Despite the recognition that advertising on the internet through websites is a major way of advertising a business, the traditional sign that indicates the location of a business is still very much alive and of just as much importance as it has always been.

As well as showing the location of a business, in a very real sense a sign is an advertisement, as much as a website, for a business. But getting the sign right is not simply a matter of placing information and a logo on a board big enough for people to see and below are some suggestions that should help.

1.       CLARITY

Designing a sign involves being clear on what that sign is to do. In most cases this will be to attract customers and to mark the location of the business. It may seem obvious but thought also needs to be given to what further information the sign is to impart; for example a sign bearing ‘George’s Restaurant’ will identify the restaurant but adding ‘Vegetarian and Vegan food available’ will tell potential customers that the restaurant caters for vegetarians and vegans as well.

2.       USE OF COLOUR

Colour has a huge impact on people who view it and different colours will provoke different emotions depending upon personality. But certain colours are associated with particular types of business. For example, a garden centre may not be best represented by the strong, bold colour red but using colours found in nature such as browns and greens would be more suitable. Similarly the colours pink and light blue are often associated with baby goods. Red, orange and yellow are often called emotional colours as they are associated with, in turn, excitement and boldness, happiness and warmth, and energy and trustworthiness. Green is associated with nature and therefore health, freshness and growth. Shades of purple and pink bring to mind creativeness whilst black, white and silver appear balanced and therefore call to mind calmness or neutrality.


There are many different fonts available and a bewildering number of styles. Choosing the right one can be simplified by applying some simple rules, the first being that whatever the sign says should be legible. This may seem simple but it means that the basic function of making an announcement is kept in focus. To use the example of George’s Restaurant again the additional text that tells people George offers vegetarian and vegan options should be clearly legible and not in type that is too small to read easily or too fancy to be made out at a glance. Having said that lettering needs to stand out and make an impact as well as be easily readable and there are suppliers of striking lettering for signs such as SignTrade who have supply a range of moulded letters, chromaform letters and flat cut letters[AG1] . SignTrade Letters offer perspex Moulded Letters in a variety of colours and fonts that give a 3d appearance. Their flat cut letters are available in many styles and finishes and in sizes up to 3metres high and logos can be supplied in the same way. SignTrade’s Deep Draw letters are formed using deep draw pressure methods with a variety of materials. These letters are ideal for use on shops that are members of a chain using the same lettering. SignTrade’s Built Up letters are made from acrylic and can be used to create a striking illuminated sign. Also available are Chromaform Letters which are moulded and given a high shine chrome finish.


Signage is available in a number of different materials, some of which are best suited to indoor use, others outdoor. As can be seen with SignTrade’s lettering a variety of materials are available so it is important to be clear on where a sign is to be located to ensure it is best suited to the conditions in which it will spend its life.

5.       LOCATION

Locating the sign is as important an aspect as any other design element. A sign needs to be clearly visible so that it can attract attention. Placing a sign too high to be seen by pedestrians and drivers alike is clearly not desirable, nor is tucking it away somewhere low that is not readily visible.