My wife laughs at me all the time when we are out shopping together. She is busy looking through the merchandise while I am completely side tracked ogling all the signage. If you are not as obsessed as I am you may not have noticed this but next time you take a trip to Costco or some other warehouse type store take a good at the signs. This is a great example of signage that is intentionally designed to be effective at creating an atmosphere that will draw in a particular client and increase sales. I am quite certain Costco did not decide to use signage which is very basic based on a limited budget. Their signs are very effective at creating an expectation for their customers that they are about to benefit from special warehouse prices.
This is the how the sign buying process should start for every business no matter the size. Define your product and your target audience and then design an environment, including the signs which will appeal to that audience and set the right tone.
Small business owners often make decisions emotionally about their signage which may even result in a pretty sign that represents the owners’ personality but does not usually produce a sign which is highly effective. Instead of comparing sign proposals based on cost and the wow factor, step back and allow a designer with proven skills and experience to develop a product which will increase your cash flow from day one. As I suggested in part one, hire a sign company you trust, and then trust them!
Next week: Sign design, the big picture.