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How To Make Your Retail Signage Stand Out

Retail signage is a vital aspect to any business, big or small, as it’s often the first chance to capture that all-important, initial customer awareness and interest. In most cases this is only a small window of opportunity, so your sign needs to stand out. Signage plays a crucial role in the representation of your brand and is often key to helping your company get noticed, so first impressions are everything! If a potential customer walks by your premises and sees a tired, outdated sign, it’s probably not going to entice them to want to enter your store.

In today’s visual world, there is a vast array of different techniques, colours and graphics used to best communicate a brand’s message to its customers. By displaying a sleek, professional looking sign, visitors will not be in any doubt about the quality of your business and will be drawn into your shop. Here are Identity’s top five tips on how to use great signage to get your business noticed.

1. Contrast Your Colours

Colours are one of the main visual elements individuals remember most, and can directly impact how customers perceive your brand and increase the chances of converting them from an interest into a sale.

When choosing a background for your sign, don’t use anything that will make it difficult to focus on the main message. Using bold, striking colours doesn’t necessarily draw in customer attention, but alternating contrasting colours (such as black and yellow in the example above) will make it easier for your audience to understand who you are and what you’re all about.

2. Use Shapes To Convey Meaning

Whether intended or not, any type of design will be using shapes and will therefore have a subconscious impact on brand perception. Different shapes can convey different means and trigger different emotions – circles, for example, resonate more softly with the end consumer than triangles or squares. Sometimes a shape isn’t initially obvious – for example, a solid block of text naturally makes a rectangle. Be mindful about choosing a particular shape simply because of convenience – it might mean you are aligning your brand to an emotion or association you were unaware of.

3. Keep It Simple

With the average attention span continuing to shorten and the number of competitors increasing, it is essential that you keep your signage clear and precise. Too much detail can be as damaging as too little – it’s essential to keep the balance right, whilst also being sure to include all the necessary information.

As well as thinking about the content of your sign, you also need to think about the font used to display your text. While a scrolling, handwritten font may give the impression of a luxury feel, it is often difficult to read it at distance. Accordingly, it’s best to favour easy-to-read, sans serif typography over anything too intricate or complex.

With one important exception: never, ever choose Comic Sans.

4. Location, Location, Location

Your sign needs to be clear and visible from all angles to do its job. It should be high enough that it can be seen below from passers-by, but not too high that it’s invisible at window screen height for those driving past.

Consider the orientation of your signage, too. A vertical sign may very well capture attention more than one that was horizontal – and vice versa – so don’t always follow what you’ve done in the past. Instead, try different concepts and see what works best for you.

5. Size Matters

As obvious as it may sound, the larger the signage, and the larger the lettering, the easier it is to read. Clarity is everything, so do spend a lot of time thinking about the various ways in which your sign will be read, whether it be from a look in the distance, driving past in a car, or standing right up close.


Retail signage can have a massive impact on how people interpret and connect with your brand. Not only do first impressions count, but they often last, and by incorporating these simple yet effective tips into your signage, you are taking important steps to ensure that you stand out from the crowd.

Looking for expert advice? Identity are industry leaders in the design and build of retail signage - contact us today for a no-obligation quote to see how we can help your business.