By Tony Baxter, Voodoo Designs

Signage is an integral part of any business, providing customers with a snapshot of what you have to offer. However, for most business owners, the amount of space available for a sign is finite, and has to be designed in an optimal fashion. To help you do this, here is a bit of expert advice on how to get the most out of your signage.

Don’t Be A Cheapskate:

It might be easy and simpler, not to mention cheaper, to throw something together yourself. Perhaps a whiteboard with some information scrawled in marker pen, or worse, a printed sheet of A4. However, the last thing that a customer wants to see when considering spending their money is a ‘that’ll do’ look. A sign is the first thing new patrons will notice and if it doesn’t look appealing, then that business is as a good as gone. Consider signage an investment, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out.

Avoid Contrasting Colours:

It might seem obvious to some, but walking down a highstreet, it is something you’ll inevitably notice on at least one shop’s signage. Contrasting colours make things difficult to read - such as white on yellow - and unless your plan is to have customers strain their eyes trying to work out what the name of your business is, it is something to steer clear of.

The subconscious mind of your customers is constantly at work. It scans and absorbs all information that it can interpret, even if the customer doesn’t. This means even if they don’t notice your shop right away, its in there head. However, if there is no hope of reading your sign, even their subconscious won’t take notice.

Make It Quick:

In a similar vein to contrasting colours, people aren’t going to spend a long time reading your sign unless they’re having a slow day. Most people are walking or driving past and only have a second or two to read it, so you need to make it snappy. No long drawn out names or useless information. This also appeals to skim readers, who are great at taking in a few words or images at a glance.

Let Them Know What You Are Selling:

It is very important you use your sign to advertise exactly what you offer. For example, we may all know Cadbury as the chocolate production company, but prior to its fame, you’d find it labeled under Cadbury’s Chocolate. It’s the same story with Apple. Now that they are one of the world’s most valuable companies they can use a simple image of their favourite fruit for their branding, but previously their signs bore the words ‘Apple Computer Co.’ The lesson here is simple: people need to know what you are selling, so tell them. It might seem counterintuitive, as all the big brands don’t seem to do this, but they can only afford to do it because they are so big.