Many of us are able to immediately conjure up an image that is synonymous with a particular iconic brand. You only have to mention golden arches and the name of a world famous burger brand pops straight into your head. Brand awareness on a worldwide scale costs more money than many businesses will make in a lifetime of trading but that is not to say that you cannot apply the same principles when trying to put your best business foot forward.
Many of us know that first impressions count when it comes to meeting someone for the first time and it is just as important that your business is presented in the best possible light each time a potential new customer comes across your business. The use of corporate signs to advertise and promote your business is a very important aspect of creating the right image and impression that you want customers to have of your company and will often be regarded as an indication of the standards of service they can expect to receive.
If you are running a retail business then signage is especially important as it can be used on the outside of your premises to attract and draw customers inside. If you already have some signage outside that is looking a bit weather beaten or perhaps some of the bulbs are no longer working on the lighting used to illuminate the signs you have up, then you are not doing your business any favors. Sometimes we become so familiar with our regular surroundings that we don’t always notice when something does not look right. Take a moment on a regular basis to step back and take a look at your premises with a fresh pair of eyes, try to imagine that you are a new customer who has stumbled upon the business, what does it say?
Would you want to step inside a shop that had a crumbling sign with flickering lights?
Keeping the place looking smart and inviting is certainly important, but as we know, brand image and recognition are one of the key drivers to getting regular and new customers coming through the door. When you are designing your corporate logo and signs, think carefully about which colors work best and are most appropriate to the type of business you are running. Color does make a huge difference as we are all effected and influenced by color in some way, including on a subliminal level. Using pink with neon signage would hardly work if you were running a funeral parlour, but on a much more subtle level, it is always worth getting some other opinions including asking a graphic designer to come up with some ideas that might make your business stand out, but in a good way.
Examples for inspiration
If you are looking for some useful clues about what good signage looks like, consider as an example, American Airlines, who use an instantly recognizable red and blue capital A’s with an eagle between the two letters. The signage uses the colors of the national flag and a symbol of Americanism with the eagle, which also signifies flight, so it’s a winning design all round with clever use of symbolic images and colors.
IBM is another interesting example of a good corporate image that you could take inspiration from. Three simple letters in steel written in an industrial style with a contrasting color background is simple and effective in conveying professionalism with a corporate/industrial image that seems to convey that the company has a good degree of self-assurance and has some subtle subliminal undertones too it as well.
Very often a company that trades from an office does not consider the importance of good signage in order to project the right corporate image. Retail is detail for sure, but if you have customers who are turning up at your office for meetings or any other regular visitors, then how you present your company is equally as important as if you were running a shop. Smart signs that incorporate a design sized logo at the front of the building plus other relevant corporate signage all help to project a professional image and give the message that you care about how your business is perceived and like to run it well.
Whilst the vast majority of us will only have a budget that is a fraction of some of the corporate giants, who spend sometimes billions in developing their brand image, you can still make a big difference by keeping your signage looking smart and relevant, and if you manage to also achieve recognition as well then you know you are doing it right.
Robert M. Smyth is a business consultant. He showing companies how to put their best foot forward and his articles mainly appear on business marketing blogs. Visit the corporate signs link for more ideas.
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