Imagine walking down the main street in your hometown or city. What images, buildings, and signs come to mind? Do some businesses stick out amongst all the cafés, retail stores, theaters, and warehouses? Chances are, all of the companies that stand out have at least one thing in common, outdoor signage.
Outdoor signage is vital to the success of brick-and-mortar businesses. These durable and noticeable graphics bring attention to your location, help your brand become recognizable, and increase customer traffic. Outdoor graphics come in many shapes, sizes, and formats, from billboards to building wraps to 3-dimensional props. Let’s unpack the pros and cons that each kind of outdoor sign has to offer. Then you can decide which is the best fit for your business.
Billboards are some of the most common outdoor signs. Because of their obvious intention to advertise and an often obtrusive presence on the landscape, billboards receive a lot of flack. Regardless, billboards are certainly one of the best ways to promote your brand through outdoor signage.
Large and noticeable
Readable from a distance
Tends towards creative formatting (rather than just a name and logo)
Doesn’t show the business location
Hard to stand out (one of many)
These are generally 3-dimensional signs held high above the ground with a pole. Think of the golden arches of McDonald’s ‘M’ or Applebee’s red apple. Pylon signs are great for businesses that rely on drawing customers to their physical location, like fast food restaurants and amusement parks. These dimensional signs are versatile and require little maintenance, making them a good fit for almost any brick-and-mortar business.
Tall and visible
Three dimensional (viewable from all angles)
Draws attention to the location of a business
Limited advertising potential
Less effective for small businesses
Both billboards and pylon signs take up valuable space. On the other hand, building wraps are as big as billboards but utilize the walls of your building rather than requiring billboard lease costs or the expenses of building a pylon sign. Often made out of large-scale printed vinyl, building wraps are a great way to showcase the best of your business and make the outside appearance of your business match the quality of what’s inside.
Large and visible from a distance
Creative format (can include photos and text)
Effective use of space
Limited by building architecture
Requires regular cleaning
Channel Letter Signs
Another form of dimensional signage comes in the form of channel letters. If you’ve never heard the term channel letters before, no problem. You’re in the right place to learn. Channel letters are large 3-dimensional letters that can be placed on the floor or attached to the side of a building. Skyscrapers often use channel lettering on the top floor to display the company name. Hotels, like the Hilton, often employ channel lettering on their highrises. Many companies choose to light up channel lettering to increase exposure outside daylight hours.
Helps a brand claim its building and location
Readable from a distance
Hard to communicate much more than the company name
Challenging to replace (in the case of rebranding or a building change)
Blade signs are ideal for hole-in-the-wall businesses or retail stores in a mall. They protrude from an entryway or the side of a building and often display the business name and logo. Blade signs can be made by custom vinyl printing or in more unique ways, such as a carved wooden plank or a digital graphic display. Blade signs are most commonly used in high pedestrian traffic areas, such as tight downtown streets or malls.
Good for pedestrian traffic
Easy to install
Hard to read from a distance
Can often be blocked by other signs
Banners come in all shapes and sizes. Large buildings can use banners to make the outside of a building more attractive. Banners are also highly effective for smaller setups such as cafes, ice cream shops, and bookstores, and retail stores. Large-scale printing companies make banners by printing onto durable vinyl sheets. Well-made vinyl banners can easily last over five years.
Easy to replace
Cost-effective for smaller businesses
Can be damaged in storms
Require some type of frame or mounting system
Acquiring Outdoor Signage:
Now that you know a few outdoor signage options available to your business, the next question is how to obtain your chosen assortment of signs. The team at Craftsmen Industries is capable of planning, designing, and printing all kinds of outdoor signs, from dimensional signage and lettering to large format vinyl banners. Specializing in vinyl printing and signage, Craftsmen prides itself on delivering top-in-the-industry graphics and signage and making the ordering and installing process as straightforward as possible.