Six supercharged signage categories and what they bring to the table for your business.
Brand signage serves to positively impact your business in a number of ways – from aiding in brand awareness to informing and persuading visitors. Something we discussed in-depth in our last post, and emphasized with an ‘actual’ metric ton of stats from everyone but your mother.
That said, certain categories of signage are better suited for accomplishing specific tasks than others. In the world of brick-and-mortar retail and Facility Branding, you might hear frequent references to a few major classifications of signage. The power of these categories tend to be tapped more often because of one very important reason: They work!
Having a basic understanding of each, and the core purposes they serve for a business, is a great first step in deciding where to place your focus. Note that while we’ve laid them out here in tidy listicle format, these categories are not mutually exclusive.
POINT OF PURCHASE SIGNAGE
Arguably the most powerful category of signage in terms of immediate impact, Point of Purchase (POP) signage refers to vendor-provided signage and displays strategically placed in a retail store to draw attention to a product. We’re so very impressed by the power of POP signage to influence consumer behavior, that we’ve actually done a full-frontal deep dive on the subject here.
POP advertising can be used to promote sales, highlight seasonal products, product features, and announce new items. It can consist of one sign, or be used to create an entire signage ecosystem – a reset. POP signage provides an opportunity to influence customers at the time it matters most. Say you’re in a store with 30 different brands of toothbrushes. Which one will you choose? You might gravitate toward the one with a sign directing you to “Feel the Tongue-Scraping Action!” Even the slightest nudge toward a unique product feature or promotion can be enough to move a product from shelf to cart.
It was the Greeks and Romans who first laid the foundation for modern wayfinding solutions. Fast forward a few thousand years to the invention of modern cities, and one might say humanity took the wayfinding ball and ran with it. Now the subject of countless studies, wayfinding signage is defined as “information systems that guide people through a physical environment and enhance their understanding and experience of the space” (SEGD Association). Subtle color cues, font choices, even different icons and imagery can impact the way a sign is observed and interpreted.
This category serves to get visitors from point A to point B in massive facilities like airports and hospitals. It can aid in the flow of foot traffic, and in the retail world, can direct consumers to the products they intend to buy. In less expansive facilities wayfinding signage creates separation between departments and/or identifies collaborative spaces. When done right, wayfinding signage can even serve as an extension of the brand itself.
Before you can move product out the door, wielding the power of your handy-dandy in-store POP advertising, you first need to get people in your door – that’s where exterior signage comes in. Exterior signage is categorized as that which lives outside the four walls of your establishment. This class requires substrates and hardware that can withstand the elements in all four seasons, from coast to coast.
Exterior signage can direct patrons to your business (think sidewalk signs or billboards) and identify it once they arrive. Exterior signage is a powerful tool for building brand awareness and works with your logo and established visual standards to create a recognizable brand. It also serves to lure in your customers, and as a mini visual ‘preview’ of what customers can expect to find inside your doors.
Vinyl clings are defined as graphics printed on ultra-thin vinyl with adhesive backing, which are then cut and carefully applied to surfaces like windows, floors, vehicles, walls, and ceilings. Vinyl graphics range from small logos to full-on wall murals, and can serve a near limitless number of purposes for your storefront. Want to learn more about the process? Check out some of the wacky lingo involved in a vinyl graphics install.
In addition to adding substantial aesthetic appeal to your window displays, clings can be used to enhance privacy on street level office buildings, or inform shoppers about promotions, safety measures, menus and store hours. They’re both an accessible and effective way to give your storefront a refresh without committing to expensive or permanent fixtures. Though it’s worth mentioning that with proper installation and appropriate substrates, vinyl graphics can last for months or even years! Take the lobby in your office building, for example. Vinyl graphics can be used to turn the blank white wall behind reception into a welcoming experience that represents your brand and core values to all who enter.
Signage doesn’t always require that you invest in ultra-durable substrates or heavy duty mounting equipment. There are a plethora of substrates to choose from that look polished, both rigid and flexible, while serving a wide range of applications from overhead banners to window signs.
Temporary signage serves to draw attention to one-off events, tradeshow booths or special promotions that have a shorter life span. Any retailer who’s ever faced a Black Friday weekend and come out alive should be intimately familiar with this category of signage!
That’s right, it’s 2021 and just about everything short of your morning pancakes has gone digital – now including store signage. Digital signage utilizes an electronic medium, usually a screen, with the capability of displaying dynamic (think GIFs and video) digital content. Screens are mounted in strategic locations around the facility, and can be controlled via one centralized location for efficiency.
Similar to wayfinding, digital signage and its impact on consumer behavior is a hot topic for research. It’s particularly appealing to certain businesses because once installed, it’s extremely cost effective and involves zero waste. Content can be updated almost instantaneously, and can feature interactive content like animation and live feeds. This category of signage is highly versatile, and often used to communicate information to large audiences. Take airports for example, which have a regular need to inform travelers of critical safety regulations and flight status changes at a moment’s notice.
While this is not an exhaustive list, familiarizing yourself with these signage standbys is a great place to start in deciding the best option for your business and customers. However, choosing the right type of signs for your storefront is just the lead in.
The most effective signage is that which reflects the quality of your products and services, as well as your brand’s unique identity. Partnering with a printer like Thysse, who handles projects from design through installation, ensures consistency of brand standards across multiple assets, print processes and store locations.
Have questions on substrates, or a creative idea you don’t see listed here? Drop us a line on our contact page and ask for more details! Or head to our Large Format services page to scope it out for yourself.