How We Think

4 Reasons why you should love to design signage

Jan 25, 2019

Designers love glamour. As much as we deny it, the idea of working on THE project for THE client is something that 99% of designers strive for in our careers. So, when it’s time to work on more utilitarian tasks such as signage, it is usually met with indifference. However, this seemingly “boring” task is something you may want to look at from a new perspective. Why? Because designing signs could be some of the most enjoyable and important work you will ever produce. Don’t believe us? Here are four reasons to love the art of designing signage:

Signs are built to last
As much time and effort that goes into printed pieces, the truth of the matter is, they just don’t last that long. Brochures, posters and most direct mail pieces usually get viewed only a handful of times before making their way to the recycling bin. Even with digital advertising and design being such a dominant force in our world today, websites are usually redesigned every three years or so. However, signage is strong, sturdy, built to withstand the elements, and quite frankly, the investment in quality is cost-effective. Some places have the same sign for literally 50 years, and even turn it into an attraction itself.

*Warshaw Hardware, on Third Avenue and 20th Street, has been holding court since before the Great Depression.
https://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/the-citys-oldest-paint-and-hardware-stores-and-signs/
 

Extend the Brand
Yes, logos are important and are one of the most vital foundations of a brand. But what’s cool about a sign is that there are more elements to play with -  texture, size, movement, even smell, can all be incorporated into a sign to drive home the messaging of a brand. Own a flower shop? Incorporate a hanging plant into your sign so your clients experience the scent of fresh flowers as they walk in your business! A popular sign from my hometown of St. Louis is right off the highway, and comes to life at night as you drive along near the Anheuser Busch brewery!

People will see it. A lot.
It’s no secret that signs are meant to be displayed in a place where as many people can see it as possible. This is ideal for any designer, right? No matter what your designing, you can guarantee that it will be one of the things that someone remembers. Keep that in mind whenever you are questioning the importance of making signage. You are, after all, altering the conversation of the landscape: “Where do you want to meet?” “How about by the huge Amoco sign?"

An exercise in concise communication
Many times, designers can lose focus of the primary directive of design: to communicate. Designing signage doesn’t allow you to deviate too far from that idea. Yes, you can be creative, but ultimately you have a very specific message to communicate quickly and efficiently. Consider the oldest bar in New Orleans. Take one look at this sign and it not only gives you information (the name of the establishment), but the texture, font, design and overall presentation tells you about the historical vibe.

Have any examples of interesting signage to share? Want to really stand out with your signage and branch away from the norm? Contact us and we can help you create communication that withstands the test of time.