It’s a common question posed by and to business owners worldwide. Differentiating and propagating your brand is important for establishing a business identity, generating sales, and fostering loyalty among your client base. We’ve talked in the past about how visibility is key for your business, and touched upon some tried and true methods that you can use to develop interest in your brand. What we haven’t discussed yet, are some old-school visual methods that you can implement to spread your reach further.
Custom Business Signs & Design
Let’s start with the basics. A custom business sign is a rudimentary but effective method for putting your name in the public space. It perfectly targets traffic in the vicinity, and if you’ve designed it properly, it will draw a ton of eyeballs. How do know if you have the look down right? It may behoove you to stick to the well-researched principles of design when crafting your business sign. The specific terms will vary from designer to designer, but we’ll break it down for you in simple terms.
Organization/Structure – The way information is divided and the pictorial/typographic elements are arranged plays a big part in how a message is received. If your sign is jumbled and has information scattered about with no rhyme or reason, your message gets lost as viewers strain themselves attempting to make sense of what’s going on. The mantra to remember is to hit them hard, hit them fast, and make the message easy to digest. Keep things consistent across all your content to drive home the association that people make between the organizational elements and your brand.
Color/Contrast – The wrong colors and contrast can make your sign dull, uninteresting, and hard to follow. Use the colors you think represent your business best, but make sure to break out your color wheel to find the correct complementary and contrasting colors to maximize the effect. Orange and yellow, for instance, fall right next to one another on the wheel, and as such will produce little contrast. Orange and blue, on the other hand, are on opposite sides and will create a great deal of contrast that will make elements in your sign “pop”. Color needn’t always be incorporated, however. Sometimes more contrast can be created by going grayscale. This forces all attention on contrast, making it stand out to a greater degree, especially in areas where everything is colorful.
Shapes – Did you know that shapes are one of the first things people pick up on when viewing an image? It’s important to use shapes that will evoke the feelings you want. Curvilinear shapes are seen as natural, sexy, inventive. Circles are lively, while squares are strong but plain. Contrasting shapes can help to emphasize one over the other, making them easier to notice and reinforcing cognitive associations created by them.
Size/Texture/Weight – All important features, though in slightly different ways. Size corresponds to the importance of an element (larger being more important and smaller less so). Texture can be used to create contrasts, focal points, and patterns. The weight or boldness of something like a line can alter an item’s appearance, making it appear more in the foreground or background.
Typography – This can be a giant hurdle for those without design knowledge. There are many things to take into account when selecting typefaces, scale, spacing, width-to-height ratio, stroke thickness, etc. Most importantly, you want to make sure that your type is legible, and fits in well with all of your other design elements. Don’t beat your audience over the head with ALL CAPS unless it’s a part of your logo. Purely informational text should be readable.
With that, you’ll hopefully have gained new perspective on how visuals with well-planned design elements can enhance custom business signs and banner signs. The rules have long been used to craft signs to meet a particular aesthetic, and can be implemented (and reworked) to fit your particular brand. Of course, it takes a while to hone the skills necessary to take them all into account, which is why you can benefit greatly from the services of a skilled designer or custom business sign company that specializes in making use of the visual principles to achieve the desired gestalt.