5 Things you need to know about Signage

If you operate a business or plan on starting one, an important consideration to remember is the use of your signage.  A creative, eye-catching sign can help your business stand apart from your competitors, and hopefully, leave an unforgettable impression on your customers.

A survey done by the Economic Centre, University of Cincinnati, found that nearly 76% of customers (8 out of 10 people) said they had entered a store or business they had never visited before based simply on its signs displayed outside. The same study showed that about 68% of consumers believe that a business’ signage reflects the quality of its products and/or services.

1.  Do I really I need signage?

YES! Signage is everywhere and it forms part of our daily life’s. They serve as a type of silent salesperson for our business: exterior signs draw attention to our place of business and interior signs help customers locate merchandise or could lead to an impulse sale.  Our signage, whether it be for our vehicles, our shop front or even a colourful name badge for our staff, are all essential parts of our marketing strategy. Without signage our clients won’t recognise our brand.

Different forms of signage

2. What signage do I go for?

There a many types of signage available these days, the tricky questions is, what signage will suit your needs the best?  Will your sign be indoors or outdoors? Will it be in direct sunlight or in the shade?  Will it be a temporary placement or a permanent fixture? Will it be handled by your customers and staff on a regular basis or will it be placed high, out of reach?

To answer these questions, we’ve broken down the different materials into category’s:

Indoor use: No
Outdoor use: Yes

Lifespan: 3 – 8 years
Average Cost*: R1 500 – R3 500

Indoor use: Yes
Outdoor use: Yes

Lifespan: 3 – 5 years
Average Cost*: R1 000 – R4 000

Indoor use: Yes
Outdoor use: Yes

Lifespan: 5 – 8 years
Average Cost*: R500 – R1 500

Indoor use: Yes
Outdoor use: Yes

Lifespan: 10+ years
Average Cost*: R4 500 – R10 000

Indoor use: Yes
Outdoor use: No

Lifespan: 3 – 5 years
Average Cost*: R200 – R1 900

Indoor use: Yes
Outdoor use: Yes

Lifespan: 1 – 2 years
Average Cost*: R700 – R1 200

Indoor use: Yes
Outdoor use: Yes

Lifespan: 3 – 6 years
Average Cost*: R1 200 – R1 900

Indoor use: Yes
Outdoor use: Yes

Lifespan: 10+ years
Average Cost*: +/-R7 000.00 (complete unit)

Indoor use: No
Outdoor use: Yes

Lifespan: +10 years
Average Cost*: R30 000 – R50 000

* Valued are an average only and is dependent on size required.

3.  How often should I replace my signs?

As mentioned above, environmental factors greatly affect the longevity of our signage. And while the “usual suspects” like wind, rain, extreme heat and freezing temperatures are major concerns, the primary one is the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light. UV rays can fade colours very quickly and degrade plastics over time. In contrast, interior business signs that are shielded from sunlight and its UV rays may last almost indefinitely. The table above shows that each material is designed and/or manufactured to serve a specific purpose.

Another very good reason to change your signage often is to prevent your customers from becoming “ad blind”. A worldwide phenomenon whereby consumers are able to subconsciously tune out to your ads. Why? Because people get tired of looking at the same ad over-and-over on a daily basis. How can you prevent this? By providing new and fresh design/ads to your customers on a  regular basis.

Old and worn signs

4.  Is signage expensive?

Signage is the least costly, yet most effective form of advertising for small to medium businesses. When factoring in your returns on investment, signage should not be viewed as an expense but rather as an capital investment. A well designed, correctly placed sign will most likely pay for itself many times over.

5.  Graphic Elements

The graphic perspective of a companies signage is both an important first impression for new customers and a great marketing tool that helps us brand a consistent image into the minds of our repeated customers. Most small to medium businesses put a great deal of thought and effort into the development of their brand identity – which in turn helps reduce the cost of other advertising forms.

The sole purpose of our brand identity is to drive more traffic into your business and ultimately boost our bottom line, right? Well, our signage should be bold, easy to understand, simple in message and easy to read from a distance. Attempting to squeeze too much detail and information onto your sign will only confuse our customer. Instead, try to limit your signage to only your logo, a short description of your company (2-3 Keywords) and your contact details.

Different forms of signage

Conclusion

Consistent, clear and professional signage will not only attract new customers, but it also makes financial and business sense. It can be transformative in terms of edging away from your competition.

The definition of successful branding is about communicating your values and vision to your target markets to attract, maintain and grow a loyal customer based. Part of that communication methodology is about being seen consistently, online and off. So the use of effective offline signage, from shop front to front garden, should never be undervalued.