7 Tips to Ensure Failure of Your Small Business Signage

Customers?  Who needs ‘em? Here is some tongue-in-cheek advice on how to not to create good business signage.

  1. The Smaller, the WORST!

If your goal is to make people completely forget about the existence of your company, it’s vital that your signs blend in.  People passing by your storefront signs only have a matter of milliseconds to notice them in their brains.  If you want that information to spill right out as soon as it goes in, focus on making your business sign or banner as difficult as possible to read.  Large signs draw attention to themselves.  Small signs are humble and easy to overlook. The smaller, the more insignificant – so if your sign is really small, passersby will have no choice but to completely ignore them.

If you want to guarantee less business for yourself, it is pivotal that your signs not only be tiny but also display insignificant, indecipherable text as well.  This will guarantee that anyone standing more that five feet from your sign will have no clue as to what you’re attempting to communicate.  As a general rule for viewing distance, sign letters need to be 1 inch tall for every meter/yard of distance the sign is commonly going to be viewed from.  So ignore that general rule!


  1. Make it Unreadable

In your quest not to be noticed by the public at large, your small business signs need to be hidden and as difficult as possible to read.  While you’re at it, why not make your signs as repulsive as possible?  Dingbat font?  Go right ahead!  Comic sans?  Knock yourself out!

Bold colors say ‘come here’ ‘look at me.’  What you’re after, on the other hand, is something that says ‘nothing to see here’ and ‘move along.’  So think drab colors like brown and gray and depressing mauve. In no time, nobody will ever want to look at your small business signs ever again!

  1. Use Lame Colors

In your mission to fail, it is also imperative that you consider color combinations on your signage.  For example, a red background with yellow text is a high-contrast combination that is sure to get noticed. If that clashes with your logo colors or the area surrounding your sign, then red text on a white background or yellow text on a black background still gives your business sign or banner eye-popping contrast.

But since your goal is to ensure that the least amount of people read or even comprehend your small business signs, shoot for the bad color combinations.  Remember, unreadable is the name of the game.  Think green text with a blue background or yellow text on white or red lettering with brown or vice-versa.  Nobody will have any idea what your sign is trying to say because they wont be able to read it.

  1. Keep Them Guessing

If you don’t want people to know what small business you’re advertising, do not add a logo or graphic to your signs!  These serve as focal points for a small business sign.  Logos are even more crucial when you have a recognized brand or if you want to add a graphic to identify certain products or services. In order to fail, the last thing you want to do is put your logo on your signage.


  1. Hide Your Sign

Sign placement is another huge part of effective small business signage.  To make sure no one ever sees your small business sign, never put it at eye level.  Instead, put it along ill-lit country roads where the only living things around to read them are the cows. Or put it behind a tree or cables to make sure no one notices it. Soon, your booming business will smolder into a bust.  Good job!

Again, be aware of local laws and ordinances, your area’s Sign.com member shop will help if you are unsure whether or not your sign falls under the law.

  1. Break the Law

You’ll obviously not want to get advice from anyone who knows your local signage laws. Cities, counties and states all have different ordinances governing signage. At Sign.com, we route all sign orders to local sign professionals that can help you with legal installation. But you’re smarter than all that, so you’ll place your business signage yourself. You enjoy paying fines and having to re-do your signage, so go wild and do it all yourself.


  1. Use the Wrong Material

Depending upon your small business sign needs, you should use certain materials for your forgettable signs.

For example, if you are looking to create a banner that hangs from a fence or a deck for only a couple of hours, be sure and use perforated window film (an adhesive vinyl mesh) that will last 20 minutes before being ripped up in the wind.  While you’re at it, put the outside sign material on the inside!  Use a vinyl banner (13-14 oz.) inside your store window and it will continuously fall down without adhesive, thus guarantying that no one will ever read it.

But by all means, don’t use the correct materials for the appropriate job.

If you are looking for material to make signs that will hang in windy outdoor areas, (and if you don’t want them to do the job well) whatever you do, don’t use these two options.  You could go with PVC (.100) that comes in durable, flexible sheets, or you could go with aluminum (.040), which costs less than PVC, but is prone to scratching, dents, and bending.  It is also important to note that Aluminum also has very sharp edges.

For heavy-duty outdoor signage mounted on buildings, you can’t go wrong with Alumacore (6mm) that has aluminum faces with a rigid corrugated plastic core and lasts a long time.

Well, you can go wrong with Alumacore if you want to make a sign that will blow away, lost to the winds of time.

If you really want to fail, follow all of the tips above.