Why DIY Signage Is Terrible For Your Brand Image

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DIY Signage

No matter how artsy and craftsy you are, a DIY sign for your place of business will always look a little amateurish at best or convey a wrong image and message at worst. So, if you’re thinking that doing your own signage will save you money, maybe it’s time to re-think that!

A DIY Sign: The Wrong Cue and Clue
A sign that looks unpolished gives passersby an impression that it was done internally to save money, and that makes them think that your business may not be doing very well. What’s even more damaging, without the input and advice from graphic artists and signage experts, your sign may actually turn customers away and affect your sales. That’s not going to be good for business. Saving money on signage production is a short-term gain for long-term pain.

And there are many mistakes you can make when creating your signage yourself—you’re a business owner, not an advertising or printing professional!

Here are just a few common mistakes non-professionals make when creating signage.

Copy, Text and Graphics Mistakes
Not being a professional copywriter, you may resort to a “copy the copy” strategy—that is, modify a well-known slogan. “Have a break, have a Kit-Kat” may be borrowed to become “Have a break? Have a coffee” on a billboard in front of your coffee shop. You may think that’s clever, but this not only smacks of a lack of creativity—it is a slogan swipe, and as such, not really a good representation of your business.

There are many rules about what typeface should be used for different sizes of signage. Your personal liking of one font doesn’t make it necessarily right for your sign. It may look nice up close, but only an expert can tell you if it will be legible from a distance.

There are also proven graphics techniques that make signage attractive to customers, which may not be known to you as a business owner. For instance, you may be tempted to have all kinds of information on the signage. Too much information makes the sign unappealing (boring) to read, not to mention illegible. A professional will help you choose the salient information to put up on your signage, expressed creatively and succinctly. That will ensure that your message will be read and remembered. They will also help you with the overall layout and design of your signage—and there are many tricks of the trade they can employ to make the sign optimally attractive to passersby. The choice of colour, for example, is extremely important, as is the right amount of graphics and white space.

Signage Material Blunders
Once a plywood sign begin to shows its age, business owners are often tempted to repaint it and re-letter it. Not a good idea—ever heard the expression “putting lipstick on a pig”? The sign will just end up looking like an old plywood sign repainted to save money. Not exactly the image you want to convey. If money is an issue, a banner is a less costly option—at least as a temporary solution. For permanent signs, however, it’s best to go with hard materials or substrates, which any sign manufacturer can offer you.

A sign manufacturer can also advise on the choice of material for your signage and location. Durability is important, especially if the sign is to be installed in a place prone to extreme weather. Sometimes, just a few dollars more will give you materials that are much sturdier than cheaper ones, which will save you money in the long term. All these things have to be considered to ensure your sign is well built and will last a long time.

And finally, professionals will be able to spot any wrong detail in signage that may not be evident to your uninitiated eye: for instance, letters set too tightly or a letter set in reverse. The bottom line is, you can’t afford any mistakes on your signage—it represents your business and integrity and is the first critical impression of your brand!


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New Style Signs supplies and installs signs throughout all of Southern Ontario.

We supply and install signs in Toronto and the following surrounding areas:

  • York Region
  • Peel Region
  • Durham Region
  • Halton Region