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7 Ways to Create Impactful Retail Store Signage

December 02, 2019

Retail store signs have around three seconds to attract the attention of the average customer. During this brief moment in time, the sign needs to attract, inform, and then persuade the customer to do something.

An effective and impactful retail sign will create a rewarding customer experience and drive increased sales. Benefits also include increased brand recognition, improved sales, and a higher perceived value for products. 

We’ve put together seven suggestions on how you can design the perfect store sign for your retail store:

Less is More

The cultural phenomenon of text messages, tweets, and other forms of social media have conditioned many people to keep their communications short and to the point. Try to use as few words as possible when designing the copy of your sign.

Edit, edit, and edit some more until you can chop 12 words down to just three or four. It allows people to quickly understand your message with just a fleeting glance. If you force them to stop and read, you could run the risk of having your sign ignored completely.


Try to incorporate such possessive words as “you” and “yours” in your copy. People tend to make their buying decisions when they can visualize themselves using a particular product. For example, take a flower shop sign that reads: “Surprise Her with a Bouquet of Flowers.” A stronger and more persuasive way of writing this is: “You’ll Win Her Heart with a Bouquet of Flowers.”


Be careful when choosing a font for your sign. While it may look pretty on a computer screen, it might be challenging to read in real life. Try to stay away from fonts with fancy lines or multiple colors as they tend to confuse. Some people with disabilities might have a hard time reading certain fonts as well.

Font size is another important consideration. How far will the average read be when they read your sign? Your font size should be at least one inch tall for every 10’ of viewing distance. That’s equivalent to a 72-pt font in Photoshop or InDesign. If your letters are too small, older adults or those with vision problems could have trouble reading them.

State the Reasons

Listing the reasons why someone should buy a particular product reinforces their buying decisions by enabling them to picture themselves using it. You can also incorporate the “you/yours” trick we mentioned above to make the message even stronger.

A great way to create the perfect copy is to think of all the benefits that your product offers and then choose the best one that solves a particular problem or challenge.

  • “Feeling Cold? Come in for a Warm Cup of Hot Chocolate!” 
  • “Reduce Age Lines and Wrinkles!”
  • “Get Better Gas Mileage!”

Use Contrasting Colors

The colors that you use on your sign can have a huge impact and affect the readability. If you’re designing an outdoor banner, keep in mind that some color combinations may not show up very well in the glare of the midday sun. To avoid this, make sure to incorporate contrast between the text and background color.

The five most legible color combinations that you can use are:

  • White on blue
  • Black on white
  • Green on white
  • Yellow on black
  • Black on yellow  

Test Sign Placement

The placement of your newly created sign is also important. If your storefront has tinted windows, people driving by might have a hard time reading the sign. In that case, you’ll need to either remove a portion of the tint or consider hanging the sign outdoors. Keep moving the sign and testing placement until you feel that it’s working.

Where you place the sign inside can also have a significant impact. For example, when a sign highlights specific merchandise, it’s best placed on a wall that’s located nearby. Windows should be reserved for signs that entire people to come into the store while info about return policies is best placed near the cash register.

Check Out the Competition

Are you feeling uninspired? At a loss as to what kind of sign to design? Take a covert trip over to one of your competitor’s business and have a look around their store. Make a mental note (or slyly take some pictures with your smartphone) of the signs that they’re using, the messages that they’re displaying, and where they are located. Chances are if they’re working well for your competitors, they will work for your store as well.

Seattle Sign Shop

If you’re having trouble with the design of a retail sign or would like to speak to someone about which options will make the biggest impact, give us a call at (206) 284-0809 or contact us via our website. At McNamara Signs, we’ve helped countless Seattle businesses and organizations design and create the perfect retail sign!

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