6 Tips for Effective Outdoor Retail Signage

When you consider that audiences are now more digitally-driven than ever, it’s quite challenging to compete with online ads when it comes to grabbing their attention. It’s even more difficult when you’re trying to entice them outdoors and that’s where signs can play a big role.

Although, ordinary signs simply won’t do the trick nowadays. Your outdoor retail signage needs to be more creative and compelling than ever to increase sales. Here are some tips to achieve that.

Outdoor signs

The tips we’ll cover are:




Although the actual design of your outdoor retail sign is important, the effort and creativity involved will be useless if you’ve not emphasised visibility. The purpose of it all is to make your audience understand what your product is about and they won’t spend too long reading your sign.

The aim is to stand out but if you go too far out of the box, it can take your audience a frustratingly long time to decipher what’s actually in your retail store. It’s more beneficial to keep it straight to the point, eye-catching and in a location where it demands public attention.

When they understand what your retail store is all about through your sign, there’ll be no confusion and they’re more likely to actually step inside. Plus, if they look the part at the same time, then they will be a lot more shareable as they stand out from the usual signs they see daily.


Less is More

When it comes to the messaging on your outdoor retail signs, keep in mind that a minimalistic approach goes a long way. As mentioned, the interest from the public isn’t going to last very long so your sign needs to instantly grip them and that’s impossible when there’s so much going on.

Don’t ask too much in terms of text or a wide range of colours that can lead to confusion. Instead, let the simple yet stunning visuals do all of the talking which intrigues your audience.


Keep it Clutter-Free

Linking with the previous point, effective outdoor signs require minimal content so that they can correctly convey what your business is actually about. It can be tempting to try and sell your entire business on the sign, but again, less is more. Don’t go overboard with text and make the entire sign a mess, especially since Intuit says that signs should not have more than seven words.

Adding more than what’s required not only makes it difficult for the public to read, but your outdoor signs also look a mess. One tip to take into consideration is to have outdoor signs with enough white space – the area left uncovered by your text and graphics.

It’s obviously normal to want your sign to feature beautiful and bold graphics to boost creativity, but you don’t want to stretch to the extent of decreasing the natural readability of your outdoor retail sign.

Studies say that at least 30-40 percent of your sign should be left as white space for having an optimal readability, so keep this in mind as you try to drive attention towards the focal point of your outdoor sign.


Pick Attractive Colours

You also need to think about which colours are going to attract your audience while also emphasising your business’ identity. Eyes perceive colours fast with studies claiming that 80 percent of brand recognition is done through colours.

Think about it, Cadbury’s won’t ditch their iconic purple while red is instantly recognisable with Coca-Cola. So, it’s about building your brand image through your sign.

Cadbury's sign

Pairing up lighter shades of letters against a darker background tends to be a popular choice because of how well it works. Choosing bright and vibrant colours that are trendy also work as it helps to draw more attention from your audience.


Select Easy to Read Fonts

Don’t even think about trying to use Comic Sans on your outdoor signs. Fonts can be the all-important difference between an ordinary sign and one that the public might actually share because it’s so unique and stands out from the rest.

Choosing the correct font that reflects positively with your business is important and a big part of your marketing efforts in general. When you choose a good font, your audience won’t struggle to read your sign – even at a distance. A bad font, however, can fade into the background and can give your sign a more cluttered appearance overall.

Keep in mind that heavy fonts can blend together easily, making letters lose their shape and disrupt the visibility of the text. Don’t make the mistake of thinking using entirely capital letters will boost visibility either as using them complicates and strains the eye while collapsing the entire structure.

While they might seem simple on the surface, your outdoor sign will benefit greater with Serif, Sans Serif, Helvetica and Display fonts, for example. They stand out more and are much easier to read when combined with an expertly-design outdoor retail sign.

As a general rule of thumb, though, don’t use more than two fonts in one outdoor sign. Instead, choose a maximum of two that will actually complement each other.


Pick Suitable Materials

It would be a shame to design a highly effective sign which can drive through those important sales, only for it to fall short because a poor material has been used. Creating a beautiful outdoor sign requires a fantastic base to work on, as uneven or rough bases make it difficult to print on and the finish looks poor.

Choosing the appropriate material helps you deliver a better sign and different materials are better suited to different signs. For example, acrylic is a popular material choice but they’re mainly preferred for indoor usage in retail stores as opposed to outdoors.

window graphics

So, make sure you work with a print company that will not only show your examples of materials that can be used but also recommend which ones will be best to convey your message and help increase sales.


Types of Outdoor Signage to Consider

The great thing about retail signage is that your choices and options aren’t limited. Shops of all sizes can benefit from signage and exterior advertising, from window and floor graphics, right through to building wraps to bring customers to your store.

Some outdoor signage examples include: 

  • Building wraps.

  • Hoardings.

  • Window graphics.

  • Tension graphics.

  • Digital signs.

  • Parasols.

  • Marquees.

  • Printed floor graphics.

  • Crowd barrier covers.

Think about which type suits your business needs the most and then include all of the tips we’ve mentioned above to create an attention-grabbing and compelling sign that will help increase your sales. 

For example, a digital sign might benefit your business a lot better than traditional signs.

If you’re looking for some inspiration you can use in your own outdoor retail signage, then check out this blog which features seven unique ideas that will inspire you.


How to Make Sure Your Outdoor Advertising is Successful

From the various types of signage to use, right through to the perfect location and what to include, a lot goes into creating the perfect outdoor retail signs. That’s why we’ve created a comprehensive outdoor signage guide that features everything you’ll need to know for when it comes time to create your own.

The guide includes tips on how to plan an outdoor signage project, the types we mentioned above in much more detail, the laws surrounding signage, costing up outdoor advertising and so much more.

To get your free copy and soak in all of the useful tips and tricks, click the link below.