The Art of Big Signs

Large signs are everywhere we glance. At a normal viewing distance they appear to be small. Since signs are often surrounded by visual clutter, simplicity is the key to a good design. A simplistic approach such as one image, few words, and simple typefaces, works best.

The Art Of Big Signs

Edit your message. Keep it simple, so the sign is condensed to its essential minimum. A generous amount of white space (negative space) balances a sign with its surrounding elements and sets a clear stage for the message to be seen.

Start with a short headline. Think short and simple. One to three words is ideal. The fewer the words the larger the letter size can be. This allows for the message to be read and understood quickly.

Use clear images. Good signs have images that are clear objects with little detail and distinctive silhouettes.

Design for close-up reading. Most big signs will also be seen up-close. For this distance, signs can include smaller type and more complex graphics if needed. Informational signs are for up close reading, not for attention getting. They can be designed like simple over-sized pages.

Establish a look with a series of signs. A series of signs looks best when they all look alike. The size relationship doesn’t have to be psychically identical, but they must feel the same.

Sales signs or P.O.P. signs get attention and sell at the same time. Most sales or P.O.P. (Point of Purchase) signs are seen mid-distance and at close-up range. Such signs need to succeed in making the most effective use of space, color, images, and words. These signs must stimulate the buying instinct for shoppers. A good attention getting and visually harmonious design is critical for a successful sale or P.O.P. sign.

Announcement signs are designed for quick, brief attention, and are usually seen at mid-distance and up close. Use bold letters to establish a focal point with the headline.

Way-finding signs such as large highway signs or in-store directional signs are about giving directions. Highway signs are huge so they need to be simple with a clear typeface that has a larger percentage of letter spacing (see guidelines). This adds enough air between letters to easily distinguish one letter from the next.

Indoor signs must be read easily but can be more decorative and reflect its surroundings.

Why Offer Coupons
No one can resist a coupon! Coupons can be an enticing form of advertising. They are appropriate for all businesses, especially those with special promotions during the year. Restaurants use coupons to build traffic on a normally slow day, amusement parks use them to reduce the price of admission for people who buy their tickets in advance, and dry cleaners use them to lure business. They are versatile ads that entice people to take advantage of a sale, urge them to visit a new location, or reward them for shopping in your store at any time.

Coupons can be found in newspaper ads, stuffed into customer’s bags to give them an incentive to return, on a website for people to print out and redeem, or inserted into mailed publications. The disadvantage to coupon packs are that they can get lost in the pile. A bright and intriguing coupon can help avoid this.

Coupons are great to track advertising. Different offers or different designs, in various publications, will help track the ones that are working and which ones aren’t. Be creative and find a way to use coupons in any advertising mix that can help benefit your business. Include an expiration date on all coupons. Consider all possibilities in choosing a wise offer. A coupon that offers something for free will get the people in, but they may not return. It’s better to offer something free with an additional purchase or give a 50 percent discount on the purchase of one item.

Did You Know? The latest trend for large signs is solar powered LED signs. Improvements in efficiency of today’s solar panels, both in the amount of energy they can collect and the ability to store that energy, have led to an increasing number of sign related applications including solar powered LED signage which presents a greener choice for our environment.

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One Way Vision Films

These graphics are printed on a special film called One Way Vision by Clear Focus, which is a pioneer in the latest window graphics solutions. This special film consists of pressure-sensitive adhesive and non-adhesive perforated (tiny circles) window film and overlaminates. One Way Vision transforms any glass surface into colorful, eye-catching, see-through graphics and offers an affordable solution for advertising. This product results in maximum visual impact that’s not the conventional opaque signage.

One Way Vision Films
One Way Vision films allow stunning graphics on one side and a clear, unobstructed view from the other. These films are ideal for producing decals, vehicle window graphics, POP (Point of Purchase), commercial window signage, retail signage, building wraps, brand marketing, corporate identity and much more. One Way Vision films create new, innovative media space without obstructing the view. It can also enhance security issues, since it limits the amount of vision that is possible by looking in from the outside.

Benefits:
Creates new, innovative media space.
Cutting-edge graphics technology that gives advertisers a competitive advantage. Allows premium ad placement for high-profile advertising.

Features:
Reduces heat and glare from the sun.
Clear pressure-sensitive adhesive that’s easy to install and remove. Available for exterior or interior applications.

Product Overview
How does One Way Vision film work? This special film is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with up to 50% of the film micro-perforated to achieve the desired image resolution and one-way visibility. The black (non- imaged) side of the film through which people see maximizes its transparency. Lighting is the final ingredient: for optimum effect, lighting on the graphics side must be brighter than on the non-imaged side. One Way Vision film can be used for either exterior or interior mounting. Depending on the usage, these films are available with variations in the size and amount of perforation.

oneway

Did You Know? In using One Way Vision films, bright colors (e.g., red, yellow, orange, bright green, and blue) provide the best results. Avoid using dark colors (dark purple, navy, brown, black) for backgrounds or other large areas. This is because with bright colors, the eye tends to focus on the graphics, whereas dark colors allow the eye to see through the graphics. The perforating process reduces the reflectivity of an image. We suggest increasing the image contrast by 10%-20% to compensate for this effect.

Signage

The Perfect Employee!
If I could increase your sales by 3%, would you hire me? What if I offered proof I could increase sales by 16%? How about if research showed my working for you would increase sales by 34%, would you give me a job? It gets better. I’ll work for you 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and never call in sick, steal from you, and will never be late to work. While you’re at home enjoying family, I’ll be hard at work attracting 80% of the market and telling them who, what and where you are, effectively increasing your sales and profits from 3% to (in some cases) over 100%. Now will you hire me? Oh, I forgot to mention, I’m a sign. That’s right, a sign and those statistics are real.

The University of San Diego conducted a two-year study of 187 businesses and their signage. They concluded that the addition of any sign would increase gross sales by 3%. The survey also concluded that the addition of a pole sign would increase gross sales by 15.6%. With the right use of signage, you can increase sales in excess of 30% and in some areas over 100%.

The Value of Signage
Not everyone values signage. Signs are commonplace and we take them for granted. In fact, if you’re like most small business owners, you’re thinking one of three things:

Myth: My customers already know where I am so I do not really need a sign.
Fact: 85% of your customers live or work within 5 miles or your business but according to the Census bureau, 18.6% of the population relocates every year. This means every year you’re losing customers and need to replace them just to break even. The easiest way to attract new customers is with effective signage.

Myth: I already have a sign so what does this have to do with me.
Fact: But is it the right kind of sign? Is it visible, conspicuous, does it take into consideration size and location, color, amount of characters, speed of traffic and angle of interface? More importantly, is it working as hard as it can for you?

Myth: Do signs really make a difference?
Fact: The answer is yes. It’s not sexy or glamorous—it just works.

The ABC’s of Signage
The value of a business isn’t necessarily the location but how many people stop, come inside and do business with you at that location. And the reason they do that is due to the location of your sign. This is determined by the ABCs:

A) Attracts new customers— a five year survey of over 400 businesses with over 6000 customers was conducted. These businesses just installed a new sign and customers surveyed were there for the first time. About 49% said they were there because of the new sign. To grow a business, you need to grow your customer base.

B) Brands the business site—Signs build “top-of-the-mind“ awareness. Which businesses come to mind when reading the words hamburger, coffee, ice cream and home improvement. How about McDonalds, Starbucks, Baskin Robbins and Home Depot.

C) Creates impulse sales—Signs can be very effective in changing a customers buying habits. Best Buy found out that 17% of their customers didn’t plan to stop at the store but did so because of the sign. McDonalds has 26,000 locations and spends about 40,000 per sign for this very reason.


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Banners and Your Message

Visit any trade show and you will most likely find signs, banners, posters and other forms of visual information striving to gain your attention. This type of information is the most important tool used to create awareness about anything. More specifically, banners are an excellent choice for this purpose because they can be any size, shape or color. Add to that the convenience of portability and you will see why banners are so popular at trade show events. Banners inform people at large that something is being launched or some event is going to happen. Quite often they look so stylish and colorful. If you are not able to find banners that can convey your message, then custom banners are meant to solve your problem. Custom banners will help you communicate your message in your own way.

Considerations When Designing Your Banner or Signage
Choose a typeface that is easily legible and one that fits your type of business. San serif fonts and open styles such as Verdana tend to be more legible. Make your message clear. Not every image can be translated onto a sign or banner, so keep it simple.

Because viewers have only seconds to read your message, some sign experts suggest that text should only be three to five words in length. Abbreviations should not be used unless they are popularly known. Whenever possible, text should be arranged horizontally rather than vertically.

Maintain white space. An industry guideline is 30%-40% of the sign area should be blank space. Too much clutter distracts potential customers.

There are certain color combinations that are more legible than others. However, the shade of the color is important, too. The most easily read combinations are black, dark blue or red text on a yellow or white background.

Also, know that 8% of U.S. males are color-blind. It’s important to use color combinations that retain contrast when viewed by color-blind people. Blue and yellow, for example, are a good combination, but blue-green or aqua on white or gray are difficult combinations for a color blind person to read.

Did You Know? A simple effect like adding a border around the viewing area is an economical way to dramatically improve your sign’s effectiveness. One study shows that viewers can read and comprehend a sign that has a border around its message 26% faster than a sign without one.

Keep In Mind: Even within your budget confines, or the legal limits of your sign code, an experienced sign design professional can help you create an attractive and effective sign.

Letter Style and Capitalization
As a general rule, capital letters are most easily recognized, but tend to be read individually. Lower case letters, on the other hand, are usually read as whole words or phrases.

Sign design research designates six type styles as the most basic: Roman, Gothic, Gothic Block, Text, Italic and Script.

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For the most part, reliance on the last four of these can be a problem. People are not used to reading these fonts for extended periods of time. Use them sparingly, if at all.

Capital and lower case letters, with the exception of script styles, are generally equally legible. As a rule, the width of a letter’s horizontal stroke should be approximately 1/5 of its height.

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