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3 Storefront Sign Pitfalls To Avoid

Few moments in an entrepreneur's life pack the sheer thrill of seeing that very first storefront sign go up. Now you're really ready for business -- or are you? Innocent errors in design or placement can turn even the most impressive-looking storefront signs into wasted investments. Here are three pitfalls to watch out for.

1. Colors That Send the Wrong Signals

You may have already established your official company colors in your logo, but you still have some control over which colors and color combinations you choose for the foreground, background, and details of your storefront sign. It's all too easy to pick colors you happen to love, when you should be going with the colors that will do your business the most good. Different colors have different psychological effects on people, so choose a dominant color that evokes the emotion you want to inspire. For instance:

  • Blue and green are soothing colors that encourage trust, which is why you see them in places like hospitals.
  • Purple indicates imagination and individuality at work. If you're a creative enterprise, this could be a great color for your storefront sign.
  • Gold is the color of wealth, extravagance, luxury and security, which may be great signals for your company to communicate.
  • Pink represents romantic love and is also associated with femininity. If you want to appeal to a female target market, this color could help.

Whichever colors you choose for your sign, make sure the text color stands in contrast to the background color. You want your letters to practically "pop" right out of the sign for maximum readability.

2. Improper Positioning or Sizing

No matter how appropriate your colors are, or how nicely they complement each other, your storefront sign won't make its effect if nobody can see it clearly. If you're located right on the corner of a busy intersection, don't assume that you can point your sign in either direction and get results. One street may be only a little side road used primarily by tradespeople, while the other is a major artery chock full of potential customers. On the other hand, that major artery might not offer drivers a practical way to exit in time to reach your store, while those tradespeople on the little side road might be the perfect audience for a business-to-business enterprise.

Even a properly positioned sign may be ineffective if you fail to account for the necessary scale in its design and construction. Drivers have only a fraction of a second to glance in your direction -- will that be sufficient to see your sign?  The only way to answer that question is to drive that route or walk out to the approximate spot and see for yourself, taking pictures or using specific markers on your building as a guide. If you do any part of your business before or after sundown (including those shorter winter days), think about adding lights as well.

3. Excessive Detail

It's tempting to go crazy with design elements when you're dreaming of turning heads with that gorgeous finished product. But you can turn heads for the wrong reasons. An overly busy design may simply read as confusing or even irritatingly tacky to your audience. Worse, it may distract from the sign's text, or make that text needlessly hard to read from a distance.

Fonts can get even fancier than other design elements -- with potentially more damaging results. After all, if your passersby can't make out your company's name or what kind of business it is, you might as well not have a sign at all. If your brand has already established the use of a fancy, elaborate font as part of your business's identity, then you may have to incorporate it into your storefront sign for better or worse. If you have a choice, however, always choose the simplest sans-serif fonts available. Simple fonts such as Helvetica and Arial offer no frills or other visual challenges, just pure communication to get your message across with crystal clarity.

Business owners are often do-it-yourself types by nature, but the smartest strategy for creating storefront signs is to consult an expert in the field who can advise you on colors, lighting, placement and other issues. Be "sign smart" and you'll have not only a beautiful storefront but a store full of shoppers as well! You can click here for info on designing and purchasing storefront signs.