Well-designed business signage serves a variety of important purposes, including displaying critical information, helping customers find you, and contributing to your branding. However, poorly designed signs can sabotage your well-intentioned efforts. Keep reading to find out what characteristics bad signs have in common and how you can avoid these problems.
Signs that are too "busy" - When a sign is too cluttered and full of information, people often won't take the time to read it all or to find out what the actual important details they need from the sign are. You only have three seconds to capture a person's attention and a cluttered business sign just looks like too much "work" to the average person. They will move on to the next business with clearer signage that is easier to understand.
To fix this, use a professional designer who is experienced in business signage. Remove all but the most important details - the business name, contact info, and how to get more info - ie. website, phone number, and social media profile. Another option to decrease sign clutter is to use a QR code on the sign that contains the information you want to give without cluttering up the sign.
Signs that do not have enough contrast - If a person that is driving by your business sign cannot read it easily, the sign is not helping your business. Combinations that do not give enough contrast between colors make business signs hard to read. For example, white signs with light blue, light pink, or yellow lettering are hard to read. Black signs with brown lettering also would be hard to read.
What can you do about this? Again you could work with a professional graphic designer who understands color theory and how to test the readability of a sign. If you are unsure about the color combinations you want to use, order a sample, or just one side (if budget allows), and test it. View it yourself in different settings and pass by it at different speeds to see if you can read it. Ask others to help you with testing the sign and find out their opinion.
Signs with outdated pictures - If you offer a service, you may have a picture of yourself on your business sign. If that picture is very outdated, customers can feel misled. It can also lead to confusion when you meet them in person. If you have an outdated location picture on your business sign, this will lead to difficulty finding your location for customers.
The fix is easy. Use updated pictures on your business signs.
Senior Manager, Digital Marketing & Partnerships at Sticker You.
Poor Design Choices to Avoid When Putting up Business Signs
Your business signage is a key factor when you own a brick and mortar business. It is what helps to create brand awareness, [and] aids your customers in finding you. Some signs of bad signage include it being too dark, illegible, pixilated, not installed properly, and, in general, too small.
When your sign is too dark, it can be tough for a person to read it. You want to use bright or light colors to help attract attention, as well as make it easier for people to [read] both day and night. A sign with lighting is ideal, as it can showcase your sign even when you’re not open which helps greatly with awareness.
When you have a font that is too small or lettering that is difficult to read, you have a bad sign. You need to be able to read the sign from a great distance so you can get passersby interested.
When your sign is too small, or not installed properly, it hinders the ability for the sign to be taken seriously. Always make sure to draft a sign before committing to the size and design so you can ensure it is accurate and well done.
If you end up with bad signage for any of these reasons it’s important to try and rectify them. Putting up a temporary sign until you get a replacement is helpful, so people can still recognize your business for the time being.
One way to identify bad business signage is by noting a lack of contrast in the business's sign. Contrast refers to the legibility of the text on the background color of a sign. The text should be easy to read and the contrast between the text and background should be high enough to ensure that the text is easily visible in distance and low-light conditions. Certain color combinations can be problematic, as well as certain fonts. To make sure it's accessible for all, it's recommended to stick to color combinations that work for people with all vision abilities.
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