outdoor business sign

For a company with a physical location, outdoor business signs are one of the most visible faces of your business. Done well, it can also be one of the best, and cost-effective, forms of advertising available.

There are myriad kinds of outdoor business signs. These are defined by various combinations of:

  • Materials (e.g. wood, metal, plastic, glass, etc.)
  • Location (rooftop, side of building, awning, stand alone, etc.)
  • Type (memorial, post-mounted, A-frame, etc.)

Throw in all the possible combinations of color, graphic design and lighting options and you’ll find a truly mind-boggling range of choices.

Things to Consider First

Before even talking to any sign company, think about some of the constraints you’ll have to work with.

The city, neighborhood, or office park where your business is located may have regulations regarding signage. These could include size, height, or other design considerations.

Will your sign be meant to attract pedestrians or people in cars? Although some signs can be effective for both, it’s more common that a sign is optimized for one or the other. Are there obstructions that may potentially block views of your sign?

Consider also the weather. From which direction do the prevailing winds tend to blow? Will this effect your proposed new sign? What about sunrise and sunset; might glare make your sign less visible?

Will it need to be seen at night? If so, should it have a light shining on it or be backlit from within? Perhaps the sign itself will even be its own light source. Will it use neon, LED, halogen, or some other kind of light?

Do you already have a design or logo that the sign must conform to?

Now it’s Time to Go Sign Shopping

After you’ve at least fully considered all these options, you’ll be ready to start talking with sign makers. When they start asking questions, you can make the most efficient use of your time because you will have already considered most of your basic choices.

The professional helping you may present options you never thought of. They may be able to help get you an exemption from some regulation.

It’s okay to change parts of your plan as you uncover new information. The key is to know what your options are in the first place.

The sign shop will likely have access to designers if you need help with what your sign should look like. If you already have professional design files, make sure the sign shop you opt to work with can accept files in the format you have available.

Advanced Considerations

In the US and many other countries, there are regulations requiring businesses to be handicap-friendly. Depending on the size and location of your sign, such rules may or may not affect you. A local sign maker should be well-versed in such things and help guide you.

How much information will be on your sign? There is no absolute right or wrong answer. Just remember that a driver on a highway going past at 65 mph cannot read more than 6-10 words. On the other hand, a pedestrian walking by on the sidewalk may be able to read more.

On the other hand, a sign meant to be seen from the highway may be high up in the air and use huge letters. Whereas one for local street traffic may be low to the ground with only medium-large letters. One mounted to your entrance door might have small letters.

If you plan to have multiple signs but want them all to conform to the same design and brand styling, consider that in advance so that all can be designed together. Even if they’re not all created and installed at the same time, having the designs drawn up and coordinated will save money and headaches later on.

Avoid letting your sign be too busy, chaotic, or low contrast. Regardless of placement, you want something that will have impact.

Most businesses would benefit from including 1-2 words to identify what industry they are in. These should be simple words like “restaurant”, “bike shop”, or “boutique”. Anything that will be immediately recognizable to viewers not already familiar with your business.

Mistakes to Avoid

Wherever you place your new sign, make sure it will be visible to the very people you’re trying to attract. For someone already coming to your establishment, a sign letting them know when they’ve arrived will likely be in a different location than one meant to lure in casual passers-by.

Not only must the various design elements on your sign have enough contrast to get noticed, but the sign itself should have enough contrast to stand out from the surroundings where it will be installed.

If you follow these guidelines, you should end up with a terrific sign that you’ll feel proud to have representing your business.

Even better, if your business is in or around Sparks, NV, stop by Grafics Unlimited at 1002 C Street or call us at (775) 331-1100. We’ll help you get a sign you’ll love!


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