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What Are Sandwich Boards?

Posted By:

XL Displays


22 April 2021

Reading Time:

10 Mins

This news article is also featured in:

Advertising BoardsOutdoor DisplaysPavement Signs

What Are Sandwich Boards?

One of the most effective ways to capture the attention of new customers, pavement signs have long been a popular choice for businesses everywhere. One of the most frequently spotted styles of pavement sign is the sandwich board or a-frame sign; a classic shape that can have either a modern or traditional look.

Read on for answers to our 10 most frequently asked questions about sandwich boards.

View our complete range of a-frame sandwich board signs.

1. What is a Sandwich Board?

Sandwich boards, also known as a-frame signs, are advertising boards that you can use inside or outside your business to promote sales, menus, treatments, price lists, messages or branding. They offer eye-catching ways to promote your business and attract new customers.

A-frame boards are shaped like a letter ‘A’, with two display panels that fold out at angles supported by a connecting joint in the middle. Their construction makes them sturdy and stable for use outdoors. 

A-frame sandwich boards are available in contemporary finishes with weatherproof poster pockets, or more classic wooden frames with chalkboard panels perfect for writing your own messages.

2. Why are they called Sandwich Boards?

Sandwich boards were a popular form of advertising in the 19th century. Typically worn by men hired by merchants and tradespeople to promote their wares and businesses, they comprised two display panels joined by straps that went over the shoulders. The first person to refer to such sign carriers as “sandwich men” was Charles Dickens!

Although later that century sandwich boards fell out of use, they grew in popularity again early in the 20th century when the Great Depression made other forms of advertising too expensive in during this period of financial crisis.

While sandwich boards are now rarely worn (!) their modern equivalents (a-frame signs) with a fixed connecting joint remain a popular choice for businesses everywhere.

3. Why are A-Frames used for advertising?

A-frame sandwich board signs are effective tools for advertising your business to new customers or showcasing promotions to encourage people to visit your premises. 

A-frame boards, along with other types of pavement signs, can attract new customers to your business by offering space to promote:

  • Sales or promotions
  • New opening hours
  • Direct people to your store
  • New treatments or menus

They can also be used to display the social distancing steps your business is taking to protect customers and staff, for example, reminding people to wear face masks, to sanitise their hands regularly, or to denote queue spaces where limited numbers inside are required.

4. What size are A-Frame Boards?

A-frame boards are available in a range of different sizes. At XL Displays, we sell a-frame pavement signs in the following display sizes:

  • A0 (820mm x 1168mm)
  • A1 (594mm x 841mm)
  • A2 (418mm x 592mm)
  • 30” x 20” (506mm x 760mm)
  • 40” x 30” (996mm x 742mm)

5. Where should I put my A-board Sign?

Many businesses choose to display their A-frame pavement signs outside their premises on pavements where they can attract the most attention. You can also use a-frame signs inside your store for promotional information or menus, for example. 

If your business is off the beaten track, choose a busy location on a high street or an area of high footfall with directions to your premises to bring new customers to you.

6. What should I display on my Sandwich Board?

These types of advertising display boards are designed to attract attention, so designing artwork that shows a clear message is essential. You might want to think about the following possibilities:

  • Promotions or sales messages
  • New menus/treatment lists
  • Welcome Back/We Are Open messages
  • Opening hours details
  • Social distancing details
  • Slogans or jokes 
  • Creative artwork (particularly on chalkboards)

Remember, clarity, colour and an eye-catching look offer the best chance to entice new customers. Think clear fonts and short sentences combined with bright and simple imagery for an unbeatable advertising message.

7. Are A-frame Signs waterproof?

All of our a-frame sandwich boards are designed for use outdoors as well as indoors, meaning that they are weatherproof and suitable for use during all normal UK weather conditions. Even our protective poster covers are waterproof, though we recommend using them with laminated posters for maximum protection from the elements. 

We do, however, recommend that you bring your pavement signs indoors overnight and during inclement weather to prevent damage, injury or theft.

8. How fast can I get an A-Board Pavement sign delivered?

Dispatch times for our a-frame style signs range from next-day to 5 working days. Please allow up to 2 days where poster printing is included in your order.

9. Do I need planning permission for an Advertising A-Board?

The current regulations around pavement signs are formalised and monitored by each individual UK council. Typically, if you wish to set up a sign on your own land, or directly outside your shop front, you shouldn’t come across issues as long as your sign complies with the five ‘standard conditions’. It must:

  • Be kept clean and tidy
  • Be kept in a safe condition
  • Have the permission of the owner of the site on which they are displayed (this includes the Highway Authority if the sign is to be placed on highway land)
  • Not obscure, or hinder the interpretation of official road, rail, waterway or aircraft signs
  • Be removed where so required by the planning authority.

If you want specific information about your location, you should visit your local council website or contact their planning teams. Or for more tips, read our blog: Do I Need Planning Permission For Pavement Signs?

10. What other Pavement Signs are available?

As well as a-frame boards, we sell a variety of different pavement advertising signs which might be appropriate for your business:

Swing Signs - available with pre-printed vinyl graphic panels or poster pockets, these signs swing in the breeze for a simple yet effective display.

Water-Based Signs - the most sturdy and durable kind of pavement sign, ideal for street retail or forecourts. The base can be filled with sand or water for stability.

Chalkboard Signs - these have a traditional look and feel and are ideal for hospitality venues, as they can be wiped clean and re-written regularly to reflect changing menus or specials.

Flex Signs - similar to Swing Signs, the pre-printed vinyl graphic panels flex back and forth in the wind for a sturdy and durable design.

Flag Banners - these printed flags flutter in the breeze for an eye-catching display, ideal for events, exhibitions and large showrooms.

For more information on Sandwich Boards, or advice on our range of pavement signs, take a look at our Pavement Sign Buyers Guide. Alternatively, you can contact the sales team via our Contact Us form or on 01733 511030.

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