Thursday, 21 July 2016

Creating Memorable Signs : Dos and Don’ts for you

Signage is the commonest cost-effective publicity medium available. The precise purposes of a business sign are to: create public awareness of the business entity and the products or services on offer; arouse interest in the form of footfalls and queries.

Many business owners try to ensure that their signs serve those purposes by looking around and following what others are ‘successfully’ doing. In most cases, business signs are sized nicely, balanced in the amount of information they convey, and perfect in the use of tasteful artwork and color coordination.

In other words, most of these signs are like a million others – all of them anything but memorable. That is what you do not want. That’s how your business sign should not be.

The universally known sign

One sign that is recognized all over the world and evokes immediately associations of the industry it represents is the HOLLYWOOD sign in Southern California. Forget the fact that it was originally put up by a real estate developer over 90 years ago, to promote a new property subdivision.

Today it means movies – not just in the place of its location, but all over the world. Let’s look at how it has turned out to be such a memorable sign.

It is dramatic

It is far too big, brash and loud. It is located in a strange place; it would have been perfect for a real estate subdivision, but not for the movie industry. It is 3-dimensional, where it does not need to be so. But it works beautifully.

It is unusual

The color scheme is odd: a white sign on a hillside of green and dark brown. The sign is not mounted on a pole or stand, but sits on the ground. It is not in proximity to high traffic areas and people have to look for it. But it works wonderfully.

It is not “correct”

The letters of the sign are not level: they rise and fall as the terrain undulates.  Would a normal sign have such sloppy lettering? It would not. But once again, the sign works enchantingly.

The HOLLYWOOD sign is an old one, of a period when signage was unknown to be what it is today – a sophisticated high tech science. It does not conform in any way to what are generally accepted as the fundamentals of good signage. It has major defects that advertising and PR experts would pronounce ‘fatal’.

But it has become a celebrated all-time icon. None of these “mistakes” were made on purpose – they just happened. At times, making such “mistakes” deliberately can work for you in creating memorable signage.

The HOLLYWOOD sign breaks all the rules that most people associate with business signs. But it works as no other, and has become an evergreen icon of the industry. In other words, playing too safe and being too conventional can make your signs forgettable.

Going to the other extreme can detract the onlookers from your message; the sign, not your business, would become a talking point. Finding the middle ground is not easy.

The best way to get your signage right is to work with a professional signage company. They have the experience and expertise to create signs that are memorable, maximize the publicity you get, and increase the footfalls as you expect.