So, when is it time to replace a sign and when should you leave it alone? Good question.
When is it Time to Replace a Sign?
The best answer is when it no longer conveys an effective message. There are different reasons for replacing a sign. Shifts in marketing approaches may directly affect signage, while outdated or damaged signage may no longer be up to the task.
What Are the Signs it’s Time for a Change?
- Re-branding — An easy example is a company name change, but it may be a branding change as well. If a company’s logo has changed, it should be updated anywhere, and everywhere it’s used — including signage.
- Outdated — If a sign looks old or out of place, and it’s not in an “Antiques Road Show” good kind of condition, it may hurt marketing efforts more than help. And if a sign no longer fits the image of the organization, it’s time for a change.
- Boring — If a sign has been in place for several years and has become part of the background, shaking things up with a new sign can be an effective marketing strategy. A new sign says a lot of positive things about a company — stability, growth, and innovation, to name a few.
- Costly — We’re in the process of retro-fitting storefront channel letters for a brick and mortar operation. The signs are internally illuminated by neon, which we’re replacing with LED’s. The retrofit should pay for itself from energy savings. LED’S require less maintenance, and they last longer. LED’s are a triple threat savings ninja.
- Damaged — The general rule is, if a sign is damaged and the repairs equal 40% of the replacement cost, it should be replaced. Most local codes follow this rule for a good reason. It’s difficult to repair a sign damaged to this extent and retain its integrity and appearance.
When a new sign wouldn’t be cost-effective, don’t do it. But when a new sign would pay for itself with increased traffic, calls to action, or cost savings, it should be considered.
When Not to Replace a Sign
Everywhere you look, there are signs — channel letters on storefronts, monuments and pylon signs fronting the highway, and wayfinders guiding customers. Business signage, done properly, is a great addition to your marketing. They can be a centerpiece for branding or a call to action. They identify and locate your business, and they add prestige.
When You May Not Need a Sign
Restricted Permitting — When permit restrictions interfere with the effectiveness of a sign, it may be wise to forego it. We had a customer inquire about a sign for their building, which was located over 1/4 of a mile from a major thoroughfare. They wanted a lit sign that could be seen after dark by the motorists. While researching permits, it was discovered lit signs weren’t allowed, due to the proximity of a residential neighborhood. A non-lit sign wouldn’t have made the desired impact. The best solution was to stay with their current non-lit sign.
Short-Term Use — Although a sign will fulfill almost any business’s needs, it may be best used for long-term or permanent solutions. Banners or less expensive coreplex signage may be better suited for short-term calls to action, events, or marketing campaigns. A 4×8 reflective double-sided banner done well can attract a lot of attention.
Out of Budget — In 2011, some friends bought an existing restaurant and tavern. They remodeled the establishment, changed the menu, advertised, and attracted new clientele. They decided to change the name to fit the new atmosphere, but when they priced an exterior lit sign, it wasn’t in the budget. Then they removed the old sign and used window graphics to promote their new name. They waited until a sign was in the budget, and they now have both the sign and window clings. Even when it’s in the budget, it’s not uncommon to use banners and window film, while waiting for a new sign.
So, When Should Your Replace a Sign?
We love signs. Our favorite signs are custom designed individual works of art. We think almost everyone needs many signs. Exterior and interior, back-lit and non-lit, warehouse and wayfinder … signs for many purposes. But that doesn’t mean a sign is always the best choice. Before purchasing any sign, consider its purpose, your budget, and permit restrictions. How many signs does your business have? Have you used alternatives to signs? If your’re uncertain when to replace a sign and you’d like more information, TKO Signs, would be happy to help.