Signage has been an integral part of the business world for hundreds of years. Without it, numerous brick-and-mortar businesses would suffer – many of their customers would be unable to find them or to understand what they sell.
Startups are no exception. Whether you realise it or not, the design and manufacture of your signage speak volumes to all potential visitors and customers. Subconsciously, it communicates information about the kind of business you operate, your approach, and your standards.
By making the most of this fact, you can ensure your startup is positioned perfectly in the minds of clients and passers-by. In this post, we’re going to look at how you can make the most of typography, colours, manufacturing and other elements to craft the ideal sign – presenting your business in the best possible light.
Colour is an incredibly important branding element that can affect the way people feel about your business.
Colour psychology in signage is a very complicated topic, but the short version is that the colours you choose can influence the public perception of your startup.
Whether you use a warm or cool colour, a dark or light shade, and your choices as to which colours you mix together (and how) in your signage can all play a role in the impression people get of your company.
Are your colours harmonious, or do they clash? Are they bright and saturated, or restrained and muted? There are no ‘wrong answers’ for colour choices, but some shades will be better suited to the nature and character of your business than others.
If you think about famous branding logos, it’s hard to imagine some of them with different colours. What if the Starbucks logo was bright red? Subconsciously, it would affect the way you feel about the coffee chain.
It’s all about clarifying the message you want to send and picking the right colours to imply those values.
In much the same way as colour, the typefaces you use for your signage can play a major role in how your startup is perceived.
Some fonts have a modern aesthetic; other typefaces might appear classic, or old-fashioned. A font may be bold and striking, thin and elegant, or quirky and erratic.
Of course, the use of each different typeface inextricably associates those visual qualities with your business. It would be somewhat bizarre if McDonalds updated their wordmark to use Times New Roman, because we’ve grown so used to their normal sans-serif logo:
Is your startup more of a Garamond or a Futura type of outfit? Does Impact convey the right feel, or would Gill Sans be a better choice? By carefully selecting the typeface that intuitively seems like the best fit for your company, you can share that same brand gut feeling with others.
Clarity and readability
As signs are usually designed to be displayed outdoors, many of your visitors and customers will likely be viewing them from afar – and readability is paramount.
This may be a matter of picking clear fonts and high-contrast colours so that your signage can be understood from any angle or in low light conditions.
Another consideration is not using too many design elements. If your sign contains the name of your business, a slogan, a logo image, your phone number, building number, website address, email address and Instagram handle – well, it’s likely to look a bit muddled from a distance.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that even if your customers won’t be viewing from a long way away, it’s still good graphic design practice to ensure that the meaning of your sign comes across quickly.
We live in a world where we are all constantly bombarded with advertising and imagery via billboard, television, our phones, and so on. Most people don’t have the time or the inclination to stop and decipher the meaning of every sign they pass, so make sure yours can be understood in an instant.
Materials and manufacture
Regardless of the design, your signage isn’t likely to reflect well on your startup if its physical construction is cheap, flimsy, or in a sorry state of repair.
It’s hard to convey prestige with a broken, discoloured or dirty sign, and for that reason it’s important to make sure that your signage is well-made and well looked-after.
Especially for businesses where consumer trust is absolutely paramount, a clean and professional-looking sign can be the difference between drawing customers in or driving them away. Imagine if a dentist’s office had a sign with missing letters, or with flickering light bulbs – that might not be a good omen for the standards of hygiene found inside.
Getting your signage made and installed by seasoned professionals is a must – and if they offer after-sales care and maintenance, then so much the better.
In many ways, the sign above your door is the physical ‘face’ of your startup, so it’s very important to make sure your presentation is great.
Keep it fresh
Even if you have an immaculately well-designed sign in perfect physical condition, it’s still worth reconsidering your branding approach throughout the future evolution of your startup.
Trends move on, and a sign you install today is probably going to look a little dated in a decade’s time – that’s unavoidable.
Not only do the winds of fashion change, but so does your business. Chances are you’ll update your approach over time, and it’s perfectly possible that your current branding will at some point cease to do a good job of communicating your style.
Many startups are supposed to be the embodiment of innovation, and by routinely refreshing your signage to something more appropriate for the contemporary environment, you can make sure your customers think of you as an evolving and modern business.
Making the most of signage is vitally important for any company. It’s one of the first things visitors see when they arrive at your place of business, and this is a great opportunity to influence the way they feel about you.
By carefully using the right colours, fonts and materials, you can make sure customers are drawn to your startup for all the right reasons – and are primed and ready to do business with you.
This post was contributed by Medash Signs, the company has designed and made commercial signage for over forty years. Located in Kent, Medash Signs provide bespoke sign making services for a wide variety of startups and businesses throughout the UK.