Any business owner knows that just getting a potential customer’s attention is a huge step forward. Advances in technology have created all kinds of ways to try to achieve this goal. Even so, plain, old-fashioned business signage is still one of the most effective and also one of the most cost-effective.
Signs come in six main forms
The six main forms of signs are blade, pylon, channel letters, neon, monument and high-rise. Blade and pylon signs are essentially the same idea just implemented slightly differently. Both are flat signs which project from a building. Blade signs are in landscape format and pylon signs are in portrait format. Both can be lit or unlit.
Channel letter signs are signs made of individual 3D letters affixed to a backing. They can be front-lit, reverse-lit or unlit. Neon signs are exactly what the name suggests. They are flat signs illuminated by neon gas.
Monument signs are a hybrid of statuary and signage. They often draw inspiration from your building’s architecture or surroundings. High-rise signage is also exactly what the name suggests. It’s signage designed to be visible even though it’s high up on a tall building.
The law has to be your starting point
Exterior signs are likely to be governed by local regulations. You’ll probably have more leeway indoors especially if you’re in a purpose-built commercial building. If, however, you’re in a converted building then there may be restrictions even here. Other legal considerations include health and safety and accessibility under the Equality Act 2010.
Practicality has to be your next consideration
Signs intended for use outdoors in the UK have to be able to withstand literally all kinds of weather from bitter cold to extreme heat and, of course, lots of rain. Signs intended for indoor use will have to be sturdy enough for their environment. For example, a sign used in the front of a shop is likely to have a far easier life than a sign used in a freezer unit.
If you’re thinking about lit signage or digital signage, then you also need to think about electricity and everything which comes along with it. This is particularly relevant for exterior signage (given the UK’s climate). It should, however, also be a consideration indoors. Remember that cables can be both a tripping hazard and a fire hazard).
Make sure that your choice of signage works with any security measures you have in place. For example, think about the location of any CCTV cameras you have. Locate and size your signage so that they still have a clear view of the area they monitor.
Speaking of clear views, even if your business only operates in the daytime, you might want to consider lit signage for your exterior. Firstly, the UK has relatively long nights from late autumn to early spring. Secondly, bad weather can quickly obscure unlit signs. If you’re not using lighting then you may want to use particularly strong colours.
It’s advisable to set a budget early
Choosing signage for your business can be a really fun exercise. In business, as in life, however, it’s vital to prevent your emotions from running away with your finances. Decide how much you can afford and keep that in mind at all times. If you’re thinking of using lit signage then remember to keep the running costs in mind too.
It’s vital to keep it simple
Your sign needs to be legible to everybody. That includes people with difficulty reading signs (and people in a hurry). This means that simplicity is almost always the right way to go. It’s very hard to go wrong with large text, in a clear font on a contrasting, plain background. If you want to add decor, put it around your sign but make sure that it stays clearly legible.
Malcolm Judson is the Managing Director at Judsons Signs, specialists in sign making for schools and commercial and retail spaces. Judsons Signs manage the entire sign making process, from design and manufacturing to installation.