for branding your retail business

You only have a matter of seconds to create interest in your business so be careful.

As retail becomes more competitive it is essential to have an image that stands out and gets you noticed immediately. The first impression that anyone will get of your business is your sign. If it can’t attract attention or be read or understood, then it is a waste of money and potential customers.


Many start-up businesses forget to allocate money for a sign. Stock, shop fitting, and wages are of course important; advertising is of paramount importance, your sign is the key. A well-made, properly designed sign will last for years and, for a modest one-off payment it will repay the investment many times over. Year on year your sign will be the most cost- effective advert you will ever buy!


Many of the following hints are obvious to the professional designer but more and more people are “self-designing” on the laptop where the obvious is often overlooked.

It’s all in the name?

Most importantly for start-ups, it’s the offer (what you are selling), rather than the name, that will attract customers. Unless your name is a household brand then it will mean little or nothing to the footfall passing your premises.

The best of all worlds is of course when your name and offer can be combined on the sign and point of sale material. “Tony’s Tyres” “Barney’s Burgers” all do this well. Emily’s or Metropolis could mean anything?

Colour choice

The clever use of colour on signs is of paramount importance. The general rule of thumb is to have a darker coloured background with lighter coloured letters. This will help visibility and to break the sign away from its surroundings. Try to avoid similar colours to your immediate neighbour’s sign to avoid confusion. Natural materials such as wood, stainless steel, aluminium can all be used to good effect if used carefully to give colour contrast to signs.

Style of text.

Always avoid using difficult to read letter styles (fonts) on your sign. Script or Gothic styles work well on paper but difficult to take in quickly on a sign. Just remember that it takes a customer on foot less than 30 seconds to walk past your sign and a car travelling at 30mph will be gone in the blink of an eye.

Plain (yes boring) fonts are easy to read but that is the main reason they are used on the most successful business signs that you see daily. Think McDonalds, Sports Direct and Starbucks for example, they spend tens of thousands of pounds on research and design, it pays off!

Less does equal more

You have a big sign to fill …so why not fill it?

Simple really when you think about it. The more words you try to cram in , the smaller the letters will have to be and the harder it becomes to read. It is so tempting to write “taps, plugs, pipes, showers , baths , sinks, toilets; the word Plumbers Merchant say it all ! Yes, you have to tell your story but keep it simple and it then becomes memorable “Every little helps”

Light up Light up?

An illuminated sign can look very attractive, but it can also be a total waste of money. If your retail business is in a well - lit shopping mall then forget it! If however you are in a half lit high road with lots of competition then the extra investment can be well worth it, Consider where you are and what you need to achieve. There are several ways to illuminate your sign. The majority of these involve the use of LED’s which of course are relatively cheap to run with a long-life expectancy


Downlights or Trough lights over a sign produce a warm glow over the width of the sign face and if directed properly will light up the important wording.


Internal illumination, can either provide light that illuminates the entire sign face or with clever planning, can subtly create halos around letters and logos to enhance important features.


Spotlights are sometimes used on signs but are not generally that effective as the light beam is quite narrow and the result can be lots of dark invisible areas on the sign .

A chat with an experienced sign company such as FD signs will help to guide you through the design process. Once you are happy that FD Signs is your preferred sign-maker , and you place your order, FD Signs will always create visuals before staring the work.

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