The Times

Retail Signage Best Practices

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You might have always thought that creating effective signage for your business was as straightforward as putting letters on a coloured background and hanging it somewhere. That’s a very oversimplified view, of course, and there’s a great deal more to it than that! Corporate retail signage, like anything else in the business world, is subject to best practices, and it’s critical that businesses everywhere know what they are before setting out to create their own signage.

Best Practice 1: Be As Specific as Possible

Whatever the function of signage, it needs to boil all information down to the most specific level possible and not waste any space on vague information. Everything the sign says should clarify something crucial and help those who see it understand immediately what it denotes.

This advice is especially important for signage that is explaining important information to people, and/or directing them to and from a particular place. To give a very simple example, it’s not enough for a sign to indicate that the toilets are nearby, but it must also point out their specific direction as well.

Best Practice 2: Being Clear and Concise

Besides keeping information specific, it also needs to be clearly presented, and concisely written. If you are sticking to very specific required information, being concise shouldn’t be a problem, but some try to overload their signage with information, which makes it less effective.

For clarity, choice of background colour, font and font size/colour is absolutely essential. There are certain combinations that work very well together, such as bright white on a deep blue background, or sometimes green. This is what makes such a combination ideal for so much highway signage.

Best Practice 3: Include a Call to Action

Your commercial signage should always include some kind of call to action. This can be as simple as a phone number to call, an email address to write, or something else. The more cutting-edge signage of today may include something like a QR code to scan that takes customers or visitors to another page that helps them register information, inquire about reservations, or something else.

Best Practice 4: Incorporate “You” Where Possible

When setting the tone of your signage language, try to direct it right at the reader by favouring the second-person style, using “you” and “your” most often. For example, instead of saying “We work hard to satisfy everyone’s insurance needs,” just changing ‘everyone’s’ to ‘your’ can make a huge difference. People respond more positively when they feel signage is communicating directly with them.

Best Practice 5: Be Creative and Original

Signage that tries to emulate “done-to-death” jokes will not likely succeed in attracting positive attention. More likely it will attract a serious eye-roll as those eyes prepare to move on to see what else is around. It’s important to try and maintain some creativity and originality when creating commercial signage.

For more practical signage that’s put up for utility, there’s still room for creativity when it comes to choosing signage design, shape and more. The information may all need to be functional, but that doesn’t cut you off entirely from being creative.

Best Practice 6: Work Carefully on Positioning

The final challenge is understanding well where to place different kinds of signage. When placing signage outdoors, one must consider visibility of course, but also how the sign will be impacted by the roving sun, as well as how it can be seen from different directions and angles. Wrongly positioning a sign can leave it vulnerable to vandalism and weather damage, too.

Therefore, taking the time to consult with your team to consider the best choice of location is a process that you just can’t do without.

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