What is the first impression you give to visitors when they come into town? see more
Gateway Signs are road signs that border your community or downtown district and introduce and welcome visitors. They are typically placed at the city or county limits and, more often than not, are in locations that offer a less-than desirable first impression of the community. When we see that sign, we’re going to judge you by what we see around it, and just after it. What does that “first impression” say about you?
Rule: Put your gateway signs where you will make the best first impression. Rarely is that at your city limits.
Have you ever wondered why residential sub-division developers spend so much money on their entrances? Look at the photo below. Are you thinking “Oh, another mobile home park”?
Probably not. But let’s address WHY they would spend this kind of money on an elaborate gateway when they are in the business of selling lots or homes. Signs like this:
• Create a sense of place and quality—you obviously didn’t think was a mobile home park.
• Creates pride of ownership. When you come home, you’re proud to live here.
• Gets your attention as you drive by—and that sells real estate faster.
• Conveys the community’s image—a high-quality place to live.
• Increases property value—it elevates your “perceived value” of the lots and homes here.
• It helps the community stand out from others.
Every single one of these reasons applies to your community gateways signs. They don’t have to be expensive, as in this example, but they do need to be attractive, well maintained, large enough to make a statement about you, and introduce the community as a great location where the response is automatic: “Wow. This is a nice place!”
And, by the way, these rules also apply to all of you in business. Your business sign is your best introduction to potential customers. Make it count!
How to get the best use out of your billboards. see more
Nothing creates more impressions, locally, than billboards—if they’re done right. When travelers, even commuters, see a message seven times, they remember it, whether it’s on television, radio, in magazines, online, or on billboards.
While we're not big fans of billboards, particularly in scenic areas, if you’ve got them, and they’re in great locations, then take advantage of them.
They are a great way to either catch the attention of drivers passing through your area, or they can provide ideas to visitors looking for a reason to stop. Either way, to create big visibility along the freeway, you need to use a BIG sign.
The most important message to convey with a billboard is a Call to Action! Tell drivers why they should take the next exit. Give a specific reason for people to stop (not an event or a ‘welcome’ or ‘friendly’ service promise). It can be as simple as what Little America does along Interstate 80 in Western Wyoming with multiple billboards, each with a single teaser: “50¢ ice cream cones—Little America” and the next one: “Spotless restrooms—Little America.”
Here are rules to use when designing your billboard campaign:
- Use no more than 12 words on a billboard—people have only four seconds to read a sign while they are driving at highway speed. Make it simple with a single message (including the name of the business or attraction).
- Choose locations for your billboards that are attractive, free of litter, and not close to rundown buildings. If you put your billboard in an area full of trash, it will automatically detract from the appeal of your message.
- Use contrasting colors and only one simple (one color) graphic so that your billboard is easy to read from a distance.
- The best color combo is yellow text on a dark background. Yellow pulls the eye. Don’t include a phone number, address, or website URL that people will not have time to write down. All information on a billboard needs to be simple.
- Including ‘Next Exit’ or ‘Exit #’ to help direct drivers is perfectly fine—but no specific information they can’t absorb in a few seconds.
The examples shown here are terrific samples of how to design and use billboards. They should NEVER look like print ads! Simple, short, to the point, with the reason WHY we should stop (or stay).
If you’ve got billboards, use them effectively!
How much business are you missing out on because of your signage? see more
In this video blog, Roger Brooks teaches the rule of perpendicular signs. Many shops in a downtown district simply place their signs above the door or have them painted on windows. More often than not, these signs are missed by potential customers totally unaware of what they have to offer or that they even exist.
How much business are you missing out on because of your signage?
Video length – 3:08