There are two cardinal rules to all forms of roadside signage. First, contrasting and readable colors only. Second, favor type size over quantity of words. Any roadside signage, be it small outdoor signs or huge custom architectural signage, has a limited amount of characters to work with before the message doesn’t reach passersby. Think of this like a byline or Tweet — you have a limited amount of readable space to send a message. Yet despite the small package, on-site signage is as valuable per year as 24 full-page newspaper ads. How are you going to knock it out of the park in a small space?
Simple, eye-catching design is always in style. When it comes to big long-term installations like custom architectural signage, your first priority should be readability and brand representation. Someone passing by should be able to look at your sign and know exactly what your business is. Custom architectural signage should also be sturdy to minimize sign repair needs down the line. Does this leave a lot of room for play? Not really, unless your brand itself is centered around a playful theme or product.
There’s a third rule of signage to use whenever possible. How about sign installations you can have fun with? For your less permanent custom signs, making light of your product (or anything, really) gets attention. Humor is one of those things that just grabs people, no matter what you’re selling. Of course, your humor may shift depending on what demographic you’re marketing to (millennials vs boomers, for example), but overall there’s a reason funny signs go viral online.
Think of this: how many signs for local churches do you pass by in your day to day driving routes? How many of them do you really notice, read, and remember? What if that church had a sign posted like these real-life examples:
Much more punchy, right? Humor sticks in people’s brains way more than a clearly advertisement-centric message. Want to get attention? Use large type, clear colors — and humor.