The purpose of advertising it to increase public awareness of your company and signage is an important part of that but if your sign doesn’t stand out, it won’t attract enough attention to do its job. Most business signs have many characteristics in common and this can make them boring, predictable, and effectively invisible. Most signs are:
- Carefully balanced;
- Tastefully drawn; and
- Perfectly color-coordinated.
Great signs, on the other hand, are the most interesting pieces of scenery in their vicinity and attract attention even when people are not looking for them. This is not because they follow the conventional rules but rather because they break them effectively.
Here are the five biggest mistakes a company can make when designing, choosing, and displaying their business sign:
- Attempting to be understated or elegant
- Trying to fit in or blend with surroundings
- Including too much information
- Bad placement
Bad placement refers to when a sign is placed too high or too low to get the appropriate amount of attention. Signs placed to high will miss drivers who tend to keep their eyes at windshield height – unless they are stuck in traffic. Low signs which can be read easily by drivers as they pass by are best for in town while taller signs are better on highways and freeways where they can be seen and read from farther away.
Case Study: Hollywood
The Hollywood sign is probably the most iconic and recognized signs in the world. It also happens to be a great example of all of the potential mistakes we discussed earlier. Dramatic, different, and imperfect, it demonstrates the effectiveness of taking a less conventional approach. Originally designed to identify a remote suburban subdivision, Hollywoodland, the sign has come to be a symbol not only of the city but also of civilization as it is frequently depicted in zombie and apocalypse movies as half-fallen down and neglected.
The sign has achieved this level of fame by being grossly oversized and strangely placed in a 3 dimensional environment. Its white letters contrast sharply with the brown and green hillside and the letters are not even but rather rise and fall with the terrain. All of these imperfections serve to make the sign more memorable, giving it much greater impact.
Keep these ideas in mind when designing your sign and remember: rules are made to be broken.