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.
Regulatory signs are all around us. But if you don’t happen to know them by that name, you could be in the dark about what they are. (Unless, perhaps, you’re a teen studying for your driver’s test). Yet once you know what they are—you’ll realize that you encounter them regularly.
Take a moment to reflect on the most recent time you drove. Perhaps this morning or maybe yesterday. Did you stop at a stop sign or check for oncoming traffic at a yield? Did you note whether you needed to slow down for a school zone because you were within the school hours time slot? Did a no smoking sign catch your eye as you went about daily business in your town or city?
Regulatory signs – what they are
True to their name, regulatory signs regulate behavior. They tell you what you can and can’t do. Broadly, they give you these instructions for driving and for being in some public areas. For instance, when driving, one iconic octagonal regulatory sign alerts you to STOP at intersections. Another regulatory sign warns that if you park in a certain area, your vehicle may be towed—the “Tow Away Zone” plaque.
Regulatory signs – why they exist
You could say that living in a civilized society entails having a group of people bound by the same rules. And that’s actually part of the function of regulatory signs. If a hundred drivers need to use a given intersection in a 10-minute period, it’s not going to work unless some kind of order is imposed. Structure and rules aren’t just structures that bind us and make us miserable. They’re the bedrock of a functioning society.
Once you have some do’s and don’t to impose order on that intersection, all 100 drivers can indeed get through and move on to their destination. And that’s where regulatory signs come in—they communicate the rules that regulate that intersection. When drivers see them, they take appropriate action. Consequently, a large volume of individual vehicles and drivers can travel our highways and byways effectively.
Regulatory signs – who comes up with them
Obviously, with a name like “regulatory sign,” it stands to reason that these signs have some sort of authoritative value. They’re not mere recommendations. And when you have a sign whose message must be followed, it makes sense that there’s authority behind that sign. Here, we can trace it back to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
All good rules need to be written down somewhere (well, many of them anyway). And the rules for regulatory signs are no different. They find their home in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways. (It’s also known as the MUTCD—we’ll call it that from here on out, for simplicity’s sake).
And as we help you sift through the relevant regulatory sign information, that’s our guidebook. Let’s take a look at the exciting rules it offers.
Regulatory signs – why you need them
Of course, we scratched the surface of the “Why?” question a moment ago with our intersection example. Regulatory signs exist in part to make ours a livable and convenient civilized society. But there is another reason. And it’s the equivalent of the “Big Boss” saying “because I said so.”
Here it is—straight from the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.
Now, there are places where these rules do not govern. And there may be exceptions granted, too. However, both of those are outside the scope of today’s article. So, while we won’t be dealing with places these rules don’t apply, just know that they exist.
Two reasons you need regulatory signs
So you see there are really two reasons you need regulatory signs. First, because the government says so. Second, because they help a large number of people function together well in shared spaces. You could call the first one the hard reason and the second one the soft reason if you like. Nevertheless, they’re two very good reasons.
Shape of regulatory signs
According to Chapter 2B of the MUTCD, “Regulatory signs shall be rectangular unless specifically designated otherwise.” However, as we well know, not all signs are rectangular—like the octagonal stop sign or triangular yield sign. For specific dimensions of a given sign, scroll down to “Regulatory sign specifications.” There, you’ll discover where to find measurements for your signs.
Color of regulatory signs
The MUTCD even identifies the colors that are acceptable for use on regulatory signs. They list 13 and link most of them to certain meanings. However, two colors (coral and light blue) don’t yet have meanings assigned.
Here are the colors for regulatory signs as, lifted from the MUTCD:
Appearance of regulatory signs
In addition to the color legend above, the MUTCD also offers guidance for the reflective appearance of signs. Generally speaking, they need to be “retroreflective or illuminated” according to Section 2B.01. You can learn more about what that requirement means in the section Retroreflectivity and Illumination.
Regulatory sign specifications
The MUTCD provides an extensive list of regulatory signs. They list a given sign’s alphanumeric designation. And they add the dimensions the sign should be depending on where it will be placed. They also provide a link to the relevant section of the MUTCD that provides a deeper description of the sign’s specification. (Which saves you from having to scroll through the entire document to find the sign you’re wondering about).
If you need instructions for a particular sign, this is definitely the place to start. Take a look at it—it’s Table 2B-1. Regulatory Sign and Plaque Sizes. If you know the name of the sign type you’re looking for, you can scan the left column until you find it. And if you don’t know what the sign type is called, simply search through the column until you find something that sounds like it may be what you need. Then, you can dig deeper to see if it will indeed fit the bill.
12 Regulatory signs you may recognize
Let’s take a look at some regulatory signs you might be familiar with. And if you need to construct one, we’ll also send you in the direction of more information. As you read on, note just how ubiquitous signs are in our neighborhoods and all over the U.S.
Do not pass signs
Often, passing is a way to keep traffic moving along quickly and smoothly. However, passing isn’t always safe. Nor is it always allowed. Enter Do Not Pass signs.
- See it: Take a look at what signs restricting passing can look like. And you’ll also get a glimpse of signs that direct motorists to stay left or stay right & more.
Fines signs & plaques
You’ve seen them before—the signs that warn you that you can be fined for exceeding the speed limit in an area.
- See it: Need a visual for these signs? Check out what signs & plaques alerting you to fines can look like.
No hitchhiking signs
Sometimes, pedestrians are allowed to request rides from passing motorists. However, this isn’t allowed everywhere. Which explains why no hitchhiking signs might be needed.
- See it: Take a look at these images to understand what no hitchhiking signs look like. (And check out the other pedestrian signs while you’re at it).
No parking signs
Turns out there are a whole host of ways to use signs to prohibit or limit parking. And it makes sense because a parked vehicle could present a semi-permanent obstacle when parked in an inconvenient location. Those who are blocked by the improperly parked vehicle have limited options. For instance, they may be forced to wait until the owner returns or until the vehicle can be towed.
- See it: Get a feel for what signs that limit or exclude parking could look like. (And view more signs limiting parking here, too).
No turn on red signs
As a driver, you know how helpful the freedom to do a right turn on red can be. It could get you to your destination a little faster as it can eliminate the time spent waiting for a green light. However, turning on red isn’t always allowed. Which means sometimes we need signs prohibiting turns to make that clear.
- See it: Actually, there are quite a lot of signs that restrict turning. Get an idea of what no turning signs can look like.
Road closed sign
A road closed sign is a disappointing sign to encounter unexpectedly. Yet, it’s vital if it’s keeping drivers away from an unsafe stretch of road.
- See it: Take a look at road closed signs.
Roundabouts are an effective way to handle a convergence of roads. Instead of having to stop (as at a stop sign) motorists have to yield the right of way if other cars are already in the roundabout.
- See it: Here’s what roundabout signs can look like.
Selective exclusion signs
Here are some big words for a pretty simple concept. Basically, selective exclusion signs tell certain vehicles, “You can’t drive here.” Generally, we think of public roads as being for everyone. And they are, for the most part. However, sometimes authorities do have to restrict access.
For instance, some roads are off-limits to pedestrians, equestrians, bicyclists, and/or roller skaters. Plus, some roads aren’t open to commercial vehicles. Ironically, some roads or paths are not for motor vehicles.
- See it: Get an idea of what selective exclusion signs can look like.
Speed limit sign
We see speed limit signs regularly while driving. Even so, they’re easy to miss, leaving drivers wondering just how fast they’re supposed to be going.
- See it: Take a closer look at what speed limit signs look like.
Stop or yield for pedestrian signs
Signs noting how drivers must act toward pedestrians can have different terminology. Either way, they have important work to do reminding drivers to give pedestrians the right of way. (And to leave a safe amount of space when doing so).
- See it: Take a closer look at pedestrian signs with this figure.
Stop sign & yield sign
Both stop and yield signs can have supplemental signs mounted underneath. For instance, that could look like a stop sign with a sign below that says “Except right turns.”
- See it: Check out this figure if you need to visualize the signage we’re talking about.
Weight limit signs
Now here are some useful signs that help vehicles stay within safe weight parameters. While it could be frustrating to discover that your vehicle exceeds the safe weight for using a certain roadway or structure, the alternative is worse. Using a road for which your vehicle is too heavy could have dangerous repercussions.
- See it: Get an idea of what weight limit signs can look like.
Our very own “caution sign”
When it comes to purchasing and placing regulatory signs, take care to understand and follow applicable guidelines. Do your own due diligence. If the job is yours, take responsibility to determine what signs you’re required to have and where.
Procure and place signs
Once you know what regulatory signs you need, you’ll need to find a source for procuring them. If you’re looking for a local source, check with a good sign company in your area to see if they do regulatory signs. Or perhaps you’ve discovered that regulatory signs are not what you’re actually looking for. Wondering what type of sign you do need? Check out A Glossary of Sign Definitions & the Distinctive Features of Each.
As a business owner, you certainly want to make decisions in the best interest of your company. But sometimes, when you’re presented with a lot of options, making decisions could seem overwhelming.
And business signage is one area where there are plenty of options to choose from.
Since we don’t want all the options to be overwhelming and mind-boggling, today we’ll offer some basic sign definitions to help clear things up.
Interestingly, some signs could actually fit into more than one of these sign definitions at once. So, keep in mind as you read through that these aren’t necessarily hard fast lines or rules. To help you understand the purpose of each sign a little better, we’ve also included fictitious examples of how businesses and organizations might utilize them.
ADA signs / engraving
ADA signs are designed to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. And they may have visuals, writing, and/or Braille engraving. They could mark handicapped parking or wheelchair accessible entrances. And they could include high-visibility ADA compliant directional way-finding signs & braille room plaques.
Example: Sushi Spot, a newly-opened restaurant, needs a sign to highlight that there is a wheelchair accessible entrance to their building.
A flat yet flexible sign that is printed with a message to be hung on a surface like an interior or exterior wall (or a fence). Often made of vinyl. Can include words & graphics. May be made of mesh to allow air passage.
Example: Southside Karate Studio hopes to enroll the maximum number of students in their summer Karate4Kids class. So, they decide to print a banner for their building’s exterior. With stunning graphics, they promote their 6-week class, including its great pricing and sign-up date.
Customizable letters that are most commonly used on the exterior of a building outside a storefront, strip mall, public buildings & offices. Often channel letters are front lit, meaning the illumination comes from the front of the letter through the sign face. But they can also be backlit (halo) with the light coming from behind.
Example: Berryville Meat Market stays open late because a lot of their customers work from 9 AM to 5 PM. Since they’re open for business even after the sun goes down, they know they need signage that’s going to be visible in the dark. Thus, they’re selecting front lit, red letters that complement their gray logo and their red front entrance.
3D letters used indoors or outdoors as signage. See also channel letters.
Example: Dinotto manufactures artisan Greek yogurt. They ship worldwide from their 50,000 square-foot facility. Until now, they’ve had a bland sign at the end of the facility’s driveway. Now, they want halo-lit metallic dimensional letters on their building’s facade (which faces the highway).
Donor recognition walls
Walls that show appreciation for those who have contributed to an organization’s success. May list names of individual donors or even companies. Also, may be constructed with different materials like metal, plastic, and wood.
Example: A local community college almost closed its doors for good last year. However, individuals and businesses in the community rallied around it. And thanks to their generous support, the college raised all the money it needed. College administrators and board members want to set up a donor wall with separate tiles grouped according to how much individuals or entities contributed.
Designs and messages constructed on a floor (including floors of carpet, ceramic tile, or concrete). At Signarama, we construct them using heavy-duty floor laminate. Possible applications: tradeshows, grocery store aisles, gym floors, in-store retail promotions, hotel lobbies, casino carpeting, school hallways, sports arena steps, concrete warehouse floors, & sidewalks.
Example: Fast Forward Fitness has constructed a gigantic complex with something for everyone in the community. They’re trying to combat their area’s lax attitude toward health & wellness. Thus, they created a 3-mile sidewalk that loops around and through their complex. And they used floor graphics to create colorful and motivating sidewalks with games exercisers can play as they walk.
Interior light boxes
3D signs with illumination on the inside and a message or logo on the exterior surface. May be rectangular, square, or circle.
Example: Elegance Salon incorporated their logo into an interior light box. Then, they placed it on their sign-in desk alongside a dish of free candies in salon-branded wrappers.
LED message centers
An electronic display that can be changed as desired. Not only can you personalize the words, but you may also be able to change how it’s displayed. For instance, the sign may display a message statically. Or it may present one message after another (slideshow). On the other hand, it may display words in succession (rolling messages).
Example: The Mount Terrence Volunteer Fire Department wants a way to communicate better with the community. They selected an LED message center so they can change their message according to their own and community needs. For their first week, it will announce: “We need firefighters—sign up today!” Then, next week, they’ll wish the very best to their local Little League team.
Signs placed in a building’s lobby or other interior areas. May display the company or organization’s name by placing it prominently on a wall. And may be constructed using plastic, metal, or foam dimensional letters.
Example: Taylor, Tarrantino, Payne, & Willis, Attorneys at Law have experienced 30% revenue growth year after year since their inception 15 years ago. As a result, they’re ready for an office upgrade. And they secured one of the first available suites in a brand new high rise building. They have a lot of freedom to design the new area. So, they’re choosing to use cursive bronze-finish letters spelling out the company’s name on the main lobby wall.
Meeting & event signs
Signs designed and constructed for a particular occasion. Thus, this could include many different types of signs. For instance, it could take any of the following forms: pop-up displays, directional signs for meeting spaces, bulletin board signs, crowd control/directional signs, easel foamcore or coroplast signs, full color banners, temporary wall graphics, custom dye sublimated table covers / throws, photo standups, feather flag banners, fundraising thermometer signs, floor graphics, outdoor directories, & custom scoreboards.
Example: The Fight Alzheimer’s Coalition of Thompson (FACT) is holding an informational & inspirational meeting for their own city and others nearby. Since their theme is Hang in & Help Out, they know they’ll need these words alongside graphics and other information. Consequently, they’re looking for printed yard signs, at least 5 full-color banners (to place around the area), and a pop-up display for their sign-in table.
Example: Charlotte’s Candy Treats has both a storefront and food truck. And that means that the company needs menu boards for both setups. So, for the food truck, they want a custom designed A-frame that they can easily put up at the beginning of the day. It won’t list all their options so they’ll have some painted signs on the truck itself. Then, they’ll need a sign (or several) on the wall behind the counter at their storefront. Plus, they want an A-frame sidewalk sign so when their signature cotton candy truffles are available, they can alert patrons.
Signs placed on or near the ground in an organization or company’s yard. These signs may be near the road or at the end of a driveway announcing the presence of a business, church, office park, or apartment complex. And they may be made of stone, brick, or wood (or at least appear to be). Actually, we recently dug into monument signs.
Example: Tarwood Pediatric Dentistry just opened in a leased office space. There is no existing signage at the road. But, of course, the business does want to be seen. So, they’re electing to use a monument sign constructed of a panel resting on and between gray, stacked stone.
Signs made of illuminated tubing. Sometimes, these are displayed in windows (think of the classic “Open” sign) or on walls. Also, they may be multicolored, a single color, or they may be a simple yellow or white light.
Example: A children’s bookstore wants to go beyond the classic illuminated “Open” sign in their front window. Instead, they’re having a neon sign constructed for them. It will be a brightly-colored outline of a child reading a book with the word “open” beneath. Whenever the store is open, the sign will be illuminated.
Point of purchase displays
Marketing materials and signs used to enhance products for sale in a retail environment. Generally located in the checkout area or other location where the purchase decision is made, these displays are meant to help increase unplanned purchases. Could include kiosks, end cap displays, checkout countersigns, and ceiling hanging signs.
Example: A roadside convenience store is trying to sell more locally-made products. Since there’s a small chocolate company in a nearby town, they’re beginning a partnership with them. Thus, they want a customized point of purchase display that gets the candy right by the checkout. That way, passing motorists who stop for a snack or a soda can’t help but see it.
Pole or pylon signs
Tall signs that may be supported by a pole or poles.
Example: A new shopping center is home to three apparel and accessories stores. Plus, there’s also a bookstore, four restaurants, and a petstore. A pylon sign at the edge of the parking lot ensures that drivers on nearby roads will be able to see what’s available in the center.
Post & panel signs
A message-containing surface placed between two posts. Often, they’re meant to be short term (as in real estate signs or construction & development sites). However, they can be manufactured out of durable materials to provide a long-lasting solution as well.
Safety signs & decals
Signs to improve or demonstrate the safety level of your facility. This could include caution signs, biohazard Signs, chemical hazard and identification signs, ANSI signs, danger signs, and more.
Example: Tracta Labs uses chemicals to manufacture consumer products like perfumes. But they have to make sure that chemicals that could be hazardous are stored properly and appropriately. Certainly, they want their entire environment to be safe. So, they need a sign company that can manufacture chemical hazard & identification signs for them.
Tradeshow displays & exhibits
Short-term or portable signage for use at business events. May include a pop-up display with a full back wall.
Example: GenTen Technologies relies on tradeshows and conventions to reach future clients and connect with current ones. And they’re highly-skilled (experts, actually) at what they do. Thus, they want their signage to reflect the quality of service they provide. That’s why not just any convention setup will do. Instead, they opt for a full back wall with their logo.
Signs that extend over the surface of a car, van, trailer, or food truck.
Example: Unplugged is a 24-hour plumbing service that promises to get your water and sewer problems fixed in a day. With five vehicles on their fleet, they’ve decided it’s time for some uniformity. So, they’re getting vehicle wraps for each one.
Wall murals & wraps
Signs designed to to be applied to wall surfaces. Can spread the message and artwork over the space of an entire wall or more with custom designed wallpaper vinyl.
Example: The Ruckville Public Library has recieved a grant to renovate their children’s area. So, they’re planning a full-wall mural depicting heroes from American history.
Signs alerting viewers which way to go to reach their destination. May appear outside a large complex of buildings or inside a multitenant building.
Example: The Wharton Memorial Hospital is a sprawling complex. Many times, patients express frustration at not being able to find the right building and office in time for their appointment. Thus, the hospital has designated a portion of next year’s budget to purchase wayfinding signs for seven key locations on the campus.
Example: Jack & Jill’s Gelateria sells delicious gelato. While they already have a sign above their entrance, they would like their hours posted on their plate glass window. Instead of using a paper or electronic sign, they choose window graphics with the appearance of etched glass. However, they’re grateful they can have the etched look for a very reasonable price tag.
Signs designed to be inserted in the ground. Usually, they’re made of a corrugated plastic called coroplast. And they’re often placed on metal prongs which can be stuck in the dirt of a lawn or other location.
Example: John Brandt isn’t very happy with what his city council members have been doing (or rather not doing). In fact, his neighbors are also disappointed. One of them suggests John run for a seat himself, and the others agree. So, John decides to do just that. Naturally, one of his strategies for reaching voters in the area is to plant yard signs all over the district.
Beyond sign definitions
Of course, there’s plenty of other relevant sign terminology we passed over in this article. So head over to Sign Terminology: Negative Space, Optimal Distance, Typography & More if you still have questions. And once you select what kind of sign you want, you can begin planning your sign content. Start with Tips And Tricks To Creating The Most Effective Signs For Marketing. Then, take a look at The Importance Of Good Signage & The Psychology Behind How It Works.
With June already upon us, we know summer is certain to follow quickly. But before we mark the official start of the warm and sunny season, we pass another notable date.
In the United States, June 14th is National Flag Day. So we thought it would be appropriate to reflect on flags—items that may be inanimate but certainly, aren’t silent.
Flags for war
Travel back along the timeline of flag history and we find an early use for flags that makes sense—war. Upon reflection, we can see why flags would have been involved in early conflict. Flags are uniquely suited to be seen. If we envision the chaos of fighting, we understand how a flag could be useful and necessary. It could enable certain locations or people to be seen by others working with them.
Flags for water
The ocean provided another use for flags, and we stop here next on our history timeline. Imagine you were sailing the high seas without the benefit of modern technology. Obviously, the expanse of foaming waves would present a hurdle for communicating with the crew and passengers of other ships.
And yelling across the waves to establish one’s identity would certainly be off the table. However, flags offer non-verbal communication assistance. They require no spoken words to provide a message that others can then receive. Sometimes, viewers received a distinctively unpleasant message (as in the case of the ghastly skull and crossbones flag). Yet they did indeed receive a message.
Digging deeper from our bird’s eye view of flags, let’s talk a little about our own flag. Yes, the Old Glory immortalized in Francis Scott Key’s famous song—the song that is our national anthem.
The United States of America’s own flag
In popular American history, the first American flag was sewn by Betsy Ross. However, it seems this may not be definite historical “fact” after all. Actually, we may never know for certain whose workmanship produced this initial American icon.
Perhaps the first flag didn’t come from the fingertips of Betsy Ross. Instead, maybe it was some other accomplished seamstress in the newly united colonies. But whoever it was, America owes them a debt of gratitude.
Of course, what we do know about that first flag is that it was comprised of red, white, and blue. Certainly, this is one element of our flag that has remained constant. However, more white stars had to be added to the blue field as more states were added to the union.
Flags to mark territory & more
Now, fast forward to more recent American history and think about the symbolism involved in certain iconic placings of American flags. For one, there’s the flag raising on Mount Suribachi. Then, there are the American flags that have taken up residence on the moon. Additionally, American flags on Earth have reached as far as the South Pole.
American flags flown by private citizens around the country often function as symbols of patriotic feeling. Thus, perhaps we could say they serve as fabric statements of support. In addition, the way in which a flag is hung also sends a message. Flying a flag upside down is a distress signal. And, flown at half-mast, the American flag signals collective mourning.
By the standards of general flag history, the United State’s Flag Day is a relatively new celebration. Observing June 14th as Flag Day was instituted in 1949, so it’s a young holiday. For instance, compare it to our Independence Day celebration. Arguably, we’ve been celebrating that momentous occasion for years numbering in the hundreds.
Interestingly, flags are not limited to their official capacities as standards of nations or military units. In fact, if you look around, you’ll see flags all over that may not be official symbols but still speak about the preferences and alliances of their owners. For instance, perhaps your neighbor flies a flag for their favorite sports team. Or a local company may raise a flag with the company logo to catch the breeze. Plus, some homeowners like to celebrate the transition from one season to the next with seasonal flags.
Flags & businesses
While businesses often choose to fly their nation’s flag outside their buildings, they’re not the only business-related flags. In fact, when you’re looking to send a message tailored to your business, feather flags could be the answer. Plus, of course, businesses have plenty of signage options other than flags. And you can check out our guide to sign types to get a feel for some of them. Before you start designing yours, check out our 6 Elements You Must Include On Your Sign | Tips On Layout & Design.