Walking through any urban landscape, one of the most overlooked yet omnipresent features is exterior signage. Companies are continuously pumping billions into designing exemplary signage to etch their brand's essence into people’s routines.
Around 76% of consumers say they've entered a store or business they've never visited based solely on its signage. But on the flip side, how many businesses get overlooked because their signage didn't make the cut?
As we delve deeper, we'll uncover the different types of exterior signage and their significance, the principles behind their designs, and why location and durability play such pivotal roles.
Types of Exterior Signage
Stepping back in time, traditional signage has graced the exterior of businesses for centuries. Typically made from materials such as wood, metal, or even neon, it offers a tactile and enduring presence in the physical world.
The main advantages of traditional signage lie in its durability and the capability to reach audiences in locations with minimal digital penetration. Some common types of traditional signage include:
- A-Frame and sidewalk Signs
- Channel Letters and Neon Signs
- Pylon Signs
The future is digital, and signage is no exception. LED and LCD technology powers digital signage by providing dynamic and vibrant displays that can change on a whim. You'll commonly find digital signs in commercial areas, malls, and public transit locations where they showcase videos, animations, and even real-time updates.
Its advantages are timely content updates, energy efficiency, and a modern appeal that can attract today’s tech-savvy consumers. Businesses can rotate ads, provide up-to-the-minute information, or even interact with consumers through QR codes.
Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) Advertising
As a specialized segment of digital signage, digital out-of-home offers a level of adaptability previously unattainable from traditional OOH advertising. DOOH ads can shift based on the time of day, weather, or even current events. This means that a skincare brand, for instance, can promote sunscreen during a sunny afternoon, and then switch to moisturizer ads in the cooler evening hours. This adaptability ensures that ads remain relevant, timely, and engaging for viewers on the move.
Thanks to audience behavior analysis, DOOH platforms can gauge the effectiveness of specific ads and enable content strategy refinement based on actual engagement metrics. Are more people looking at the ad when a particular type of content is displayed? Is there an increase in foot traffic to nearby stores post-advertisement display? Additionally, with advancements in facial recognition technology and IoT (Internet of Things) integration, DOOH ads can be more precisely targeted.
Wayfinding signs serve a critical function in guiding people through expansive or unfamiliar settings. Commonly found in places like airports, shopping malls, or hospitals, they help visitors navigate complex areas with ease.
Wayfinding signage reduces confusion by giving clear directions that enhance the overall experience for visitors and improve safety by directing foot traffic efficiently. Examples of these signs include the directional arrows you might see pointing to boarding gates, informational boards in a museum, or exit signs in a large retail store.
Importance of Exterior Signage
Increasing Brand Awareness
Exterior signage acts as a constant visual touchpoint for consumers, which is critical in enhancing brand recall and recognition. Prominent displays of a brand's logo, colors, and messaging in strategic locations enable exterior signs to reinforce brand identity every time they catch a viewer's eye. Thanks to repeated exposure over time, the brand solidifies in the consumer's mind leading to an increase in brand awareness.
In the tech industry, the green shield logo of NVIDIA is a good example. When positioned outside tech stores or displayed prominently at tech events, it instantly communicates cutting-edge graphics and high-performance computing.
Informing and Engaging Clients
Exterior signage serves the dual purpose of informing and engaging. A sign tells potential customers what they can expect inside, whether it’s a special discount, a new product, or a unique service. Consider a cafe displaying a sign about a freshly brewed seasonal drink or a boutique announcing a limited-time offer. By doing so, exterior signage provides essential information that captures attention and prompts potential customers to take action.
Statistics show that visual content outperforms text by 94%. Maintaining a 2:1 ratio of visuals to text can optimize engagement. This balance ensures signs are attention-grabbing and clear.
Design and Implementation
The success of any signage or advertisement heavily leans on its design and how it's implemented in the real world.
Effective Design Principles
When designing signage, some key principles stand out: clarity, simplicity, and relevance. For retail, consider the minimalist design of GAP; its clean white backdrop with bold, blue uppercase letters ensures that the brand is immediately recognizable from a distance, emphasizing its modern and straightforward fashion offerings.
New York City's subway signage is exemplary in wayfinding. Its symbols are immediately recognizable, and it has a clear typeface, and color-coded lines, which ensure navigating the subway is less daunting for both locals and tourists.
In both examples, notice the importance of a clean layout, easily readable fonts, and correct color choices. These design principles ensure that brands can effectively communicate their intended message.
Outdoor Advertising Screens
The technology driving outdoor signage has undergone substantial innovation, with various screen types catering to different advertising needs and urban aesthetic needs. The most common types include:
- LED Screens
- High-Resolution LCD Screens
- Interactive Touch Screens
- Solar-Powerd Screens
Newer outdoor advertising screens are harnessing the potential of OLED technology which offers deeper blacks and vibrant colors, making even the simplest visuals pop. They consume less power and can be incredibly thin, allowing for more flexible installation options.
Key Considerations for Exterior Signage
Location and Visibility
The placement of a sign can make or break its effectiveness. Industry experts agree that a sign’s location can have a profound impact on a business’s visibility and engagement. It's therefore important to position signs where they'll have maximum exposure to the target demographics.
You can achieve this by doing the following:
- Assess both pedestrian and vehicular traffic patterns to identify high-traffic areas.
- Place your sign at an angle and height where it's visible from a distance without any obstructions.
- Familiarize yourself with local signage regulations to avoid placements that might breach guidelines.
- Ensure the sign is well-lit or choose reflective materials for night-time visibility.
- Review your sign's visibility from various distances and angles, adjusting as needed.
Maintenance and Longevity
More than 68% of consumers believe a business’s reliability is reflected in the quality and aesthetics of its sign (as per a FedEx survey), making the importance of durable materials apparent. Opting for waterproof and UV-resistant materials shields against potential rain and sun damage. Likewise, effective designs should enable signage to withstand extreme temperatures like blistering heat or cold.
Yet, even the sturdiest sign requires routine maintenance. Regular inspections are vital to spot early signs of wear and tear, be it fading colors, chipping, or lighting issues.
Unlock Your Visibility With Effective Exterior Signage
Imagine how this would negatively affect your sales: 4 out of 5 people have trouble finding your business because of poor signage or no signage at all. That’s the case for some businesses according to research. Well here is the good news, 80% of businesses that have adopted digital signage have reported a significant boost in sales, and we have just the tools to make that a reality for you.
Сloud-based digital signage software helps you design the most eye-catching and vibrant signage content and makes the management of your displays seamless and hassle-free. To get a feel of its potential, sign up for a free 14-day trial period and get access to all premium features.