The Science of Signs
Whether we realise it or not, signage plays a hugely important role in our lives. They’re everywhere and they can evoke positive and negative emotions, influence behaviour and, ultimately, change how we think.
Signs have many uses. They can be informative (wayfinding signs), give warnings or instructions (wet floor or stop signs), educate (product information signs), build brand awareness (logo signage) and, of course, advertise (sale signs).
For businesses, it’s the last two that are most important. Signage is often the first thing a person will see of your business – especially those in retail and leisure in areas of high traffic – and that first impression is vital. At the same time, depending on the nature of the business all signage should be carefully considered. Well designed, easy to understand wayfaring signage inside offices, for example, will impress visitors almost as much as your external brand building signage.
Take a look at the signage around your business. Is it achieving what you need it to? Is it sending the right message? Does it reflect well on your business? Or is it no longer relevant? Is it getting old and discoloured?
Then it is definitely time to look at replacing it.
Developing new signage
There are several factors to consider when creating new signage for your business but before all the factors we’re about to discuss are considered there is something you need to do – determine exactly what you want your signage to do, who it is aimed at, what message you want to give out and how you want people to feel when they see it. By doing that, you will make the next steps so much easier and your new signage will be a success.
While your logo and brand guidelines may well determine your colour choices for signage, it is worth considering incorporating new colours depending on what you want it to achieve. Different colours bring out different emotions and physiological responses in people. For example:
- Yellow: A powerful colour that can be used in softer hues to be natural and calming or stronger, brighter hues to act as a warning.
- Red: A bold and energetic colour that, when used in the right amount can help your brand or message stand out from the crowd.
- Green: A natural colour best used in relation to health, environment and is particularly useful when related to food.
- Blue: Calming, trustworthy and reliable, clever use of this colour will strengthen your brand and your message.
- Purple: Used sparingly and with elegant fonts, purple can add a sense of prestige to your branding and signage.
- Pink: Particularly useful when appealing to females, pink can be used in varying shades – from shocking to pale – to convey any number of messages.
- Orange: A safe and welcoming colour that, when combined with other colours, can be used to highlight important aspects of your message or your calls to action.
- Gold/Silver: Immediately conveys a higher quality of service or product over the competition and works very well with royal colours like blue and deep purple.
- Black: Authoritative, reliable and most of all versatile, black is the default colour to use when you want to present information in an easy to understand manner.
Like the colour, your choice of fonts for signage may be determined by your brand guidelines to a certain extent. However, it’s still worth knowing how certain font choices can alter the effectiveness of your signs.
There are four styles of font, each with its own personality. Serif fonts convey tradition or sophistication and are considered formal, reliable and practical. Sans Serif fonts are clean, modern, easy to read and understand. Script fonts should be used to portray elegance and sophistication and are considered formal and stylish. Lastly, Slab Serif fonts are bold, contemporary, friendly and solid.
Within these four font styles are a multitude of fonts to choose from. To ensure you pick the right one to give the impression you’re after it is highly recommended you engage a graphic designer like those in Hartbrights’ talented team.
Materials, Type & Placement
There are several types of signage available to you – and Hartbrights are experienced in fabricating all of them on any scale you require. Take a look at all the sign styles we can produce for you, suited to external or internal installation.
To some extent the type of sign you opt for will be determined by the placement. Large scale illuminated signs are ideal for logos on the outside of buildings, totems and monoliths are good for wayfinding, digital signage is ideally suited to advertising, while vinyl signs and graphics work really well for internal use. The Hartbrights gallery should provide you with some inspiration.
In terms of materials, there’s an even wider range of options open to you, from traditional wood and cast iron through glass and neon to vinyl or acrylic. Again, what you decide here should match that all important first impression you’re trying to give.
As a general rule signage should be positioned at eye level. This is especially true of internal signage but also applies to external wayfinding signs, informational signs and warning signs.
For external, larger signage though, you’ll want to place the sign in as prominent a position as you can – this will likely be higher, but not so high it can’t really be seen from closer up. And, of course, it should be public facing!
With the sign type, colour options, font style, design and locations all put in place there’s nothing left to do but fabricate the signs themselves. This is where Hartbrights excels. We have invested in the best technology and personnel to ensure we produce signage to the highest standards. Working with almost all materials to a brief agreed with you, we will create custom signage you will be proud to display.
It’s not an easy task to bring all these elements of effective sign design and fabrication together. That’s why Hartbrights, with over 20 years experience, can assist you from conception through design and fabrication to installation. Take a look at the full range of services we offer. Then give us a call on 0161 998 7092 or drop us an email. We’re ready to help you achieve your goals through the Science of Signs.