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Written by Trine Larsen

Signage purpose and how it affects construction method

Typically, signage is created for a few common purposes, such as promoting a business, give directions, provide information and safety awareness. In our daily lives we’re constantly bombarded with signage. Drive down the street, and you’ll be told by signage how fast you should drive. In the park, you’ll be met with wayfinding signs to help guide you, whereas, in the workplace, you’ll encounter health and safety signs. Lastly, when you go shopping, you’re looking at the signage branding to help you make the decision on where to shop. All these signs are built and designed for a specific purpose.

Who is your target audience?

This is an important question to consider before embarking on any type of signage for your company. What type of clientele are you hoping to attract? Consider hotel signage. You have the Hilton hotels vs a youth hostel like YHA Australia. They might offer a similar service, but their target audiences are very different, and so must their signage be.

The Hilton hotel signage is clean, crisp and stylish. High-end products are used throughout their hotels. They make use of Router-cut lettering in their wayfinding as well as throughout their fascia signage. These construction methods give an air of professionalism and luxury. As a bonus, their Logo is clean and elegant with minimal use of colour. All this together creates an air of style, sophistication, and that all-important High-end feeling, which will help the Hilton to attract the audience suited for their business.

As a contrast, we have the youth hostel YHA Australia. Their target audience is, unlike the Hilton hotel, young people who want to travel on a budget. And throughout Australia, their signage helps portray this to their customers. Often, the YHA signage is single panel ACP signs with printed colourful graphics to the face. When they opt for 3D signage, they often use painted acrylics, with vibrant colours. The use of colour helps give them a more youthful vibe and will help attract the right clientele. As a bonus, many YHA hostels will incorporate some wall art into their buildings to help create a playful atmosphere suited to their young clientele. In their logo, they employ a green graphic in an orange circle, promoting unity. Their colours are bright, and the graphics inside the circle show a house and a tree. Nice and simple. This logo tells their potential customer who and what they’re all about.

Both these examples work for their intended target audience, and that makes for good signage in our book. Signage doesn’t always have to be complicated or expensive to make the right impression on the audience you’re trying to reach.

Choosing materials and construction methods and why it’s important.

Now we have touched on branding and target audience, we want to discuss how signs are made and what purpose the construction must serve. There are hundreds of different types of signs out there. So before charging ahead, you must consider what is the purpose of my sign?

Portable Signage: As an example, let’s look at signage for a market stall or mobile business. The purpose of the signage is to attract clients to your market stall or locate your “pop-up” style business, but there’s more factors to consider in regard to the signage. A market stall is not a permanent fixture, so the construction of the signage must reflect that. Opting for heavy steel frames and cumbersome router cut aluminium text simply won’t work. The signage for a market stall needs to be as portable as the stall itself. Additionally, the sign panels often need to be easily interchangeable to allow for season changes to what is selling or being promoted on any given day. A great option for something like this is an Aframe with easily interchangeable panels or grass spike coreflutes. These signs are easy to pack up and store when not in use, and as the graphics are interchangeable, they are budget friendly to replace, giving the user the option to quickly focus on a new product when needed.

Another great option is what we call retractable banners. These banners contain internal roller mechanisms that guide the graphics within the base when not in use. The base works as protection for the graphics. Many companies opt to have several of these and will use whichever one is relevant on the day or for the setting; as the bases available suit indoor and outdoor applications. Should your message or product change, you can easily reprint the graphic and have the Retractable banner reskinned. In market stalls in particular, the use of easily transportable banners is a great and cost-effective signage option, and with the right setup, these banners can look just as inviting as any other signage. The options for portable signage are endless, and the important thing is that the signage and materials you choose serve the right purpose of making your market stall or “pop-up” business easy to move, while at the same time compliment your brand.

Permanent building signage is a little different. When choosing permanent signage, the most important thing to consider is longevity, even when you’re on a budget. Luckily, there are many options out there for long lasting signs at lower costs.

As in the hotel example above, the types of materials you choose will have an effect of how your brand is portrayed to potential customers. Your permanent building signage is the first impression you make to your customers, so choosing the right options is key to successful signage. Signage construction will inevitably come down to who your target audience is. High-end retailers often opt for similar signage construction methods as the Hilton example above. These sort of methods, will tell your customers, that you’re a high-end brand. But if you choose these construction methods for something like a dollar store, you will find your client expectations of your brand to be completely off, and you will inevitably lose customers.

Signage isn’t all about the work that went into designing your logo or your visual brand, which is of course as important, but the right method of signage construction, can be what makes or breaks any sign.

Internal signage and the importance of branding consistency.

We have spoken a lot of external signage and capturing the right target audience, but internal signage is also important for any company. Once that first impression has been made outside, your client will inevitably walk inside, and if what was promised by the external signage, isn’t reflected your client might not feel compelled to give you their business.

Once you choose a direction, it’s important to keep your brand consistent, and this goes for inside as well as outside.

Internal signage is very versatile. It can come in the form of displays, welcoming reception signs, wayfinding signage, promotional signage, wall graphics etc…

A great example of internal and external signage working together is McDonalds. It’s a brand we all know, and their golden arches are recognisable from anywhere, but have you ever entered one of their stores and doubted that you were in the right place? The answer to that is probably a no. All their stores are fully branded internally and externally. The golden arch logo is prominent both inside and outside, and a very specific colour scheme is utilised throughout their restaurants. Additionally, they are consistent in their use of construction methods. They use mainly painted or vinyl clad illuminated acrylics, with printed menu boards above the counters. Each store even tends to use the same furniture and panel cladding. They opt for bright colours and inviting child friendly motifs. McDonalds is global branding done right; the materials used throughout their stores reflect who they are as a company. They don’t try to lure you in by setting unrealistic expectations that don’t reflect the end product.

If you’re feeling unsure of how to go about choosing the right construction methods that reflect who you are as a company, give our friendly sales team a call today, and they will guide you through all the options available and will help you find what is right for your business.

Let our Perth sign company help you construct the right signage for your target audience.
A business with a good sign, is a sign of a good business.

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