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Clear communication is key
As a sign maker for over thirty years, I’m happy to share with you, my process for effective signage.
Signs are critical for displaying a message quickly and succinctly. Words, images, legibility and colour are all important elements. As well as a prominent location. A sign can be the face of your business too or the only method of communicating to your market, so ideally it should also convey your brand.
And with so many types of signs to choose from, which product is most suitable?
Understanding your objectives is a good place to start
- What is the sign’s purpose?
- Who is your message for?
- How can this be clearly communicated?
The sign may be for advertising or persuasion; information or direction; safety or simply decoration. What you expect the sign to do for you will then determine the design, materials, fabrication and cost.
A sign is an investment
An effective sign can promote your service or product and engage daily with your market. Therefore, it is wise to establish a budget and create a sign which will not only last but succeed in achieving your objectives.
I’ll explain how to gain the most from your investment and present insights to save you money.
Location and size
This may seem obvious but determining the size of sign and where to position it, is the important first step for successful exposure.
Walk or drive past the sign’s site and decide where the most appropriate position would be.
- How far away are passers-by when reading the information?
- How long will they have to read it?
- Which height will be suitable for viewing the sign?
- Are there any obstructions in the readers view?
- Will the sun’s glare hinder readability?
- Can you use a double-sided sign on or around your premises?
- Is there an opportunity for pavement or freestanding signs?
- Is there a sound surface to fix the sign to?
- Can you utilise windows to display your message?
Once you have decided on the most suitable location and viewing angle, you can determine the size. Think about the information which you want to display. And how large the information will have to be in relation to adequate readability.
Make a sample sign from a cardboard box and a fat marker pen to gauge the lettering height.
Planning permission from your local authority in Scotland, or landlord may be required for signage in new locations; on pavements or roadsides; freestanding and fixed to poles or framework; illuminated or dimensional; or within a conservation area.
In most circumstances, replacing like for like signage on your premises does not require planning permission. If you are unsure, always seek advice from your landlord or local authority as this may save you expense.
Using the least amount of words or images to transmit an understandable message will help. Think how billboards grab your attention and the brief time you may have to read them.
Summarising what you want to advertise, or how you wish to connect with your audience is vital in busy environments. If you feel that listing services or products is essential, use a short amount of bullet points.
Consider the most important and profitable information which will attract attention.
Tell your audience to visit your website or social channels. This provides a broader platform and longer time window to explain what you have to offer.
Make your words or image enticing to the reader.
Once you know the location, dimensions, quantity and message, you have already saved costs attached to your project. Now you require an appealing design.
If your audience knows your brand and you have an established visual identity, your sign design should convey this. Consistency is valuable.
Perhaps you or your designer have created the design. By providing the signmaker with scaled artwork in their preferred format, yet more time is deducted from the signmakers involvement.
If you do not have a visual identity for your business and do not wish to hire a designer, there are several decisions you must make.
- Consider how to implement consistency throughout your signage and marketing.
- Research the style, theme or mood that you wish to portray.
- Choose a colour palette.
- Establish a realistic budget for the return on your investment.
- Choose a reputable and experienced, local signmaker.
Be objective. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer and think how the design will be perceived. Does it portray the look and feeling which you want for your message?
- Is the layout cluttered?
- Are the words legible?
- Do the colours or content hinder the readability?
If you have answered yes to any of the above, then ask your signmaker for a simplified revision of the design.
You can also consider dimensional features as well as shaping your sign. Extra ordinary helps in making the sign more prominent and will provide impact.
There are a multitude of materials, sheet sizes and thicknesses, colours and finishes to choose from.
Ask your signmaker for the most appropriate material for the project.
3mm thick aluminium composite is the most widely used and cost efficient rigid substrate, for exterior signage and display.
The material is manufactured in sheet sizes at 2440mm by 1220mm, 2550mm by 1250mm, 3050mm by 1500mm, 3050mm by 2m and 4m by 2m (the latter being not as widely available).
Wherever possible, try to keep your sign panel(s) size within sheet material sizes.
For example; if you decide to make two wall signs at 1300mm by 1300mm, you will require one 3050mm by 1500mm sheet. If you can reduce the wall signs to 1250mm by 1250mm without any detrimental effect to the signs’ impact, you can purchase a smaller sheet for slightly less cost.
When you seek larger quantities of sign panels, working within sheet material sizes can significantly reduce costs as well as off cut remnants.
Help your signmaker help you
The more accurate information and artwork which you can provide for your signmaker, will inevitably lessen the overall cost of your project.
Ask your signmaker questions about the efficacy of the product; the installation method; the longevity; the re-use possibilities and lead time for your project.
The answers may help you choose which is the best option for your objectives and your budget.
Plan for maintenance of your newly purchased signs. Exterior signage will require regular cleaning, especially in busy traffic environments. Regular cleaning will help to keep the sign looking newer for longer.
Ask your local window cleaner if they can wash your signs too.
A sign is an investment. It can keep people safe, save them some shoe leather and help our environment. In addition to earning you income, an effective sign can also make your business look better and make your customers smile.
Find out which type of sign is suitable for you by visiting the Products Guide and get in touch to discuss how I can help..