10 tips for making a great sign

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BY ELLIE DEES

On-site signage provides a business its least expensive yet most effective advertising!*
Planning your sign? Here are a few key tips on what to include and how to set it up.

ELEMENTS OF A GOOD SIGN

1. Your Brand Name. It might seem obvious but, in most cases, your company or brand name should be the focus of your sign. Get your name out there, loud and proud.
2. Key words. While this term recently has taken on a digital connotation, it has always applied to signage. Use a catch phrase, key words or directions to quickly convey your main messages. Stress the type of business, your main product or even wayfinding, but keep it short. EAT HERE!
3. Logo. Use a simple graphic, photo or symbol that’s easy to read. You want an interesting, eye-catching logo that “pops” off the background.
4. Lighting. Premium LED lighting systems provide safe, clear, long-lasting signage lighting that creates savings in installation, energy consumption and maintenance. There are many great outdoor illuminated signage options, including cabinet or box signs, cloud signs, front-lit channel letters, backlit or “halo” channel letters, and even wall grazing or wall washing systems.
5. Borders. A simple border is a tremendous aid to the reader. It helps frame the consumer’s eye like a target focused on what you want them to read.

SIGNAGE STYLE POINTERS

1. Avoid clutter. Your sign needs a focal point, so less can definitely be more. Empty space – “creative white space” – actually serves to help attract attention. Remember your sign often only has fractions of a second to make an impact as potential customers drive by.
2. Simplify your fonts. Too many fonts or super-styled text can jumble your message or make it hard to read. Keep it to two clean fonts if at all possible.
3. Ease up on the capital letters. Yes, they are bigger, but readability testing shows that people find it easier to process a mix of upper-and lower-case letters.
4. Use color and contrast. The more contrast between your background and your lettering and logos, the easier your sign is to read. The Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) has ranked color combinations for readability here.
5. Consider distance. Allow about 10 feet per viewing inch for your lettering. To be legible at 100 ft., your type should be at least 10 inches high.

*According to the International Sign Association

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