A Guide to Business Signage Best Practice

We buy with our eyes. That’s what makes signage so powerful. A well designed and placed sign can directly drive customers to your store. Some 76 percent of shoppers visit a store they’ve never been to because of signs, according to FedEx.

However, getting your message across in a visually appealing way is more challenging than some would think. Good signage is more than just bold designs and bright lights. Attention is premium currency, and consumers are willing to pay less every year: the average human attention span has shortened from 12 to just 8 seconds today, according to a study by Microsoft.

To get customers to listen to your visual pitch, you need to plan your signage around basic design principles and thoughtful placement. Here’s a quick guide to help your signage make a lasting impression.


Make sure viewers can read at a glance

Saying that people should be able to read your sign is stating the obvious. However, the measure of legibility and visibility varies depending on where you place your sign. For instance, you wouldn’t want text-heavy signage hanging by a freeway, as the majority of your viewers will be motorists who can’t spare more than a passing glance. You get a little more room for text with signages on bus stops and malls, where people can read at their leisure.

Make sure text contrasts well against the background. If your display colours are pale, highlight the text with shadows and thicker outlines to make them pop. The size of your lettering is directly correlated to your sign’s reach. Letters around 8 centimetres can be visible up to 30 feet away, with the legibility typically doubling with size.


Know how your target audience moves

Intuitively placed signage in stores can significantly affect how people shop, whether in upsells made or lengthening the time they stay inside your store. But displaying signs around the customer experience is a pain point may retailers still struggle with.

Plot your customer’s journey inside your store, and identify points where product information will help greatly. Today’s shoppers are self-reliant, and would rather search for the solution on their own rather than flag down an attendant. Displays placed strategically around the store can give customers the support they need for a friction-less shopping experience.

For outdoor signage, always factor height early into your plans. A sign for motorists getting off motorways will have different mounting and angling considerations than signs above your storefront.

Plan colours around your message

Business owners don’t have to know the intricacies of colour theory to create a visually appealing sign. Yet choosing the colour of your signage is more than just aesthetic. Used correctly, colours can evoke emotion and connect customers to your brand.

Below is a quick colour guide to help you add more depth to your signage:

  • Red: Commands attention, evokes strong emotions and urgency
  • Orange: Warm and energetic. Less aggressive than red, but still excites and invigorates
  • Yellow: A happy hue that can stimulate the appetite
  • Green: Associated with nature, freshness, and healing
  • Blue: Calming and graceful, this colour can suppress hunger
  • Black, Grey, and White: Typically used as placeholders in design, but can also be used to set certain moods. Black and grey can give your signage a modern edge, while white makes designs look streamlined

You can also experiment with cold shades. These are richer hues like navy or periwinkle that can convey luxury, or lightheartedness. If you want to convey opulence, look into cold dark colours like royal purple, while a wellness or spa centre may want cold light colours like turquoise.

Consider your software and hardware

Digital signage can be a powerful tool. Digital displays capture 400 percent more views than their static counterparts, and are more readily recalled. However, this format typically involves additional technical nuts and bolts for businesses to consider.

If you’re leaning towards digital signage, here are a few basic tips to remember:

  • Pick a media player that can read different media formats
  • Consider getting displays built with internal storage, so your sign stays up even when your internet connection gets disrupted
  • Choose a display that can handle continuous playback without screen burn or breaking
  • Ensure that your chosen display can show your content faithfully in high definition


Look into local regulations

Getting approval from city planners is crucial, especially since the language and standard rules around signs can be vague. What your designers see as compliant may run afoul by the local council. For instance, South Lakeland’s District Council ordered the takedown of a hotel’s lit signs, which they deemed “too overpowering” for the building’s facade. Familiarise yourself with regulations during the planning phase to save your signage from hefty fines and takedowns.

In a world with increasingly selective and fickle shoppers, signage can be your most efficient salesmen. To hit your advertising goals, ensure all components of your design, software, and hardware are crafted around delivering value to customers.


Guest post courtesy of Joe Cox

Mercy - CBNation

This is a post from a CBNation writer. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue 16 Media.

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