The world would be much duller without colors. Excuse the pun. It is a vital part of the human visual field. Therefore it affects how we view and understand everything around us.
But did you know that every business owner must have an understanding of colors?
You can use them through your business as in your advertising to optimize the way you work. If you don’t use them purposefully, you could be missing out on critical ways you can impact your customers.
Read on for our ultimate guide for business owners on colors and their effects. You will find out more about the different ways you can use colors, especially in your company’s signage.
How to use colors in your business
There is almost no limit to the applications of colors in and around the workplace. Remember that it’s not only about making things more interesting. If you use it with care and attention, you can seriously make your business more effective in several dimensions.
A few of the critical places you can use color in your company are:
- Interior design and decor
In each of these places, the color palette can play multiple roles. Down below are the most important ways that you can use different shades.
A pop of color certainly catches the eye. You can’t help but notice it. That’s why it can be such a great way to draw attention to things you want to like your storefront.
Of course, bright shades work brilliantly for this. There is a reason why neon was and continues to be so popular on signs. Saturated colors can have a similar effect.
However, it’s not the only option. Unusual hues can also work. Or any color that stands out from its surroundings.
This next use is crucial in places where you are using more than one color. Or where there is lots of content, like on signs. In these cases, it can be easy for some of the information to get lost in a heap.
Because of this, it’s usually necessary to emphasize the most important parts. It might be your store’s name, a product or service on sale, a slogan, information about a promotion, or so on. You will need to figure out what the central part is of each sign or space.
Ways to use color to highlight are :
- The eye is more sensitive to specific colors. Examples of those that draw more attention are red, yellow, orange, and green.
- Use saturated shades for items that you want to stand out. On the other hand, use desaturated hues for the background. Doing this will help the different sections to stand out even more.
- Pick contrasting colors. For example, make the background of the sign black and the text white.
Visibility and readability
The way you choose and use colors can make content less or more visible. It counts for both text and images.
One way it can make items less clear is when you use colors that are too similar, for example, making a whole sign from different shades of green. You need to use different hues to break up the picture.
Besides this, you want to remember that some colors are more difficult to read, such as yellow. The principle is true for certain combinations as well like red and blue. On the other hand, some specifically darker colors, including black, are much easier to make out.
A pro tip is to follow the general rule of thumb to use light colors on dark backgrounds and vice versa.
Therefore you have to try to make sure that your use of colors enhances readability and visibility.
Every business owner needs to work carefully on their brand identity. Preferably you want to establish one before you even start your company. But it is something that also evolves and develops over time.
Brand recognition is something that you build over time. You want to use consistent imagery, themes, styles, logos, and slogans.
An absolutely critical element of your visual identity is the colors that you associate with your business. Overall, it will help make your business more recognizable and memorable for your customers. For example, red and Coke are often almost synonymous.
You need to decide on a color palette or scheme. It is best to stick with one to three primary colors. Pick carefully, because you will use this on almost everything to do with your business from advertisements to signs to the decor.
Like all other visual cues, colors can also convey information. Similar to symbols, they can be a quick and effective way to communicate with people.
This point is related to the one on your brand identity. But it is about more than that. One of the essential applications of color in this way is on safety and regulatory signage. Over time we learn to associate the specific shades with specific messages just like we do with traffic signs.
In terms of safety signs, the different colors are associated with the following meanings or purposes:
- Red- Prohibition/danger and alarm or fire fighting equipment
- Yellow- Warning
- Blue- Mandatory actions
- Green- Emergency escape, first aid or to signal that there is no danger
As a business owner, you need to be aware of this when you are creating safety or regulatory signs. But it can also inform your decision on other uses of color.
All in all, one of the top uses of colors is to inspire emotions in people. You can influence people to feel happy, sad, calm, or excited.
Remember that this doesn’t just count for your customers but for your staff too.
Therefore, it’s essential to use colors in this way on your advertising and in the workspace, office, and storefront as well.
The psychology of colors
If you want to successfully and effectively use color for your business, you need to know a little about color psychology. In short, this is the study of colors in relation to human behavior. So it looks at how colors can influence how we feel, how we think, and how we act.
For example, shades of red, orange, and yellow can make people feel hungry and make you think of food. Therefore, it can make you more likely to buy something to eat.
As we will discuss later on, specific colors can have particular effects on us.
But one vital principle that you have to understand is that they can convey more than one feeling or connotation. Think about green. In one sign, green can help you associate a brand with nature and the environment. But in another, you can use neon green to represent toxic slime.
This tells us that different hues or shades of the same color can have different effects like emerald green vs. neon green. Also, that meaning is created with a specific context, so more than one thing plays a role.
But how exactly does this happen? An important word here is “association.”
We do not attach meaning to color in a bubble. Humans seem to have certain inborn connections with certain shades like red. But the way they affect us is significantly influenced by our cultural environment and our past experiences.
Did you know, for example, that pink was once associated with boys and blue for girls?
However, this changed in the 1940s. In this postwar period, clothing stores and brands all over America began to focus on using pink in women’s clothes and vice versa. Over time, as we became more exposed to this combination, people began to take this for granted.
You need to keep this in mind whenever you choose colors to use for your business in signs. It is usually useful to do some research on the specific emotions and ideas your target audience might associate with different palettes.
The best colors to use in signage
For all the reasons above, some colors work better than others when it comes to your business. The principle is correct for your signage too. Some of them are more visible, some of the more attractive, and some of them evoke strong emotions.
So to help you make the right choices, here are the top colors for signs and how they are likely to affect viewers.
Without a doubt, black is a powerful color. Even on its own, it demands your attention. It is one of the more visible shades.
You can use it to create a sense of:
- Glamour and luxury
For all these reasons, black is often used by luxury or premium stores like boutiques. And because we associate it with authority and security, it also works well for companies like banks, security firms, and law offices.
On the other hand, blue is often seen as a soothing color. That’s why people use it so often to promote relaxation. Perhaps because of this, we perceive it as conveying a sense of stability as well.
All in all, blue conveys:
Blue is a popular choice for corporate business signage because it can boost productivity and is not invasive. Because it inspires trust, it is also widely used by healthcare organizations.
It’s rare to find a sign without any white in it at all. The color is extremely versatile and doesn’t really clash with any other. So it works well in most combinations. But you can also use it as the main color in your scheme. Just be aware that it can look too cold and sterile if it dominates the palette.
If you need to summarise its associations in one word, it would be purity. That’s why you can use white to suggest:
As you might guess, white can work well for any business for which sanitation is essential like healthcare organizations.
But it can also be handy for any brand that wants to appear modern.
Yellow is a whole other story. It is one of those colors that you can’t miss. In all its many shades, it usually makes us think of sunshine and summer days.
Thanks to this, the color is often associated with the following meanings:
With such a wide range of meanings, this color can work well for any business that wants to portray themselves as vibrant. You can use it to raise energy levels and help keep the atmosphere cheerful.
Green is a color that we almost immediately associate with the natural world. It reminds us of forests, meadows, and rolling landscapes.
This color has become a buzzword over the last two decades because of its associations with environmental protection.
A few of the critical associations with green are:
This is the color to go with if your business has anything to do with nature or the environment. But you should also consider it if you want to be associated with health, such as an organic grocery store.
Tips on using and choosing colors
- Use palettes, not individual shades: You don’t want to choose individual shades at random. Instead, you want to select a range of colors for each piece that blends well. This will help make the whole image more appealing. On top of this, using hues with similar effects can amplify the impact that the sign makes.
- Keep it simple: Don’t go overboard with using different colors. In the end, your image will look garish and possibly tacky. Instead, select up to three primary colors.
- Shades of one color: Using only two or three colors doesn’t limit you. In some ways, it opens up new possibilities. Palettes that use different hues of one primary color are usually far more effective. For example, you can use cool-gray, blue-gray, slate gray, and even platinum.
- Prevent fading: One potential downside of using colors on signs is that they can fade over time. Unfortunately, this can significantly detract from its appearance. But there are solutions to this. A pro tip is to ask for UV ink which is more resistant to water and fading.
Color me excited
As you can see, colors are an essential resource for business owners. They impact the people around your business in subconscious ways that are sometimes more powerful than words. There are endless ways you can cleverly use different shades of color throughout your company and particularly in your signage.
Safety should be at the top of any business’s list of priorities. But no more so than for restaurants. Any company that is in the food preparation services has quite a challenge ahead of them.
Installing safety signs are one of the measures they need to take to minimize the risk of harm for both their customers and their staff. These businesses need to follow guidelines set out by the relevant health and safety authorities.
If you own a restaurant, read below for our guide to complying with the requirements for safety signs.
Regulations for safety signs
Unfortunately, there is a lot that can potentially go wrong in a restaurant. Significantly, you need to follow specific regulations to maintain hygiene standards for food preparation. Therefore, you need safety signs to advise your staff on how to handle food correctly.
Posters are a fantastic way to help you enforce necessary rules and guidelines.
Generally, restaurants also own and use equipment that can be harmful. So you need to warn your customers and staff. In some cases, you need to put up signs with instructions on how to operate it correctly.
But not only that. Restaurants that do not comply will get into trouble with local authorities. They might issue your business with fines. Or even suspend your license and close the establishment.
Besides this, you need to protect your company from liability. Regrettably, people get hurt all the time, and it might even happen on your premises. Installing the right signs can help you to protect your business from legal action.
Note that there might be slightly different requirements depending on the specific state and location. For example, a useful resource for businesses in Michigan is the Michigan Food Safety website.
Remember to regularly check the relevant websites and publications to see if the guidelines have changed so that you can stay up to date.
Types of safety signs
For your convenience, we have divided the different types of safety signage into five categories. Each of them covers a range of signs related to specific hazards in your restaurant. They include most of the vital posters that you need.
But remember that every business and location is unique. So the requirements might be slightly different in each case.
1 – Hygiene signs
The first group we need to talk about are hygiene signs. Everyone needs reminders sometimes. These posters are necessary to help avoid unhygienic practices in aspects like food prep, food cooking, food washing, and food storage. It plays a critical role in establishing and maintaining a strict hygiene policy.
Besides this, it is an essential part of making your company compliant.
You will need to install the majority of signs in the kitchen as well as other applicable locations. All in all, restaurants need to place them wherever a hazard can be avoided adequately or reduced in another way.
You need to install signs to notify staff to wash their hands. They are necessary at every sink that your food employees use.
There are a variety of signs you can install to help keep your preparation areas hygienic. The posters include ones for:
- Chopping board and knives
- Defrosted food not refrozen
- Raw meat only
- All food must be covered
- Waste in bins provided
- Fish only
- Leave basin clean
- Hairnet reminders
Besides these signs, you also need to mark the sinks for specific uses. This is useful to maintain sanitary conditions and to prevent cross-contamination.
The main sinks are:
- Those for food wash
- Sink for utensil wash
- Those for hand-washing
Any restaurant owner knows how critical it is to store food safely. There are regulations to control the temperature at which you store the food. Plus it is mandatory to mark the date on which it was prepared. Signs can be a great way to to help enforce these guidelines.
2 – Chemical safety storage signs
Most businesses will have a variety of chemicals on location. These include substances that you can use in cleaning, operation of machinery, and even for first aid. More likely than not, some of these materials might be hazardous, meaning people need to take care when they use or store it.
That’s why you need to install signs to warn both your customers and employees. On top of this, they can provide information and instructions for safe use. And you can inform them of measures they can take if anything goes wrong like spills.
Businesses have to restrict and control access to potentially hazardous substances on your premises. At a restaurant, this will mostly involve cleaning materials.
Depending on the types of chemicals, you might need to install signs advising people to use protective clothing. It can include items like gloves or eye protection.
Cleaning in progress
Another safety sign that you need is one to notify people that “cleaning is in progress.” This can help you to restrict access to protect people from slipping or falling and from contact with chemicals.
Wash hands after
In some cases, people need to wash their hands immediately after using certain chemicals. To help prevent injury, you can benefit from installing a reminder to wash their hands after use.
As a restaurant owner, you need to make sure to install signs with symbols to warn people of flammable materials.
3 – Dangerous equipment
Another type of safety sign that you should consider are ones for potentially dangerous equipment. Once again, you have to provide warnings, as well as signs that give instructions and information for correct use.
These signs can help keep people safe. In the end, it is necessary to make your business compliant and to protect it from liability.
Signs with operating instructions are a common way that businesses help ensure operator safety. Sometimes these might even be mandated by regulating authorities. In a restaurant, for example, this might be necessary for cooking equipment like gas stoves.
Once again, you might need signs to advise the use of protective clothing like safety glasses.
4 – General safety signs
Besides all of the above, you need to commission signage for general health and safety rules. These are used for a wide variety of purposes, and you will need to place them throughout your restaurant.
Overall, the posters are there to help you create a safer environment by providing warnings and notifying people of safeguards.
Any establishment that sells alcohol needs to have a “no underage drinking sign.” If your restaurant has a bar area, this is the best place to install it.
You could also include a sign with a warning for pregnant women about drinking alcohol.
Some establishments might have a general age restriction like nightclubs. But these can also be very useful to restrict access to specific areas of your restaurant like the bar.
A few of the most important signs that you need to install in any business are exit signs. You need to clearly mark the doorway as well as the route to it. This is necessary for general emergency exits and fire exits.
Since 2010, smoking is prohibited in most public places in Michigan. These places include restaurants. Preferably you should install more than one depending on the size of your business like placing one outside and one inside.
According to the law, a food service establishment that sells solid food for on-premises consumption needs signs to help prevent asphyxiation.
It needs to have a diagram to explain anti-choking techniques that are safe for both adults and children. These need to be approved by the health department for dislodging foreign obstacles caught in a choking victim’s throat.
All businesses need to have signage to notify people of the location of your safety equipment. We recommend that you give some operating instructions too.
- First aid symbols
- Fire extinguisher
- Fire hose
Unfortunately, one of the biggest dangers of any food establishment is potential allergies. It is usual to warn your customers of common allergens in the food on the menu.
But you need to inform your staff too. On top of training, an allergy information sheet like this can be extremely useful. One of the best places to install this is usually the kitchen.
5 – Site based safety signs
The last category involves signage that is based on the specific requirements of your site. These posters contribute to the overall experience of clients and employees in your restaurant.
Therefore, they are important for risk management. But it can also help make the way your business functions more efficient.
Preventing slipping, tripping, bumping and falling
Any business has to try to prevent injuries on their premises. You need to install these warnings at any potential hazard. For example, use posters to warn people to mind their head, mind their step, or to be careful of slipping as in areas where the floor is wet.
Any business needs to create and install disclaimers to protect the company from liability. Overall, it can be helpful to tailor them to your restaurant to make sure it accounts for all possible risks. That’s why you might want to consult your lawyer on its content.
Another vital type of sign for a restaurant is “staff only” signs. These have more than one purpose.
First, they help you to keep some areas away from your customer’s eyes. Second, they can help you to keep people safe by preventing access to areas with dangerous equipment or materials.
Do you have CCTV surveillance on your premises?
If you do, remember to put up signs to notify people of this. You have to hang some of these on the outside as well as inside your restaurant.
Other important posters
Not everything you are required to display will necessarily come in the form of conventional signs. In the case of licensing, you might have to hang the actual certificate or license that was printed by the specific authority.
However, because they are such a crucial part of keeping and showing that your business is compliant, we will cover the basics.
In short, here are some of the vital certificates and licenses that should be on display somewhere in your restaurant:
- Sidewalk cafe license
- Certificate of occupancy
- Foodservice establishment permit
- Sales tax certificate of authority
- Place of assembly certificate of operation and permit and maximum occupancy
- Liquor license
- Permits for equipment use
Creating the signs
Now that you know what signs you need, you need to find out more about the fabrication process.
As with all signage, one of your first steps should be to reach out to sign companies. Luckily, because these signs are so common, you might be able to buy some ready-made. Of course, you may need some of your signs to be custom made.
One benefit of a professional company is that they will be able to give you solid advice on the types of signs you will need. It’s likely they’ve had experience in creating these products for other restaurants.
Overall, a sign company can make the process much easier and help you stay on top of things.
One area that they will be able to assist you in is making sure that the design and build of the signage are also compliant. This involves the following:
- Signs have to be clear and legible.
- In terms of content, every sign needs to identify prohibited actions, safeguards, warn of hazards, or direct towards safety measures such as fire exits or equipment for fire safety or first aid.
- All signage needs to have round or blunted corners.
- Different signs need different backgrounds. Red is for prohibition, yellow for caution, green for positive action, and blue for mandatory action.
- The shapes also differ, like discs for prohibitions and instructions, triangles for warnings, and squares and rectangles for emergency and information signs.
A complete package
No doubt signs are one of the crucial tools in any business owner’s toolbox. Part of their significance lies in their versatility and flexibility. As we’ve said, safety signs play a critical role in making any company, including a restaurant a safer and more effective space.
But this isn’t the only essential use of signage. Besides this, one of the most significant uses of these products is in advertising. You can use them for both on-site and off-site promotions.
If you are looking to update your promotional signs take a look at these tips & tricks to designing eye-catching business signs.
Some signs and symbols are so common we simply take them for granted. For instance, the iconic red and white stop sign is everywhere—and we’re quite used to it. But have you ever thought about the fact that some signs may appear in one area while not in others? Similarly, some areas could have a higher concentration of one type of sign than other areas. Today, we thought it would be fun to explore some fascinating sign info you may never have considered!
Head south for stops and billboards
Florida is more than just a popular vacation spot. It’s also notable for having a lot of two types of signage, comparatively. But it does have to share some of the distinction with a non-contiguous US state. Read on for details.
What state has the most stop signs?
Since stop signs are so common and recognizable, let’s begin here. My Parking Sign and its affiliates used their sales data to come to some fascinating conclusions about stop signs. Their conclusion? “Hawaii has more stop signs per mile than any other state…” Next up was Florida, with Delaware coming in third.
Think your own area has too many stop signs? Well, maybe you should take some inspiration from the city of Paris—which has none.
What state has the most billboards?
We all know these popular outdoor message boards. They spangle America’s highways. Sometimes, they’re advertising luscious sandwiches available at a restaurant off an upcoming exit. Other times, they’re promising a drink to slake a traveler’s thirst. Still, other billboards promote community events like a 5K race or a play at a local theater.
These signs are a great way to reach consumers whether they live in your community or are simply passing through. So, which state has the most billboards?
According to BMedia, “Florida leads the pack with a whopping 11,109 active permits on file for billboards throughout the entire state.” Who knows? Maybe the rampant outdoor advertising has something to do with the fact that Florida is a popular tourist destination. Not to mention a common target for snowbirds.
Hit the curves in one New England State
Can you have too much of a good thing? Connecticut just might.
What location has so many curve signs that it sparked protest?
Curve signs can be useful, without a doubt. They alert drivers that they’re about to engage in some serious steering wheel cranking & braking action. And anyone who’s ever swung too far into the other lane because a curve caught them by surprise can imagine the accidents that curve signs are designed to prevent.
Still, if there’s such a thing as too many curve road signs, several Connecticut communities have that problem. At least according to certain residents. The News Times reported that “Officials in Sherman, New Milford and Ridgefield are now trying to remove some of [the signs], saying the number is excessive, especially in the bucolic areas. In New Milford, there were 339 signs installed on 14 roads and Ridgefield now has 86 signs on two roads.”
Even the mayor of New Milford had concerns. Speaking about a specific road, the News Times quoted him as saying, “‘Definitely, a few signs are needed on it, but there’s 52,’ he said. ‘To me it’s the number of the signs impacting the roadway. Residents want it scenic too.’”
Major midwest city needs cautionary cold weather signs
If you think about ice and snow as a problem for states like Alaska or Maine, think again. Don’t forget to count Midwest cities in as potential problem areas.
What major US city places “Caution, falling ice” warning signs in their downtown?
While there may be other major cities with the exact same problem, one city’s warning signs made the news earlier this year. It seems Chicago has placed these signs for quite a few years—since an ice-related tragedy. Check out the full story at the Chicago Tribune.
Don’t forget the non-contiguous US. Here’s an Alaska-specific sign.
Let’s face it, there are plenty of hazards you could confront while driving in many different areas of the US. But some dangers are a bit more location-specific than others. So, it would stand to reason that some signs might be unique.
And in Alaska, there’s one sign that the Anchorage Press called “the most unique of Alaskan signs, the rectangular one depicting a cow and calf crossing the road and a changing tally of how many moose have been killed by cars in that area so far that year.”
Alaska should surely get bonus points for that creativity. But it’s not exactly a sign idea they can share with the world. After all, we don’t think they’ll have much success convincing Florida or Texas that they too need a moose tally sign.
Zeroing in on Michigan
It wouldn’t be right to leave without taking a quick look at our home state. You don’t need us to tell you what Michigan winters are like, but you might be wondering how many ice warning signs for bridges our chilly state has.
Looks like you’re not the only one talking about this. Ice warning signs for bridges in Michigan became the subject of a discussion on Ask MetaFilter last year.
Here’s what one poster had to say, “Well, I was all set to do some napkin math, but while gathering the necessary facts I stumbled on this MDOT page that claims Michigan has “10,754 roadway bridges”. It isn’t entirely clear what counts as a bridge (are overpasses bridges?), but an estimate of 20,000 signs seems reasonable on this basis.”
While it’s certainly not an official statistic, it does prove that there are other curious minds out there wondering about Michigan road sign statistics.
More fun sign information
If you’re looking for more fun sign topics, check out our Is It Okay To Use An Emoji In Marketing? Can I Have One In My Logo? Plus, have fun looking at 3 Of The Most Creative Signs & Banners In And Around Detroit.
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.
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.