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How to Stand Out on the High Street with Effective Business Signage

Posted By:

XL Displays


10 May 2023

Reading Time:

16 Mins

This news article is also featured in:

Advertising BoardsCafe BarriersMarketingOutdoor Business SignsPavement Signs

How to Stand Out on the High Street with Effective Business Signage

With so many different styles of business signage on offer, it can be difficult to know which ones to choose, where to install them, what to display and even whether you can legally set them up without permission. Help is at hand! Read on for answers to 10 of our most frequently asked questions about business signage. 

1. What outdoor business signs are there?  

Outdoor business signs come in all shapes and sizes and we offer a huge range of signs that can help your business stand out from the crowd on a busy high street. 

Pavement Signs - Some of the most popular business signs are pavement signs. We offer a broad range of styles, sizes and shapes for different locations, including weighted bases for stability, a-frames for simple storage and swing signs. All pavement boards are affordable and built to last.

Custom Business Signs - Our custom business signs are made from Dibond, Foamex or Banner PVC. They can be custom-made to the size and specification that suits you and your advertising space. 

Projecting Wall Signs - These are a firm favorite as they provide a cost-effective solution that can be quickly and easily installed. Designed to showcase branding or logos, these work well when fixed outside your premises on the high street and alert passers-by that you are there. They are a low-maintenance sign that creates a big impact. Choose from a round, oval and rectangular shape. 

Outdoor Banners - Flexible PVC banners which are weatherproof and durable. Printed with full colour UV graphics with your bespoke design. Ideal for hanging or wall-mounting, but are also available with aluminium frames for freestanding versions. Lightweight, flexible, high-definition displays. 

Outdoor Chalkboards - One of the most popular choices for business signs, chalkboards are incredibly flexible and offer excellent value for money as you can write and redesign your messaging as often as you like. If you use chalkboard markers, the messaging will be weatherproof after 1h, but you can easily wipe it off using soap and water. 

Promotional Flags - Made from lightweight flag knit material with marine-grade polyester stitching, these flutter and catch the eyes of passers-by. Printed with your bespoke designs in a high-quality finish, these can be freestanding using weighted or spoke bases, or wall-mounted. Choose from single or double sided for extra impact. We supply a range of bases for the same cost. 

Outdoor Noticeboards - Some of the most flexible business sign products available. Magnetic or pinboard notice boards with weatherproof seals and lockable tamperproof frames, supplied with keys. Easy to change displays regularly. Ideal for restaurants or salons for menus or treatment lists. Wall-mounted and freestanding signs are available.

Poster Frames - Simple yet effective designs to display your advertisements or menus. Poster frames allow quick and easy changes to your displays on a regular basis for a flexible business sign option. LED illuminated versions are available for additional visibility. 

Cafe Barriers - Extremely effective and visible banners for cafes, restaurants and seating areas. 210g display polyester banners printed with your personalised designs hang between two weighted steel posts to form an advertising barrier. Kits are available for coverage for larger areas.

WINDSTORM® PRO Pavement Sign Advertising Board

2. What makes a good business sign? 

A good business sign must be:

  • Eye-Catching - the point of installing a business sign is to attract the attention of potential customers. A good business sign is finished to a high quality and is eye-catching to passers by. It might be the finish of the bespoke-printed graphic panels in high definition colours, or an illuminated frame to highlight the inner display - but the best business signs will promote your brand and business effectively. A large pavement sign is a great eye-catching business sign. Standing over 2m tall, the MEGA-SIGN is a free-standing outdoor advertising board that is designed to stand out and attract attention. 
  • On-Brand - there’s no point in having an eye-catching sign if what’s on display isn’t in line with your business brand. A large part of this comes down to the design you choose for your printed panels or poster elements; but it’s also important to choose the right style of business sign, too. A high-end restaurant would do better with an illuminated poster frame than a promotional flag; a garage forecourt better with a durable water-base sign than a fancy wooden-framed chalkboard, for example.
  • Sturdy & Durable - particularly when it comes to outdoor high street signage, it’s essential that your business sign be durable and weatherproof. Check the materials used in construction; durable plastics and coated metals are the most durable.
  • Cost-Effective - everyone loves a bargain, but sometimes choosing a cheaper option ends up costing you more in the long run. Better to spend a bit more for a truly longwearing product that will offer you value for money in the long term. Look for flexible styles that you can adapt easily for the most cost-effective design.

3. Do Outdoor Signs Work For Business?  

Outdoor signs are a great way to boost business. Business signs can promote anything from new menus, offers and promotions to product details or store locations. Even if a purchase is not completed right away as a direct result of viewing a sign, the lasting impression you make from memorable interaction will pay off in the long run. Whether you’re looking to promote a new experience or innovative product, or simply to boost your brand exposure - outdoor signs are a great way to communicate with your customers.  

When designing display signs, you should consider the 3-30-3 rule. This stands for:

  • 3 seconds - most visitors only look at the display for 3 seconds. This is where the visual familiarisation with the sign takes place, and this piece of information usually includes an eye-catching title, a large image, or both. 
  • 30 seconds - as long as the display caught their attention in the first three-second phase, its viewing lasts about 30 seconds. The main information is usually longer described in 1-2 paragraphs. 
  • 3 minutes – the display which will grab the attention of visitors thematically and graphically will be viewed up to 3 minutes (in detail).

4. Why Are Outdoor Business Signs So Effective?

Despite the rise in digital advertising through social media, traditional business signage still has its place. According to a 2017 study, ‘signs are an important and inexpensive method for changing consumer behavior’. In contrast to digital ads which value ‘click-through rates’ where they see thousands of clicks for perhaps only 1 purchase; high-street business signs prove to be much more effective physical traffic drivers. People bombarded with the same digital advertisement over and over again have a very short attention span for the information as they can easily swipe past it. However, encountering a physical sign has a much greater likelihood that they will absorb the messaging. In addition, traditional signage can also become digital traffic drivers in their turn, giving them a dual purpose for promoting your business. 

5. Should I Buy An Illuminated Business Sign?

Illuminated business signs are always an excellent option for getting noticed. You’ll often find illuminated frames wall-mounted outside hospitality venues, showcasing menus to the public, or outside cinemas displaying lit-up movie posters. Alternatively, backlit LED signs are also a great way to illuminate your advertising displays so they focus customer attention on your brand or business. These are especially effective at night - but remember, on a gloomy or cloudy day an illuminated sign will still be more visible than a standard version. Purchasing a sign with integral LED lights offers excellent value for money versus installing specialised outdoor lighting to illuminate your displays after the fact.

6. Where Can I Put My Business Sign?

The purpose of business signs is to attract attention and encourage new customers for your business. Therefore, it’s a good idea to set up your display where passers-by can easily see it; where it will catch the most attention. High-traffic areas with plenty of footfall are a good place to start; this might be a pavement on a high street or bollard advertising on a roadside where traffic typically moves through slowly enough for people to notice your advertisement. You should also think about how well the location you choose reflects your brand; motoring businesses might achieve excellent results from advertisements set up in a petrol station or garage forecourt, for example - while beauty salons might do better setting up in a pedestrianised shopping zone. Try to avoid areas with many pre-existing displays from other businesses, as yours may get lost in the crowd. 

7. Do I Need Planning Permission For a High Street Sign?

The rules around setting up outdoor business signs can be a bit complicated, but put simply:

  • If you are setting up your sign on privately owned or rented land (including fixed to a shop front, on a garage forecourt, restaurant terrace or enclosed area in front of your premises) there is deemed consent - meaning you shouldn’t require any additional permissions. It’s always best to check with your local council, though.
  • If you’re setting up your sign further afield (along a roadside or on a pavement, for example) then you will definitely need to seek permission from either your local authority or the owner of the specific site where you intend to place your display. 

For more in-depth information about the rules and regulations around pavement signs and advertising boards, you can read our blog: Do I Need Planning Permission for Pavement Signs?

8. Are High Sreet Business Signs Waterproof?

Business signs designed for outdoor use are created to be as weatherproof as possible. They are manufactured from weather-resistant materials such as anodised aluminium, galvanised steel or durable plastics like high-density polyethylene (HDPE). These materials are incredibly durable. 

Signs where graphics are printed directly on to the panels are the most weatherproof options you can choose, however, these are not suitable if you need signs to be flexible or change messaging on a regular basis. Our flexible outdoor signs typically have PET Polyethylene terephthalate poster covers, which are waterproof and UV resistant to protect your promotional posters from the elements. They are held in place magnetically, or via a snap frame poster holder. Although these offer some protection from water damage, we would always recommend adding our printed posters (that are laminated and weather-resistant) and bringing your sign in during heavy rain. 

When it comes to high winds, choosing the right sign is important. The majority of our outdoor signs are wind-resistant, though on unusually inclement days we recommend bringing them indoors for safety reasons. However, if your business is situated on a high street or in a location that is frequently susceptible to high winds, we recommend choosing either a fixed business sign (wall-mounted or with fixed posts) or one of our specialised weighted heavy-duty pavement signs.

9. Can I Customise My Business Sign? 

Yes, our range of business signs are designed to offer you many different ways to customise your finished signboard. Those with frame finishes or poster pockets let you insert your own marketing materials such as posters, menus or flyers and change this as frequently as you like. Those with printed graphic panels require you to submit your artwork to us, and we will print it in-house. If you don’t already have your artwork ready, you can engage the services of our expert graphic design team who will work with you to create the perfect design. 

10. What's The Best Design to Choose?

The design you choose for your business sign is, of course, up to you. But we have a few tips when it comes to creating your artwork. 

  • You want your display to attract attention, so choosing an eye-catching design is essential. Think bright colours, illuminated aspects and bold patterns or artwork. Using high contrast in text and color on your signs can boost responses by as much as 23%.
  • You want your display to inform potential new customers, so it needs to be clear and easy to read and understand. Make sure any writing is concise and comprehensible. Short, concise messages are over 90% more effective at driving engagement.
  • You want your display to be an accurate representation of your business and what it stands for, so it needs to be on-brand. Choose colours and fonts that match your branding or logos.

For more information on any of our Outdoor Business Signs call us on 01733 511030 or visit our Contact Us page.