Letting your clients, customers, and visitors know who you are and what you do is important for your company’s success. Of course, every company has to choose its own ways to get this information to their stakeholders. One particularly fun and creative way to share your mission and message is floor graphics.
You may already have signage on your building front, in your company yard, and even on the walls inside your location. But do you have signage on your floor? If you think about it, your floor is actually a vast amount of unused space. So, why not get started putting it to use?
Think outside the box
While you might think of floor graphics as a top-tier way to advertise your company’s values or abilities, floor graphics are not limited to commercial use. Nonprofits can use them for special events. Individuals can use floor graphics for weddings or parties. Even schools can get in on the action.
Begin with a solid design
Think of your design as the foundation of your floor graphics. Naturally, you want to begin with a solid foundation. Of course, you’ll want the graphics installed well and maintained well over time. But if you don’t get things off the right foot with stellar design, you won’t have much to brag about, will you?
That’s why there’s a point to be made for getting some specialized assistance with this. Not everyone is gifted at graphic design and some people simply aren’t as visually-oriented as others. So, it makes sense to get the help of someone whose talents lie in that direction. That could be professional design services, or it could be simply assigning the design to the most design-savvy team member within your company if it falls inside their skill set.
Size well for the space you have
One advantage of floor graphics is just how much possible canvas you’ll have available. Walls may be spoken for to accommodate doors and windows, and ceilings might be needed for lights, ductwork, or a ductwork screen. But the floor—that mostly just needs to be traveled on (and sometimes have HVAC registers placed in it, of course).
So, if you find yourself with plenty of floor space that’s not spoken for from a design standpoint, then graphics could be a great choice. Take time to select a floor design that works well for the space you have. Also, don’t forget to take into account the shape of your space, its location in your building, and the vantage point from which viewers will see your graphics.
For instance, what you do in a long school hallway could be quite different from what you do in a small hotel entry lobby. Similarly, floor graphics that stretch up stairs will be different from those that adorn a conference center floor.
Beware of small squares and rectangles
We suggest you approach small squares and rectangles cautiously. They could easily look underwhelming instead of stunning. And this could especially be the case if they’re overfilled with text and other content. Go for eye-catching graphics that actually fit with your space. A small square or rectangle could look disappointing and slightly out-of-place—as though you just came up with a quick image and stuck it to the floor.
Instead of small, constrained graphics, explore the possibility of larger graphics. Spreading across a large floor space might be just the eye-catching approach you need. And don’t think that your graphics need to have easily visible, squared-off edges either. Graceful curves or sprawling lines might be just the thing.
Custom wedding floor graphics for the Bride and Groom to be! Contact Signarama Detroit today to add the perfect finishing touch to your special day!Posted by Signarama Detroit on Monday, November 25, 2013
Get expert input
As we noted above, sometimes design projects are outside the scope of a company’s expertise. You want to connect with clients who need the service you offer because you’re good at what you do. Signage is a way to connect with those clients. However, you might be perfectly aware that creating signage is not what you’re good it. After all, if everyone was good at crafting signs, every company would be a sign company.
The good news is that there are companies that specialize in the things that you need but can’t do yourself. And that’s exactly why you should consider reaching out to a sign specialist. Not only can they craft your sign based on their accumulated expertise, but they may be able to assist in the design phase, too. Check with your sign specialist to see if they offer graphic design services.
Explore your options
Of course, with floor space to spare, floor graphics make sense. But there might be other types of signs that are perfect for your company, too. Check out How Your Business Can Take Advantage Of The Different Sign Types. Or take a look at Tips & Tricks To Designing Eye Catching Business Signs.
Whether you’re a restaurant, cafe, pizzeria, or other foodservice establishment, you may be looking for ways to fill your space with holiday cheer. Naturally, your menu boards are one possible canvas. That’s why we’re going to explore the intersection of the holidays and your business’ menu boards.
First up—some tips for advertising your holiday specials for any type of menu board. Then, we’ll dig into the different type of menu boards you might be using this holiday season (and all year round).
Play with puns for your holiday specials
That’s right, whatever your restaurant’s special is for the season, see if you can come up with a fun, catchy name or way to describe it. Even something that will make your customers laugh. You can actually get the whole team in on this by holding a contest for the best names for holiday specials.
Put on a festive air
You can use great colors and even strings of lights to make your menu boards advertise your specials in a sparkly and colorful way. For instance, a string of battery-powered lights could help draw attention to the seasonal treat advertised on your A-frame sidewalk sign.
Match with your vibe
Of course, as much as we might recommend a joyous, festive look, do remember to link your restaurant’s overall look with your signage. So, if you mostly have a black and white aesthetic (with metal like wrought iron, perhaps), then you’ll want to make selections accordingly.
Now let’s take a look at some of the menu boards you might be using this holiday season.
Static printed menu boards
For this type of board, while you don’t change the messaging on the board itself, you can swap the boards in and out. At least, you can if you choose a menu board with a snap frame. This means, that for your holiday specials, you’ll likely need a new board face that you can place in the frame. And the advantage to that is that it forces you to be intentional and to think in advance.
Reach out to your sign specialist ahead of time to get the ball rolling. Of course, it may be you’re only aiming to make your menu board look special and you aren’t actually changing your menu offerings. In that case, you may not need a whole new board. Instead, try dressing up what you have.
Fill in the board’s open spaces with festive extras. Attach snowflakes, winter scenes, or sparkles. Or simply twine bubble lights around the board’s frame. (Note that you should always ensure that your additions won’t damage your sign face. Check with your specialist if you have any doubts.)
Dry erase menu boards
Naturally, when your menu board is designed with change in mind, you’ll have a lot of leeway for your holiday specials. However, what you will need is someone with a steady hand and an artistic eye to make your menu board shine.
First step—choose the colors you’ll use and purchase the appropriate markers. If you have a lot of board space to fill, be sure to buy enough markers to complete the project. Plus, you’ll want enough to make changes or touch-ups as necessary.
There are so many ways you could go with a dry erase menu board. You could take advantage of the base of your menu boards to color in a winter scene—complete with snowflake swirls and a snow-dusted outdoor vista. Or, you could simply use holiday colors to rewrite your usual offerings on the board. Holiday-themed questions that patrons can answer to win extra punches on their loyalty cards could also take their places on the board.
Magnetic menu boards
Magnetic menu boards offer you a good chance to change your menu. Plus, you may be able to swap out the board’s design with something more appropriate to the holidays. First, start by deciding what your holiday menu items will be and creating the corresponding magnetic strips. Once you know what your holiday offerings are, try laying the corresponding magnets out on a nearby table to mastermind the layout.
Now comes the fun part—adding holiday-themed magnets. Select magnets that match with your establishment’s theme. And arrange the layout so that your holiday magnets promote cohesiveness and holiday cheer simultaneously. As we mentioned with static printed menu boards, you may want to think in advance for these boards. That way, you’ll have time to choose and purchase holiday-themed additions.
Digital screen menu boards
If you’re looking for a holiday menu board that allows for a lot of change, a digital screen menu board is just the thing. Plus, adding video to your menu board can even be an option with a digital board. So, if you already have a holiday marketing reel designed for your Facebook page, you may be able to reuse it on your signage.
For a cozy coffee shop, create a video with gently falling snowflakes to truly evoke some seasonal warmth. And don’t forget to feature one of your signature offerings prominently in the video, too.
If you’re a cafe, customizing your menu boards for the holidays could begin with high-quality photos of your food alongside holiday props. However, some restaurants may choose to keep food photos off the menu board—opting instead to use specific colors, fonts, and non-photo images to display holiday cheer.
Whatever type of menu signage you have, plan your holiday changes in advance. If you’ll need to make purchases to get your menu boards prepared, that gives you time to do so. But even if you don’t have to buy anything, planning ahead is still a good idea. It gives you time to roll out the changes by the proper date, without a stressful last-minute scramble. Need more seasonal tips for your signs? Check out How To Make Your Signage Seasonal Without Spending A Lot Of Money.
There are only a few weeks left until winter and best of all, Christmas. It’s a time of transition where the world around us changes in many ways. But what does this mean for your marketing and your signage in particular?
Signs are all about communicating with potential clients and existing customers. As a business owner, you should use all the opportunities you can to connect with your audience. To help you stay on top of your advertising, check out our tips for designing signs for winter.
The challenges of winter
Before we jump into the solutions, let’s first define the problem so that you know what you’re dealing with. Afterward, you will be in a better position to counteract them. So, what are the difficulties you are dealing with when designing signs for winter?
The slow season
First, many industries thrive in some seasons and stagnate in others. Sometimes this is because people only really use the products or services in certain types of weather. Otherwise, it could be the general off-season for tourism in the region.
In winter, everyone might be fleeing the town or city for warmer weather. Unfortunately, this can leave seasonal businesses in the lurch. For example, companies that often struggle in winter are landscapers, pool cleaning services, ice cream stores, plant nurseries.
Many small businesses simply close their doors for the off-season. But in some cases, you could be able to take steps to turn things around.
Harsh and cold weather
One of the critical reasons why winter can be a slow season is the cold and harsh weather. Of course, the impact of this is enhanced in areas like Michigan, where winter can get rough.
Aside from this, did you know that it can affect your signage too? Certain conditions can damage and wear down your sign.
You need to keep this in mind when you’re designing the products.
Issues with visibility
Multiple weather conditions that are common during winter can decrease outdoor visibility. So, they can impact how well your audience can read your signs or whether they can see them at all. It’s crucial that you plan to combat this with your design.
Conditions to watch out for are:
- Ice storms
But undoubtedly winter isn’t the off-season for everyone. It is the time when snow removal services, Christmas decor stores, ski stores, and more get the time to shine.
If you are in one of these industries, you need to leap to take advantage of this.
That’s why competition for seasonal products and services can be fierce. Therefore, you need to find ways to stand out from the pack.
Tips on designing signs for winter
In general, you want to keep these challenges in mind when you’re designing your signs for winter. To do this, you need to consider different elements of the design, like colors, fonts, and graphics.
These hints will be particularly handy if you’re designing new signs to be put up during or before winter. But you can also use them to change and update your existing signage, which is especially hassle-free if you are using digital signs.
#1 Go bright and bold
We’ve mentioned that visibility can be significantly decreased during winter. One way to compensate for this is by choosing the colors on your signs wisely. Preferably, you shouldn’t use just any palettes. Instead, you should use colors that have been optimized for winter.
You want to use shades that stand out against the snow and the other conditions. In a winter wonderland, the environment is typically coated in white and other muted colors.
The critical phrase here is contrast. In other words, you should use colors that are strikingly different. That’s why you want to stick with dark and bright colors on your designs mainly.
You don’t want to limit your palette to only darker hues. But instead, use these strategically to make your signs more noticeable.
#2 Push the right products and services
Clearly, a central decision in designing signs is selecting the content. You have to decide carefully what the purpose of the sign is and what you want to communicate. One of the key goals is certainly advertising.
Generally, you should try to sell products or services that work all year round or even ones that are specifically tailored for winter. For example, offer a spiced hot chocolate drink or heater repairs.
Once you’ve set this in place, make sure that you brag about it in your advertisements. You want to let your community know that you’re getting into the winter and festive spirit too.
You should make these products a central part of your signage. Highlight them using text, colors, graphics, and layout.
#3 Seasonal greetings
Show your customers that you care by adding a seasonal greeting to your design. Add a small message that will warm their hearts. By doing this, you can encourage new customers to support your business.
You can keep it simple by adding “Happy Holidays” or something similar to the start of your text.
#4 Winter images and graphics
Typically, graphics and images are a crucial part of any signage. They aren’t equally vital for all sign types. Images are usually less critical for informational and directional products but more so for promotional ones.
You can refresh your designs by adding some winter-themed graphics.
Ideas of images that you can use are:
- Snow, snowflakes, and ice
- Santa Clause themed graphics
- Christmas trees
- Fires and fireplaces
- Warm and cozy clothing
- Skis and sleds
- Holly, mistletoe, and pinecones
- Steaming hot drinks like cocoa
- Decor items like garlands, ornaments, and string lights
#5 Winter sports for the win
All in all, you should try to think of any seasonal event, activity, or theme that can help you make your designs relevant. In the US, you can’t do this without considering sports. It’s one of those things that brings people together and gets them excited.
So it’s a fantastic idea to add some references to winter sports in your signs. You can do this by adding graphics, symbols, and showing support for your local team.
For example, you can embrace sports like:
- Ice hockey
- Ice skating
#6 Light it up
Twinkling lights are synonymous with Christmas cheer. Just think of light shows, string lights, and flickering candles. So one way to show your business’s festive spirit is to include some customized lighting on your signs.
Aside from this, illumination plays a critical role in making signage more visible even in the worst weather conditions. For this purpose, you want to choose lights that are brighter, more intense, and illuminates the majority of the sign.
A few lighting solutions to consider are:
- Sticking some temporary strip lights to your signs
- Using LED’s
- Incorporate an electronic message center
- Hanging string lights over your signage
- Adjust your lighting for shorter days
- Or use illuminated products like lightboxes, digital signs, or electronic message boards.
Many of these are more permanent design features. But others can potentially work as quick, easy, and temporary enhancements.
It’s essential that you also check all your existing lighting and replacing lights and bulbs that are beginning to dim.
#7 Craft your palettes
Next, you must choose and create a color palette that is ideally suited for either winter and the holidays or both. Have some fun and get creative with the colors that you use. You aren’t stuck only using red and green to show festive cheer.
One option is to use wintery colors. In this case, we’re specifically talking about themes that match the shades in the natural environment. First, you can use icy colors like icy blue and grey. Second, you can use earthy palettes like brown, orange, and dark grey.
Another option is to go with warm colors. Doing this will help you to create pleasant associations with your business. They will be drawn to the warmth. Colors like red and orange will work well. Dark jewel tones are also an incredibly popular choice.
Nowadays, winter and the holidays are often associated with a bit of sparkle and shine. Therefore, you can incorporate glitter and metallic colors into your designs.
Plus, you can evoke a winter wonderland look and feel by using appropriate palettes that include white, light grey, cream, and pastels like light blue and peach.
If you want more ideas, take a look at these winter-themed color palettes.
#8 Wintery fonts
No matter the type of sign, using seasonal fonts can be the perfect way to increase their relevance.
Luckily, there is a huge variety of ready-made fonts available online that you can use. You might need to pay for some of them. But others are on-the-house.
The following are fonts that you should keep in mind:
#9 Festive touches
You don’t necessarily have to go all out with your winter and Christmas themed designs. Instead, including tiny touches can make all the difference.
One fun idea for adding some holiday flair to your signs is by temporarily adding festive touches to your logo. You don’t have to change it completely, and you can revert to the old one afterward.
However, it can work well to modify it by, for example, adding Christmassy or wintery colors, graphics like snowflakes and sprigs of holly, and so on.
#10 Choosing the best signs for winter
Overall, when you’re putting up new signs in winter or just before it, you should be careful about the ones you choose. Unfortunately, not all signage stands up as well as others during cold and harsh weather.
Yes, your sign making company can produce most signs with weatherproof materials and other protective measures. But some types will still work better than others.
A few of the options that we recommend are:
- Any illuminated signs like channel letters, LED signs, or lightboxes.
- Digital signs such as electronic message boards so that you can easily change the content and because they are great at drawing attention.
- All the different kinds of indoor signs.
#11 Weatherproof materials
Additionally, you need to consider your hardware as part of the design process. Preferably, you only want to use materials that can withstand the cold and harsh weather during winter.
Generally, you should ask your sign company for help and advice.
If you are given the option to choose the material for your signage, we recommend the following weather-resistant materials:
- Stainless steel
#12 Protective measures
Besides choosing durable materials, there are other protective measures that you can try. These can keep your signs safe, working, and in the best possible shape.
Tips include but aren’t limited to:
- Securely fasten and mount all your signage
- Apply water repellent to your signs
- Mount your signage out of the wind.
- Regularly clean any dirt or debris from the boards.
- Move vulnerable signs indoors when a storm starts.
- Prevent moisture build-up
#13 Seasonal promotions
Seasonal offers, sales, and events are a great way to spice up your business during the slow season. These limited promotions work really well to entice customers to buy your products or services.
Therefore, it’s important that you advertise them on your signage. You can include related information and images in the design.
24/7/365- Make every season count
‘Tis the season to connect. Design your signs or update your old ones to show your community that you are getting ready for winter with them. Plus, you can show them that you are as excited about the festive celebrations as they are.
You can get much more out of your boards by designing them with year-long use in mind and following some of our tips. If you want to add more lighting to your signs to achieve this, take a look at three fun ways to use illuminated box signs + design tips.
Winter is slowly approaching. The temperatures are gradually dropping, and the conditions are becoming harsher. These changes can take a toll on everything in the environment, which includes your outdoor signage too.
Many types of signs are at an increased risk of damage caused by frost, wind, and snow. Now is the perfect time to start implementing protective measures.
Because we know how important signage is for any business, we are going to show you how you can protect your signs in cold and harsh weather.
The risks of cold and harsh weather
As you know, winter in the Northern hemisphere can be a bit rough. Depending on where you live, you have to contend with all kinds of conditions like snow, sleet, and wind.
For example, here in Michigan, winter storms are not uncommon, which can even include real blizzards. The 2019-2020 winter is expected to come with an “arctic cold.” On average, it is about 27 °F. But the temperatures can drop lower.
Sounds chilly, right? Let’s look at the specific conditions you need to be concerned about.
Weather conditions to watch out for:
- Fog: It is basically a cloud that is floating at ground level. Typically, the phenomenon is more common when the seasons turn, especially when autumn changes to winter. Significantly it can cause moisture build-up.
- Rain: Once again, the main problem with rain is moisture. It can seep in between the parts and panels of a sign. If the metal isn’t protected, it can rust. Unfortunately, it can also damage the quality of an image.
- Snow: There are two critical ways in which these frosty flakes can cause trouble. First, snow is pretty heavy, so it can weigh down your signs. Second, when it melts, it can leave your products wet and damp.
- Cold: Lower temperatures also pose a risk to signs. Extreme drops and increases in temperature are especially hazardous. Materials like plastics can crack if they heat up or cool too quickly.
- Ice and frost: Like snow, ice and frost can cause trouble in several ways. They can cause mechanical or physical damage to the boards and scratch the surface. Clearly, the cold that accompanies it is also an issue, not to mention the moisture.
Tips for protecting different kinds of signs
All of these conditions put your outdoor signs at risk. The more they are exposed to the elements, the bigger the potential problems.
Luckily, there are various steps you can take to keep them safe.
Due to variations in structure and material, the weather can affect different signs in different ways. That’s why we will cover some of the common sign types and how you can protect each one.
On the whole, banners are one of the most popular sign types. They are incredibly cheap, versatile, flexible, customizable, and easy to find. In general, they are one of those products that work as well inside as they do outside.
However, some harsh weather conditions might be too much to withstand. These signs are lightweight and cover a large surface area. Hence, banners take tremendous strain from any wind.
If not tied down securely, they can fly away. Or in some cases, the wind can rip them apart.
To prevent this, we recommend that you try some of these measures:
- Did you hang the banner over a street or corridor? In this case, only use heavyweight material and consider using steel cables to tie it down.
- Try to install the signs against a solid surface. In general, this will help to reduce the exposure to wind.
- If you did secure it against a flat surface, make sure it is sitting as tightly to it as possible. You can mount it with grommets and pull it tight to make sure there is as little space as possible for air to enter.
- Consider using bungee cords instead of rope to hang the banners. The material is slightly elastic, so it has a bit of stretch in high winds.
- Interweave the rope or cord through more than one grommet.
- Regularly check the lines and tighten them if necessary. Higher tensions mean less movement and less chance of ripping.
Electronic signs are brilliant inventions. These products have improved visibility and viewing distances during the night and day. But they are very vulnerable to harsh weather.
Moisture from rain, fog, and snow can affect the way they work. And temperature fluctuations can cause havoc to their hardware. On top of this, any conditions that apply force to the surface pose a risk.
Therefore, to protect your electronic signs, you should take the following steps:
- Check that your sign company used hardware that’s appropriate for outdoor use.
- Inspect and regularly maintain all of your digital signage. Pay extra attention to the seals and make sure there aren’t any spaces between their parts where moisture can seep in.
- LED’s for outdoor signs usually work optimally at a temperature between 59°F and 77 °F. The temperatures usually drop below that during winter. So ask your sign company if they have any heating or heat maintenance solutions.
- Overall, the most effective solution is to build or buy weather-resistant enclosures for your electronic signs. It should have a tight seal, good ventilation, heating systems, and consist of rust-resistant materials.
- Securely mount the sign so that it won’t be carried off by the wind. Aside from this, you don’t want any smaller parts to break off, either.
- Another critical step in thermal management is using suitable insulation. You can pack foam insulation into the sides and back of the enclosure to help to keep the heat in.
Metal panel signs
Another staple of the industry is metal panel signs. Businesses use them for a variety of purposes, from advertising to giving directions. Once again, they are relatively expensive and durable. Yet they aren’t immune to damage from harsh weather conditions.
Here are some strategies that you can try:
- Choose the right material. Aluminum and stainless steel are particularly weatherproof. Both of these are rust-resistant, so they should work well in areas where there is frequent rain and snow.
- If you use other metals like iron or bronze, you must coat it with a waterproof sealant that will prevent corrosion.
- You need to weld the panels together correctly. They should sit tightly so that they won’t be pulled apart. Plus, you should seal the connection so that it won’t rust.
- Typically, it works best to use a single metal panel.
Nowadays, businesses usually rely on metal, acrylic, and other fabricated materials for their signage. But there is nothing wrong with wood signs. You can still work wonders with these. However, they are often less resistant than some of the “newer” contenders.
You need to take several steps to keep them safe.
First, you should seal the wood with a laminate or water repellent. Usually, it’s safer to go with more than one coat.
Second, you can attach plastic or metal caps to the edges of the signs. The trim will keep water from seeping in and prevent the wood from warping and swelling. Aside from this, it can be useful for protecting the sign in storms with debris flying around.
Third, you have to remove rot, mold, or mildew as soon as it appears. Inspect your sign every few weeks or after a few days when there has been heavy snowfall or rain.
More tips and tricks
Now we can look at some additional tricks that you can use with different kinds of signs and materials.
Commission high-quality signage
The better the quality of your sign, the better it will be able to withstand wear and tear and the ravages of harsh weather. Therefore, if you don’t want to replace signage frequently, make sure you hire a good sign company.
Moreover, you need to choose materials and designs that are appropriate for the outdoors. There is a reason why fabricators recommend specific products for outdoors use. You can’t always the same signs in the interior and exterior of your business.
Replace old products
Everything has an expected lifetime. You can take protective measures to prolong their usefulness. But eventually, you’ll have to get new. If you don’t want the boards to look worn out and shabby be sure to replace your sign once it is nearing its end.
Overall, you can reduce the risk of damage if you use several measures at once. While this may take more time and effort up front, it is a sensible decision in the long-run. There are a variety of weather conditions that can cause problems, and different strategies are needed for each.
Focus on the mounting
No matter what type of sign you are dealing with, you should make sure to mount it securely. The weight of frost, ice, and snow can distort structures, loosening or breaking parts off. Overall, wind can affect signage in much the same way.
Therefore, you need to pay attention to the way you install your signage.
Poles are one of the most durable ways to mount signs. Attach your board to more than one leg for extra security.
Preferably, you should choose metal for the material. Carbon steel is a fantastic choice as it can withstand floods, as well as hurricane-and-tornado force winds.
Besides this, it’s a good idea to fix the base of the structure in cement or concrete.
Prevent water build-up
This strategy is particularly essential whenever snow or ice is beginning to melt. The water can damage many materials, and the added weight can also become too much. In some cases, it can even wear away at the support structures for the sign.
Regularly clear away any water from depressions on the product. And consider installing a cover like an awning over it if the problem becomes excessive.
Preventing water build-up is vital in the case of freestanding signs or products that you install on the ground like monument signs. To do this, you should place them on well-draining soil. Or even dig a trench around them to direct the water.
On the move
Admittedly sometimes, the best solution is to take the sign away. Usually, this is the only guaranteed way to protect your posters from harsh weather. You can store the boards at night when the temperature drops or when a storm starts picking up.
If this sounds like the right plan for you, consider investing mainly in freestanding and mobile signs like A-frame sidewalk signs. Alternatively, you can install some wheels to the frame of the sign so you can roll it inside.
Aside from protecting the products, you can benefit from being able to relocate it as you see fit.
Above all, don’t wait until it’s too late. Without a doubt, it’s better if you could implement preventative measures before the harsh weather strikes. Once the damage is done, you might only be able to slow its progress.
Use the environment
Last but not least, you want to use the features of the environment to your advantage. By doing this, you will be working smarter, not harder. You can exploit existing cover without needing to construct any additional structures.
For example, keep your eye out for:
- Surrounding buildings
Try to put your signs in spots that are less exposed but still visible.
Stay ahead of the game
The cold and harsh winter weather can cause significant damage to unprotected outdoor signs. This isn’t the only challenge. It can also make it trickier to install new signs.
However, business rarely stands still. Therefore, you should consider reaching out to expert hands to help you keep your signage in tip-top shape year-round.
But it’s not all bad news. The festive season is also on its way. This means that there are fun and merry times ahead. Plus, new opportunities for you to promote and grow your company. So check out: how to make your signage seasonal without spending a lot of money.
Signage is a brilliant investment for any business. But to make sure you get returns on your investment, you need to consider it from all angles. In this case, it includes paying attention to how it is constructed to make sure that you get signs that are durable and reliable. Read our guide on choosing the best sign material for outdoor signs. We’ll cover everything from selecting a product to additional tips for protecting the boards.
What’s the point of outdoor signs?
Outdoor signs will play a critical role in the advertising strategy of most brick-n-mortar businesses. They are a fundamental part of the “face” of your brand.
These signs are incredibly versatile. You can use them for a variety of purposes and goals, depending on your business and its requirements.
Some of the recommended uses for outdoor signs are:
- To promote your business, products, services, or events
- Increase brand awareness and recognition
- To give directions
- As health and safety signs
- Attract customers
Types of outdoor signs
Before we get to the materials for signage, let’s look at the products you can choose from.
You can divide the signs into different categories. First, some of the products that we will mention can also work indoors. However, some of them are the most effective if you use them outdoors.
Second, you need to decide whether you want a sign that is a permanent or temporary solution. But also consider whether you want one that is mobile or not.
The following are some of the most popular options:
- Pylon signs
- Window graphics
- Pole signs
- Monument signs
- Channel letters
- Illuminated sign boxes
- Vehicle graphics
- LED message centers
How to choose the material for an outdoor sign?
Decisions, decisions. There are so many choices to make that you can often get completely overwhelmed and confused. One way to navigate this is to accurately define what you need to get out of the sign.
A pro tip is to work through the following factors to make sure that you choose the best sign material for outdoor signs.
As you might guess, a crucial consideration for outdoor signs is the weather. You don’t want your signage and your money to blow away in the first storm. But you also want to protect your sign from longer-lasting conditions.
That’s why you always need to keep the local climate in mind.
Is your area windy? Does it rain regularly? And so on.
You should try to choose a material that is resistant to the conditions it will face. Luckily, signage companies have a whole range of options to help you get signs that will remain intact as long as possible.
Cleaning and maintenance
One factor that you need to consider is cleaning and maintenance. You won’t always be able to mount the sign and leave it.
Imagine a dust storm. It will probably leave your boards covered in dust and debris. But daily dirt can also build up an obscure the surface of the signs, not to mention the damage caused by vandalism.
Therefore, you should think about using materials that are low maintenance and that you can easily clean.
You need to ask whether the material you want to use will fit your budget. Often the higher quality materials cost more. So you will need to find a balance between choosing the best product that you can, but making sure that it will be a cost-effective solution for your business.
Ask yourself, how long do you need the sign to last?
Most of the time, people will try to choose a material that will last as long as possible. However, this might not always be necessary. For example, you will only need to use some signs for a short time, as products for events.
You might also want to replace promotional signage more regularly than other types like wayfinding boards.
So check whether the product will suit your timeline.
Repairs and replacements
Unfortunately, you need to prepare for potential damage. Even the most durable materials aren’t invincible.
We recommend that you investigate what kind of damage each of the mediums is prone to. For example, aluminum often bends or dents.
On top of this, you should find out whether you can repair the signs, and if so, how? Some materials like acrylic might be very durable, but you can’t fix them when they chip or crack, so you will need to replace them.
UV exposure deserves a whole section of its own.
In some cases, this will be a bit of a catch 22. You will need sunlight to see signage that isn’t illuminated. But over time, it can wear down many types of signs. Significantly, it can cause the colors and graphics on the board to fade. This can make your once-perfect boards difficult to read and ugly to boot.
If your sign will be directly exposed to sunlight throughout the day, investigate UV resistant materials or at least treatments and finishes.
Best sign material for outdoor signs
Now that you know what you and your sign are up against, you can make an informed decision about the materials. You will also be better able to discuss your options with your sign company.
Below are a few of the best material fits for outdoor signs.
Let’s start by looking at aluminum. Of all the materials used for signage, this is probably the most popular. You can use it for indoor signs as well, but it is outdoors that these products truly shine.
Fabricators typically use aluminum to create panels. However, it can be used to create all kinds of signs and is often combined with other options such as acrylic when you are making products like channel letters.
In general, you will be able to choose from three options.
The first ones have a .040-gauge thickness that makes it perfect for real estate and political signs. The next thickness is .080-gauge aluminum. Therefore, they are sturdier and will work well for street signs.
The thickest option is .125-gauge aluminum. This is the choice for you if you need a heavy-duty sign.
Pros of aluminum:
- Strong and durable
- The material is pliable, so you can bend it into different shapes
- Easy to print on
- Scratch proof
Cons of aluminum:
- The metallic sheen is not for everybody
- Prone to denting
- Could reflect light which will interfere with visibility
- It still costs more than some of the options
Another top contender for signage materials is acrylic. The substance is made by manufacturers from a methyl methacrylate monomer and is also sometimes called plexiglass.
Typically, sign companies use it for a variety of different signage products, including channel letters and lightboxes. As we’ve said, they often combine it with other materials like aluminum.
People love to use acrylic for illuminated signs because of the way that light can shine through its panels and sheets.
Pros of acrylic:
- Sturdy and durable
- Won’t rust or corrode
- Chemical resistant
- Great thermal properties
- Doesn’t create glare
- Resistant to UV
Cons of acrylic:
- These signs are often heavy and need additional anchors and connectors.
- Prone to scratches and dents
- Difficult to repair
Are you looking for the best of both worlds?
In this case, you might want to consider Dibond. The unique material is an aluminum composite. Manufacturers produce it with a plastic polyethylene core, which they sandwich between two aluminum sheets.
Thanks to this combination, these signs are pretty strong. So they are a fantastic option for outdoor use.
Pros of Dibond:
- Waterproof and heat resistant
- Easy to cut
- Dibond panels are the flattest of any sign.
- More shock resistant than regular aluminum
Cons of Dibond:
- Slightly less rigid than solid aluminum
- Relatively expensive
- Finishes can be costly
- Often have rough or sharp edges after being cut
Next, we are going to look at another aluminum composite – Alumalite.
The material also consists of several layers. It has a thicker core of ribbed or corrugated plastic. As with the Dibond, this means that it would be lighter than solid aluminum. Once again, fabricators cover the core with metal sheets.
You can choose from different thicknesses that your sign company can cut into the right shape for you.
Pros of Alumalite:
- Lighter than solid aluminum
- You can print on them with a variety of substances like paints, digital inks (both UV or solvent cured), screenprint inks, and pressure-sensitive vinyl.
- Cuts easily
- Rigid and durable
- Can use both sides
Cons of Alumalite:
- Thicker than aluminum
Vinyl is an extremely versatile material. Sign companies use it for a variety of different products. Overall, it is mostly used to create banners. In this case, it is often reinforced with nylon. Alternatively, you can use it for murals, floor graphics, window graphics, and vehicle graphics.
But vinyl overlays can also be applied as an alternative to traditional printing techniques.
Here we will talk about vinyl as it is used for outdoor signs.
Pros of vinyl:
- Ideal for temporary or event signs
- Low maintenance
- Vinyl graphics are easy to install and remove
- Banners that are made from vinyl are portable.
- Relatively fade-resistant
- Easy to clean
Cons of vinyl:
- Not as long-lasting
- Overlays cannot be reapplied once removed
- Not rigid
- Less sturdy and durable
- High-gloss vinyl surfaces can cause glare
All in all, PVC is also a great option for outdoor signs. In general, the products come in a black or white substrate.
You should note that there are many variations of PVC, which can differ in thickness, durability, and weight. On top of this, many brands produce their materials in different ways or processes.
Pros of PVC:
- Widely available
- One of the most durable signage options.
- Great for small cutouts as well as larger signs
Cons of PVC:
- Heavier than other options like aluminum
- Prone to chips
- Difficult to repair
Coroplast is the name for a specific type of corrugated plastic sheeting.
You can use this nifty material for outdoor as well as indoor signs. It’s incredibly versatile, and sign companies create a wide range of products with Coroplast like yard signs, golf signs, and real estate signs.
Overall, it is one of the top products for temporary and short-term signage, especially if you have to print a huge quantity.
Pros of Coroplast:
- Very light
- Easy to cut into different shapes and sizes
- Chemical resistant
Cons of Coroplast:
- Prone to bending and warping
- Does not look expensive or permanent
Tips for protecting your outdoor signs
Choosing the right material goes a long way towards creating outdoor signs to last. But sometimes this isn’t enough. The climate might be particularly harsh at your location or something similar.
In cases like this, you could take a few extra steps to protect the signs such as:
- Install awnings over your signs to give some shelter from sunlight and the elements.
- Try to install the signs in less exposed spots. For example, install it where it will be in the shade for part of the day.
- You might even find that the wind mostly blows and the rain falls in a particular direction. So consider figuring this out and mounting the sign where it will be less vulnerable.
- One option is to install cooling systems for your digital and electronic signs.
- Ask your sign company about treatments or finishes that they can apply to seal and protect the products. Also, ask them about UV-resistant ink.
Made to last
There are plenty of factors to think about when you are in the process of creating signage. And the best sign material for outdoor signs is just one of those considerations.
So don’t stop there. It’s essential to hire and work with a sign making company that knows what they are doing. They will be able to advise you on creating the best signage solutions for your business.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You know what they say. Change is the only constant. It can be hard to keep up with everything. And in the process of life of your businesses signs might fall along the wayside.
Depending on the specifics, a sign can last quite a while. You can benefit from a well-made sign for years to come before you need to replace it.
But damage and age aren’t the only reasons to make changes to your signage. Read on for our guide to things you need to update on your signs as soon as you can.
When is it time to update your signs?
Before we look at the updates you should make, we will help you find out when is the right time to make those changes.
Over the years, it is obvious that your business will change. It can be as small as a new office number or as significant as a new address or name. You need to update your signs to reflect these details to make sure you don’t lose out on any potential sales.
New brand identity
More likely than not, your company will grow and evolve. Because of this, your brand’s identity will probably change too. Your signs should reflect this. Consistency is a critical part of effective branding.
Your brand includes the following features:
- Business name
More than five years old
Even if nothing else is wrong, you might still want to update your signage. It can be helpful to use some kind of standard, like saying that you will change them after five years. The advertising industry and the general market is continually changing, and you want to stay ahead of the curve.
It will help you to get rid out outdated elements and also help you to keep up with current trends and styles.
After a few years, the sign will look a bit worn down and faded as well.
Not attracting customers
Overall, the primary goal of promotional signage is to gain new business. You want to increase your profits by increasing sales of your products or services. That’s why you have to make some changes if they are no longer serving this purpose.
It can happen if the signage becomes outdated, or perhaps it wasn’t impactful from the start.
Wear and tear
Signs are the face of your business. They are the first thing that most potential customers will see about your company. Therefore, as a direct representation of your business, you must keep it in tip-top shape. Or else it can reflect poorly on your business.
So if your signage has been damaged and even vandalized, it is time to replace it. And this is the perfect opportunity to make any necessary updates.
How should you update your signs?
The burning question for most businesses is probably, do you have to replace the entire sign?
If this is necessary, it will clearly require additional expenses, time, and effort. The answer will depend on the type of sign and the updates you need to make. It also depends on the condition of the signage.
You will probably need to replace it in the following cases completely:
- There has been severe damage to the product. Due to vandalism, weather, or age, parts of the sign might have torn off or broken off. Or the design of it might no longer be visible or legible.
- The updates that you need to make should last long term. They aren’t only for a short term events like a sale.
- You have rebranded your business, so you need to make extensive cosmetic changes.
- Your sign is not the type of sign which has parts that can be replaced. It is all or nothing.
If you are lucky, you don’t need to replace the entire sign. There are a few possible alternatives to this.
Some signs are made with panels that you can replace. For example, sign companies often make monument signs with slots into which you can slide new sections.
Another product that you can easily update is magnetic signs. This might not be the ideal solution, but you can put new magnet strips onto the board over the outdated sections, For example, this is an excellent option for restaurants that regularly change their menu.
One short term solution for making updates on your signage is to use stickers and decals. It won’t last long and probably won’t look as attractive. This can work well for once-off changes like advertising a sale. And it can be a good temporary fix until you can replace the entire sign.
Overall, the most flexible type of sign is digital signs. There are far fewer limits to making changes. You can usually update them with less effort and lower costs. So if you will need to make regular updates, we recommend looking into digital signage.
Without further ado, here are some of the updates you should consider making right away.
1. Outdated elements
What was in style five years ago, usually isn’t anymore today.
That’s why it can be a great idea to check over your designs every few years to see how it is holding up.
You also need to make sure that elements of your signs haven’t become cliched. Unfortunately, some features like fonts might become so overused that they lose all their impact.
2. New products or services
One of the things that often changes are the products or services that companies offer. It can be an excellent idea to change your signage to reflect this. These updates will be particularly impactful if the new item is high in demand.
Of course, this will also be an essential update for a business like a restaurant that might seasonally change most of their offerings.
3. Trading information
This next update is critical. No one can see into the future. So you might not have foreseen the upcoming changes to your business when you created your signs.
Two of the most common changes are to your trading hours or address. In both these cases, outdated information can directly cost you business. Therefore, you have to update this as soon as possible.
You can even create some hype for the changes like a new location by announcing them on your signs before they happen.
4. Be friendly and clear
In many ways, people have more access to your business than ever before. And your business should show that you are welcoming to everyone. Or, if you aren’t able to accommodate everyone, that should be clear as well – without being rude.
Check your signs for any unfriendly language or graphics.
If you cater to families and those with disabilities, say so. If your business (for example, a retirement facility) only serves senior citizens, make sure your signs say so clearly, but in a friendly manner.
5. Your contact information
In the super-competitive world of business, the smallest detail can cost you. One example is having outdated contact information on your signage. Customers are unlikely to follow up if they struggle to reach you.
So you must update your signs if any of your communication channels aren’t in use anymore.
But you should also make changes if you’ve added some new ones. For example, did you create a Facebook page? Does your business have a new online store?
There are more and more opportunities to communicate with existing and potential clients. And it can lead to a significant increase in business if you give them different ways to engage with you.
As we’ve said, one of the key reasons to update your signs is if you have updated your business’ visual brand identity. You need to keep your branding consistent across all your platforms.
Overall, it will make your company and your promotions much more memorable. And your customers will be able to recognize your signs at a glance.
In the end, your signs will usually be more attractive and eye-catching, thanks to the rebrand.
Remember that this needs to include all the aspects of your branding like the color scheme, logo, slogan, etc.
7. More languages
While English is the official language of the United States, it by no means has to be the only one that you use on your signage.
People speak more or less five hundred languages in the country. This is pretty extraordinary. Significantly, the second most spoken language is Spanish.
You might want to consider updating your signage if you cater to more than English-only speaking customers. This can be helpful, especially if most of your customers speak a different language. On top of this, you might want to try this out if your business is popular among tourists.
8. Stay current
Some days it seems that the world is changing at a rapidly increasing pace. It is all you can do to keep up. But it’s crucial for your business that you try to stay on track. This counts for your signs too.
One update you need to make involves smoking and vaping. Your business will probably have the appropriate signs to prevent smoking in certain areas. However, you may need to change them to refer to vaping and e-cigarettes specifically.
9. Correct spelling mistakes
Mistakes happen. The key is to address them by fixing it. In the case of signage, if you don’t, it is almost as if the mistake keeps on happening as every new person sees it. So you should update your signs to get rid of any grammatical or spelling errors.
It can happen to everyone. Even big corporations aren’t immune. Just take a look at these examples if you don’t believe us.
These mistakes can slip in at any stage of the process, brainstorming, design, or fabrication. That’s why you need to proofread the content of the signs every step along the way — next time double or even triple check to prevent issues.
10. The size
An essential part of the design is deciding on its size and dimensions. You have to make sure that it is large enough for people to see and read it.
You need to do some careful planning to get it right. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work out the way you want it too.
Once the fabricators have made the sign and you have mounted it, you might find that it is just too small. The fault might lie with the font, the graphics, or the sign as a whole. You don’t want to lose out on advertising just because people can’t read it,
Pro tip: Print out the design in the right dimensions on paper. Test whether the size is suitable by holding it where you will place the sign.
Another crucial thing that you should think about updating is lighting.
First, the light bulbs might have faded, or some of them might no longer be working. Unfortunately, this will mean that your sign will be less visible. But it can also seriously detract from its overall appeal.
Secondly, you might want to change the type of illumination that you use. In the past, most fabricators made their products with neon tubing. However, now they mostly use LED bulbs. They are more energy-efficient and require less maintenance. So you might want to make the switch.
On the other hand, your signage might not have any illumination at all. In this case, you might want to add some lighting. It will not only help you attract more attention throughout the day and night but can help enhance its appearance too.
12. Highlight events or milestones
Special events and milestones like company anniversaries can offer you brilliant opportunities to promote your business. Therefore, you should consider including them as updates on your signage.
Showing off can help you draw in new customers but also boost your sales among existing ones.
Optimize your signage
The point of all these updates is to get the best out of your signs. You want them to be as effective as possible. They should help you get more business, not lose any.
That’s why you want to build and maintain a good working relationship with your signage company. Undoubtedly, they can help you keep your signage in tip-top shape.
For more advice on making the best out of a sign, check out these tips and tricks to creating the most effective signs for marketing.