What's Your Sign Style?

previewSigns—every storefront needs one, and most businesses have them, even factories and industrial plants. What should your business’s sign look like? The answer is dependent on your personal style as well as your business’s marketing message.

Let’s look at a few pointers.


If you operate a retail store, you should have a relatively large sign strategically placed along a major road so that passing motorists can make the decision to visit your business long before they must turn off the road into your parking lot. But if you operate a plant producing industrial chemicals, you don’t want to draw as much attention. A smaller sign would be in order, one that is visible for delivery personnel, but not so large that some might mistake your firm for a theme park.


Legibility is the name of the game when it comes to fonts. If no one can read your sign, no one can tell what your business does. For this reason, a relatively uncluttered traditional font is the best choice for most businesses. Even if your company uses a fancier font in its logo, its name should be displayed in an easier-to-read font for the purposes of the sign.


If your images are not connected to your marketing message or they are noticeably larger than the words on your sign, they can become an unwanted distraction. Unless you operate a photo or art gallery, you want the pictures to complement the words as a decoration rather than draw all the attention themselves. Typically, two-color pictures that more closely resemble clip art yet still provide a general idea of your marketing message, are a better choice than full color images.


To tie closely in with pictures, the colors of your sign can also be a distraction by making your words difficult to read. Dark letters on light colors and light letters on dark colors provide the clearest visual. Lime green text on a yellow background, for instance, likely won’t be seen unless the yellow is relatively dark, or the words are exceptionally large.

Other Considerations

However, you may be wondering about specific business types and how they use sign sizes, word fonts, images, and colors to communicate their message effectively. While we have touched on these briefly, let’s go a bit deeper into the business-specific side of the story. While there is no hard and fast rule, the typical rule of thumb is the larger the business, the larger the sign. Grocery stores, shopping malls, theme parks, and large anchor stores typically have very large signs with large letters in simple colors and simple fonts. Vendors at outdoor bazaars and markets typically have very small signs with artsy lettering in a wide array of colors and often with images depicted along with the text.

Restaurants and cafés typically have medium sized signs with more artistic lettering than a major store but less than a bazaar vendor. These eateries also typically have food-related images depicted on their signs. And the list continues.

To decide on the best style of sign for your business, look up similar operations and analyze their signs. Perhaps, you can learn something from their styles or develop a style of your own. But whatever you do, make sure that your customers can read your sign from a comfortable distance whether that be from hundreds of yards back while traveling down a freeway or from arms’ length at a craft fair. And remember, pioneers are first mocked and later copied. Don’t let negative feedback discourage you from trying a new style of sign. Who knows: someday, it may be an industry standard.



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Thursday, 18 July 2019
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