What type of sign does my business need?

What kind of sign does my business need?

One of the most important decisions that you can make about your business signs is ‘What  kind of sign’ is going to be best for your business taking into account:

(a) what the sign is intended to achieve,

(b) your businesses location and

(c) your budget.

While it may seem ‘obvious’ that as your sign supplier I want you to spend as much as possible on your sign, it is important for me to remember that it is not about me, but rather what is best for your business and from SignForce’s perspective, our future relationship as your business grows and prospers.

I find it is ALWAYS best to start with knowing and understanding what your sign needs to achieve.

If, for example, your sign is intended solely to make a statement that YOU as a business “HAVE ARRIVED”, then an excessively large sign may work and do well to get your desired message across. If, on the other hand you want people to see your sign as an invitation to visit and come into your premises, then the said large sign may result in you spending more than was necessary, and may be costing you business by dissuading potential customers from entering your premises because the sign is not the correct type of sign for your intended target market.

Generally signs will be used to invite, inform, direct and persuade potential readers.

An example of a sign that ‘invites‘ could be a store front sign that is intended to ‘invite’ the reader into your store. Because the sign is intended to invite the reader into your store, the sign needs to be able to stand out from the surrounding signs and environment. For example, if your store sells fast food in the fast food area of a shopping mall, and your competitors all have beautifully decorated illuminated signs, unless your sign is equally beautiful and illuminated, possibly with an additional dimension like flashing lights or a lifestyle picture showing someone enjoying one of your meals, the chances are that your potential clients will overlook your sign and your business, thus potentially costing you money. While ‘invitational’ signs can be decorated Chromadek (treated metal), this is often not allowed by shopping centers, and may not achieve your desired effect. Often fabricated,3D signs are used for invitational signs.

 An example of a sign intended to ‘inform‘ is a street sign or a warning sign. These signs are intended to ‘inform ‘ drivers of impending dangers or of changes in road conditions or of upcoming situations, such as a guarded intersection, an unguarded intersection, a traffic light or hidden access to the road. Information signs are usually large and generally made from the most cost effective material that will achieve the objective of getting the desired message across while at the same time having the desired life span, which depends a lot on the climatic conditions where the sign is to be installed.

 Signs that are intended to ‘direct‘ include motorway and highway signs – such as directing readers to keep in the right lane to go to Timbuktu and keep left to go to Cape Town. Directional signs, like directory signs, also assist readers to get to where they are looking to go. Like information signs, Directional signs are usually made from the most cost effective material that will achieve the objective of getting the desired message across while at the same time having the desired life span, which depends a lot on the climatic conditions where the sign is to be installed. Directional signs, especially those that are indoors, also offer the opportunity for designers to integrate the signs into the aesthetics of the building and office environment, so the range of possible materials is large and could include wood, plastics, metal or glass, or a combination of all of these.

Directional and directory signs can begin doing their intended work when entering a premises – with say a sign reading RECEPTION with an arrow directing people to the reception, followed by a directory board in the reception – with the directory board informing the reader which wing, floor and room the reader is intending to visit.

Lastly an example of a sign intended to ‘persuade‘ could be a in-store poster or a billboard sign showing a product, such as a sign showing how a specific brand of washing powder will wash whiter and brighter than a competing brand. The message is intended to persuade the reader to buy and try the advertised product.

All of the above must take into consideration your budget as well as what return is expected – measured in terms of any of the following: number of feet, increase sales, decreased complaints, decreased incidents and accidents, or a combination of all of these. The most common upmarket signs that are used to persuade tend to have a metal (aluminum) frame with the printed message printed onto a gloss paper or vinyl. The material used would depend on the look and feel of the store as well as the intended target market.

By now I am sure you understand that while there may be a standard, off the shelf solution to your question as to “what type of sign does my business need”, there are many variations, answers and opinions to the answer the question. For this reason, as well as all the reasons given above, or if you are unsure of what sign you are looking for, or which sign would best achieve your intended objective, calling a SignForce sign consultant to get an expert opinion can reduce your stress and help you make an informed decision.

If you are in the market for professional looking signs at “FAIR VALUE”, and would like advice on how best to project your business’s image while considering any funds you spend on marketing and signs as an investment, please contact the writer at arnold@signforce.co.za or david@signforce.co.za and use the subject line: ADVICE PLEASE and we will gladly assist and advise you.

How to make your way finding signs more effective

 

Wayfinding sign, wayfinding signs, directory sign, directory signs, modular sign systems,Way Finding Signs

Way Finding Architecture signs are finally being integrated into more the greater communications realm.

A few years back, but not that long ago, when SignForce did the way finding signage for Morningside Medi-Clinic, a large private hospital in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa, we did our best to make sure that all the signs on the premises – from when people drove into the parking area until they reached their desired doctor or other destination – was all integrated and clear, especially as there was a lot of renovations and construction taking place at the time.

I had been working on the project for about five months when I was standing in one of the many foyers, and watched as a number of people evidently searching for something. Being the nosy person I am I asked if I could assist, and all, bar none, were lost – so much for my boards and ego. They had followed our carefully planned signs, yet were didn’t feel like they had been helped at all. The challenge we had failed was leading people through the labyrinth of passages and stairs, without making the hospital look like the proverbial Christmas tree.

Today, with the advent of YouTube and so many other digital aids, this can be made so much easier. I was reading an article on LinkedIn, for a group titled Architectural Signage, and the writer (and subsequent comments) were chatting about what is being done at the Royal Melbourne Hospital where patients are issued with a letter when they book their procedure, and the letter refers to a web based video that can be watched so the patient’s can see where they are going in advance, reducing their stress on arrival. A similar video is also made available to visitors on site at the hospital.

What a brilliant concept. While this will certainly not remove, or even reduce, the need for way finding signs and directory boards, because of it’s integrated nature it is certain to make finding one’s way around any facility a lot simpler. And from the perspective of a sign maker, this is the first time I have come across any idea where technology and way finding and directory signs are integrated. I believe if designed and implemented correctly, the integrated approach can make visitors lives much simpler, possibly for no other reason than what is referred to as using the mind as a magnet – that is being prompted in advance what to look for.

SignForce’s is a full service sign company, and with our understanding of consulting, internet, design and signs, we are well positioned to assist you to integrate your way finding architecture and signs. Contact the writer now for more information.

Arnold N. Pollak – arnold@signforce.co.za

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