Essential building signs are the signs that every business owner needs for a new location, whether that location is for a brand-new business just getting started, a new location for an existing business that’s expanding, or even relocating.
These are the signs that you’re going to want to have when you open that new location. They help build brand recognition and direct vistors to your location. In this article, we will cover some of the essential types of building signs that you may need. Let’s first start with the outdoor signs.
Marquee Signs & Tenant Panels
One of the first signs that your customer’s going to see is what we call a marquee sign. These signs usually have different tenant panels and are located by the street. They contain either the name only or a logo that’s going to help build brand recognition and guide customers into the location.
The tenant panels are often lighted and can be seen 24/7 so, therefore, they’re advertising for you all day, every day. As you can see in the photo, they could be either directly lit internally using a light box, or sometimes they’ll be indirectly lit by having spotlights shine on it. That’s usually due to different regulations for a jurisdiction that’s going to say the type of lighting that your signage can have.
Another type of sign located at the street and is often used for a location where there is only one tenant is a marquee sign or a monument sign. These are usually fairly large structures which help draw attention to the business. Often, they’re internally lighted. Sometimes they, again, have indirect lighting. Again, that’s governed by the various jurisdictions.
Digital Message Boards
More recently, we’ve seen an increase in digital message boards, as you can see in the Hensley Automotive photo. These are great signs because they’re changeable. They allow you to keep the message fresh, and allow you to advertise various things such as specials that you’re running and allows you to change them on a day-to-day notice.
Pylon versus Monument Signs
The difference between a pylon sign and a monument sign is that a pylon sign is usually located above the ground and is not near the ground like a monument sign. Monument signs are often made of some sort of stone or brickwork, whereas the pylon signs are usually elevated with steel posts. They both serve basically the same function. They give a very large area to build your brand recognition and let people know what that business is that’s there.
Next, come the building signs. These are probably the most important signs to your business and are often located right above your front door.
Did you know that 46% of first-time customers are prompted to visit a business based on its sign?
So it’s very important that you’ve got a great-looking sign for your location, usually with a logo or some way to describe what your business does if you don’t want to put the name of the business above. An example of that is the travel agency where they just put the word “travel” above their awning.
Often, your building sign, like your monument sign, is going to be regulated by a government jurisdiction such as a city or a county. Types of jurisdictions will have ordinances that’ll regulate what you’re allowed to do and what you’re not allowed to do.
Building signs come in many different types. You could do a lighted sign, which can be either channel letters, or a cabinet, or a box with vinyl graphics, or sometimes what we call a channel cloud, which is just a way of indicating it’s kind of doing a formed cabinet which is not box-shaped and allows you to combine your logo and wording; usually, that’s done when a logo’s not very easy to do letters on. It will also allow you to reduce the number of letters by having just one structure.
Now some jurisdictions are not allowing building signs to be internally lit. If that’s the case, one option you have is to do indirect lighting using gooseneck lights that are placed either above or below the sign and shining directly on to it so that at least you get some illumination, because lighted signs are great because what they do is they allow you business to advertise all day and all night.
If you can’t have a lighted sign, some other options you might have would be to have just a metal panel with either vinyl graphics or dimensional letters that are cut from either PVC, sign foam, or acrylic. The key is to help people find your specific location, and that’s why this is probably the most important sign in your business.
Windows & Door Graphics
Other outdoor signage to consider go on your doors and your windows. For your doors, if you’re in a retail center, or even if you’re not in a retail center, but if you have a glass door, it’s usually important to put your hours of operation along with some contact information and your logo, of course. This allows customers to know when you’re there and how to contact you if you’re not there.
Also, don’t forget to use windows if you have a lot of windows on the front of your location. These are extra real estate that can be used for promoting your products, can put information about special sales or special promotions. We do these with a variety of materials, but most often we use cut vinyl to do this. Sometimes we’ll use what we call perforated vinyl, which is vinyl that has little-bitty holes in it, which allows you to put a full-color graphic on the window, but it still allows you to see through the window.
If you’re in a non-retail space that’s shared, like an industrial park or an office park, directional signs are also used to help guide people to find you in the right spot.
Now that we’ve talked about all the different outdoor signs that a location’s needs, let’s go inside.
One of the most common types of indoor signs that we do is a lobby sign. Sometimes these are also called corporate identity signs because that’s what they do is they identify what the business is. Most often, they’re used for brand recognition, so they’re usually in the shape of the logo and are constructed of various materials and in various ways. These are very, very important for branding.
You usually find these lobby signs behind a receptionist desk or on some sort of focus wall. As with most signs, they’re made in many different ways with many different materials. You can have them lighted so that they stand out from the wall. Usually, they’re made dimensionally, where we use either stand-offs or use thicker materials to put them on the wall so that they stand out.
However, if your business doesn’t lend itself to a lobby sign, there are other options such as wall graphics. Like windows, walls provide extra real estate that can be used for signage. One way signs can be used is by creating a mural which will help to enhance the atmosphere of the business, giving the business the look and feel that it would like to have.
For example, we worked with a seafood restaurant not too long ago that wanted their patrons to feel like they were down at the beach enjoying a nice seafood restaurant. In order to do this, what we did is we created a mural that looked like you were actually sitting on the beach. This helped customers to feel like they were in that location, even though they were miles away.
Another way wall graphics can help your business is by using your logo and help build brand recognition. Sometimes this is more cost-effective than having a lobby sign and gives you the option to brand the inside of the business so that people know where they are.
The third way we’ve used wall graphics for businesses is by what we call word art. That’ll often be cut vinyl letters in several different manners, and it could be a motivational saying, or it could be their mission and vision statement. This allows people to see what your business is all about.
Other indoor building signs are important to guiding people to places such as your restrooms, your exits, maybe some other room identifiers, or stairs. These types of signs are what we call ADA signs.
ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. These signs must follow certain guidelines to help people that are visually impaired to be able to also find their way around as well as somebody who doesn’t have that disability. These rules usually center around making a sign extremely visible, so you’ll often see these types of signs having raised letters (we call those tactile letters), pictograms, which identify something to do with the sign such as it’ll look like a bunch of stairs or it’ll have your little man and your little woman, and they will often have Braille. You will also find that the background and the foreground or the raised text will be contrasting colors.
Although signs must follow these guidelines, you can still be creative with them. You could use certain backgrounds that match your company colors, but as long as you stay within the guidelines, you can still be very creative with these types of signs.
Other Types of Signage
Finally, some additional signage you might consider might be things like banners. Banners are great for temporary signs. You could often use a Coming Soon banner, even before you put your building sign out there. That lets people know that your business will be there shortly and identifies what’s coming so you could generate excitement. Banners can also be used to generate excitement for a special sale or to let people know that you’re finally open.
Some other ways signs have been used are what we call sandwich boards or A-frame signs. These are nice because what you do is you put them right out in front of your business. People kind of have to walk around them, so they do notice them. You could use those to either advertise the business itself or some need of the business or even advertise a special sale.
If you’re in an office building, maybe you’re in an office building with multiple tenants and people need to be able to find your office, you could do that with an indoor directory sign, as you can see in the slide here.
One other unusual way we’ve seen people advertise their business, and it’s not necessarily a building sign, but we’ve see them use vehicle graphics kind of as a billboard. It acts similar, in a way, to a monument sign, but they’ve purchased a vehicle that actually runs because you can’t just park it there. You’ll get in trouble for that. It also gives the advantage of being able to advertise while they’re out doing deliveries as well as while they’re home in the shop.
Looking for someone to help?
You see there are many different types of signs that are important for your business location. We’ve worked with many businesses that have either started out or moved their business, so we know what they’re looking for. If you’re looking for building signs to open your business, or to move your business, or to expand your business, give us a call. We’ll be glad to help.