Come In, We’re Awesome! : Tips for Designing Your Signage

by Kim Tonkovich

Come In, We're Awesome! : Tips for Designing Your Signage

As you know, there are countless types of business signs in many different shapes and sizes.  There are outdoor signs, indoor signs, posters, banners, table tents, LED signs, window graphics, directional signs.  You name it...there's a sign for it!

Choosing the right types of custom signs for you and your business can be a daunting task.  And once you do, what on earth should you put on it and how should you design it?  Ultimately, the purpose of your signage is to communicate some kind of message or invoke a particular response.

Here are some helpful tips to get you started on designing your signage :

What type of sign do you need?

Well, the type of sign needed depends heavily upon what it's for.  First, you should consider the intent.

Is the intent for your outdoor sign to drive in foot traffic?

Is the purpose of table-top signs in your restaurant to share daily specials or announce an upcoming event?

Is a framed posted on the wall of your establishment intended to communicate brand awareness or your company mission and values?

Are indoor banners intended to be directional, informational, or to help customers locate merchandise?

Is the purpose of your point-of-sale countertop signs to upsell your customers on another product?

You get the picture.

What should you put on it?

In an article by Omar Rahman of, "doing it right" starts with "defining your objective and knowing your audience."  What you put on your sign should be relevant, concise, and personalized.  Each sign should have only one clear message.  And whatever that message is, it should persuade consumers to take some kind of action.  Whether it's go here, call here, buy this, eat this, walk this way, or even here's something warm and fuzzy for you to think about us.

In a study conducted by Microsoft in 2015, the technology giant revealed that the attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds, however humans now lose concentration after 8 seconds...

What was I saying?  Oh yeah!  Keep it simple or you might lose me.

And don't be afraid to get creative!  Sometimes, directing people to not do something will prompt more action to actually do it.  MRI studies have indicated that when people are introduced to something that's interesting and makes them curious, they get a burst of dopamine.  Because the curiosity made them feel good from the dopamine, it creates a desire to follow through with the action to see what happens.  And if they don't do it, the body may produce cortisol, which causes feelings of anxiety.

In 2015, Reddit conducted "The Button" experiment.  The button had a timer that counted down from 60 seconds to zero.  Any time a user pushed the button, the clock reset and started over.  People couldn't resist pushing it to see what would happen, and it took a couple of months before the timer made it to zero.

So maybe even consider exploring something that directs customers to do the opposite of what you want them to do!  Maybe something like, "Don't smell this!" or "You might not want to go in there!"

How should you design it?

According to an article in Business Partner Magazine, "Customers make assumptions of a business according to the quality and attractiveness of their signs.  This assumption carries over to how customers perceive the quality of a brand's products or services...Similarly, poor or low-quality signage can deter customers from engaging with your business."  But sign quality isn't the only factor to be considered.  You need to think about SCIENCE!

There have been many studies conducted relative to the debate about how color influences attention and buying decisions in advertising.  A 2009 study by the University of British Columbia found that the background color red led people to have a more favorable review of an ad, while blue had the opposite effect.  Other studies have found that red creates a sense of urgency, as we naturally relate the color with emergencies.  So red is often used in sale signage.  Green has been found to create a sense of health and tranquility, so is often used for natural product signs and on signage in spaces intended to be relaxing.  Purple has historically been a color that represents royalty, so is often used to advertise high-end products.  It is said that blue infers reliability, which may be why the color is used for most social media icons and communications related content.

Psychological science has also explored eye tracking in marketing for decades.  Modern technology now allows marketers to collect data on where consumers look and when, which elements of marketing messages draw attention, and which are overlooked.  So the design and placement of the pieces of the message in your signs will also have an impact on whether or not it catches attention.

Breaking It Down

1.) Decide on the intent of your sign

2.) Define your target audience

3.) Choose your one specific message for your sign

4.) Determine the type of sign needed to best communicate your message

5.) Carefully consider your sign's quality, color, and creative design

Work with your Source3Media professional graphic designer to discuss these 5 very critical elements of your signage.  They can help guide you through your options so together you can create something eye-catching and effective.

Give us a call or send us an email to schedule a free consultation where we can help you explore your design and printing ideas.

(330) 467-9003

Source3Media provides creative services including brand development, graphic design, product photography, videography, computer generated imagery (CGI), website development, and more.
Source3Media also provides award-winning color matching and custom printing services of your signs, posters, banners, pocket folders, brochures, flyers, manuals, forms, catalogs, disposable menus, and more.

Do you have a project coming up? We’d love to help. Tell us more or request a quote today.

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  • "5 Reasons Why Signage is Important for Any Business"; by Zak Zakaria;; March 15, 2019
  • "You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish"; by Kevin McSpadden; Time; May 14, 2015
  • "Effect of Colors: Blue Boosts Creativity, While Red Enhances Attention to Detail"; University of British Columbia;; February 06, 2009
  • "How to Use the Psychology of Colors When Marketing"; by Dash Burst; Small Business Trends; June 19, 2014
  • "Eye Tracking in Market Research"; by Alex Pejak; B2B Marketing; March 05, 2015
  • "Why You Need to Think About Eye Tracking"; by Philip Mahler; Convince & Convert
  • "The Psychology of Good Signage and How to Make It Work for Your Business"; by Omar Rahman;; June 01, 2017
  • "Don't Touch the Red Button! - And Why We Always Do"; by Amelia Settembre;; January 30, 2020

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