Best Practices for Effective Exterior and Storefront Signage

Best Practices for Effective Exterior and Storefront Signage

A brand-new exterior or storefront sign can have a significant impact on the foot traffic it brings into a business. Designing the sign with a few best practices can ensure that the signage not only covers the cost of installation but exceeds it, leading to ongoing profitability.

Physical retail locations require exterior signs to alert customers of the business location, entice them to walk into the store, or notify them of promotions and sales. Effective messaging can be achieved through signs hung on the front door or a freestanding one propped outside the building.

Today’s technology makes it challenging to compete with digital advertising, making it more important than ever to design an exterior or storefront sign that captures attention and motivates potential customers to engage with the business or buy products from the retail store.

At the same time, technology can streamline the design process and provide businesses with signs that draw consumer interest. Companies can review their sign’s colors, fonts, and materials prior to committing to a final design, thereby ensuring they are displaying the most effective sign.

Exterior signs come in all shapes and sizes—which means businesses large and small can utilize a variety of options. Major retailers may consider building wraps to make a big impact. These signs are attached to the outside of the building and are best used in large metropolitan areas.

Window graphics are ideal for smaller storefronts that aim to grab the attention of passersby. Tension graphics and digital signs are further options. No matter what type of exterior sign is ultimately chosen, the following best practices will infuse the sign with efficacy and vibrancy.

1. Apply Minimalism

Using a minimalistic approach in outdoors signs is recommended, considering the attention-span of consumers is brief. A simple sign designed with few colors and words exudes clarity instead of creating confusion. Stunning visuals can, in fact, clearly send across the intended message.

A practical tip is to use no more than seven words on an exterior sign. White space, which is blank space without words or graphics, should be abundant. Optimal readability can be accomplished when the white space accounts for at least 30 to 40 percent of the exterior sign.

2. Opt for Contrasting Colors

Light-colored lettering against a dark background is gripping. The current trend of using bright, vibrant colors also secures the public’s attention. When choosing colors, opt for ones that emphasize the brand’s identity, since brand recognition is achieved mostly through colors.

exterior sign

3. Pick Readable Fonts

Font choice is important for enhancing the readability of exterior signs. Helvetica, Serif, and Sans Serif fonts are ideal choices, because they stand out. Avoid combining more than two different font styles in one storefront sign. Instead, use a maximum of two complimentary fonts.

4. Choose Correct Font Size

The size of the font is equally important. Letters that are too small make up 83 percent of all complaints from shoppers. If the exterior sign is a billboard, drivers will likely read only one or two large, bolded words before speeding by.

5. Simplify Messaging

Clear messaging provides customers with a snapshot of what products are available for purchase—without creating confusion or causing them to spend significant time decoding the sign. The messaging should be clear and straightforward to motivate potential customers to step inside the store.

6. Select Outdoor Material

Even the most well-designed sign can fail when the choice of material falls short. Acrylic, for example, is a popular material intended for indoor sign usage but falls apart when installed as an outdoor sign. Aluminum, vinyl, and dura-wood are materials best-suited for exterior signs.

Waterproofing exterior signs is critical to promoting their lifespan and ensuring they look good for years to come. Aluminum, vinyl, and dura-wood already come with waterproof features. But other materials, like wood, require a coating of water-repellant. Plastic edge caps protect a sign in storms.

7. Install Signs in an Optimal Location

Companies should consider where to place an exterior sign so that pedestrians, drivers, bus commuters, or bicyclists have the opportunity to see it. A store selling helmets, for instance, may opt for a lower height that is in line with bicyclists’ view rather than an upper height for bus riders.

outdoor signs

8. Light Up the Sign

An eye-catching sign has limited use if it is invisible at night. In fact, 64 percent of shoppers complain that exterior signs are not lit well enough in the dark. Installing lighting around the sign corrects this problem, allowing an exterior sign to serve its purpose 24 hours a day.

Effective exterior and storefront signs are just a few design tactics away. By implementing the abovementioned best practices, an exterior business sign will not only communicate the business’ message attractively and clearly, but be shareable on social media—ensuring a wide reach.


More information:

Exterior Sign Tips and Tricks

How Long does Exterior Signage Last?

Exterior & Storefront Graphics


Call Divine Signs and Graphics

When you are planning to update your outdoor signs or invest in new ones, choose Divine Signs and Graphics. We are experts in exterior signage, and the above best practices are an important part of our process for designing, creating, and installing outdoor business signs.

Our specialists provide a wide assortment of signs, ranging from illuminated channel letters to ground signs and custom metal signs. We install plaza signs, parking lot signs, and entrance signs. No matter your vision for an exterior sign, our experienced design team will help you achieve it.

We’ll work with you to incorporate your company’s colors, logo, and fonts into the sign. If you envision your business name and motto on the sign, our creative team will make it happen. Your storefront signage makes an impression on customers, and we’ll help you put your best foot forward.

Divine Signs and Graphics designs, creates and installs custom outdoor signs for companies, large and small, located in Schaumburg, Illinois. Your design possibilities are limitless when you work with our professional team. Call us today to discuss your upcoming sign design project.

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June 15, 2023

Divine Signs

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