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.
Marketing wouldn’t be what it is today without psychology. Psychologists played a crucial role in developing methods and theories about advertising that are still being used.
With the help of their work, ads have become much better at making an impact. This has been extremely useful in designing and making signs a success.
No matter what your objectives are, you can apply psychological principles to make sure you get your message across.
In this article, we are going to discuss the importance of good signage in any business or business venture. We are also going to cover the psychological principles you can use to make your signs even better.
The importance of good signage
Signs can be used for a variety of purposes. There are endless possibilities. But in essence, it all boils down to communicating a message, whatever that message might be.
Remember that effective signs are signs that can change people’s behavior.
To get to grips with the purpose of signs in your business, here is a breakdown of the most common types of signage:
- Persuasive: These are the typical advertisements. They are all about persuading and convincing people to become your customers. You want them to buy from you or hire your services etc.
- Information: One key role of signage is to convey essential info. Do you want to tell people about your trading hours? Or when your business was established? These products are your solution.
- Directional: You need some way to guide potential customers to and through your company. This is where these signs come in. You can use them to point out significant spots in the store or business complex.
- Safety and warning: It’s a legal requirement that companies and public areas have safety signs that warn people about potential hazards. OSHA has set out standards about when which warnings are necessary. They are often bright and even reflective to increase their visibility.
It’s hard to imagine a business without any signs at all. They are such essential components of the day to day running of a venture. Not to mention their critical role in advertising.
Choose your objective
So enough about how fantastic signs are.
You can’t make a sign if you don’t have a clear goal. It might sound obvious to some, but this should be the first step that you take.
Ask yourself what behavior you want to change in people?
Here are some helpful questions that you can ask yourself:
- Do you want them to buy a specific product or hire a particular service?
- Are you trying to attract people to your storefront?
- Do you want to increase your exposure?
- Are there critical messages that you need to convey?
- Are you planning on improving your reputation?
You might have answered yes to more than one of these questions. And that’s fine. You can have subgoals. However, there needs to be one overarching aim on which the signage is focused. Otherwise, you risk confusing and overwhelming the audience.
The importance of good signage can be seen in their ability to help you achieve all of these goals.
Once you have established your objective, you can use psychological principles to determine what the best way would be to use signs to achieve this.
A vital contribution that psychology has made to the field is in assisting advertisers in identifying their target market. This is the particular group at which the specific sign or advertisement is aimed.
These are the people that you want to reach and communicate this.
So, one of the first steps in designing signage is to figure out who they are. To do this, you should try your hand at audience profiling. You need to assess the general demographics of this audience.
The following are some of the vital statistics that you need to consider:
Basic data is essential to creating a more detailed profile of your customers that can also be called the buyer’s persona. Beyond this, you should consider what their interests are and what appeals to them. Most importantly, you need to find out what their needs are and how you can play a part in fulfilling them.
Psychological research methods like surveys can be invaluable for gleaning this information about your existing customers. If you want to expand your customer base, you can work out their audience profile first.
You need to use these details throughout the design process. It will play a role in every aspect including the type of sign that you choose to the graphics that you will use.
Nowadays, there are a bunch of specific tried and tested strategies that business uses throughout their marketing campaigns. They are typically based on consumer psychology. These are also applied in their signs.
Here are three of the most popular tactics that you can use in your signage
1- Emotional appeal
Advertisements which can elicit feelings from their audience are much more impactful. That is why experts try to use signs and other ads to market products based on the emotional value that it can have in their lives.
For example, can the product make them happy? Could it make people exhausted?
Your sign can through words or graphics portray how it could possibly change their experiences.
According to a recent study, there are four basic emotions: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted. There are more nuanced feelings that fall underneath each category. These groupings can be a great place to start.
Take a look at these examples of ads that use emotions to their advantage.
Businesses often want to use marketing materials to compete with their top competitors. But this cannot necessarily be directly addressed in their signs.
One way to do this though is to highlight what makes your brand different. Your signage can be a fantastic platform to show off these features. This could include new products, services, or elements of your customer experience
3- Addressing problems and doubts
A fundamental principle of marketing psychology is that there are several possible reasons why consumers might be reluctant to buy your products or services. Businesses need to be aware of this to develop solutions to these issues.
Try to think of possible hindrances, like cost. One way to address this is to use the wording or graphics on your signs to dispel these doubts.
It’s vital to remember that without careful design, signs are close to useless. Some people make the critical mistake of assuming that this is just about making their sign pretty. But this is not true.
One demonstration of this is the Stroop Effect. In this experiment, participants are shown the names of colors in the corresponding color. They are then asked to name the shade. Testers record how long this takes. The test is repeated, but the color doesn’t match the word.
Participants took much longer to complete the second test as the inconsistencies cause conflict in your mind. This is a fundamental way to show how important it is that the design matches the message.
In advertising, it’s vital for the audience to understand the message clearly and as quickly as possible. Every aspect of the sign needs to work together to tell your story.
Signage now dominates so much of our environment. The competition is fierce. Therefore you might need the help of professionals to make sure yours stands out.
Contemporary design principles are based mainly on psychological theories. Throughout this article, we will cover specific guidelines.
All about vision
You can almost say that as humans we are typically visual creatures. Sight is undoubtedly one of the senses that we rely on the most.
To state just one statistic as proof the addition of images can increase the view rate of content by an incredible 94%.
Graphics don’t only generate interest. Our brains tend to process visual information much faster. A single well-designed image could potentially convey much more info and much more quickly than a line of text would.
Another benefit of graphics is that they are in a sense universal. There are some images which can be understood by people across the world. That is why warnings often only employ symbols.
So depending on the purpose of your signage, visuals could be indispensable.
Informational, safety and directional signs will probably work better with functional images which portray an action or a bit of info.
You will probably get better results if you use suggestive graphics in persuasive boards. These are ones which can elicit strong feelings or associations.
In advertising try to use any visuals on your signs to help appeal to your audience and persuade them. For example, let’s say you want to convince customers that your product could make them happier. Use graphics that convey this, like people who are smiling or laughing.
You can’t talk about visuals without discussing color. There are hundreds of statistics that you can cite to demonstrate how vital this feature is. Though two primary ones are that the use of color can boost both sales and readership by up to 80%.
Therefore, this is a brilliant tool when creating signs of any kind. The following are a few guidelines to keep in mind when deciding on which colors to use:
- You don’t necessarily want it to clash, but the signs should contrast against the surroundings. This is necessary to make it stand out and get it noticed.
- Don’t use a single color or shade of color. This will just look monotonous and make it tricky to read and understand.
- The color of text should contrast against that of the background.
- The scheme should match or in some way reflect that of your companies branding.
- Various colors can have different effects on your emotional and mental state. For example, black can symbolize authority, elegance, seduction, and mystery.
One key point to remember is that there are usually rules and regulations which determine the colors of safety and warning signs.
Choose words wisely
Although visuals are essential, you shouldn’t forget about the text. It can be critical in conveying the central message of the signs. This is also a way to portray other necessary details like the contact details of the business and so on.
If you only remember one thing about the psychology of text in signage, it is to keep it simple. Don’t use too many words and be selective about the words that you do use. Overall, the message needs to be precise.
A pro tip is to focus on emotionally powerful words. They will make the sign more impactful and more memorable.
We have a bigger chance of noticing anything new or different in our environment. Psychologists have found that we are subject to habituation. This means that we stop noticing things that we see often.
This is one reason behind the success of new signs. Because of this, you might want to consider changing all your signage every few months or so. It will help you to keep the attention of your audience.
When you are in the design process, you should try to think of features that can make your sign unique and unusual.
Talk about new, technology has opened exciting avenues in the marketing and general signage industry. Traditional forms of advertising are static and are creating the impression of being broadcasted to the audience.
While these are brilliant platforms and still play a crucial role, it can be a great idea to give the new platforms a try.
Many of these products allow customers to interact with the signs such as ones that are adapted for touch screens. This can give your audience a measure of control over them which can increase the impact that they have in the end.
It would be a huge mistake to underestimate the importance of good signage. From pointing out directions to attracting new customers, they are often a central part of helping a business to reach success.
Use the above psychological principles to your advantage to make your signage more powerful.
As you can see, signs are all about their design. This is as true for all thetypes. So it’s essential that you get this right. At Signarama we offer professional design services to help you make the best of the product.
Do you have a graduation or a birthday in the near future and want the world to know where to celebrate?! Coroplast signs for graduation parties may be just what you need to point your guests in the right direction.
Coroplast signs are the perfect fit for events such as these because the possibilities are endless. Signarama has been specializing in coroplast signs for a decade. They have developed new technology that has cut the production time in half while creating a more polished look. Coroplast signs are not intended for long-term use however, if stored properly, they can be used more than once.
The standard size for a coroplast sign is 18 x 24 but Signarama has the ability to produce any custom size or shape you can dream of! You can purchase a single coroplast sign or different quantities such as 25, 50, 100 or even 1000 in a single order. If a larger quantity is purchased, each sign can be unique and different at no extra charge instead of ordering different sets of the same design. Signarama has access to every color possible as well as a highly advanced design team that will bring your imagination to life!
The team at MichiganSignShops.com is excited to contribute to your memorable day. Please call (248) 585-6880 to request a quote and further discuss your event.
As leaders in the sign industry, our team at Signarama Troy prides itself on keeping up to date with new products and services. We continually educate ourselves through trade publications such as magazines, supplier newsletters and books. Through this method of keeping informed, we are able to pass valuable information along to our clients. A vendor recently notified us that the United States Department of Energy issued new rules regulating the efficiency of fluorescent lamp ballasts.
“As many of you know, in November of 2011 the United States Department of Energy (DOE) issued new rules regulating the efficiency of fluorescent lamp ballasts. These rules will take effect later this year on November 14, 2014.
As a result, many, if not all magnetic sign ballasts will no longer be manufactured after this date (although they will continue to be available for purchase until manufacturer and distributor inventories are depleted). Some manufacturers have already introduced solid-state electronic units which replace the old magnetic units, and since their appearance on the market some 5 years ago, have proven to be reliable and are very easy to wire.”
As a sign manufacturer, we utilize these types of bulbs in signs such as illuminated boxes. We have made a commitment, moving forward, to purchase the new electronic ballasts which are specifically designed to wire like a magnetic unit. These work especially well when used to replace old magnetic ballasts in existing signs. We are available, as a service to our clients, to replace the fluorescent lamp ballasts with the new options or replace existing bulbs with LED’s.
For more information on the DOE you may visit: http://www.energy.gov/
Source: Jim Redmer, Director/Sales-Marketing, Wensco