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Successful Business Signs Incorporate These 4 Elements

William (Bill) Hayes

Daphnies channel letter sign

Even if you have products and services of the highest quality, if your business signs do not make people stop and shop in your business, you will lose potential customers to your competitors. Poorly designed signs can also affect the profitability of your business.

Designing effective business signs entails more than creating a striking assembly of your company’s logo and slogan. Signs also encompass a blend of demographics and target marketing.

Successful business signs incorporate the following core elements into the design process:

Sign visibility

Highly visible business signs make your enterprise more visible to passing motorists, attract new customers, and grow your business. According to the International Sign Association, the most important characteristic of successful  is the ability to communication an effective message that drivers can see through the windshield of their automobiles.

Visibility also depends on other factors, including:

  • Placement
  • Illumination of signs at night
  • Contrast of signs to the surrounding environment
  • Signs that are too small, placed too high or too low

When positioning a sign, consider its location relative to trees, landmarks, buildings, other signs, and inclement weather. 

Conspicuity – your sign stands out

This  element determines if potential customers will notice and be aware of your sign -- meaning drivers can distinguish it from the surrounding background.

The “obviousness” of a sign also depends on its placement or “cone of vision.”  This refers to the sign’s angles relative to the average person’s peripheral vision— between 18 to 24 degrees.

Conspicuity also considers:

  • Ease of reading the sign
  • Design elements-- shape, colors, illumination, contrast, motion, and borders
  • Contrast with surroundings
  • Familiarity with symbols or logos

The speed of traffic also affects the consciousness of business signs. Furthermore, a person  driving around searching for a home improvement center will be more likely to notice its sign than an individual headed to work.

Legibility – reading the message

Legibility denotes the ability of oncoming motorists who have 20/40 visual acuity to read business signs. The legibility of a sign aligns properly when its letters, symbols, and graphics can be sufficiently made out and its meaning understood. Font, letter size, and spacing of letters, words and blank area on the sign affect readability.

Judge the legibility of business signs based on the distance of motorists from the signage. Keep in mind that drivers focus on driving and they have numerous distractions competing for their attention.

The United States Sign Council publishes the "On-Premise Sign Guideline Standards," which provides guidance for determining a sign's size, legibility, and height.

Strive for "readability"

The ultimate goal for signs is readability--  drivers' ability to comprehend the message. As a driver becomes more familiar with a sign, the ability to recognize it increases—reducing recognition time.

Aesthetics play  a critical role  in the readability of a sign. People quickly summarize a message about the business based on the sign's colors, fonts, shapes, and graphics in less than a second. They use this information to determine whether to read or ignore the message.  

For example, a person seeking a men's clothing store will be less likely to pay attention to a sign with hot pink colors or the logo of a high heel shoe.

Signs bring customers

There are other criteria, such as quality, functionality and standards of safety, which goes into the decision-making process for this aspect of your marketing program. Regardless of your industry, you need to function effectively in a highly competitive, media rich, and increasingly global marketplace

 Professionally designed business signs enable you to mold your long-term success by creating a street presence and sending an effective message to potential customers.

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William (Bill) Hayes
Written by

William (Bill) Hayes

William (Bill) Hayes, with over 20 years of experience, is deeply committed to assisting small and medium-sized businesses in developing effective B2B advertising strategies. His expertise primarily focuses on integrating on-premise signage solutions with traditional advertising methods. At Signdealz, Hayes leads the charge in innovating advertising tactics aimed at SMEs, concentrating on generating efficient, lead-producing mechanisms that outperform competitors in both immediacy and cost-effectiveness. He spends much of his time working directly with small business owners, guiding them in evaluating locations, advertising strategies, and the necessary systems to attract customers to physical sites. Utilizing a tested network of partners, Hayes plays a crucial role in facilitating the nationwide distribution of signage, underscoring his dedication to enhancing the visibility and growth of businesses across various sectors.

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