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.
All kinds of organizations need to advertise. This is true whether they are trying to make profits or are trying to raise money and working for a cause.
That’s why for this year’s International Day of Charity on September 5th, we are looking at how to create signs for nonprofits & charitable organizations.
To create signs for an NPO or charity, you need to know about working on a budget, choosing the right products, and designing the images. We will cover all of these and more in our ultimate sign guide.
Working on a budget
Clearly, one of the most important goals of any charitable organization is to save as much money as possible. However, you still need to find a way to gather the resources needed for your cause.
That’s why the core parts of your business model are usually to raise money, raise awareness, or both. This means you always need to spend as little as possible while getting the results you want. This mindset needs to extend to making signage.
You don’t want to spend unnecessarily. So don’t ever be hasty. Take your time to make sure you make the best decisions for your organization.
To do this, you need to figure out how much you can or want to spend. It will, of course, depend on the state of your accounts. If you are unsure what a reasonable amount is, it can help to do some research.
Try to find out what similar nonprofits and charitable organizations have spent on their signage. Overall, this will give you the ideal starting point. You can also check out what the costs are for the type of products you want.
Next, once you have calculated your budget, you have to find ways to stick to it. The key is to thoroughly investigate all your options as you go through the process.
We will discuss how you can save some money along each step of the way.
Getting a sponsor
As you might know, one of the essential ways you can save on the expenses is by getting a sponsor. There are always businesses who are willing to help out for a cause. Corporate social responsibility is now viewed as a central part of how companies work.
Typically, the public believes that businesses should not only focus on profits. They must try to have some positive impact on society. Consumers might even stop supporting a company if they feel they don’t care.
That’s why cause-related marketing is now more popular than ever. Corporations have an interest in showing off their contributions.
All of this is excellent news for charities and nonprofits that are looking for sponsorships. It gives both of the parties a chance to win.
Today larger NPO’s often have a whole team to focus on cause-related marketing. But don’t fear, a smaller organization can still manage.
Here are some tips for getting the sponsors for your signage:
- First, go to companies who have supported your charity in the past. They might be willing to continue with the partnership.
- Look for a business whose owners you know. It can help you in the initial stages of arranging a meeting.
- Don’t rely on a single method of communication. Try to use email, calls, and visits to reach companies that might be interested.
- Find a business whose target audience might overlap with yours. Both of you will then benefit more from the relationship. And they will probably be more willing to lend you their support.
- To show your gratitude, print their names on the signage, send them documents to prove their contribution, or thank them in the media.
Take a look at this article to learn more about corporate sponsorships.
Different signs for different purposes
One of the critical decisions you need to make involves which signs you want to make. It’s important to remember that some signs will be better suited for specific goals than others. Once again, you need to do some detective work.
The following are some of the best signs that nonprofits and charitable organization can use for their campaign.
Most organizations will have at least one physical location from which they operate. This is an ideal place that you can use to promote your cause. You probably won’t need to pay additional fees to put up the signs. And it serves practical purposes too.
There are several options to consider, depending on your budget, location, and so on.
Do your offices or workspace have windows facing pedestrian or motor vehicle traffic?
Then window graphics can be an excellent option for you. These signs can be a real eye-catcher, especially if the surrounding businesses don’t have any. You can make your organization stand out even more if you design them with bright colors and images.
That’s one reason why they can work well as advertisements. But they have practical utility too. For example, they are most commonly used to display useful information like your name, trading hours, and contact information.
The price of window graphics will depend on the size and design. However, what makes them cost-effective is the fact that they are low maintenance and long-lasting.
Channel letters are a perfect solution to display your organization’s name, especially if you use them in combination with window graphics that provide more information.
These signs are highly customizable. So you have a lot of flexibility. Thanks to this you might have some leeway to choose a less expensive design.
Besides this, fabricators typically make them with LED lighting. Therefore you can even get some exposure at night.
Long term advertisements:
Like any other business, you could benefit from more extensive general advertising. Signs can be an excellent long term solution for this.
One sign you can use is vehicle graphics. These are decals or wraps that you can place on any automobile.
What makes them unique is their mobility. You can gain exposure wherever the car, truck, or bus goes. In the end, this can save you a lot of money. If you’re on a budget, you can replace some of your rented sign spaces with vehicle graphics.
Another fantastic long term option is digital signs. These screens have become more and more popular thanks to their effectiveness as an advertising medium.
One benefit of digital signs is that they give you much more space for potential content. You can run several ads on a loop and even play videos on them. Another good idea is to show some footage, photos, or statistics about the effect your organization has had.
In addition to this, you have the freedom to change the content of the sign if you need to. For example, if you want to promote an upcoming event or fundraiser.
Overall, this is an excellent platform to give more information about your cause. For this reason, you should consider placing it in an area where people can spend more time looking at it. An example of this is the checkout line of a local store or a queuing area at a bank.
Initially, it can be more expensive than some of the alternatives. But it will pay off in the end.
Signs for events and fundraisers:
Long-term advertisements should undoubtedly play a key role in your advertising strategy. But you will also need temporary signs.
Core tools of any nonprofit and charitable organization are events and fundraisers. These are fantastic ways to get more exposure and support for your cause.
So you will need signs to advertise before the events. However, you will also need some at the event.
Banners are a lightweight and very inexpensive signage product. Fabricators usually need less time to make them.
That is why you should always keep these in mind for temporary signs. You can use them as a promotion for the event. But you can also use them at the event to encourage people to make contributions.
Tradeshow displays and exhibits
Any charitable organization or NPO needs to know about the different trade show displays and exhibits. There are many types available depending on your needs and what your sign company can offer. Some examples are pop-up displays, specialized banners, and multimedia displays.
As you might guess, these are specifically made to use at events.
They will work well if there is more than one exhibitor or organization present. You can really make your booth stand out.
But they can also be handy at events that focus on your cause.
How to get people to support your cause with design
The end goal is to create signs that create awareness and also get support for your cause. To achieve this, you need to look at the design of your signage as well.
Let’s look at some of the critical design elements and principles to keep in mind.
Use photos of people, animals, or whatever else you are supporting with your organization. This is a great way to catch your audience’s eye and will make the sign more memorable.
But most importantly, it will make it more impactful. The cause will feel more real to them.
Call to action
You need to let people know what actions they can take to support your nonprofit or charity. This should be a central consideration in your design. You can emphasize it by using bright colors, contrasts, bold letters, or large font sizes.
Having this will help improve the chances that they will not only see the sign but act on it too.
If a sponsor supports your organization, it is essential to say this on your signs. Doing this will help maintain a good relationship with them. But it will also lend legitimacy to your cause.
You can include this by saying “sponsored by” and then giving the logos of the business. It doesn’t have to be at the center of the sign. However, it shouldn’t be almost invisible either.
Working with a sign company
The success of your signs relies in large part on the work of your sign company. So you must establish a fruitful relationship with them. This is true for any business venture. But even more so for charities and NPO’s with limited resources.
You want to get it right the first time.
Hire the right company
Choosing a good sign company can mean the difference between overwhelming success and complete failure.
To help you decide, make a list of fabricators in your area. Contact them and find out as much as you can so that you can compare them.
A few things that you should consider are:
- Their pricing
- Range of products and services
- Track record and reviews
- Quality of their work
- Their manufacturing process
- How long it will take
In the end, it boils down to finding a company you trust to produce high-quality work at a reasonable price.
Discuss your options
You should always discuss all your options with the fabricator of your choice, especially when it comes to pricing. Be upfront from the start. Tell them that you are an NPO or charity and let them know what your budget is.
More likely than not, they will be able to work out what the most cost-effective solution will be.
You might be surprised to find that they might have packages that can help you save a few bucks.
A pro tip is to ask about the different materials they use. The fabricators might be able to print the same sign, of the same type at a lower cost depending on the material.
It can be helpful to always keep in mind who the experts are. Your sign company will know the industry much better than you do. So take advantage of their knowledge and expertise.
Don’t hesitate to ask them any questions you might have. As long as you have chosen a suitable company, they should be able to give you sterling advice.
If their recommendations go against what you want, take a second before making your decision. You don’t want to dismiss their guidance offhand. They will usually have a good reason behind it that can help your organization.
Ask about sponsorships
We’ve already talked about the importance of getting a sponsor. What we didn’t mention was that you could often ask your sign company about this too. They may be willing to partially or fully sponsor your signage.
Or else they might at least give you some discounts on the signs. It never hurts to ask, so don’t miss this potential opportunity.
For a good cause
Hopefully, this guide will help you to create effective signs for your nonprofit or charitable organization. In the right hands, signage can help you increase awareness and also raise support. Don’t forget that they can be valuable as long-term advertisements as well as short-term for fundraisers.
There are some things you can’t change. You simply need to learn how to deal with it. There are always conditions that can hamper you when you are trying to create the perfect signage.
We are going to discuss a few common sign limitations that you’re likely to face. We’ll also look at creative solutions to solve these problems.
Preferably, you should design your graphics to suit the sign medium. But this doesn’t mean problems don’t arise. And in many ways, it can limit your signage.
We all would prefer to have complete freedom when it comes to creating signs. One of the most prevalent sign limitations is too little space. You probably won’t have as much room to work with as you want.
Your space could be limited by how much is available at your location. Or by the type of sign that you choose to use.
Because of this, it can be difficult or nigh on impossible to fit in all the content you want to. So you have to find a way to work around it. But it can also be challenging to find a way to arrange the content.
The rule of thumb when it comes to signs is to keep it concise. Short and sweet, that’s what you’re aiming for.
So if you have limited space to work with, you should try to see if you can remove some of the content or reduce it in some way. You will need to use different signs for different purposes. Therefore the number of words and graphics needed will differ widely.
But try to remove anything unnecessary. Don’t add too many flourishes or too many descriptive words.
Besides this, you should try to get creative with the layout. Using smart design, you can make more of the space you have. Specifically, look at how words are stacked. For example, if you have too little horizontal space place the phrases on top of each other.
Logo too detailed
Many of the limitations come up because of the way you designed aspects of your brand’s visual identity in the past. It can be tricky to plan for all the potential mediums on which you will use the graphics.
Overall, the best fix would be to complete the process in the right way from beginning to end. But once the problem has arisen, there are usually a few solutions you can try.
One common issue is that people design their logo to be too detailed. Complicated graphics don’t translate well to signs.
First of all, many of the details can get blurred and therefore lost as the images are scaled. It can be a problem when you make it larger or smaller.
Second, you always need to think about the visibility and legibility of the signs. The more detailed they are, the more challenging it becomes for the audience to make out what they say. Keep in mind that people will only spend a few seconds looking at any signage.
Besides this, the end product might cost more. Fabricators might charge more because the printing process is more complicated.
It will also limit the sign types that you can choose. For example, the fabricator probably won’t be able to cut out the logo like traditional channel letters.
In general, you’ll need to compromise in some way to solve this problem.
One of the most effective solutions is to redesign the logo. You don’t have to start from scratch. But it can do wonders to simplify it.
You can do this by:
- Taking out any shadows, gradients, textures
- Leaving out unnecessary graphic elements
- Limiting the number of colors
- Using fewer fonts
If you don’t want to change it, remember that some sign types work better than others. For example, you can choose window graphics, murals, and monument signs.
Otherwise, there’s always one option left. You don’t have to put the logo on the sign. It is by no means necessary to include this.
Many people prefer not to print it on their signs. Too often it can clutter the design, especially if you’re going with channel letters or dimensional letters as a building sign.
You won’t be alone in this. Well established brands go through several iterations of their logo.
We don’t always think ahead when we design for our businesses. This often happens if you jump into things when you start a relatively small company. Unfortunately, your past decisions can sometimes come back to haunt you.
You need to design elements of your visual identity with the end products like signage in mind. These elements include your logo, customized font, and the company name.
Otherwise, it can cause problems and even limit you when you are trying to create effective signs for your business. Much of this boils down to scale. You need to create designs specifically so that you can enlarge them.
If you don’t, the images can look disproportionately stretched out. At worst they can even look visibly pixelated. In the end, it will make the sign look amateurish and in turn, will affect how people perceive your brand.
There are several ways you can help to prevent this. First off, you need to try to imagine how the graphics will scale up to the size you need. Remember that different signage products come in various scales, with outdoor signs usually being bigger.
To avoid stretching, you should pay attention to the proportions of the sign when the fabricator prints it. Preferably you want to keep it relatively similar to its original form.
If you don’t want to be limited by potential pixelation, you need to make sure the logo or font you create the designs in the correct format. You shouldn’t use raster graphics. You create these images out of pixels in software programs like Photoshop.
Instead, you want to use vector graphics which you can create in Adobe Illustrator. You make them out of mathematically precise points. This means you can scale them indefinitely
Regulations and ordinances
Another important limiting factor to take into account is local laws and regulations. Different areas have different rules about what you can and can’t do with your signs.
If you don’t comply, the authorities could issue you with a fine. On top of this, they can even force you to remove the offending signs.
The only real solution to this is to work with the local authorities. You need to research which zoning laws will apply.
Note that there are separate guidelines for different signs. For example, there are regulations for outdoor signs, commercial signage, ones next to highways, and even political signs.
In case you get stuck on how to make it work, consult your sign company. It can be helpful to choose fabricators based in your area. They should be well versed in the relevant laws.
On top of area-wide regulations, you will probably also be subject to the rules of your lease. More likely than not, the property management will have set out standards on their tenants’ usage of signs.
They might have set out rules about their:
If you don’t comply, there could be severe consequences for your lease and your business.
Before you create your sign, you have to check the rules of the lease and the property. This can help you from making a costly mistake. Sometimes it can be useful as a way to set up some guidelines to get you started.
Many property owners will also require that you show them the design of the sign for approval.
All in all, the most common limitations are those about the size and amounts of signs that you can use.
For example, if it feels a bit cramped, you should try to use all of the surfaces that are available to you. People often mount building signs above the windows of the storefront. But you can move much of the content to other products like window graphics, sidewalk signs, and banners.
Another of the significant possible signage limitations is the local weather. There’s no way to fight it. You need to find a way to work with the conditions.
When you don’t prepare correctly, your signage will suffer. Conditions like regular rain, wind, or intense sun exposure can take its toll. Even worse, the sign can be destroyed or be blown away and lost forever if you’re not careful.
You must make sure that your signage is suitable for local weather.
If the area in which you want to place it is windy, you want to stay away from lightweight signs like banners, coroplast, and A-frame sidewalk signs. Or else, if you choose one of these, you need to secure it properly.
You can put weights on the bottom of the sign. And you could tie them down. But it could be a safer option to go with installed, built, or mounted signs such as monument signs or window graphics.
Sun and rain can be just as harsh over time. Ask your fabricator which of their products are weather resistant. They might even be able to apply some protective coatings to their other products.
Most of the times, there is little you can do to change the environment in which you hang your sign. As we’ve said, property rules and leases will probably limit you. But you will also be subject to the physical limitations of the building.
One of these is the colors at the location. It can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the sign.
Too often, the colors in the design clash with those around it, making the total effect unattractive.
Although you want the colors to work together, you also want the sign to stand out. You don’t want it to blend too well with the environment. Thus the location can hamper what you can do with your design.
You have to take the appearance of the building into account when you design your signage. It can be a good idea to take different color swatches to the building. You can test to see if they can blend well or not.
Take a look at this guide on picking color combinations.
To increase its visibility, it can be a great idea to use contrasts. For example, you can pair a white sign on a black background.
However, for one reason or another, you might have to use a specific palette, especially if it is a vital part of your brand identity. One possible fix for this is to put the sign on a colored mounting or backboard. This allows you can complete the picture with your own background.
Sign 101 is that your sign should catch your audience’s eye. Of course, the viewing distance and angle will depend on the exact locations of the signs. The spot might not always be optimal.
This means that your signage needs to stand out from its environment. Unfortunately, this can be a challenge if the location is saturated with signage, etc. And more so if there are things in the way like lamp poles and trees.
You need to find a way to work with the characteristics of the location.
There are several tricks you can try to make sure your signage will draw attention, even if it is slightly obscured or in a crowded place.
Here are a few:
- Choose bright colors
- Play with contrast
- Include graphics on the sign
- Make it 3D or add features to create this effect
- Use lighting to light up the signage
What if your sign will need to be placed quite far from the sidewalk or the road?
As a result, it might be difficult to see, read, and understand. In this case, you can increase the size of the board and its content. If you can’t do that, it can also help to use uppercase letters instead of lowercase.
Don’t let any of these signage limitations unnecessarily hamper your process. There is always a solution to the problem. But it can help to plan for these eventualities.
This tip holds for all the possible pitfalls. So check out 5 of the worst mistakes you can make with your promotional materials.
Small businesses and larger businesses alike need to find ways to promote their company. Both rely on physical and digital signs to get their message across. But in doing this, you have to find a way to catch your audience’s eye.
As a small business owner, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. Designing unique signage can help!
This is a complete guide to show you, the small business owner, how to create unique signage. We cover everything from brand awareness to budget-friendly options.
Do some research
Beginning a creative task like this is usually the hardest part. But once you get the ball rolling, it should get easier.
So where should you start?
We recommend that the first step you take is to perform some research. Go online and search for examples of signs for similar businesses. For example, if you run a B&B look at how other small inns and bed-and-breakfasts have designed their signage around the country.
More importantly, you want to get an idea of the signs that business’ use in your local area. Take a ride around the neighborhood and write down some notes.
It can be a great way to get inspired to make your signs. From your reactions, you can get an idea of what you like and what you don’t, of what works and what doesn’t.
On top of this, you will see what designs your competitors are using. You need to know this to make sure you can distinguish yourself from the rest.
Don’t be a copycat
We can’t stress this enough! Innovate don’t imitate.
Yes, you can draw inspiration from other people’s signs. But you need to be careful about it.
Whenever you are designing and creating the signage, you need to what the rules and regulations are. You need to be aware of the copyright laws in your state.
The work you create has to be your own or that of your designer. It needs to be an original expression. If it isn’t, you can land in some hot water.
But legal matters aside, you don’t have to cross the legal boundaries for it to be a problem. You don’t want your sign to resemble anybody else’s. Otherwise, you can confuse your potential customers.
People love authenticity and originality. You will get a much more positive response from your audience if you stick to these principles.
Find your niche
Finding your company’s niche means finding its place in the local economy. It means finding what makes you different. Because small businesses can’t necessarily cater for as many needs as some conglomerates can, it can help to use what makes you special to your advantage.
Why would a customer choose to use your services instead of others? What do you offer that your competitors don’t?
Another vital question to ask is who your target audience is?
These are the people or group of people that you are trying to reach with your signs. To find this out, it can help to do some research on who the clients of similar businesses are and who your existing customers are. You might find out that something about your brand appeals more to a specific group.
Once you have the answers, you should try to portray this through your signs.
For example, if you opened an art supply store near a college, your primary clients will be students. And your signage should reflect this.
In this case, make sure your designs are contemporary and appeal to your target audience. You can also use your signs to promote services and products or features that your target clients might be interested in – like a student discount.
In the end, you want to see a difference in the signage that your business uses and those of an art store, for example, that caters to children and their parents.
Read this article for more information on finding your niche.
Play with ideas
You need to take your sign design seriously. The little details can make a huge difference. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of fun with it.
Brainstorming is one of the best ways to get your creative juices flowing. And it can be pretty exciting to boot.
So before you settle on one single design, play around with some different concepts and elements. Try to come up with as many ideas as you can using different fonts, graphics, layouts, and colors.
Ask around the office for any ideas. You can gradually simplify and streamline your thoughts. After a while, you will figure out what aesthetic elements you prefer.
We recommend that you hire a professional to help you with the design. They will able to give you fantastic advice on what you should and shouldn’t do. Many sign companies offer some creative services.
You probably won’t have the budget that a full-scale corporation has. But don’t let that worry you. There are still plenty of options available that are easier on your pocket. You only have to look and ask.
The cost of a sign is impacted by:
- Colors used
- Lighting effects
- Number of characters
- Type of sign
Effectively, every element of the design can impact how much you need to pay. Typically the smaller and less complicated it is, the less it will cost.
Some of the cheapest products are banners, yard signs, and sidewalk signs. Each of these plays a role in your marketing. So they can be an excellent choice if you only want to use your sign for a limited time.
On the other hand, digital signage will cost you a pretty penny to acquire in the first place. But if you want to update it often, it can save you money in the long run. You won’t have to fabricate new signs every time you change your mind or need something new.
It’s all about finding the right fit for your business.
Be sure to ask the fabricator what kind of deals they offer. Sign companies often have specials or packages that include a whole range of different products. Most of the time, these are the most cost-effective choices.
We all know those corporations and brands that you can recognize with a glance. You only have to read their slogan or have your eye catch a glimpse at their logo or color scheme to know.
There is no reason why a small business can’t have its own unique and recognizable brand identity. It’s a fantastic way to make your signage more memorable.
You can create this through your:
- Color palette
- Patterns and shapes
To make it useful, you have to keep it consistent. You want this style to be reflected across all your media, including your digital and printed signage. The identity should extend to both your in-house and external communications.
Importantly, you need to remember it’s not only about making your signs recognizable. Your branding is crucial for creating your business’ image. You want to tell your customers a story about your company.
What services and products do you offer? Who do you cater for? Are there any values that your business embodies?
In short, you want your audience to understand what your company is about. It is the most guaranteed way to truly make your signage your own, to put your mark on it.
Besides all this, having a coherent and well-developed brand identity will help you to convey that you are professionals. It gives the impression that your business is well-run, well-thought-out, and serious about its products and services.
Relationship with your sign company
Chances are you’re probably going to want to buy signs more than once. That’s why it’s smart to build a relationship with a professional and knowledgeable sign company.
Of course, that starts with you hiring the right fabricator. You want to be able to trust and rely on them to create the perfect signage for your requirements.
You want to tick the following off your checklist before you make a decision:
1 – Make a list of the sign companies in your area.
2 – Research the different products and services that each of them offers.
3 – Take a good, long look at their portfolio, especially if they’ve made signs similar to those you want.
4 – Ask each of the companies for quotes on products that you’re interested in.
5 – Compare all of this information that you’ve gathered. Now choose one or two the fabricators to make a meeting with.
6 – Before the appointment, make a list of all the questions you want to ask and the rest of the info you need.
If you follow these steps, you’re likely to find a fantastic sign making company. And they bring you one step closer to creating unique signage for your small business.
Key elements on your sign
So far, we’ve talked a lot about the general design and planning process for creating your unique signage. But it will also be useful for you to learn more about the specific elements that you need to perfect to create an effective sign.
First, carefully consider what you are going to put on your signage. This is your foundation. Focus on clarity and conciseness. You want to convey information in as few words as possible to make it impactful.
The content is critical, but so is how you display it. The typography involves the style of the words on the sign.
It involves looking at the:
- Letter case
You should think about this from a practical as well as an aesthetic perspective.
Obviously, you aren’t only limited to words. Using pictures can add some interest to your sign. But you have to be careful. An ill-chosen graphic can detract from your signage as much as a well-chosen one can benefit your sign.
Less complicated pictures, like logos and symbols often work best.
We’ve mentioned that the palette will usually be associated with your brand identity. However, it isn’t always the case.
One of the crucial principles is that you don’t want to use too many colors. Or else you risk your sign looking garish.
Another critical point is that you want to make sure the sign is visible. To do this, you want to create a contrast. The colors should stand out from the background.
For example, if your building is a dark brick face, you can choose white or some other light shade for your channel letters. Otherwise, you can print the letters or graphics on a sign with a contrasting background.
From design to fabrication
To create the best possible unique signs for your business, you need to know a little about the process from start to finish. So far, we’ve covered many of the different steps. But here they are in order:
1 – Do some local and online research about your competitor’s sign and the area’s market.
2 – Come up with a vareity of ideas for your sign design.
3 – Narrow down what you visualize and the content you would prefer on your signage.
4 – Check whether there are any rules and regulations about signs in your location.
5 – Look for and hire a sign making company.
6 – Consult with your fabricator about the designs and products that you want.
7 – Ask for a rough mock-up of the final visuals.
8 – Finalize your order and have the signs printed.
One in a million
All of this information can help you get ahead with creating unique signs for your business. But the most important thing to remember is that your company is one in a million. Stand out from the crowd by celebrating what makes your business different.
Don’t forget to read our article on the importance of brand awareness to the success of your business. Before you start, it can be a good idea to make sure you avoid 5 of the worst mistakes you can make with your promotional materials.
Believe it or not, choosing a font can be the most daunting parts of designing signage. There are thousands to choose from with new ones added every day. However, you should know that not all fonts are equal.
You need to put careful thought into choosing the typography for your signage. Read on to find out about the best professional fonts to use on your signs. To help you avoid mistakes, we’ll also look at ones that you should avoid at all costs.
Guide to fonts on signs
Thankfully, there are fundamental principles that can help you make the right decision.
We often want to gravitate towards the more exotic typefaces. But interesting isn’t always the right choice. There is a reason why companies use some fonts over and over again.
Above all, you should pay attention to the visibility and readability of the sign. Unfortunately, too many people choose typefaces that are almost illegible. It benefits no one if your audience can’t read the sign.
You need to be wary of thin letters, script, and ornamentation.
Remember that research has shown that people only spend about 3 to 7 seconds looking at digital signs or perhaps up to 8 seconds with other signage.
In saying this, you still want the words to look good. Part of this is to avoid using fonts that have been so overused that they’ve become cliche.
Additionally, you want to use typography that fits into your brand identity. That’s why you don’t want to use fonts widely recognized as “belonging” to a specific company.
Fonts to avoid
Now we’ll get the bad news out of the way first. Here are six examples of typefaces that you should avoid on your sign. They don’t work for a variety of reasons.
Let’s start with the notorious main culprit for an overused font, Comic Sans. This typeface has gotten quite a bad rap over the years. It’s creator Vincent Connnare designed the font for a children’s software program. From there it spread like wildfire. That should give you a hint at the problem.
So not only has it become cliched, it is child-like too. Never, ever use it for any critical or formal communication. People won’t take it seriously.
Because of all this, your audience will usually associate Comic Sans with amateur graphic design. It can, by extension, make your business seem less professional.
The celebrity of bad fonts is undoubtedly Papyrus. It’s one of those faces that many of us feel a bit ashamed about having used one time or another. You will find it all over anything to do with Egypt and the Mediterranean.
And now it has forever been linked to James Cameron’s Avatar. If you use this on your sign, you risk looking unoriginal.
All this aside, Papyrus isn’t very attractive nor pleasant to look at.
Don’t be tempted by the exotic quality of this typeface. Just leave it in the past where it belongs.
You can’t get much more whimsical than Curlz. It is beloved by many little girls for its fantastical ornamentations. Bakeries, toy shops, and kindergartens often feel that Curlz can help give them that playful character. But sometimes there is something like too many curls!
Sadly, this “happy” font can look immature and too flashy.
Above all, it doesn’t translate well to signs. The ornamentation can make it more challenging to read, especially if your audience sees it from a distance.
Flowing or script fonts are always popular. But you have to be extremely careful in using these on signs. They are undoubtedly less legible than other typefaces.
However, this isn’t the only problem with Brush Script.
The typeface was in its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s. However, designers in all types of industries used it for decades before and after. That’s why it holds some nostalgic appeal for people.
However, it is better to avoid this piece of the past that people have revisited too often. You would be better off looking at the variety of newer typefaces that are made to have a vintage feel.
Courier is a widely used serif font. Similarly to Brush Script, it has one of those typefaces that has a vintage feel. It resembles the typesetting for typewriters.
In general, Courier can still work well for other types of media like plain text documents. Compared to some of the alternatives, it is quite legible.
But it doesn’t work for signage. You might be able to read it. However, that doesn’t make it exciting or appealing. Besides, it mostly looks outdated and behind the times.
The best fonts for signs
Now that the bad is out of the way, we can get to the good stuff. Thankfully, there is a cornucopia of different fonts that designers can choose from. No doubt, you can find the ideal one for your business’ sign.
We’re going to look at ten of the top professional fonts to use on different types of signage.
If you know anything about graphic design, you have probably heard about Helvetica. It’s a great all-rounder sans serif font. Overall, it looks neat, professional, and easy to read. It looks attractive too.
Because of this, it is hugely popular. You can use it successfully on all kinds of platforms, including signs.
One downside of its popularity is that it doesn’t look as original or unique as it once did. Nevertheless, it will still make a sound choice for your sign.
Helvetica doesn’t necessarily evoke strong associations or emotions, so it gives you the chance to create meaning with it.
Another excellent font for signs is Bodoni. The typeface is exceptionally stylish. It’s a serif design with contrasting thick and thin lines that creates a wonderful aesthetic.
In the end, it will convey to your audience that your business is sophisticated and modern. Bodoni looks professional as well.
All things considered, it can be a great choice for you if you own a classy restaurant, cafe, or retail store like a boutique.
In the list of the worst fonts, we gave playful and script fonts quite a bad rap. But this doesn’t apply to all of them. Some of the most exciting and engaging fonts combine both of these like Boomerang Script.
You can buy it in a bundle that comes with uppercase, lowercase, and hand brush style characters.
Boomerang can help you to make your business look fun and creative above anything else.
We think that this font will be ideal for a burger shack or any other hangout spot.
Some people might be put off by the fact that they will have to buy the font bundle. However, if it suits your brand identity and vision, it should be worth it.
Bodoni is by no means the only choice if you are looking for a sign to show your customers that your business is stylish and elegant. Gatsby can be a brilliant alternative too.
Unlike Bodoni, it is a sans serif font. Gatsby’s characters are elongated and thin. Altogether, it looks very tasteful and professional. It’s an excellent option if you want a typeface that looks vintage but not outdated.
You need to note that Gatsby only has uppercase letters. But this means that it stands out even more.
In general, it’s perfect if you are designing a sign for a luxury retail store.
You can download it in a bundle with single weight and four additional styles normal, outline, retro, and distorted.
Next up, we are going to look at another sans serif font. Indigo stands out from the previous options on the list for its bold characters. It’s a combination of the ‘Indigo Regular’ and the outline version ‘Indigo Outline.’
The mix makes its letters chunky and thick. Thanks to its curvy shape, Indigo looks edgy and casual, but by no means amateurish.
You can use it on your signs to let them know that your business is contemporary and fun.
Indigo is quite versatile. And it’s one of those fonts that look just as fabulous in lowercase as in uppercase.
The next typeface is a fantastic alternative to more overused stencil fonts. You can buy the font in a bundle that comes with a version without the stencil-like effect or the stylish version that comes with these elements.
Luna is a slab serif typeface which means that the designers created it with thick block-like serifs. Its letters are quite angular and straight.
We think that this font will work brilliantly for a camping, or hiking store or something similar. Your audience will interpret the sign as saying that your business caters for people who love adventures like experiences the outdoors.
It is the right mixture of rugged with a bit of polish that will make your sign stand out from the crowd.
Opinions differ widely on the use of this font. Some designers feel that it looks too stiff and that it’s no longer original.
But others still adore its minimalist style.
Paul Renner created the font and released it in 1927. In the spirit of Bauhaus, he based the design on geometric shapes like circles, triangles, and squares. It’s a credit to its creator that Futura looks progressive and contemporary today.
All in all, you can use this typeface on your sign to tell your audience that your business is efficient and forward-thinking.
Another option if you are looking for a minimalist font is Modeka. The letters of this typeface are clearcut and also geometric.
However, where the geometry of Futura is more understated, that of Modeka makes a bold statement.
By using this font, you will let everyone know that your business is creative, unique, and certainly edgy.
Best of all, you can get it for free.
Garamond is a very popular font for bodies of text like textbooks, magazines, and websites. However, you can use it just as successfully for your signs too. It’s a serif font with a timeless aesthetic.
There are several versions of Garamond. For signage, it can be a good idea if you choose the bold version of this font to make sure it is clearly legible.
The font has quite a long and rich history that dates back to the original versions that were designed by the 16th-century Parisian engraver named Claude Garamond.
By using the typeface on your signs, you can suggest to your customers that your business is reliable and trustworthy.
Buttermilk Farmhouse is another wonderfully whimsical font. It is a hand-drawn calligraphy script. You can get it in a bundle with multiple versions which each put a unique twist on its aesthetic.
Undoubtedly, rustic chic is in vogue. Whether it is home decor or sign design, people go nuts for this style. So if that is the look you are going for Buttermilk Farmhouse might be the font for you.
The homely textured style still looks soft and delicate. With this charming font, you can let your customers know that your business is relaxed but yet stylish. That is why this typeface is excellent for a cafe. But it works wonderfully for something like a farmer’s market as well.
Say it right
The most important idea in signage is that it is not just about what you say, but how you say it. Experts know how important it is to choose the right professional font to use on your sign.
You need to make sure that its meaning and association enhances your image and identity instead of clashing with it.
Remember to always ask your sign making company for their opinion and advice.
The font you use is one of the crucial elements and terms in design. But if you want to create signage there is far more you need to know. Take a look at our article on sign terminology: negative space, optimal distance, typography & more.
There’s nothing like the power and popularity of channel letters to announce your company’s location. Maybe you need colorful, whimsical front-lit channel letters to blend with your business’ lighthearted image. Or maybe what you do calls for halo-lit letters that will cultivate a trim, serious appearance. Either way, channel letters could be your business’ way to reach the world with your name and logo. So, today, we’re taking a look at how to install channel letters.
Thanks in part to the variation you’ll find among channel letters, installation looks different in different situations. On top of the variation among the letters themselves, every location is different. Some channel letters might be installed on a building’s exterior—whether a high-rise or a small shop. Other letters may take their place in a building’s interior, but even these could be large or small. Despite the inevitable variation, we’ll offer seven easy steps to install channel letters.
1 – Assemble required equipment, tools & supplies
Depending on the situation, channel letter installation may require a bucket truck. However, for easier jobs, a ladder (or more than one) might be sufficient. Other materials required could include: sign template (and tape for temporarily securing it to the building), sheet metal screws or concrete screws, rope, and a screw gun or power drill.
2 – Determine manpower needed
Even in our age of advanced technology, you’ll need to have adequate human assistance for installing channel letters. More difficult or complicated projects could require more people working on them. For one thing, the size of the channel letters might dictate how many people you need.
Plus, there’s also the height of the building to take into account. In some situations, it may be helpful to have some installers on the roof because they’ll be able to pull the letters from above.
3 – Create & place template (if using)
A template can help you know where to place the letters once you reach the building. Mark your template so you’ll know where the letters should be screwed. Once you’ve taped the paper template to the installation surface, you can drill holes according to the template markings.
4 – Remove template
Once you’ve drilled the necessary holes, you can pull off the temporarily-secured template.
5 – Place channel letter bases on installation surface & secure
This sounds simple, right? But if you’ve ever seen enormous channel letters atop a skyscraper, you have to wonder just how to make that happen. Placing channel letters, depending on the size of the letters and the size of the building they’re going on could require more forethought than you might imagine.
If the project is easy and small, you might just carry the letters up a ladder, hold them in place, and screw them in. However, if you’re dealing with a larger scale situation (perhaps larger letters that have farther to go), the approach might be more complicated. For instance, you may need to secure each letter with a rope and have one team member pull from the rooftop while other team members climb ladders and guide the letter’s ascent.
Sometimes you’ll place only the base of the letter and secure it according to the pre-drilled holes, adding the sign face afterward. Other times, you might opt to place the whole letter at once and secure.
6 – Run & test wiring
If your channel letters are illuminated, your work doesn’t end simply at securing them to the building. You’ll also need to see that they’re wired correctly so that they actually do light up. Even if your bulbs are already installed in the channel letter base, you may still need to run other wiring and connect it to a power source.
Note that electrical work should be done by a qualified professional in accord with any rules applicable in your area. Plus, you may need to test to ensure the lights work correctly before adding the sign faces.
7 – Place sign faces & secure
Obviously, this only applies to signs whose bases were secured first without the face. Naturally, you have to add the sign faces—without them, the entire project would look like a failure.
Installing channel letters without a template
Now, you may be placing channel letters without the benefit of a template and its resulting pre-drilled holes. In that case, don’t forget to measure and ensure your letters are even as you install. The last thing you need is channel letters frolicking across the face of your building. Unless you’re a kid’s amusement center named Hopscotch, or something in that vein, you likely want your letters to be straight and evenly spaced.
If you’re not confident about your ability to secure the letters yourself, you can always call a sign professional. Often, companies that make signs are also license to install them for you!
How to install channel letters—a raceway
As you research how to install channel letters, you may have noticed that not all letters are installed directly on a building’s wall. Instead, some are first secured to a raceway. Then, the raceway is mounted to the wall. If using raceway, you may opt to mount the letters to it before you even get to the building where you’re installing the letters. Screw the backs of the channel letters to the raceway, then place the letter fronts on.
Helpful hint—don’t install letters upside down
Here’s a random helpful tip when installing dimensional letters (even if they’re not channel letters). Pay attention to the orientation of the “S” —if your word requires an “S,” that is. While the letter may look like it has no right side up or upside down at first glance, appearances can be deceiving. Even reputable groups make this mistake when placing dimensional letters. Still, the mistake can be noticeable to the discerning eye.
Signs for success
Once you know how to install channel letters, check out How To Customize LED Channel Letters & Make Your Business Shine! And take some time to dig into other types of signs you can harness for your business’ success. Head to A Comprehensive Guide To The Different Types Of Signage & Their Uses. Also, remember that signage can be a part of your overall brand-building strategy—so take a look at The Importance Of Brand Awareness To The Success Of Your Business
Education is continually changing and evolving. So has the educational environment.
Signs aren’t only for decoration. In the right hands, they can be valuable resources to enhance spaces such as classrooms and schools. They can be essential teaching tools besides helping people to navigate through the environment safely.
We’re going to dive straight into it. The article will look at everything you need to know to design efficient signs for schools and classrooms from looking at colors to interaction.
Guide to school and classroom design
Every sign needs to be unique. The principles that work for advertisements won’t necessarily apply to signage in a school. You need to design the products with its specific goals and final destination in mind.
What do you want from classroom and school signs?
- To convey information
- Double up as learning tools
- Make the space more attractive
- Boost creativity
- Customize areas
- To give directions
- Health and safety warnings
- Promote the school
- Encourage students
These points might differ from institution to institution, but at least some of them are probably relevant to yours. Even if you are running an alternative education institution or teaching your children at home, many of the following tips can help you too!
It’s important to remember that design isn’t limited to signage. You need to pay careful attention to the layout and aesthetic of the entire classroom and school too.
Researchers have shown in a report that the physical characteristics of classrooms can increase the learning progress of primary school pupils by as much as 16% in a single year. That can be pretty significant.
Different aspects like light, color, and use of space play a role here. It is all about how they combine to create an environment that is stimulating but not overly distracting.
You want to use signs that contribute to these positive effects.
Tool for learning
To start, we’ll talk about how teachers can use signs to help teach their pupils.
One of the significant innovations in modern education is that educators now recognize a variety of learning models. These are different types of instructions. They help to cater to the range of preferences and learning styles that students might have.
Not everyone learns the same way. You can do more than write on the blackboard and recite the work.
Signs can be a fantastic way to incorporate different teaching methods into the classroom. They can be especially powerful as visual tools. Some topics can be efficiently taught using posters and signs.
An example of this in a primary school can be to use a range of signs to help you teach younger children the alphabet.
An example of this in a high school and middle school would be a poster of the periodic table.
You can include graphics on both of these posters to illustrate the information. You can also create opportunities for them to refer to these signs when they are doing related work in a lesson.
Signage like this can give the students a breather from staring at the blackboard or their textbooks. You can use it as a change of pace and help them gain a different perspective on a topic.
Importance of graphics
Pictures are one of those topics that will always pop up when you are talking about signs. But it is even more significant when you are designing anything for children.
Many students are visual learners. Seeing a portrayal of life cycles in pictures will probably make it easier to understand and remember than just reading and hearing about it.
But it’s not only that. You want the signs to appeal to your pupils too. Graphics are much more interesting to look at than just words. It’s all about finding the balance between using just enough words to convey the message and using so many that they become tedious.
You need to take the age of the children into account. The younger the children, the higher the ratio of pictures to words should be. It is the same principle that authors use in youth books.
Many educators prefer to use cartoon-like graphics on their classroom signs. Goofy and fun drawings can help them to make it appealing to younger children. On the other hand, you want to use detailed and anatomically correct drawings for a high school biology class.
Of course, not all signs in a school or classroom are meant to be teaching tools. Some will be there to convey information, like directions and safety information, to parents and visitors as well as pupils. But even with these, graphics such as arrows are vital to helping you communicate the point with limited words.
One of the best ways to form connections in the brain is through interacting with it. Your students will remember the work much better if they can engage with it in a hands-on way.
Ask yourself how you can make their learning experience more interactive.
Your students will thank you for making lessons more fun and therefore more memorable.
It’s crucial to consider this when designing signage for schools and classrooms. There are many ways your students can interact with signs.
Here are just a few ways to incorporate these elements into the design:
- Leave spaces or gaps on the sign where students can “fill in” information
- Design signage where you can move around pieces to mix and match.
- Make boards that they can draw on.
- Create multiple posters that students can arrange in different orders.
You can use digital signs, magnetic signs, signs with interchangeable slots, or ones with blackboard or other materials that can be written on and erased.
Imagine the alphabet posters in our previous example. You can leave a blank space under each letter. There, students can draw a picture that matches it, or select a premade image to stick on that spot.
A pro tip is that just like adults, children feel more secure and comfortable if they feel like they have a degree of ownership in a place. So why not give them a controlled way to make their mark on the classroom?
Nowadays, people are becoming more and more aware of the benefits of holistic approaches to education. It’s not only about teaching kids subjects like mathematics and science. But also about helping them develop in other areas like social skills and self-care.
Unfortunately, schools can sometimes be daunting places. Exams, reports, and homework can be a stressful experience for pupils.
That’s why it can be crucial to encourage pupils too.
As part of this, it can be helpful to design a few motivational signs for your school and classrooms too. You can use banners to cheer on the school’s sports team. Or write well wishes for the exams on LED message centers.
It can be a good idea to distinguish these from educational signs by using other fonts, colors, and images.
Color and mood
We all know that kids love colorful things. And it is undoubtedly true that it can liven up a room. But what is the best way to use colors in your classroom and school signs?
Signs can be an excellent way for educators to bring a pop of color into the classrooms. Using bright shades can undoubtedly help to draw attention to the poster. So it is a good idea to use plenty of colors in the critical ones.
But you don’t want to cross the line where the colors are overstimulating. To avoid this, carefully select which signs can have more toned-down hues and which ones need to stand out.
Overall, younger children enjoy warmer and brighter colors more than older students. These can be orange, red and so on.
But as they begin to transition to middle school, you might want to stick with a cooler palette. At this age, students need to be able to concentrate more. Muted colors like blue and green can help promote this state of mind.
Don’t forget to show some school pride with your signage. It’s a great idea to try to incorporate your institution colors in most of your outdoor signs. These will typically be seen by parents and visitors. By using school colors and logos, you can help create a visual identity for the institution and distinguish it from others.
Many educators find it useful to put a sign showing off the school motto or anthem in their classrooms. Your colors should also accompany official school information such as this.
A unified scheme such as this can be a brilliant strategy to make your school look more professional.
Engagement vs. distraction
As you’ve probably noticed, there is a thin line that you tread in designing signage for classrooms and schools. It is the line between engagement and distraction.
The sign needs to be attractive enough to the audience so that it can serve its purpose. However, in this case, a large part of your audience consists of children who are in an educational institution to learn.
One of the teacher’s main goals is to help students focus on specific tasks.
You don’t want the signs to be so busy that the students sit staring at them.
It isn’t necessarily a problem with all the signs in a school like wayfinding signs, safety signs, and so on. You mostly need to be concerned with this in the case of signage in the classroom or in some cases, those visible from the class.
Here are a few tips for how you can stay on the right side of this line:
- Limit how much information you put on one sign. Try to keep it focused on one topic.
- You can unify your classroom and the signage by sticking to a theme. Themed content can be a brilliant tool in school to help make learning more appealing.
- Don’t use too many different colors. Instead, use palettes that combine well and match each other.
Different types of signs and examples:
For the most effective signage solution, you will probably need a variety of different products. Schools are such multifaceted environments. In the end, you will probably need indoor signs, as well as outdoor signs, each with their intended purpose.
Choosing the right product is a critical step in the design process. You need to make sure that it is suitable for the task at hand.
Let’s look at a few examples of signs that you can use and their designs.
One crucial purpose for signage at a school is to announce its presence to the world. You need a board for your school’s name. Monument signs are always a popular choice.
Sign companies can make them from many materials in a variety of shapes and appearances. Overall, they are very customizable.
Take a look at the sign we made for Best Academy School. It shows off the institution’s colors and even has a graphic for the school’s mascot. We really like the pole holding up the sign – it’s made to look like books! The board is an excellent example of displaying school pride and what distinguishes this school from others.
Vehicle graphics and wraps
Educational institutions have a range of different infrastructure and types of property. They will usually own different vehicles used to transport the students, teachers and so on.
These vehicles can be a fantastic way to represent your school out in the world. So why not invest in some vehicle graphics?
You can choose wraps or magnetic strips. Make sure your design represents a combination of fun and neat professionalism, like the example above.
Setting up for success
It takes careful consideration to design signs for classrooms and schools. You need to cater to the unique requirements of your audience and the environment. Using signs can help you improve your students’ learning experience and make school more engaging.
As we’ve said, you can use a variety of different products at your school. Take a look at the comprehensive guide to the different types of signage & their uses for more information on what’s right for you.