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Harford County Signs and Banners Blog

Trend-Setting Signs

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spring fashions are already at retail, and there’s lots of color.  The Pantone Fashion Color Report for 2013 reports a “balancing act” between dynamic bright colors and neutrals.  Fashionistas want a balance between being classic and being able to express their individuality.  The result is a list of colors with names like Dusk Blue, Grayed Jade, Tender Shoots and Poppy Red.  The Color Report says greens will be big this Spring.  But should you consider using green or something called “Tender Shoots” on your signage?

While fashion is a sign of the times, signs do not have to be in fashionable colors.  They need to be readable.  Following color trends is fine if you’re a fashion retailer.  But if you’re doing vehicle wraps, on-premise signage or trade show banners, you want to look at what people see the best, not what color matches their spring rain coat.  Trendy colors can often be difficult to read when applied to graphic lettering.  The U.S. Sign Council provides a list of the most readable, visible colors for signs, and we didn’t see Grayed Jade or Dusk Blue on it.

For good color visibility, signs should use contrasting colors for the background vs. the foreground lettering.  Combinations like black on yellow, green, red, blue or black on white, brown on yellow or white on red are easy to read.  They are combinations that “pop” off the sign and make you read the message.  Choosing a color combination for your signs should incorporate your company colors.  The text should be some variation of your logo color, provided it is among the typeface colors that are readable and sharp.  If it’s not, consider using black or reverse white on a colored background to prevent introducing too many colors and to make your message very readable.  

Since you’re likely not going to be changing your sign every time the fashions change, choose something that is classic, not trendy.  Set the trend of having a sign that works for you. 

Carve Your Business In Their Memories

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Why do you need a sign?  It’s a fair question.  Answers might be: to direct people; to attract people’s attention; to let people know where your business resides; to communicate your product to potential customers.  The reasons businesses need signs are as varied as the businesses themselves.  But the overall reason a business needs a sign is so people remember it.   

People will remember a well-placed and well-designed sign that helps them locate a business.  If they can’t find you because you have poor signage, the result will be a frustrated customer.  They will grouse to your staff, complain to their friends, tarnish your good business reputation.  A custom sign for your business will leave a lasting impression and get the entire experience off on the right foot.

Today’s newest materials for custom signs include High Density Urethane or HDU, a material that is designed to look like wood.  HDU is lighter than wood and more weather resistant, so it requires less maintenance.  It can be painted or stained to give the impression of age or a more beautiful wood finish.  Unlike wood, it is resistant to rot and insect pests, so it will last longer and maintain its characteristics.  HDU material can still be hand-painted in any color, carved to look three-dimensional or gilded with gold or silver.  It still gives the impression of wood, but the material simply makes the sign last longer and look better.  A better looking sign makes a better memory for your customers.  That’s a good reason to have a sign.

Size Does Matter

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

In on-premise signage, size does make a difference – the size of the message, that is.  An impactful sign can be any physical size – from a wall plaque to a giant billboard, depending on where it is placed.  Regardless of the square footage of the sign, if the message is too small or unreadable, it won’t have any impact at all. 

On-premise signs need only display the main message.  That message should be succinct and memorable, not wordy and difficult to read.  What’s the call-to-action?  What do you want the reader to do?  If it’s call you on the phone, then make the phone number the largest part of the sign.  If you want to push people to your website, then give that address center stage on your signage.  Your company name and your call-to-action are the most important parts in any customer communication.  They should be big, compared to the other parts of the sign.   

The graphics should also be readable.  Choose a font or typeface that is sharp and clean.  Fancy script or lettering can be distracting and difficult to read.  If a potential customer has to struggle to figure out what you want him to do, it’s likely that you’ve lost the customer.  Your professional sign manufacturer can and should advise you on the proportions of the lettering and graphics on your sign.  They can act as a “readability consultant” and let you know how big the message can be on your size sign.  You have only a limited amount of sign real estate.  Use it to your advantage, because message size does matter.

Read ‘Em and Drive – Study Finds Electronic Signage Not Distracting to Drivers

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Go ahead and read that electronic sign message along the road.  It probably won’t distract you from the task at hand – driving.  So says a recent study conducted by Texas A&M University on behalf of The Signage Foundation.  

Many local jurisdictions outside of the Harford County and Baltimore County areas have put restrictions on the use of on-premise digital signage, citing the risk of increased traffic accidents.  While we know that a digital signage message is no more distracting than an outdoor billboard, this study validates that knowledge and provides a good basis for decision making in those areas that prohibit electronic signage.  

Due to the novelty of the industry, this is the first study that has actually been able to monitor effects of electronic signage over a period of time, and it concluded that electronic on-premise signage does not cause traffic accidents.  The survey focused on 135 signs in four states over a four-year period.  Using crash data from the Federal Highway Safety Information System, along with before and after data, the study showed no significant change in traffic accidents after the installation of electronic signage.  

Researchers also analyzed single-vehicle and multi-vehicle accidents and found no significant changes.  Additionally, they studied the color, size and types of signs for various businesses and found no correlation between any of these individual factors and an increase in traffic crashes.  Digital signage will continue to grow in popularity as the hardware and software prices continue to become more affordable.  More retailers, banks, restaurants and businesses will realize the benefits of electronic signage and be able to use it to its full advantage, without fear of distracting drivers.


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