Types of Signs: Boost Sales and Brand Awareness with Better Business Signage

Business signage plays a critical role in establishing brand recognition, attracting new customers, and communicating key information. Studies show that high-quality, visually compelling signage can lead to a significant boost in sales and profits. According to research, monument signs alone can increase revenue by 9.3%, while pole signs can add up to 15.6% in additional sales.[1] Beyond the numbers, signage serves as a vital marketing touchpoint that showcases a company’s unique identity and value proposition. For many businesses, their signage is the first impression they make on potential customers.

With so many options now available, from classic neon channel letters to advanced digital displays, it’s important for companies to choose signage aligned to their brand strategy and goals. This guide provides an in-depth look at the most effective sign types on the market and offers helpful tips for selecting signage tailored to your specific business.

Outdoor Business Signs

There are several common outdoor signs that businesses use to attract attention and advertise to passersby. Some of the most popular outdoor business sign options include:

Monument Signs

Monument signs are freestanding signs that sit directly on the ground. They are large, low-profile structures often made of materials like concrete, stone, or brick. Monument signs allow for maximum visibility while also providing an upscale, polished look. Many businesses place their company logos on monument signs and use them to mark entrances to their locations.

Pylon Signs

Pylon signs, also known as pole signs, are tall freestanding structures mounted on one or two poles. They tower above the business, providing high visibility from down the road. Pylon signs typically display large rectangular panels or cabinets that can house changeable lettering for promotions and sales. They work especially well along busy streets and highways.

Pole Signs

Pole signs are mounted on a single pole and placed close to the ground. They have small signs or placards attached for visibility to nearby pedestrians and traffic. Pole signs are commonly used for directional purposes like pointing to a business entrance or drive-thru. They have a smaller profile than pylon signs but still offer on-premise advertising.


Billboards are very large format outdoor signs meant to capture the attention of vehicular traffic. They are structurally supported double-faced signs displaying ads, messages, and branding. Billboards provide extreme long-distance visibility. They are highly effective for brand awareness campaigns and reaching a broad audience in a metro area.

Window & Door Signage

Window and door signs are an impactful way for businesses to grab attention and convey key messaging. There are several popular options for window signage including graphics, decals, and etched glass.

Full-color window graphics allow for vibrant designs and photographic images to be displayed. They are printed on perforated vinyl that is then applied directly to the glass. Some benefits of window graphics are:

  • Increase visibility for your business if you have a storefront with lots of window space
  • Adapt easily for sales and promotions by switching out graphics
  • Allow for complete creative freedom in terms of design
  • Can be used to enhance curb appeal and create ambiance from the exterior (such as a restaurant dining area)

Window decals are another option for adding color while allowing visibility. These vinyl stickers can display your business name, logo, or other short messaging. Key benefits of window decals include:

  • Cost effective way to brand your store windows
  • Easy to apply and reposition
  • Provide privacy while allowing natural light in
  • Can be used to highlight special offers or discounts

Etched glass window signage involves permanently etching your logo or lettering into the glass surface with an abrasive material. This creates an elegant, distinctive look. Key benefits of etched glass signs include:

  • High-end, polished appearance
  • Permanent branding for the lifetime of the glass surface
  • Discreet way to display your business name to customers entering your premises

Interior & Wayfinding Signs

Interior signage serves an important wayfinding purpose for businesses. Well-designed lobby signs, directories, room signs, and safety signs guide customers and employees through a facility effectively. Interior signage offers branding opportunities and creates a positive atmosphere.

Lobby signs should welcome visitors and direct them to key areas like restrooms, escalators, and elevators. Lobby directories should list departments and provide office names and numbers. Room signs identify spaces throughout a facility, making navigation seamless. They indicate room names and numbers outside each door. Safety and compliance signs like exit signs and occupancy limits are also essential interior signs.

Wayfinding goes beyond physical signs, but signage remains central to any wayfinding system. A comprehensive signage plan considers branding aesthetics,ADA accessibility, and meeting fire and building codes. Effective interior signage improves customer experience and employee productivity.

Digital Signage

Digital signage is a modern, flexible, and impactful way for businesses to display information and advertisements digitally. The global digital signage market is growing rapidly and was valued at USD 19.78 billion in 2018, with an expected CAGR of 7.8% to reach USD 35.94 billion by 2026.).

Today’s digital signage uses technology like LED, LCD screens, and electronic paper for high visual impact while allowing ease of updating and dynamically displaying content. Some key benefits of digital signage include:

  • Ability to catch customer attention with vivid motion graphics and video
  • Displaying targeted and timely messages
  • Content management from a central location
  • Integration with other software platforms
  • Analytics and data tracking

Many businesses now use digital signage for advertising goods and services, wayfinding, enhancing branding, and engaging customers at the point of sale. The versatility and measurability of digital signs makes them a smart marketing investment for forward-thinking companies.

Channel Letter Signs

Channel letter signs have become extremely popular for business exterior signage because they are very eye-catching and readable from a distance. Channel letters get their name from the metal channeling that outlines each individual letter or graphic shape. These 3D signs come in illuminated and non-illuminated styles.

Illuminated channel letters contain either neon or LED lighting within the metal casing to make the letters glow brightly. This allows businesses to display a vibrant sign even at night or in low light conditions. The lights can be set to a single color or programmed to alternate between multiple colors. Contrasting letter colors on a darker background works well for maximum visibility.

Non-illuminated channel letter signs are created from thick, formed metal and are typically painted or have vinyl application for the graphics or letters. These signs rely on reflected daylight or exterior lighting like spotlights. They provide a modern, industrial look and often incorporate bold colors, metal textures, and dimensional depth for high visual impact. 1

Channel letters can be made from metals like aluminum or steel for durability and weather-resistance. Plastics like acrylic or polycarbonate are sometimes used for illuminated letters to transmit light better. The letter casings are designed to withstand outdoor elements while allowing easy access for any necessary repairs. Overall, channel letter signs deliver excellent visibility and branding impact for the investment.

Dimensional Letter Signs

Dimensional letter signs, also known as architectural lettering, are customizable raised or embossed letters that add eye-catching texture to signage. These 3D letters are most commonly made of thick plastic or metal. They are affixed to exterior building facades or interior entryways to prominently display a company name, logo, or other messaging.

The benefits of dimensional lettering include:

  • Durability – Dimensional letters stand up well in outdoor environments.
  • Legibility – The raised depth makes these letters easy to read from a distance.
  • Value – For a modest budget, dimensional letters maximize branding impact.

Dimensional letters also come in a wide array of sizes, materials, colors, and depth dimensions to fit any budget. Their customized nature allows for creative branding tailored to a company’s image and preferences. Installation can be simple with adhesive or screw mounting.

Potential drawbacks include:

  • Plastic letters may crack, warp, or fade over time when exposed to weather.
  • Thick, bulky letters aren’t ideal for compact spaces.
  • Metal lettering is generally more expensive than other options.

Marquee Signs

Marquee signs have a distinct and iconic history originating from theater signs in the early 20th century. The large outdoor signs with illuminated lettering helped advertise and identify theaters and cinemas before the era of neon and digital signs.

There are two main types of marquee signs that businesses use:

Pole Marquees

Pole marquees feature signage mounted on top of a tall pole or pylon. This gives them visibility above eye level so they can be seen from further away. Pole marquees often utilize neon or LED lettering and lighting effects.

Canopy Marquees

Canopy marquees have signage mounted under a fixed awning or canopy structure. The canopy provides contrast behind the signage and allows for lighting or neon to illuminate the interior. Theaters commonly used canopy-style marquees with changeable lettering to display current movies and showtimes.

Marquee signs create visual impact and retro flair. They remain popular for theaters, restaurants, casinos, and anywhere looking to evoke a classic, vintage aesthetic.

A-Frame & Sandwich Board Signs

A-frame and sandwich board signs are movable, changeable signs that can be placed outside on sidewalks to attract attention and advertise products or services. Made from weather-resistant materials like aluminum, steel, or plastic, these sidewalk signs are lightweight and easy to move. Many businesses use A-frame signs to highlight daily specials, sales, events, and new products.

Some of the key benefits of A-frame signs include:

  • Portable – They can be moved around and positioned as needed.
  • Affordable – Cost effective for small businesses to promote special offers.
  • Customizable – Allow businesses to change messages frequently.
  • Convenient – Easy for staff to place outside and bring in daily.
  • Eye-catching – The A-shape design grabs attention from pedestrians.

However, businesses should be aware of local regulations for A-frame signs, which often limit the size, placement, and times they can be displayed. Permits may be required in some areas. Common restrictions include:

  • Keeping a clear pedestrian path on sidewalks.
  • Not obstructing visibility for traffic.
  • Taking signs indoors at the end of each business day.
  • Limiting size of signs, typically under 6-8 sq ft.

When used properly within local guidelines, A-frame sidewalk signs can be an effective and flexible way for many businesses to promote themselves and engage passerby.[1][2][3]

Wall Murals

Wall murals are a popular and eye-catching way for businesses to brand their space. Custom painted murals and graphic wraps allow for immense creativity and visual impact. According to a study by the Sign Research Foundation, 60% of businesses that installed a wall mural increased sales by an average of 10%[1]. Wall murals are a great way to showcase your brand identity and story.

Custom painted murals allow for any imagery to be hand-painted directly on your walls. This creates a one-of-a-kind mural tailored to your business. Professional muralists can paint anything from abstract designs to landscapes or graphic illustrations featuring your products and services. Hand-painted murals have a classic, artistic style.

Large format graphic wraps use high-resolution printed vinyl that is adhered directly to your wall. This allows for photorealistic imagery and sharp graphics at a lower cost than painted murals. Vibrant colors and photographic images can attract attention and immerse customers in your brand story. Graphic wraps are also easy to install and change out if you want to update the mural design down the road.

Wall murals are ideal for retail stores, restaurants, offices, and industrial facilities. They can help create an engaging environment and communicate your brand identity in a distinctive, creative way.

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