20 Innovative Signage Ideas for Small Businesses

Inkbot Design
Inkbot Design
Published in
14 min readFeb 16, 2017


20 Innovative Signage Ideas To Grab Attention To Your Small Business

Starting up a new business and expanding it into broader dimensions, requires a perfect Branding and Marketing strategy.

With effective Signage ideas, your brand could have increased market reach and grab a lot of customers.

What Is Signage?

  • How does it appear when the signs speak to you? Giving just a moment’s glance and the product ads just get registered in your mind, isn’t it amazing as it sounds?
  • Signage is the perfect tool for an ideal visual representation.
  • Implementing signage ideas and principles would definitely capture larger attention and help you create a solid customer base.

Key Ideas for creating an Innovative Business Signage:

Creative outdoor signage

Idea 1: Signage Visibility

  • The purpose of using the signs is to make customers understand what your product is concentrated about.
  • Any customer would merely not spend more than 3.5 to 5 seconds to read your signage.
  • Devising a perfect eye-catching strategy, would help you gain more attention and make the customers understand your product.
  • As the thumb rule states: For every distance of 10 feet the height of the lettering should at least be one foot.
  • A clear and legible depiction of your business defines a greater signage visibility.

Idea 2: Readability of The Signage

  • Make the content bigger and easy to read from any distance.
  • Efficient management of the white space, adding limited content and graphic with bold contrasts is a sign for a great signage.
  • When placing an Outdoor signage consider the typical speed of traffic, 20,40 or 50 miles.
  • Decide how big your content should be placed; So that the fast moving traffic also will be able to notice and absorb, what’s there on the signage.
  • One main factor to avoid while designing an effective signage is to avoid ‘Clutter’, as it deliberately has a greater impact to Signage.

Idea 3: What Hides Out the Signage?

  • What’s the point in investing great amounts, when your banner hoardings are just going to be hidden under electrical wiring or bright lights?
  • The purpose of making banner ads lies in grabbing a great customer response.
  • The line of sight to your banner ads should always be heightened and clear.
  • Place the banner signs in locations that are visible enough and also make sure that, all the enlisted components in the banner ads, hold a definite place and is distinctly visible.

Related Article: How To Create Effective Marketing Materials

Signage Design

Idea 4: Scale The Sizes

  • The biggest problem in designing signage’s would be to decide an appropriate size and also to scale them accordingly.
  • Taking into consideration where the signs are going to be placed like on the Entrance or parking lot or A rental board; Would help you determine the appropriate size you need to work on.
  • The bigger the size the greater would be the reach! As it makes the readability of the signage less complicated and would definitely capture a wide range of customers.
  • Power Kerning is an effective tool for scaling letters for better visibility.
  • The human eye is a powerful tool to detect all the imperfections, and so it does when the letter visibility is obstructed may be due to over styling or inefficient spacing.
  • Perfect size, appropriate scale and precise spacing of letters, turns out prominent key factors for a classic design.

Idea 5: What Colour Attracts the Customer?

  • The magic of colours! Deliberately is a driving factor for creating a beautiful signage.
  • Eyes perceive the colours first, and it plays an important role carrying your Brand’s Identity.
  • Studies say that about 80% of the brand recognition is done with the colours, eventually, it turns to your Brand’s Trademark!
  • Pairing up lighter shades of letters against a darker background is always the best match;
  • But one thing to consider would be to not to make the letters go shady against the background.
  • Choosing bright and vibrant colours that are trendy, significantly draws more attention from the crowd.
  • Fewer colours are better — A dominant colour with proper contrasts and highlights against the lighter shade suits the perfect colour game.

Idea 6: Best Font to Read from A Distance

  • Fonts can convey meaning just as the words in your signage do!
  • Choosing the correct font style is important since it is the key to Marketing
  • Good fonts don’t require a hard time reading through, the eye reads faster when the chosen font goes well with the graphics and colour.
  • Fonts that are designed for the outdoor should have best reading qualities, even when the customer focuses from a fairly large distance.
  • Bad fonts that have too much of detailing would fade into the background and could give a cluttered appearance.
  • Heavy fonts will blend together and lose its basic shape, and disrupt the entire visibility.
  • It is a common misconception that depicting all texts in signage using Capital Letters, would increase the visibility.
  • But using them complicates and strains the eye and collapses the structure of readability.
  • Most used fonts in designing includes: Serif, Sans Serif, Helvetica and Display fonts.

Related Article: Business Events: The Power of Bespoke Branding

Design Your Quality Business Signage

Tip 7: Designing Signs with Contrast factor:

  • Having an engaging sign is the driving factor for a healthier business.
  • Putting up so many bright colours and graphics complicates readability of the signage.
  • Primary colours of nature work a propulsive factor, helping you pick appropriate colours with effective contrast bounce.
  • Studies also state using blue colour as signage background, makes it difficult for readers to read since it matches the colour of the sky.
  • Weaker colour contrasts could also be made to look effective by outlining the letters and using drop shadows, just around the foreground lettering.

Tip 8: Bold is Beautiful!

  • Go bright and bold as your product, because Branding Is Identity.
  • Bold and descriptive depiction would make your signage stand out from the crowd.
  • Perfect balance of contrasts and bigger sized lettering; Along with the perfect weight balance of the fonts, would give a bold, projected look to your signage.
  • Less serves more — Messages and the information heads should be precise and crisp, stating only the key factors.

Tip 9: Signage effectiveness

  • The effectiveness of signage could be increased by having an Exact Focal Point.
  • Understanding your product well and concentrating on key points, enhances the signage’s effectiveness.
  • Flooding your signage with too much information makes it look cluttered.
  • The signage is considered a visual representation of your brand.
  • To make an impressive signage “Keep It Simple”

Tip 10: Emphasise Your Identity

  • In today’s market, there are huge competitors competing for the same brand.
  • It is always an important factor that your brand and signage carry out a unique representation, stressing out more on Who You Are in The Market!
  • Check out what your competitors are doing? Analyse their standards by doing a little research; So, you could tweak your product the best way, and never repeat things what your competitors have already done.
  • To have a higher impact, make your brand unique and distinguished from others.

Tip 11: Catchy Words to Catch Customers

  • Be wise and picky when you are choosing words.
  • Apt and precise wordings that convey exact meaning of your product would have a greater reach.
  • Apply the Industry signage formula: Proper Headline, Explanatory text and a catchy Call to Action(CTA), for making an attractive signage.
  • Too much of information goes vain! And the goal of reaching customers fail.

Related Article: Why Advertising Design is key to Success

Signage Design Inspiration

Idea 12: Refresh the Signage time to time

  • Keeping the same signage for a longer period would stop gaining people’s attention; Which eventually leads them to stop paying attention to your signage.
  • However, recreating the signage’s all over again after certain period would be tiresome;
  • Applying certain modifications to existing signage, makes it stay fresh and lively.
  • Advancement’s done with latest technologies, would turn out impressive.
  • Swapping the Signage look with a few stats like — Changing the layout or the colour scheme or new stock images, gives an effective new Fresh Look!

Idea 13: ‘CLUTTER’ Free!

  • Effective Signage requires minimal content that could correctly convey the meaning of your Business.
  • Less Is More — Intuit says a business sign should not have more than seven words.
  • Adding more than the minimal count makes it difficult for the customers to read and understand the sign;
  • Fewer the Words, greater is the Understanding; Make deep emphasis only on Essential Information.
  • Design the Signage with ample White space: The area that is left uncovered by graphics and text.
  • It’s a usual tendency to project a creative signage, with beautiful graphics and bold texts; But too much of information increases the clutter rate and decreases the natural readability.
  • Studies say at least 30% — 40% of the area, should be left as white space for having an optimal readability.

Idea 14: Perfect Signage Location

  • Location is one factor that you have to consider while placing the signage.
  • Zoning and Lease requirements should be verified before placing the signage.
  • Factors that would help you determine how your signage boards should be designed and placed are:
  • Point of Transit
  • Placement of signage, at these places it requires higher diligence. The Content should be very precise and always to the point.
  • This place is mainly concentrated with people who are in a hurry and just always on the go.
  • So designing the signage should be simple, effective and clear.
  • Point of Sale
  • Strong emphasis on what the sale is about.
  • Usage of Strong catchy words, that would attract large crowds and promote the Business largely.
  • Also, make sure the information you put over the screen is readable within the allotted time.
  • Point of Wait
  • Distracting the captive audience is the goal factor.
  • Longer and brief description of your products and brands would work effectively here.
  • Creative designing with graphics and text should be given a broader emphasis since it should capture the audience and distract them from the boring queue lines.

Related Article: The Benefits of Live Chat

Idea 15: Signage Materials

  • Creating a beautiful signage requires a great base to work on. Uneven and rough bases aren’t easy to paint and to print.
  • Deciding on choosing the appropriate material helps you deliver a better signage.

The material base for printing or painting the signage are:

1.Carved Wood:

  • Primarily built with components of plywood, it is stronger and lasts longer.
  • Also provides a firm and smooth base for painting.
  • MDO can’t be withered easily, under prevalent weather conditions.
  • This material base is largely used in — Sign Panels, Site Signs, Billboards, Highway and traffic signs.


  • Aluminium is easy to use as it is available in wide range of sizes and colour.
  • It is considered as one of the best outdoor material, as it doesn’t rust and the lettering done over it quite legibly.
  • Used as a design material for — No Parking Signs, Real Estate Signs


  • By far considered the best Signage Material; Aluminate is strong and thick, not easily corrodible.
  • It is given a warranty that it doesn’t chip, peel, flake or crack.
  • It can be used as a base for any sign type.
  • Used in applications like — Wall/fence mount, billboards, cut-outs, channel letters, laser and digital printing.


  • Made out from a monomer of Methyl Methacrylate; Acrylic has an outstanding tensile strength.
  • Acrylic or Plexiglas has a glossy finish, making your signage have a sophisticated and a classic look.
  • It is malleable and can withstand considerable amounts of physical strains; At the same time customising these signs are easy.
  • Maintenance is easy, not too much of strain is required.
  • Acrylic signs are mostly preferred for indoor usage than outdoor.
  • This sign material is used largely in — Retail shops, Trade shows, Office Interiors and lots more


  • Banners usually come as Nylon reinforced Vinyl Material.
  • Graphics on banners are printed only on one side.
  • Larger sizes and fonts are employed for a firm and greater reach.
  • Common uses of Vinyl banners include — Retail advertisement, Brand Exhibitions, Sales and Promotions and Trade shows.

6.Coroplast and Corrugated Plastic

  • Coroplast is lightweight and a cost-effective signage material, made out of corrugated plastic.
  • Stronger Plastic Sheet of coroplast is formed bridging two layers, of which one forms a wavy pattern and the other layer is flat.
  • Easily customizable; Longer lifetime when used indoor and is used temporarily for outdoor purposes.
  • Mainly used for: Logo Display, Directional signage, Special Events and Trade shows.


  • Dibond is composed of Aluminium on the outside and solid Polyethylene in the inside; Thus making it light in weight.
  • Dibond lasts under extreme weather conditions and is easily customizable.
  • The Signage material looks professional and can be used for Indoor and limited Outdoor purpose.
  • These signage’s are often mounted on poles or walls.


  • Expanded PVC helps you project a professional and quality signage.
  • It is medium weighted and highly durable.
  • Best Signage material for creating signage applications; It could also be cut into any preferable shape.
  • Its matte finish reduces the glare factor and is also easy to hide the fingerprints.
  • Projects the best Signage look when used with bright colours and simple fonts.
  • Mostly not recommended for Outdoor usage.
  • Mostly deployed for- Billboards, Business Logo, Nameplates and tags.

9.Foam Board and Foam Core

  • Works great for Short Term Indoor applications.
  • Signage material is Light and Rigid; Easily customizable and transportable.
  • Foam Board’s smooth surface makes it easy to get laminated.
  • It would be the preferred choice when it comes to mounting digital images and colour graphics.
  • Foam Board are used in: Welcoming signs, Directional Signage, conferences or Trade Shows and Other Events.


  • Metals provide a hard base for creating the signage.
  • Metal signage materials could resist almost all wear and tear.
  • They are durable and could be cleaned effortlessly.
  • Extra care should be taken in maintaining the signage without scratches; Since the scratches are quite visible.
  • Used primarily for — Publicise Rules and Regulations, Directional Information and Service Signs.


  • Light up the spirits of your product with Neon signs.
  • Neon signs are considered a 24/7 Marketing tool.
  • Used for both Indoor and Outdoor purpose, it’s effectiveness is heightened at the night.
  • It’s a perfect eye-catcher and is quick to gain the users attention.
  • Used for: Retail Advertisements, Restaurants, Cafe, Movie Tapings.


  • Deployed mostly for indoor and short-term outdoor signage ideas.
  • It’s a great tool for advertisements, and both of its sides are used in this process.
  • The surface isn’t affected by oils or any other solvents; Could be cleaned with ease.
  • These signs are light in weight and can be moved easily.
  • Primary Applications include — Promotional Signage, Conferences, Menu Boards and Informational Signage.


  • Delivers a high durability, when compared to corrugated plastics.
  • It is thick and rigid enough and always free from dents.
  • Styrene could be transformed into any preferable shape you want, due to its flexibility.
  • Servers and lasts for a longer period indoors and is found with a yellow deposit layer, on prolonged exposure outdoors.
  • Mostly used in — Interior Store signage, Special Events.


  • Preferred for a temporary outdoor and a permanent indoor usage.
  • Available in bright vibrant colours.
  • Easy to see and read from farther distances.
  • It is quite durable and lasts longer when used for indoor signs.
  • Prolonged outdoor exposure could damage the sign considerably.
  • Primary applications include — Photos and Logo’s display, New Ownership, Sale, Communication Messages.

15.Printed Magnetic Signs

  • A unique way of marketing, used on steel surfaces that are smooth like on vehicles.
  • These Signage’s are quick to install and to remove.
  • Vehicles could be turned into a temporary billboard.
  • Customization is easy, and it could be cut to fit in the exact shapes and sizes.
  • Usage of intense vibrant colours and clear texts, makes it have a greater reach.
  • Signage Uses: Over Company car’s, Delivery trucks and Vans.

Idea 16: Signage Cost

  • The cost of a signage variously depends on the factors like size, colour, material and the text content written on it.
  • The cost of the sign varies from anywhere between $8 to many a thousand Dollars; Based on the choice of materials and Size.
  • Decide on the Costs, depending on the outreach the product would be projected to have.
  • Choosing the appropriate Materials and Sizes, would not be a puzzle when you have already fixed up the budget margin.

Related Article: How to Name Your Company

Signage Advertising Statistics

Idea 17: ‘Impact’ Factor

  • The target for devising creative and a catchy sign is to create enormous impact in the public, and to have a greater range of reach; This is done when your game plan, has a perfect Impact factor working along.
  • To have a successful Business Reach, having a good Impact Factor is important.
  • Impact Factor depends on — Line Height and Readable Distance.
  • Following table depicts the Impact Factor standards most of the companies follow for a better effectiveness:


Idea 18: Images and Graphics

  • Studies state adding borders to the images increases the readability by 26%.
  • Images and Graphics are added to make the signage look beautiful, eye-catching, easy to recall and remember.
  • Also according to studies from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, adding an extra colour to the Mono-colored graphic design, improves the retention of the User by about 78%.
  • To incorporate a greater impact, create a full-colour graphic design.
  • In addition to all these, adding a digitised photo genuinely creates a 300% recall to the signage.
  • Visual enhancements like adding the appropriate Business Logo, artwork and other graphical factors, could make the signage look more effective!

Idea 19: Background and Foreground Colours

  • Colour plays an important part in devising an impressive signage.
  • Most importantly the colour contrasts project the signage out in the public.
  • So choosing the Background and Foreground colours play a leading role for a greater signage reach.
  • Following are the examples of Contrast samples that could be applied:


Idea 20: Precise Angle

  • Why is it always said, devising the right angle for placing signage makes it get noticed even more?
  • When the signage’s are placed outdoors — Defining the precise angle for signage placement is definitely more important.
  • Align the signage to face the flow of traffic, at an angle between 45 and 90 degrees.
  • Signage’s that are placed parallel along with the flow of traffic go unnoticed.
  • Make sure they view your Business Brands, just the way you want them to, without having a second thought!

Related Article: International Design Awards 2016 Call for Entries


Every entrepreneur out there would definitely want a better reach to their Business; Precisely, the concentration would be on promotion that improvises Branding and Identity.

In case if you are turning void on components for enhancing your Business, these signage ideas could come in handy or if you are planning to start up a business, implementing these signage ideologies, Probes your business reach higher.

Your expertise is an add-on Bonus! Add in your creative ideas in the Comments, if I have missed out on any amazing signage ideas for small businesses.

Author Bio: Melissa Diaz is Passionate about writing; Her intents score on to bringing innovative and creative content out of the box, that would eminently interest people.

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Inkbot Design
Inkbot Design

Inkbot Design is a Branding Agency & Graphic Design Studio. We Help Businesses Grow with Professional Logo Design, Brand Identity, Web Development & Marketing.