A successful business is often judged by its income. But being an effective businessperson means having the ability to sell, persuade, and advertise. You can be the most persuasive salesperson and have the greatest product, but patrons need to cross the threshold. However, signage is an affordable cost if you put forth the effort to make an impressive painted, engraved, and spectacular sign. Do it yourself or get help from specialists.

Why signage

Signage tells people hours of operation, alerts passers of upcoming sales, and draws attention when a potentially interested person would otherwise continue on without noticing your store. Moreover, like a person’s clothes or car, a sign makes an impression. It tells onlookers something about you and your business. So, signage addresses a few business goals, but not just any sign will do. You need to decide on the kind of sign.

Types of signage

Signage is more than neon lettering in the window or illuminated boards atop a store. Signage should draw attention, represent the company brand, and most importantly, be effective. The type should align with offered services and products as well as the clientele. For example, a surfer may pay more attention to a sign shaped like a surfboard or perhaps a sidewalk sign endowed with surfer lingo.


Painting a sign is an economical choice and offers the ability to easily paint over an outdated message. It may not cost a lot, yet an ill-painted sign can wind up costing your business. You don’t want to make a poor impression or mislead potential customers. If you’re not the artistic or patient type, you could hire a local artist or student attending art classes at a university or high school. Most start with a smooth, even wood surface. Next, use a stencil set to balance the letters and center the message. Then, you’ll need to fill in the stenciled message with your choice of one or more colors.


Ornate engraving can be done to wood or leather surfaces. While the equipment is not expensive and may even be rented, like painting, it requires fine motor skills and artistic flair. Poplar, spruce, and pine are good woods for engraving as well as oak, maple, and ash.  Moreover, alder, cherry, and types of maple are great for laser engraving. Laser engraving is used to produce picture-like images on wood. Read more at Boss Laser.


Printing may be the easiest for those who are not artistically inclined. Basically, all you need is a  stencil set. More than artistic ability, you’ll need to call upon your spatial ability to arrange the letters so they look centered and balanced. It requires a bit of trial and error at first.

Additionally, pay attention to the type of font used to create the message. As discussed, the sign says something literal and implied about the business. For example, a clown school may use a comic-like font aligned with the business model. But, such a font would turn away those looking for a funeral home. When it comes to business signs, font matters.

Focus on benefits and not features

Major businesses hire marketing teams and copywriters to compose ad copy. Some smaller businesses don’t have the budget for such, so it’s important to understand copywriting and marketing. For example, your customers want to know how something will benefit them versus boring logistics. Features and jargon are lost on most.

For example, don’t discuss how your car seats are made of space-age material. Mention how there is no other material on the planet as comfortable. A buyer seeks comfort when buying a car seat. They don’t care about the associated technology… unless it equals more comfort.

Track results

While an “Open” sign ushers instant results, you can track other business metrics with the aid of signs. For example, a sidewalk sign advertising a happy hour special may influence the number of walk-in customers. Furthermore, an engraved sign fitted with a social media handle or hashtag can lead people to go online. Maybe your business hosts an app or phone service. A sign could prompt onlookers to text a word to a phone number, enlisting them in a contest, etc.

Use pop culture

Online memes and hashtags are dictated by elements of pop culture. A certain word, phrase, celebrity, sports team, or city’s nickname can inspire nostalgia, allegiance, and a want to buy. Be attentive to pop culture as it appeals to targeted customers. Some owners project the likes and needs of targeted customers by creating ‘personas,’ fictitious characters who resemble potential, real-life customers.

For example, an office supplies store may create a persona to resemble a college professor or high school teacher, who needs pencils, pens, notebooks, etc. and have summers off. The store could profit in working with an affiliate and advertising summer-time rentals, cruises, etc.

This article was written by Morgan Ryan. Ryan works for a sign making business. He is always looking for new trends in the industry and enjoys writing about his findings on various business and startup sites.

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