Big blank billboard with orange sunset sky.

Guidelines for the Best Outdoor Business Signage

You’ve decide to purchase outdoor signage for your business, which can be a significant investment. If you’re putting your hard-earned money into that signage you need to make sure it’s effectively branded so that it’s intriguing enough to make customers not only notice it but want to experience it as well.

The aim with outdoor signage is to make a splash and to be remembered. For many that means the content of the sign isn’t nearly as important as its design. Remember you don’t have a lot of time to make an impact with outdoor signage – maybe a couple of seconds – so the signage must stand out and be an attention grabber.

Following are some good guidelines to ensure you get the most out of your outdoor signage:


  • Make it stand out. There are thousands of signs out there so if you want to truly get noticed you have to do something to make yours stand out. One way to grab attention is with a 3D effect. While it will cost a bit more, it will definitely be well worth it in the long run.
  • Have a focal point. Typically the upper left portion of the sign is the best place for the focal point so that’s where you’ll want your logo, copy, or whatever the most significant part of your sign is to be placed.
  • Don’t let your sign appear to busy. Trying to use several images or graphics will have people looking frantically all over the sign, trying to take it all in in a couple of seconds. Don’t clutter the sign up – simple is always best.
  • Limit copy. First of all, nobody has time to read a bunch of words, and second, the most effective signs hit the consumer clearly with the business’s name and its function. The rule of thumb is to have no more than seven words on a sign so the company name, address and phone number should be plenty. Or maybe just the company slogan…
  • Speaking of copy… if you’re going to add it to your signs make sure it’s easily read. The worst thing you can have is a great sign but with words that are so tiny people driving by strain to read it. Also, the rule of thumb says not to use all capital letters as they are harder to read than uppercase/lowercase.
  • Make sure your signage reflects your branding. Use the same logo on your signage that you use on social media, letterhead and all marketing materials. Consistency is the key to having people remember your company. One caveat to that rule is if your logo employs a font that is difficult to read or doesn’t stand out, go with something that’s easier to read but somewhat close to the original font.
  • Pay particular attention to colors. While the colors should be consistent with branding, contrasting hues stand out the most. The best contrast is black and white or yellow on black.



Other important things to remember with outdoor signage is to make sure the sign is clearly visible with no trees, bushes, statues or other buildings in the way and that it is placed in a well lit area or the sign itself is lighted.