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How do you decide where you are going to eat? Where do you choose to fill up your gas tank? These decisions are made in a matter of seconds. How do you capture your target audience with only a few seconds of their undivided attention? The answer is Effective Signage.

Below is what we at La Crosse Sign Group have found in over 100 years in business. We would offer as our expert advise on how to create effective signage.

  1. Less is More/K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid)
Outdoor Sign Strategies - Less is More

When you are driving in your car, you look at a sign for approximately 2.5 seconds. In those precious seconds you need to communicate: Who you are, what you do & peak enough interest to cause someone to google the business or bring them in the door. We suggest a maximum of 3 separate pieces of information. With that information it needs to have a hierarchy. Which leads us to number two….

2. Establish a Hierarchy

Outdoor Sign Strategies - Establish a Hierarchy

When every aspect of a sign has equal emphasis and copy size everyone loses. Similar to a title of a book, you need to establish a hierarchy of importance. The company name or logo should be the largest aspect, followed by what you do or services provided. When you don’t follow this prescribed formula you will end up confusing your perspective clients and miss opportunities.

3. The Best Things Come in 3’s

Outdoor Sign Strategies - The Best Things come in Threes

Like Lebron James, Dwayne Wade & Chris Bosh created great success for the Miami Heat. Your sign needs a maximum of 3 PRIMARY colors to ensure great visual success. There are always exceptions to rules… however, most of the time 3 colors in a logo typically creates the most visually appealing sign.

4. Create Contrast

Outdoor Sign Strategies - Create Contrast

This principle relates to time and distance. How much time does your customer have to view your sign & from what distance? These two items must be answered before the final design is adopted. The further away a customer is from your sign, the greater the contrast needs to be. Conversely, the closer the viewing distance coupled with more viewing time, the less contrast becomes a factor. As a rule of thumb, for every 100 feet of viewing distance you will need 1′ of copy height.

5. BEWARE! Print Media & Signage are Drastically Different

BEWARE! Print Media & Signage are Drastically Different

An effective business card will not make an effective sign. The information printed on a business card works because the person who has that card has the time to study & compute the information. Using that same information & logo on a sign creates too much chaos. Remember LESS IS MORE.

6. WOW Factor

Outdoor Sign Strategies - WOW Factor

If it’s in the budget or realm of possibilities, add an architectural element that completely blows the competition out of the water. Creating something iconic that is going to drive conversation in your community about YOUR sign will set you apart from anyone else. Who doesn’t want to be the talk of the town.

I hope this helps. Buying a sign is a huge investment and should be treated as such. Make sure you work with a company who thoughtfully considers all aspects of your business. I can think of one :). Feel free to contact me, I would love to help in anyway. I can promise I will always be straight forward with you & offer good advice.

Joel House – Sign Consultant
La Crosse Sign Group
La Crosse, Eau Claire, Madison

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