Regardless of how much money you spend or which materials you opt to use, there are certain elements you should avoid when designing a business sign. Want to ensure your sign looks great and gets noticed by potential clients? Then take care to avoid these common pitfalls:
1. Blending In
Blending in is for spies and chameleons. Business signs, in contrast, need to stand out. Look at the background behind your sign and grab a colour wheel. The colour that will pop against your background is the colour opposite it on the colour wheel. For example, if a light blue sky is the backdrop of your sign, choose an orange sign. If green trees fill the background, choose red as the primary colour on your sign.
If you don't like the color opposite your background, choose one of the ones next to it. Instead of orange, choose red, yellow or a shade of one of those colours. If you have a background such as a brown brick building that is not on the colour wheel, do a bit of research to see what artists feel is the opposite colour. In the case of brown, a tertiary colour, the perceived opposite colour is violet blue.
Now that you've used colours to make your sign pop, you don't want your message to get lost in a sea of overly fussy fonts, excessive text, too many pictures or other complications. Instead, you want it simple.
For example, one of the most noticed signs in Sydney fits this bill. With just three simple words on a hand-lettered sign, one man snagged the attention of Sydney residents and rose to almost worldwide notoriety. Although his sign as not a business sign, his story shows what can be accomplished with a short and simple message.
When designing your sign, pare it down to its essence. Use just a few words, a simple logo and a minimum of contact info.
3. Commissioning Too Soon
The info on your sign should reflect your brand, and ideally, you don't want to design a sign and hang it before you develop your brand. Instead of commissioning your sign before you are conceptually ready, take some time to develop your brand and your logo.
Look at competitors or even multinational companies that are completely out of your league and follow their lead. What is unique about their brand? Can you bring that concept to your design? Can you improve it? Ask yourself these types of questions as you develop your sign.
4. Not Testing The Height
Once you have designed the perfect sign – one that will stand out, be readable and reflect your brand – you need to make sure it will actually be seen by people walking or driving by. The height at which your sign hangs is a key part of how visible it is to passersby.
Do not just pick a height and hang it there. Make sure you test the height before permanently hanging your sign. If possible, cut a piece of fabric or an old sheet into the approximate size of your sign, and write a few letters on there in approximately the size of your font. Temporarily hang the sheet where you plan to hang your new business sign and test it out visually. If your clients drive by, have someone drive by and see how the sign looks to them. If the sign is over a sidewalk, have people walk by to test its height. Do not use someone overly tall or short to do this, but pick someone who is around Australia's average height of between 161 and 175 centimeters.
If temporarily hanging a sheet is unrealistic, just have your test sign reader see where his or her eyes naturally go when they walk or drive by the area where you plan to hang your sign. Then, use that as a clue of how high to hang your sign.
13 April 2015
Hello, my name is Melissa. As a former branding consultant and designer, I know a lot about creating images and signs for companies. I also know that you cannot just read generic advice and get ahead. Someone in the natural healthcare field, for example, needs to use different colours, shapes and designs than someone in another field. If you want to know which colours, designs, styles and graphics relate most effectively to the natural health care field, you have come to the right place. I am going to include tips, advice, analysis, facts, colour guides and more on designing signs for natural companies. Welcome and enjoy!