Planning Exterior Signage to Meet Your Business Needs

Whether you have a new building, an old sign that needs to be replaced, or you’re in the rebranding process, once you’ve determined you need a sign, the next step is to consider what type of sign you need. What are you trying to accomplish with your sign – branding, advertising, wayfinding, information sharing, or all the above? What image do you wish to project, who is your potential customer, and what are your limitations?

How big should the sign be?

The sign should be easy to read from the highest traffic area where your sign is visible. There’s no set answer to how big your letters should be. An experienced sign builder can help you determine this by conducting a site inspection.

What are the regulations?

Every municipality has different regulations. Again, an experienced sign provider will be able to walk you through this complicated, often slow, and sometimes frustrating process.

Should my sign be lighted?

In most cases – yes. If your sign is only identification or directions, maybe not, but most signs are much more than that – they’re one of the more cost-effective forms of advertising. Why would you ever want to turn your advertising off?

How many words should I use?

A good average is 3 to 5 words. You want prospects to quickly and easily grasp your message while keeping in mind they may be in their car and are certainly being bombarded with thousands of other messages.

What font should I use?

Think readability first, demographic second, and style third. We would advise against difficult to read fonts, regardless of how attractive they might be.

What color should my sign be?

The first question is what are you trying to convey? For example, yellow is stimulating. The soothing quality of blue may be appropriate for a Yoga studio. Many restaurants incorporate warm tones for their energy and enthusiasm.

Points to Consider

There are many points to discuss when designing an exterior sign. Size, regulations, and style must all be considered. Your customer, demographics, and what you’re trying to accomplish are key. Color, typography, and design are all critical to the success of any sign.

Don’t Wait for a Sign

Last week, I visited friends at their new venture. It’s an established business operating under the same name for as long as I can remember. They want to change the name, and they know they should brand all advertising and media alike. The hold-up is the exterior sign. It will take much longer than they anticipated — at least six weeks. Why does it take so long? The first step is preparing for a permit, which includes the following:

The first step 

  • Scalable site plan, including size and location of existing and proposed signage
    • Property owner’s information (not the tenant) name, address, and phone number
    • Scalable dimensions of the building and full frontal photo
    • Project address, including suite number
    • Property owner Letter Of Permission
    • Legal description of the property
    • Scalable details of the sign
    • Facility contact info
    • Cost of the sign

Steps two and three

Next, check with the landlord. Many property owners and most business centers have their own required specifications.

Now you’re ready to submit a permit proposal — plan on a 2-4 week wait depending on the municipality and backlog.

Steps four through six 

It’s time to work on sign design. An experienced sign designer said, “Designing a sign before you get a permit is like buying furniture for a home before you get a mortgage — it just doesn’t make sense.” Design is a multiple step process of submitting ideas, drafting a design, and reworking the design, which can take two days or two weeks. Exterior signs represent businesses for many years — It’s more important to get it right than to get it quick.

Now we’re ready to build the sign. Signs are custom work, most are not prefabricated and, again, depending on the detail, size, and structure this can take a week or more. Also, the most competent sign builders usually have some backlog.

Finally, there’s installation. Trained professionals are required to install electrically lit signs, foundations must be prepared, and most signs are made up of several components, which may be installed separately.

Don’t Wait until it’s too Late 

For my friends mentioned earlier, the name change and re-branding from letterhead to digital will have to wait — on a sign. This is because all branded pieces or elements need to be considered in the re-branding process, so give yourself plenty of time.

If you’re branding or re-branding and need business signage, talk to us, and don’t let that valuable brand identifier — your company’s sign — hold you up.

TKO Signs has more than 30 years experience in designing and installing exterior signs. If you have any questions about exterior signs feel free to contact us at 888-544-8051 or 317-271-1398.


2018-12-26T19:13:38+00:00By |Signs for Business|

About the Author:

Randy Clark is the Director of Communications at TKO Graphix, where he regularly blogs for TKO's Brandwire. Randy is passionate about social media, leadership development, and flower gardening. He is a beer geek and, on weekends, he fronts the rock band, Under The Radar. He is the proud father of one educator, one principal, has four amazing grandchildren, and a public speaker wife who puts up with him. His twitter handle is: @randyclarktko, Facebook: Randy Clarktko, Google+: Randy Clark on G+

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