximum effect?
Exterior signs are far better at reaching new potential customers. That’s why this is your best bet if advertising is your main goal. But it’s also an ideal way to communicate with existing clients to let them know that your store or office is open, for example.
Interior message centers are brilliant tools for communicating with your staff and customers in your building. For instance, you can notify employees about meetings and let clients know whether certain counters in your store are open or closed.
Plus, you can also advertise sales and promotions and direct people to the related products.
Mobile or fixed
Believe it or not, these signs don’t have to be permanently fixed in place.
Many businesses actually mount these boards on trucks or other vehicles. Generally, this allows you to reach a much wider audience as it moves around. You only need to figure a way to keep it connected.
Despite this, most people still prefer to mount these signs right outside or close to their place of business.
Another factor to consider when creating your LED message sign is whether you want it to be freestanding or not. These signs work particularly well if you combine them with other types of products. For example, you can mount the panel on a monument sign.
Overall, this is a fantastic way to make sure that you connect the message with your brand.
Regulations for LED message signs
No matter what product you choose, you need to pay attention to local codes and regulations. Before you install a sign, you have to check zoning laws in your area. Plus, take a look at the conditions of your tenancy contract.
You might also need to check in with the International Dark-Sky Associations guidelines on light pollution and LED signage.
Creating content for LED message signs
Next up, let’s look at how to create content that will convey the right message.
As with any signage product, this means that you need to look at the content itself. However, that’s not all.
Among other things, you need to think of all of the following characteristics.
A top priority for any sign is to check that the audience can understand the message. Clarity is king. There is little to no reason to create signage if people don’t get the point.
Here are our top tips for creating content for your LED message sign:
- Try to be unambiguous
- Use as few words as possible
- Don’t use long and complicated phrases
- Choose powerful and impactful words
- Decide what your primary message will be for the sign and focus on it. Make sure it appears more or less once per minute.
Keep in mind how much time people will have to read the sign.
The nature of the message needs to be adapted to the location of the sign. For example, people will have much more time to interpret an electronic display while they are waiting in line at a counter.
In contrast, they will need to be able to understand the message at a glance if they are going to read it while driving.
Ideally, you want to convey the entire message in 10 or so seconds. If you are using different slides, work out how much screen time you can give each to fit within this frame.
You can’t necessarily use the same font and font size as you would on your other signs. The results won’t always be the same.
Remember that the display quality of these signs won’t be the same as those of LCD screens like televisions. So 3D, ornamental, and embossed text will probably look pixelated on these message centers.
Instead, choose a two-dimensional font with little embellishment to get the most out of the sign.
One of the first things you need to decide is whether you are going to get a monochrome sign or one with multiple colors.
This isn’t only an aesthetic consideration but a financial one too. LED message centers that can display multiple colors can cost you much more. Therefore, you want to think carefully about this decision.
Can you use pictures to sell your products or services?
If you can, and you have a substantial budget, then this could be a good option for you. Otherwise, monochrome signs will probably be the better option.
However, remember that if you really want graphics, but don’t necessarily want them to change, you could combine a simple, text-based LED display with another type of sign.
Relying on lighting can make your sign more visible and help you convey your message. But only if you use it correctly.
Sunlight can make it much more difficult to make out the content. A solution to this is to use maximum brightness during the day.
Unfortunately, this can be a driving hazard at night but will also be less efficient and even unnecessary.
To make your life easier, we recommend that you install an ambient light sensor that you can use to control the brightness automatically.
Pixel pitch is an essential term when it comes to any digital sign. You can think of this as the resolution of the display.
The pitch is based on the distance between each pixel, which is made up of a few diodes. So the smaller this number is, the better the resolution of the sign will be. This will also correspond with the character size.
You should always try to strive to place signs at the optimal viewing distance for the audience. For LED message centers, this will be the point at which the different pixels blend to create a smooth image.
At this position, the image will be much more appealing to the viewer and will thus be much more impactful. To achieve this, you have to optimize the pitch for the sign.
The farther away the audience will be from the panel, the larger the pitch should be. On the other hand, the closer people will be, the smaller the resolution and the characters need to be to prevent pixelation.
The pitch goes hand in hand with the matrix of LED signs. It is the number of pixels high by the number of pixels wide your board will be. Therefore, two panels with the same outside dimensions but not the same pitch will each have a different matrix.
In static signs, the matrix will determine how much total space you have to work with. And it will determine how many lines of text you can put on the sign and how many characters will fit on each.
As you can see, this can get pretty complicated. That’s why you must consult your sign company on the best matrix and pitch for your specific sign.
Movement can play an important part in the success or failure of your LED message sign.
Yes, it can be a great way to catch someone’s attention and to hold their interest. However, you need to be careful with how you use it.
Many people use scrolling texts on message centers. But this can actually make your sign less effective, not more so. Text that moves across the board can be more difficult and even impossible to read at a glance.
Instead, you can include motion with clips, animations, or transitions between slides. In sum, it works wonderfully as a way to capture attention before you display your primary message.
Keep it running smoothly
There are lots of things you can do on your end to make sure that your LED message sign conveys the right message. You can do this by tweaking the content, picking the right location, and choosing the best formatting, among other things.
But you will also need the help of a professional sign company. Not only can they help create the sign, they’ll be able to install and program the panel to run to the best of its capabilities.
Besides this, an expert company will be able to provide you with other necessary information – like how to combine the message center with other signs for optimal effect.
There are many different ways for you to reach your customers and clients. Naturally, we think signs are a great method. (Though we might be a little biased, of course). But even once you decide to use a sign, there are still more options to dig into since there are plenty of sign options to choose from. One of those options is illuminated box signs.
Once you’ve zeroed in on illuminated box signs, we can dig still deeper and think of some ways to use these signs that aren’t run-of-the-mill. That’s what we want to do today—give you some fresh ideas. Then, we’ll follow up with some illuminated box sign tips.
1 – Double it up
We may typically think of monument signs when we think of signs with brick faces. But there’s no reason you can’t create a hybrid sign using brick and an illuminated box sign. Do this by placing an illuminated box sign on the face of a brick monument, retaining wall, exterior building wall, or other brick surface. Check out this black lightbox against brick. This hybrid option could be a great way to balance the man-made look of an acrylic sign with a more organic-looking material like brick.
2 – Use illuminated box signs inside
Need an outside-the-box way to help customers and clients find their way around your office space? Well, an illuminated box sign could be just the thing. You can use one to point the way to the restroom.
Or, if you have in-house dining options, you can craft a sign that announces your presence. While you could mount it on the wall outside your cafe, you could also find a more creative way. For instance, check with your sign specialist whether you can suspend it on a cable for extra visual impact.
3 – Set up illuminated box signs in unexpected ways
A natural inclination might be to think of attaching illuminated box signs to poles or affixing them to buildings. However, come up with creative ideas for displaying your sign instead. Try some ingenious options that highlight what your company does. For example, if you’re a laundromat, maybe you can find a way to craft an illuminated box sign that will sit atop an antique wringer washer instead of being supported by a pole.
Or if you’re a pizza place, use stacked pizza boxes as the base for your sign. Naturally, you’ll have to get durable pizza boxes designed for this. No cardboard, please—it would really take a beating if it happened to rain.
Once you’ve dreamed up some possibilities, run them by your sign specialist for input. (Note: you should also check into the rules and regulations about signage in your locality to make sure the display method you choose is compliant).
Tip – Vary the mood of illuminated box signs
Try to fit your sign to the type of work you do. This could give customers an idea of what to expect from you before they even walk in your door. Plus, it could help create a cohesive brand image for your company.
Filling up your sign face with color and whimsy for a happy, upbeat look could be perfect if you specialize in creating joyful experiences for your clients. That could apply to children’s museums, ice cream shops, restaurants, or trampoline parks, for instance.
On the other hand, some businesses will need to strike a more professional, reliable tone with their illuminated box signs. They may choose more neutral or calm colors, and they may select different fonts to help them achieve this look.
Even your sign’s shape could help you create the appearance you’re going for. Does a rectangle, circle, or square best suit your needs?
Tip – Think it through
Once you purchase and pay for your illuminated box signs, you’ll probably want them to work for you for a while—to pay off the investment, so to speak. This is actually a good argument for why you want to think your design through ahead of time. There’s no sense in cobbling something together without much thought, then regretting it later. If necessary, you can even get expert advice for this—maybe by using your sign specialist’s design services if offered.
Tip – Consider your location
Ask yourself where this sign is going to be placed. If you know this ahead of time, you can plan your design accordingly. For instance, if it’s placed on an otherwise empty exterior wall, you may want to think about creating a striking appearance against the wall yet not clashing with the current wall color.
Plus, you can also think about the lighting situation wherever your sign will be. Will you have plenty of natural light or artificial light round the clock? Then, you may not need a brilliantly-lit sign. On the other hand, if there’s going to be a dearth of light once the sun goes down, take that into account.
Reach the customer
Create a sign that’s going to catch customers’ eyes and also give them a positive impression. And, as you make your plans, remember to take into account who your customers are. Exactly who are you trying to reach, and what might appeal to them? Get started planning the text on your illuminated box signs with our 10 Professional Sign Fonts + The Meanings Behind Them.
Much of visual design has practically been boiled down and perfected to a science. We are continuously learning more about how visual perception works and how people react to what they see. The use of colors is one of the elements of design that people are continually refining.
Professionals now use different shades more purposefully than ever before. All in all, one of the most critical aspects they consider is how you can combine them to get the best results.
Luckily, this means that there is a wealth of resources available for business owners who want to create their own signage.
The first thing that you need to know is that nothing exists in a vacuum. We see every color in a context. In this case, we are specifically talking about all the different colors on a poster.
It’s great if you know you love blue, and you have decided that this will be the color of your brand. But when it comes to most mediums like signs, this isn’t enough. You will need to use different colors. Or at least different hues of the same ones.
Too often, people get caught up in picking one or two specific colors. And they forget to pay attention to the complete picture. Therefore, they might not pick up on clashing elements until the final stages of the design process.
So don’t get stuck on one shade. Instead, designers learn to think in terms of palettes. According to Lexico, it is the range of colors used by a particular artist for a specific picture.
An example of this is a brand whose color is primary blue – they can choose a palette for their advertisements and signs which include blue, gray, and white.
Always remember that using a palette is all about making sure that your design is attractive and coherent in the end.
Picking a palette
There are good palettes and bad palettes. In other words, there are visually appealing ones and ones that are not. By using the latter, you will unintentionally make your signs and other content much less effective.
You need to check that none of the colors will clash. The shades should combine well. Preferably each will enhance the effects of the others.
If they do clash, the signs might be unattractive, less impactful, less legible, less memorable. All of this means it will distract people from the content and can even leave a bad taste in the audience’s mouth.
To help you make the right choice consider each color combination from the following angles:
- Branding: A pro tip is not only to choose the primary color for your branding but to choose a whole palette. You can use this palette whenever you are creating content like ads and signs for your business. Even if the poster you are creating isn’t limited to these colors, it’s essential to choose ones that combine well with this scheme.
- Originality: It can be difficult to be completely original. But you should at least try to use schemes that aren’t so widely used that they become cliched. You still want your brand and content to be distinctive. For example, red and white are almost irreversibly linked to Coca Cola.
- Visibility and readability: Some color combinations can make signs more difficult to read or make out. That’s why you want to test this before you make your sign.
- Meaning and association: We associate different colors with different meanings. So each shade can have a unique effect on viewers. You want to try to use combinations of colors with similar or at least complementary associations.
Color theory is a body of practical guidance to color mixing and the visual effects of a specific color combination. In short, it is about helping you decide how to mix and match colors on your media. This includes your signs.
These principles are the reason why professionals always seem to know what the best combinations are for specific applications.
The theories are based on both art and science. Combining the best of both is what makes these ideas so effective.
Down below, we will look at a few of the crucial concepts of the theory and how you can use them in your creations.
A central part of color theory is the color wheel. You probably remember a similar image from your days in kindergarten and primary school. Now it’s time to take a more in-depth look at it.
Sir Isaac Newton came up with the first color circle in 1666. He based it on the results of experiments where he passed white light through a prism. The glass refracted it into its constituent colors which are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.
Since then, artists and scientists have continued to develop on the idea. Therefore the wheels have become more and more complex.
But they are still a fantastic tool for combining colors.
There are three main categories of shades based on the wheel, namely primary, secondary, and tertiary.
You might remember these from your school days too. They are red, yellow, and blue. These are the three pigments that cannot be mixed or formed by any combination of other colors.
In a way, you can think of them as the originals. You can derive all the other colors from these.
Secondary colors are the products of mixtures of the primary ones. They are green orange and purple. You can see that these new shades fit in between the original ones on the wheel from which they were formed.
On the other hand, you get tertiary colors from a combination of primary and secondary ones. The six are red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.
Your main goal in choosing color combinations will probably be to create an image that is as appealing as possible. For this reason, you want harmony, which is a pleasing arrangement of parts.
Not everyone might know the scientific or psychological reasons why they dislike certain color combinations. But it is clear that viewers have a strong dislike for some of them.
One reason is that humans do not like schemes that are boring. If the colors are too similar or muted, it won’t necessarily catch the eye or interest you.
However, it can be even worse when they are too chaotic. This is another reason why we feel a strong dislike for specific palettes. If there are too many colors and particularly too many conflicting ones, it becomes overstimulating. In those cases, images can be difficult to look at and understand.
Therefore, you can say that we dislike schemes that sit on either side of the spectrum. Instead, people tend to prefer palettes that sit in the middle.
You want them to be visually interesting. But you also want the image to look well-ordered and coherent. So it is all about finding a balance.
So why do I need to know all of this?
You can use the color wheel to figure out combinations that will work well together in different situations. In fact, this is how people found many of the matches that have become classics.
It is all about pairing different shades based on their separate positions on the circle.
You can use one of these combinations to choose the palette for your sign. Or you can mix and match them to create the perfect picture.
Let’s look at some of the critical schemes that any professional or amateur designer should know about.
The first scheme we are going to look at is analogous. The term refers to three colors that sit side-by-side on a 12 part color wheel. For example, you can make up a scheme from yellow, orange, and red.
Overall, the colors in this combination will look more similar than those in most of the others.
Designers typically choose one of these hues as the dominant one in the image or design.
Another of the critical combinations is complementary colors. The term refers to hues that are directly opposite each other on the wheel. They contrast with each other yet do not clash or conflict.
An example of this is choosing blue and orange.
You will usually use this scheme with another like analogous, which is more harmonious.
Nature is often the perfect picture of harmony. As humans, we are often awed at the beautiful color combinations around us. It is no wonder that artists commonly draw inspiration from natural elements like fauna, flora, and scenery,
The color schemes will typically work wonderfully for design too.
Unlike the other combinations, you can’t use a set out a formula based on the wheel. Instead, you use things like flowers as a reference.
If you are looking for a subtle and conservative palette, you might want to choose monochromatic colors. It’s one of the most harmonious combinations you can find.
For this type of scheme, you can use three shades, tones, or tints of one base color.
Because it is more harmonious, it is incredibly versatile.
But to make a sign more interesting, you might want to combine it with another scheme. Or add one or two distinct base colors.
You can also use triadic colors. These involve three hues that are evenly spaced around the wheel — for example, violet, orange, and green.
The combinations are of high contrast. So they can help you create a bold image.
However, they are less contrasting than complementary colors and are more harmonious.
The next combination works similar to triadic schemes. Yet instead of three colors, it is based on four that are evenly spaced on the wheel.
Overall the ideal way to use this palette is to use one hue as the dominant one. You can then use the others as accents. Just be aware that the more colors you use, the more challenging it can be to balance.
Good color combinations
All of the color schemes above can work well for the palettes of your signs. So they are all options that you should consider.
The top combination that you can use is mixing analogous and complementary colors.
To mix them you want to use the former to cover the majority of the sign. On the other hand, complementary colors work best for text or specific spots that you want to highlight. It is a great way to help you make these elements stand out.
No matter which palette you choose, a good rule of thumb is to use the 60-10-30 rule. The main color in your palette should occupy 60% of your design, the strongest color 10% and the complementary color 30%;
Don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time. Even professional designers needed to gain practice and knowledge to make these decisions. That’s why it’s always good to ask for an expert’s opinion or advice.
A pro tip is to test your design. Colors will probably look a bit different once you have printed them. So ask you sign company for a mock-up of the sign before you finalize it.
Bad color combinations
Overall, it’s when you stray from these classic combinations that things can go wrong.
Any designer worth their salt knows that neutral colors can work well on signs. However, you want to stay away from only using muted colors. These will undoubtedly cause your sign to lean towards the understimulating and therefore uninteresting side of the spectrum.
The same counts for using only colors that are too similar to one another.
Besides this, one of the worst combinations is vibrating colors. This refers to a phenomenon that emerges out of bold and highly saturated color schemes. The edges of two directly adjacent colors appear to merge, blur and glow, giving the illusion of motion.
Examples of these are:
- Orange on blue, and blue on orange
- Green on magenta, and magenta on green
- Cyan on yellow, yellow on cyan
- Magenta on blue, and blue on magenta
Painting a picture
Choosing the different colors to mix and match on your signs isn’t simple or straightforward as we might wish it to be. There is a lot of thought and care that goes into creating the perfect palette.
But in the end, it will pay off when you have created an appealing and effective sign. Its an essential element of all signage that you need to use in combination with others to make it as eye-catching as possible.
We’ve all seen them before—vehicles emblazoned with their company’s logo and accompanying information. And if you’re unfortunate enough to be sitting in traffic, hungry and staring at a vehicle that works in the food industry, you might already know just how effective vehicle wraps can be. But if you’re a business owner thinking about taking the plunge into this type of marketing and advertising, you might want some suggestions on how to pull it off (or rather paste it on). So here are some tips we hope will help business owners land great car wraps for Michigan vehicles in all different types of industries.
Go big or go home
While it may be a matter of opinion, an actual car wrap might give you a better overall look than a simple magnetic plaque. Sometimes, a plaque can look a little less-than. But a full-car wrap can envelop your vehicle in a colorful and eye-catching display.
Here’s a helpful tip to create something that actually looks good. Do not skip the design phase. Sure, you want to get that car wrap project rolling as soon as possible. But don’t sacrifice quality on the altar of speed.
Instead, take your time to design a wrap that will reward your time, effort, and money abundantly. Think carefully about the fonts you use and the colors. If you don’t have a logo, consider whether now’s the time to get one—then it can be part of your vehicle’s branding. In short, if you’re going to do it, do it well.
And if this seems a little outside of your skillset, rope in some professionals. You can even see if your Michigan sign company offers design services.
Think about your location
Not all locations will provide the same environmental factors for your car wrap. Southern states have different weather than northern states, for instance. Let’s look at some factors that could affect your car wrap in the great state of Michigan.
Winter, snow, salt, and ice
When it comes to car wraps for Michigan, here’s one thing to keep in mind—the weather. More specifically, might snow, ice, and their attendant road treatments impact your vehicle wrap?
We know that cars in states with a lot of salt-treated roads may tend to experience more rust. Could the treated roads negatively affect your vehicle’s beautiful new wrap?
Snow itself is also a consideration. You know the drill—you come outside and discover that inches…okay, maybe feet…of snow have fallen while you slept. Now you need to clean off that vehicle and deice the windshield before you can pull out of your parking space.
Stow away from snow
Here are some steps you can take to protect your vehicle wrap. First—an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you keep your vehicle where it can’t get snowed on, then you’ll be able to prevent snow from settling on it in the first place. The upside to this is that you don’t have to brush off the snow.
However, of course, that’s not always feasible. So when you do have to clean snow off your vehicle, use caution and gentleness. You don’t want to scratch or scrape your graphics. Some recommend that you steer clear of scrapers and shovels.
Wash away salt
It’s not as though you can prevent your vehicle and its wrap from coming into contact with salt. Unless you want to leave it in a garage all winter (and we assume you don’t). But what you can do is clean the salt off after the fact. That way it won’t be sitting on the vehicle’s surface too long.
Car wraps for Michigan—take your message to the streets
Your vehicle’s graphics are a great way to take your message with you wherever you go. Plus, they can make it easy for people to identify who you work for. Your vehicle can be a driving advertisement for your services. You never know—maybe a dog owner in the car next to needs the mobile grooming services you offer, for instance. Or maybe someone will see your wrapped trailer parked at a rest stop and visit your website to learn more about what you do.
Mastermind a splendid sign
As we said before, give your vehicle graphics some thought before diving in. Plus, learning about signs generally could also give you some good ideas when it comes to car wraps for Michigan. Get started with our 6 Elements You Must Include On Your Sign | Tips On Layout & Design.
The world would be much duller without colors. Excuse the pun. It is a vital part of the human visual field. Therefore it affects how we view and understand everything around us.
But did you know that every business owner must have an understanding of colors?
You can use them through your business as in your advertising to optimize the way you work. If you don’t use them purposefully, you could be missing out on critical ways you can impact your customers.
Read on for our ultimate guide for business owners on colors and their effects. You will find out more about the different ways you can use colors, especially in your company’s signage.
How to use colors in your business
There is almost no limit to the applications of colors in and around the workplace. Remember that it’s not only about making things more interesting. If you use it with care and attention, you can seriously make your business more effective in several dimensions.
A few of the critical places you can use color in your company are:
- Interior design and decor
In each of these places, the color palette can play multiple roles. Down below are the most important ways that you can use different shades.
A pop of color certainly catches the eye. You can’t help but notice it. That’s why it can be such a great way to draw attention to things you want to like your storefront.
Of course, bright shades work brilliantly for this. There is a reason why neon was and continues to be so popular on signs. Saturated colors can have a similar effect.
However, it’s not the only option. Unusual hues can also work. Or any color that stands out from its surroundings.
This next use is crucial in places where you are using more than one color. Or where there is lots of content, like on signs. In these cases, it can be easy for some of the information to get lost in a heap.
Because of this, it’s usually necessary to emphasize the most important parts. It might be your store’s name, a product or service on sale, a slogan, information about a promotion, or so on. You will need to figure out what the central part is of each sign or space.
Ways to use color to highlight are :
- The eye is more sensitive to specific colors. Examples of those that draw more attention are red, yellow, orange, and green.
- Use saturated shades for items that you want to stand out. On the other hand, use desaturated hues for the background. Doing this will help the different sections to stand out even more.
- Pick contrasting colors. For example, make the background of the sign black and the text white.
Visibility and readability
The way you choose and use colors can make content less or more visible. It counts for both text and images.
One way it can make items less clear is when you use colors that are too similar, for example, making a whole sign from different shades of green. You need to use different hues to break up the picture.
Besides this, you want to remember that some colors are more difficult to read, such as yellow. The principle is true for certain combinations as well like red and blue. On the other hand, some specifically darker colors, including black, are much easier to make out.
A pro tip is to follow the general rule of thumb to use light colors on dark backgrounds and vice versa.
Therefore you have to try to make sure that your use of colors enhances readability and visibility.
Every business owner needs to work carefully on their brand identity. Preferably you want to establish one before you even start your company. But it is something that also evolves and develops over time.
Brand recognition is something that you build over time. You want to use consistent imagery, themes, styles, logos, and slogans.
An absolutely critical element of your visual identity is the colors that you associate with your business. Overall, it will help make your business more recognizable and memorable for your customers. For example, red and Coke are often almost synonymous.
You need to decide on a color palette or scheme. It is best to stick with one to three primary colors. Pick carefully, because you will use this on almost everything to do with your business from advertisements to signs to the decor.
Like all other visual cues, colors can also convey information. Similar to symbols, they can be a quick and effective way to communicate with people.
This point is related to the one on your brand identity. But it is about more than that. One of the essential applications of color in this way is on safety and regulatory signage. Over time we learn to associate the specific shades with specific messages just like we do with traffic signs.
In terms of safety signs, the different colors are associated with the following meanings or purposes:
- Red- Prohibition/danger and alarm or fire fighting equipment
- Yellow- Warning
- Blue- Mandatory actions
- Green- Emergency escape, first aid or to signal that there is no danger
As a business owner, you need to be aware of this when you are creating safety or regulatory signs. But it can also inform your decision on other uses of color.
All in all, one of the top uses of colors is to inspire emotions in people. You can influence people to feel happy, sad, calm, or excited.
Remember that this doesn’t just count for your customers but for your staff too.
Therefore, it’s essential to use colors in this way on your advertising and in the workspace, office, and storefront as well.
The psychology of colors
If you want to successfully and effectively use color for your business, you need to know a little about color psychology. In short, this is the study of colors in relation to human behavior. So it looks at how colors can influence how we feel, how we think, and how we act.
For example, shades of red, orange, and yellow can make people feel hungry and make you think of food. Therefore, it can make you more likely to buy something to eat.
As we will discuss later on, specific colors can have particular effects on us.
But one vital principle that you have to understand is that they can convey more than one feeling or connotation. Think about green. In one sign, green can help you associate a brand with nature and the environment. But in another, you can use neon green to represent toxic slime.
This tells us that different hues or shades of the same color can have different effects like emerald green vs. neon green. Also, that meaning is created with a specific context, so more than one thing plays a role.
But how exactly does this happen? An important word here is “association.”
We do not attach meaning to color in a bubble. Humans seem to have certain inborn connections with certain shades like red. But the way they affect us is significantly influenced by our cultural environment and our past experiences.
Did you know, for example, that pink was once associated with boys and blue for girls?
However, this changed in the 1940s. In this postwar period, clothing stores and brands all over America began to focus on using pink in women’s clothes and vice versa. Over time, as we became more exposed to this combination, people began to take this for granted.
You need to keep this in mind whenever you choose colors to use for your business in signs. It is usually useful to do some research on the specific emotions and ideas your target audience might associate with different palettes.
The best colors to use in signage
For all the reasons above, some colors work better than others when it comes to your business. The principle is correct for your signage too. Some of them are more visible, some of the more attractive, and some of them evoke strong emotions.
So to help you make the right choices, here are the top colors for signs and how they are likely to affect viewers.
Without a doubt, black is a powerful color. Even on its own, it demands your attention. It is one of the more visible shades.
You can use it to create a sense of:
- Glamour and luxury
For all these reasons, black is often used by luxury or premium stores like boutiques. And because we associate it with authority and security, it also works well for companies like banks, security firms, and law offices.
On the other hand, blue is often seen as a soothing color. That’s why people use it so often to promote relaxation. Perhaps because of this, we perceive it as conveying a sense of stability as well.
All in all, blue conveys:
Blue is a popular choice for corporate business signage because it can boost productivity and is not invasive. Because it inspires trust, it is also widely used by healthcare organizations.
It’s rare to find a sign without any white in it at all. The color is extremely versatile and doesn’t really clash with any other. So it works well in most combinations. But you can also use it as the main color in your scheme. Just be aware that it can look too cold and sterile if it dominates the palette.
If you need to summarise its associations in one word, it would be purity. That’s why you can use white to suggest:
As you might guess, white can work well for any business for which sanitation is essential like healthcare organizations.
But it can also be handy for any brand that wants to appear modern.
Yellow is a whole other story. It is one of those colors that you can’t miss. In all its many shades, it usually makes us think of sunshine and summer days.
Thanks to this, the color is often associated with the following meanings:
With such a wide range of meanings, this color can work well for any business that wants to portray themselves as vibrant. You can use it to raise energy levels and help keep the atmosphere cheerful.
Green is a color that we almost immediately associate with the natural world. It reminds us of forests, meadows, and rolling landscapes.
This color has become a buzzword over the last two decades because of its associations with environmental protection.
A few of the critical associations with green are:
This is the color to go with if your business has anything to do with nature or the environment. But you should also consider it if you want to be associated with health, such as an organic grocery store.
Tips on using and choosing colors
- Use palettes, not individual shades: You don’t want to choose individual shades at random. Instead, you want to select a range of colors for each piece that blends well. This will help make the whole image more appealing. On top of this, using hues with similar effects can amplify the impact that the sign makes.
- Keep it simple: Don’t go overboard with using different colors. In the end, your image will look garish and possibly tacky. Instead, select up to three primary colors.
- Shades of one color: Using only two or three colors doesn’t limit you. In some ways, it opens up new possibilities. Palettes that use different hues of one primary color are usually far more effective. For example, you can use cool-gray, blue-gray, slate gray, and even platinum.
- Prevent fading: One potential downside of using colors on signs is that they can fade over time. Unfortunately, this can significantly detract from its appearance. But there are solutions to this. A pro tip is to ask for UV ink which is more resistant to water and fading.
Color me excited
As you can see, colors are an essential resource for business owners. They impact the people around your business in subconscious ways that are sometimes more powerful than words. There are endless ways you can cleverly use different shades of color throughout your company and particularly in your signage.
Signs take your message to the world around you, letting potential clients and customers know what you do and how it can help them. But they’re also a great way to connect with the community apart from straightforward plugging for your company. You can use them to display your interest in things that matter to the community, sharing its joys and sorrows.
On the joyful side, one possible way to connect your signage with things that impact the community is to celebrate the change of seasons. After all, seasonal transitions affect everyone, and some people find them exciting and enjoyable. So, in the spirit of tapping into what’s going on in the world around you, let’s explore some ways to make your signage seasonal without breaking the bank.
Bring things up to seasonal speed with Velcro
Admittedly, velcro is a bit of an outside-the-box solution here. But it could be the perfect option to make your interior signage reflect the changing seasons. For instance, let’s say you have a printed menu board with one column left blank for seasonal specials.
That column is the perfect place for a list of food or drink choices printed (or written) on small horizontal strips. Put adhesive-backed Velcro on these pieces and put more Velcro in proper position on the sign itself. Then you’re ready to go to town listing your new options for tasty seasonal celebration.
Menu items or just cheery extras
Note that this idea is still sound even if you simply want to decorate your sign to add some seasonal cheer. For this upcoming autumn season, spangling your sign with pumpkins and fall leaves is a natural option. But you could also use Velcro-backed pieces to display things like snowflakes or snowmen.
Drape or tie for extra impact
If you don’t want your seasonal extras to impact the surface of your sign, another idea is to drape or tie decor around your sign. Additionally, for something like a monument sign, you may be able to place seasonal items on the ground nearby (or even in the ground if there’s soil available).
Let’s say your business is in a downtown area with a lot of foot traffic. So, you use an A-frame sidewalk sign because it draws pedestrians into your storefront. To add some seasonality, try decorating around the sign instead of actually changing the sign’s face.
Accessories for the season
A garland that’s reflective of the seasons—whether it’s autumn leaves or spring daisies—could add some pizzazz to your display. Plus, adding some items around the base of the sign or even floating some aptly colored balloons from its frame could augment the display.
Note: Before you dive into this kind of decor, ensure you understand your locality’s ordinances for displays like these. Check whether you’re allowed to display on the sidewalk or if you need special permission to do so.
Design signs with change in mind
Sometimes, making your signage seasonal will be an afterthought. However, if you can catch this before the sign is manufactured, you may be able to set yourself up for seasonality. One option is a chalkboard or whiteboard sign.
Chalkboard or whiteboard signs provide you space that’s meant to change over time. With this kind of display option, your seasonal celebration abilities are limited only by your imagination and artistic talent. If you’re not into drawing yourself, try a partnership with a local artist. Collaboration for seasonal visuals is good for you and good for them at the same time because they can use it as part of their own marketing.
The best of both worlds
Actually, you don’t have to go full bore chalkboard or full bore whiteboard to reap some of these benefits. Instead, try creating a hybrid sign—one that has some elements and materials of a regular sign, but also has a whiteboard or chalkboard area.
Signs can do a million things
Seasonal signs are just one way to be relevant to what’s going on around you. Don’t forget that you can also celebrate community successes (like a Little League victory or a city centennial). In addition, sometimes it may be appropriate to commemorate losses or mourn tragedies.
Think it through
Naturally, you want all your signage to be tasteful, so put in some time to evaluate what the best options are for your particular situation. Also, remember that your signs could have double impact for you when use them on social media. Check out our 8 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Signs & Reuse Them On Social Media.