07 - 01 - 15

How To Create Engaging Signs

One of the most frustrating things when driving around Sussex is the lack of signage, their lack of personality and the confusing message they often convey to customers.

Signage should be front and centre when you are creating a display. You don’t want a customer looking at a confusing graphic where they have to figure out what you are trying to sell them or which direction they should be travelling. Good signage tells your customers why they are looking at your products or services or which direction to go.

A great sign has to capture the customer’s interest enough to read it; just like a great email subject line gets someone to click it, a great headline in a newspaper gets someone to read it or a great magazine cover makes someone buy it.

Here are eight tips to create compelling signage:

Less is more; keep it short and to the point

We used to think it was tough to come up with an update for Twitter that was under 140 characters or to create a YouTube video that was under two minutes. Attention spans continue to shorten – your customers are in a hurry - you must respect that.

People are shortening text messages down to a couple of words, sometimes a couple of letters, or a single emoticon. As a society we are all getting used to short, succinct messages. Edit your copy ruthlessly until your message remains but the fluff is gone!

Don’t be afraid to leave some space

Leaving space around the edges and not filling the space completely with your text will add impact. Put a minimum of information with contact information (such as a phone number or web address). Be concise but make sure all necessary information is included.

Make sure fonts are easy to read

Some retailers can get away with a hand-written chalkboard, but getting away with and driving sales are two different things. Clear font characters – without fuss and multiple colours – allow a customer’s attention to first gravitate to your message and then to your product.

Make sure you have chosen a font size that is appropriate for the distance it will be viewed - consider where it will be located and what obstacles may be in the way. Visibility is the most important part of your signage.

If customers can’t quickly read it instantly, they’ll move on.

Choose the most appropriate colours for your background and text

When choosing a background for your customer, don't use anything that will make it difficult to focus on the main message.

There are many colours combinations that have similar contrasts and as a result do not work well together, for example blue and green. Alternating colours, such as blue and yellow, produce the best combinations since they have a good strong contrast. Black contrasts well with any light colour and white works well with colours having a dark value.

Highest visibility colour combinations to use on your sign according to the Outdoor Advertising Association are as follows:


Be clear on the customers’ reasons for buying your product or service

What is the customer buying this for? To make things easy in the kitchen? To look good for a date? To have easy-to-manage hair? Then tell them… “Cooking made easy!” “Make heads turn!” “Manage curly hair with this”.

Use the words you or yours

Customers buy when they start visualising themselves using your products. One way to help them is to incorporate the words like you or yours. Notice how much stronger the above signs become with the addition of you or your… “Your cooking made easy!” “You’ll make heads turn!” “Manage your curly hair with this.”

Test your sign

It is fun to have a new sign on the top of a window display that you feel is perfect … until you notice that it is too faint to be seen through your tinted window, or the font is too small to be seen by cars going 25 MPH. If you are on a busy street, have a friend drive past and tell you what your sign is about. If they can’t get it – edit, edit, edit.

Keep fun

Boring signs are, well, boring. Remember that your aim is to grab someone’s attention. Double entendre, puns and jokes are great ways to show you are a fun business. Yes, some people will say you’re not funny, but the bulk of your customers will appreciate it. They might even take a picture and post it on Facebook!

Creating memorable, functional signs that sell your product or service is truly one of the most fun aspects of sales!