What's your sign? How to get the most from your store signage

A good storefront sign lists much more than just the name of your company or the products and services you offer — it gives shoppers subtle clues as what kind of experience they’ll have in your store.

Store signage might be subtle but it’s also powerful: nearly 8 in 10 consumers say they entered a store or business they had never visited before based simply on its signs; nearly 75% say they told others about a business based on its signage; and, about 67% of consumers believe that a business’ signage reflects the quality of its products or services.

So, how can you choose the right sign for your business? Use our checklist to help you brainstorm and avoid any pitfalls:

Check for any zoning restrictions with your city planning office.

Check for any leasing restrictions with your lease agreement and/or building owner.

Knowing any size or design limitations will save you time, money and frustration.

Check out the existing signage in your neighborhood and building — what works and what doesn’t?

Think about how your patrons will see your signage. Will they be walking by, driving by or both; does your sign need to be prominent during nighttime hours?

Your sign should keep with the look and feel of your neighborhood and building. If your business is located in a historic district, your signage should reflect that time period; if your business is located in a fast-paced, urban area, your signage should convey sophistication and energy. You want to stand out to your clientele but you don’t want to detract from the surroundings.

Smaller window, sandwich board and storefront signs that hang above the entryway are good options if your customers are pedestrians. Larger, brighter signs are necessary if your customers will be driving by your business or visiting in the evening.

Consider the pros and cons of material choices:

Painted plywood — cheaper but is subject to water damage and might need to be replaced more frequently

Painted glass — attractive, distinctive, not terribly expensive but may not be seen from the street

Punched metalboard — affordable, durable, weather resistant, can look clean and modern or historic depending on design

Metal logo and lettering — three-dimensions adds texture and interest, more expensive

Fabric — budget-friendly, colorful and unique, require frequent upkeep and replacement

Call a few sign companies and make sure they can answer the following questions:

Will they apply for any needed permits?

Do they offer design services?

What are the cost differences between materials?

How does more color add to the cost?

Do they offer installation services?

Is there an installation fee?

What are the maintenance and cleaning differences between materials?

Do they offer maintenance and at what cost?

Do they offer insurance for installation and if the insurance covers any mishap should the sign fall or hurt someone in any way?

Do they offer a guarantee or warranty for the life of the sign?

How long will it take t o get your sign ready and installed?

Ask a friend to look over your sign mockups. Is it obvious to them what you do? Are your brand colors and/or logo identifiable? Is additional information (store hours, website, etc.) easy to understand?

Now that you’ve got a checklist to guide you through the practical steps of choosing the right signage for your business comes the fun part of designing an entire storefront to set off your new sign. Check out Pinterest boards or a few of our favorite articles here and here for inspiration.