Choosing signage can be difficult. Where do you begin? The most important things to consider in signage are audience, location and ultimate aims. As a useful starting point, consider these ten major pointers on signage.

1. Businesses have up to seven seconds to capture attention.
With such a fast paced digital world, attention spans are ever decreasing. At present, businesses have up to seven seconds to capture attention. Vibrant artwork, clear messages and quality display holders are the best way to do this. Too much text can turn people away. This is especially true in exhibition environments – it is also important to remember that any lengthy text beneath knee height is extremely likely to be ignored!

2. Colour plays a huge part in signage and general branding.
Choosing the right colour collection for a brand is one of the most important design decisions. This is because particular colours can evoke different feelings – purple or gold for luxury, green for eco-friendliness and peace, and yellow for happiness, are just a few examples.

Ensuring that colours are consistent across all marketing channels will also make a brand appear seamless and instantly recognisable. There are many different ways to colour match with signage. The most common ways to do this are through exact RAL and Pantone colour matching. RAL combines a standardised collection of colours most often used for classifying paint and powder coats. Pantone is most commonly used in printing inks. The two are not interchangeable, however they can be matched quite closely by eye using separate colour charts.

3. Seventy percent of purchase decisions are still made in store.
For those businesses looking to attract shoppers through signage, it is important to remember that a huge amount of purchase decisions are still made in store. In fact, a recent Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) report stated that over three quarters of their respondents shop both in store and online. A small percentage relied on one method alone (16% for stores and 6% for exclusively online).

Considering signage for both the exterior and interior of a shop is important. Anything, from the smallest counter top display, to the largest poster in a wall mounted snapframe could influence a buyer’s decision.

4. Signage should be seen as a long term investment…
Allocating budget to signage is important for any business. A 2012 FedEx Office business survey found that 68% of consumers also see the quality of business signage actually reflecting the quality of that business’ products or service. In addition, 60% of consumers said that missing signage would deter them from entering a business. Overall by creating a professional company image from the outset, companies can instil confidence in their customers almost immediately.

5. …But there is signage out there to suit every budget.
There are so many materials available on the market to create any custom signage design. From lightweight fluted polypropylene to the thickest aluminium composite panels, signage can be created from materials to suit any budget.

The simplest premade signage lines can also have as much impact as a bespoke display. Many snapframes are sold at prices under £5 a unit, but can easily look like premium frames if the right finish and poster display is chosen.

6. Traditional signage can still be valuable in integrated, cross-channel campaigns.
Digital signage may be on the rise, but traditional, static displays can still play a part in cross-channel promotions. Designs can be printed with codes to scan through smartphones and tablets, as well as being incorporated in augmented reality campaigns. An even simpler method is to have online graphics printed for offline poster displays. This way a campaign looks seamless – with recognisable graphics in store.

7. Signs are about more than just promotion.
It’s easy to forget signage in its most basic form. Without a business name on display, you’d certainly not recognise that a business operates from a particular building. Signage is equally as effective for wayfinding. From a university campus to a busy tourist attraction, the smallest independent ice cream company to the largest business corporation – signage is a basic requirement for all.

Although Signwaves does not offer bespoke lettering or large nameplates, the freestanding and mounted signage range will certainly reinforce any existing display.

8. Illumination is a simple way to upgrade printed displays.
Fluorescent lighting is still used in some backlit displays. This is because of their typical straight nature suiting square or rectangular lightbox shapes. Although their efficiency is limited when compared to LED lighting, they still produce less heat than traditional halogen bulbs, converting more electricity into light.  

The dramatic rise of LED illumination has been well known in the industry for years now. Displays including LED illumination do not require an electrician to install, and are guaranteed a long, maintenance free life – with many bulb strips lasting up to 5 years. Running costs are also cut from low power consumption and extremely low risk of breakages. A number of businesses promote LED displays over fluorescents; however both are still used in and around the signage market.

By using illuminated displays, a business can be visible 24/7. Not only can the displays inform in the dark, they are also great for creating an atmosphere in any environment.

9. Specialist signage accessories aren’t always the best solution.
In tests, Signwaves found that Mr. Muscle Window and Glass Cleaner (the green bottle) was the best solution for wiping away chalk from HPL chalkboard panels. It is easy to pick up inexpensive, household accessories to try out yourself for maintaining signage.

10. There are print techniques to suit every business requirement.
The main processes for printing signage are screen and digital printing. Screen print suits larger quantity orders with a limited number of colours in the artwork. Digital print is recommended for smaller quantity orders and with high definition, photographic imagery included in artwork.

Dye sublimation printing is another option for ‘soft signage’. ‘Soft signage’ refers to flags, flying banners and any display which uses a cloth or mesh type material, instead of hard surfaces like aluminium.

For the ultimate impact, 3D lenticular print is also available. This creates 3-dimensional images through printing 100 lines per inch on 0.6mm PET – no glasses or specialist equipment are required to view.

Read more about Signwaves’ print facilities.

Overall there are a whole host of signage materials, print techniques and display options to suit any business’ specifications. The importance of clear messages and consistent branding should always be kept in mind in order to make the most of your sign choice. Signage is a significant long term investment for any organisation – where would you be without it?