4 elements of sign design for maximum success in business marketing

By Meghan Belnap

Signs are a great way to advertise your businesses and services to potential customers. However, elements involved in the design can make a sign more or less effective. It’s important to know what changes you can make to your business signs to tailor the marketing message it conveys to those who see it, including potential customers. Here are just four major design elements that can help your new sign maximize success for your business.

Consider lettering style

It makes sense that you’ll want large letters on your sign if you plan to place it in a high location that is visible to potential customers from some distance away. However, you might not realize that large, block-like capital letters are not always the best way to go. Text that has a mix of lowercase and capital letters where necessary has a high shape contrast. Logos or slogans with a higher shape contrast are visually easier for customers to read.

Pick a typeface

Although there isn’t one set of hard and fast rules for this, it is generally a good idea not to use more than a one or two font styles on a sign. Having too many fonts in one message can reduce the overall effectiveness of your business signs and could be confusing for some customers. Little changes in the style tell the brain to read the words differently or even separately from the other font styles, making it difficult to create a cohesive message. Typically, font styles should only be changed for a major change in tone or perspective. Examples of this are using a spooky font on a single word to emphasize it as scary, or having childish fonts vs professional fonts to show contrast between words or phrases used by or referencing you and your competitors.

Choose a color scheme

Both the background and the text of your sign will use a mix of colors. However, in the worlds of marketing or advertising, some colors are better than others. It’s more than just choosing your favorite color or what might look good to you. Coloring your signs is about maximizing the main theme or creating a subliminal association. The key thing to remember here is contrast. A sign with contrasting colors for the text and the background will be easier to read at any distance than one that uses colors that are too close together. Being too contrasting can be obvious and cliché, however, so instead of using orange and blue, do orange and purple or red and blue. This will keep the contrast while adding a sense of variation in the color scheme. You will typically also want a third color for accents. Neutral colors like black, white, grey, gold, silver, and so on can work very well for accents without interfering with the main color scheme.

Consider graphics

Not all signs need graphics or images to convey your message or bring in customers. A business with a concise, serious message might do well without graphics. However, depending on what you want to do and the kinds of services you are offering, graphics or photos can enhance the readability of your sign and improve awareness among your customer base. Many customers are more likely to recall details from a sign with graphics. This is a situation where your marketing strategy should reflect your industry. If you provide text-based services, for example, then a slogan of two to three words in a simplistic text may be all that you need. If you are a pest control company, however, then choosing a specific insect to act as a mascot can help increase your brand recognition.

Marketing tools have included signage since before text-based advertising was even used. As business practices have evolved over time, ways to improve advertisements with signs have improved as well. The tips we’ve provided above are just a few of the things you should consider when making a new sign to promote your services, products, or business goals. Other factors, such as whether the sign will be on your building, company vehicle, or billboard will also need to be considered in your design. Use these points as a starting point as you explore the possibilities of how your design will affect the message you send to consumers.


Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here

Leave a Reply

The Self-Employment Survival Guide can help you succeed. Learn all about it here.

Self-Employment Survival Guide book cover