How hard can designing a storefront sign for your business be? It can actually be more complicated than you might think.
We always recommend professional design help for branding tasks like this, but if you’re set on having a friend or family member create your sign—or creating it yourself—here’s some tips that’ll ensure you create a great sign that accurately represents your business.
If you already have an established brand style guide for your business. Use those branding essentials for your new sign, including colors, fonts, and more—it’s an easy choice.
But if putting together your storefront sign is the first time you’re thinking about branding, you’ll probably want to take the time to develop your brand style guide now—before you purchase a sign. What if you invest in a lighted sign, and then it turns out to lock you into fonts, colors, or slogans that don’t work in the long term? If you use a script-based font and the J’s look like G’s, people may be confused as to what your text even says. Thinking about your branding beforehand will give you a chance to work out any of those problems before they’re “set in stone.”
If the sign really is the first thing you need—before your branding—consider purchasing a temporary sign, such as a banner, that will serve until you can invest in proper brand development.
Sizing and Location
Believe it or not, but bigger isn’t necessarily always better for a storefront sign.
You don’t want your sign to be so large that it overshadows the storefront itself. On the other hand, you don’t want it to be so small that customers don’t notice it. And you want it to be in a place where it catches the eye.
So test out your signs virtually. You can do this by using Photoshop (or a different program) to superimpose different-sized signs on your storefront and try out different styles and locations for your sign. Above the door? In the window? On an awning?
Be sure to look at it from many different angles so you can choose the perfect size and location. A storefront sign is an investment and is integral to your business presence. You don’t want to make the wrong call.
Make sure your sign is legible. This means your customers should still be able to read your business name whether they’re across the street or in a moving car—you might also want them to be able to read your slogan.
Increase the legibility of your sign by making sure your brand font is properly sized for readability. DGI recommends that you have at least an inch for every 10 feet of viewing distance. This means that storefront lettering should be between 8-12 inches. You can also make sure to leave plenty of space between words and imagery. You don’t want things to squish together from far away.
Unless you have great brand recognition, you won’t want to use a logo-only sign. McDonald’s can get away with golden arches, but you are not Mcdonald’s.
Your branding style guide will have a number of brand colors—probably between four and six—to choose from. You’ll likely have a main color and some contrasting or accent colors.
When it comes to choosing which colors to use on your sign, use plenty of contrast.
You won’t want something like yellow text on a white background. This could be difficult to read even close up.
Instead, choose complementary colors like a nice teal against orange to make your text eye-catching and clear.
Make sure your customers can tell what kind of business you run based on your sign. If there’s doubt or confusion from potential customers then consider reconfiguring your design. And make sure to double- and triple-check your spelling and grammar!
“Douglass and Smythe” sounds like a law firm, or maybe stockbrokers, or real estate agents. It could be a million things! If you’re a dry cleaner, you’ll want to include a logo with text or icons that clarify what you do. Customers aren’t going to wander into a law firm with their laundry, just on the off-chance.
Include enough information so that they can tell what you do, but not so much that it becomes confusing and overwhelming.
Putting together your own storefront sign can be fraught if you’re not a professional designer. You could make choices that negatively—or positively—affect your business for years. Best to go with the professionals and guarantee a good result. Contact us and we’ll enlist our team of experts for a consultation, and we’ll design your next storefront sign.