03.14.20164 min read

Brick & Mortar Businesses: First Impressions with Signage

by Shabbir Moosabhoy

If you have ever read basic materials on psychology, you are no doubt aware that people tend to make up their minds about someone or something within the first 30 seconds of the initial meeting. Since your brick and mortar business signage is usually the first thing that people see, it needs to create a great first impression.

Make it matter

How you present your brand and the signage you use to make that all-important first impression is crucial to growing your business. A poorly presented mixture of styles and a lack of attention to detail can quickly deter potential customers, and it may even drive some to walk straight past your storefront. Your signage should impress them, making them feel they will be valued as your customer.

Take a walk

When it comes to retail signage, blending in is a bad idea. You want to stand out from the crowd with imaginative and creative signage. Look at the nearby competition and businesses. Check out the color schemes and signage they use to see how you can gain an advantage with a contrasting color scheme. Strike a balance between creating a distinctive look for your signage without making it appear garish and unpleasant. Choose a design that is in line with the area, yet shows how unique your business.

Signs help with your first impressions.

Design to draw them in

Outdoor signs need to be highly visible and contain just the right amount of information. Avoid putting too much detail on the signage. Deliver a brief, clear and concise message about who you are and what you do. Combine that message with a logo, using the color scheme you already use to achieve instant recognition.

Marry your theme

An important aspect of any design is continuity. It is no accident that many of the major brands, like UPS and Walmart are instantly recognizable simply by associating a particular color with their company name throughout all their marketing material, packaging, and store design and decor. Decide on and stick to a theme, and use it both inside and outside your business premises to create a highly polished, professional appearance.

Be fearless

While it is probably inappropriate for a fair number of businesses to use flashing neon signs and loud signage, you also do not want to be invisible. Remember, first impressions count. It is certainly acceptable to make your signage dramatic, and even make it oversized; if it is appropriate to the message you are trying to convey, however, you want to attract attention for all the right reasons, not the wrong ones.

Shell it out on materials

Avoid compromising on materials. Low-cost signage sends out the wrong message. For a high-quality look, go with aluminum letters. Substrates tend to drive the cost up, but they also greatly improve the look and durability of the sign. Many sign makers use plastic, paper cloth, vinyl, wood, foam core, glass, or aluminum as the backing for the sign. Paper and vinyl will be more affordable, but they are unlikely to look as polished and professional as glass, metal, or wood. In addition, glass, metal, and wood will last much longer.

Look up for perfect placement

Think about sign placement before you order your signage from the sign maker. Pay attention to which way the sun is facing at various times of the day and year. Also, consider practicalities, such as the best height for the building and location. You want people to be able to find your business, and view your signage easily. By placing your signage where people can read it quickly, you will attract more business and create loyal customers. Your signs should help people find you, which will enable you to build your business. By creating a logo and a look using colors and a consistent design, people will know what you are all about, and they will be able to share what you do with others. In order to make a great first impression with your small business online, make sure your email marketing campaign is making a splash—in all the right ways.

Shabbir Moosabhoy and his father own an architectural sign business. You can see their original work all over the country. Shabbir enjoys sharing his insights into the industry through blogging.

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