How to Audit Your Company’s Signage
To gain maximum value from your outdoor and indoor signs, it’s an excellent idea to audit them regularly. Most sources recommend a review at least once a year or even more frequently if you’re a retailer. It’s likely you change your messages often and are heavily reliant on signage to not only identify your location but also promote your goods or services seasonally or during the holidays.
Consider your storefront signage, for example. A design that worked well five or ten years ago may not be as effective today for many reasons, as we’ll explore below. Keeping your signage up-to-date will help make sure that your message — and your location — stands out in a crowded marketplace!
Auditing is the answer. Regular reviews are best conducted with a trusted designer or experienced signage provider that can help you identify what needs repair, improvement or replacement. Better yet, they may also help you see what you may be missing signage-wise, altogether!
9 key questions to ask
Conduct your signage audit in a calm moment when you have enough time to carefully assess the situation with notepad or recorder in hand. Do it systematically, so you’re likely not to miss anything. For example, work from outside to inside. Go in a clockwise (or counterclockwise) direction. Always examine a surface from top to bottom.
When reviewing your signage, don’t overlook the viewpoint of your customers! Most are likely to first see your signs from a block or two (or three) down the road as they approach your location by car. So, hop in your vehicle and observe what they see. Better yet, try it at several times. Why? A daytime signage review might not reveal the burned-out lightbulbs that at night are detracting from the image of quality you’re seeking to project!
Here are some questions that will assist you in your signage audit:
1. Are your signs visible?
- Are overgrown trees and bushes obscuring the view? This problem may not be noticeable during the winter but out-of-control foliage can be a big problem during the summer months. How about competing signs? If the signs of a new neighbor are blocking yours from view, you’ll need to reexamine the placement of yours. Be mindful of indoor signs, too. That big, bright and impressive new floor display may be blocking the signage that points to your checkout lanes!
2. Are the colors vibrant?
Take a good look at the color of your signage, especially your outdoor examples. If they’re faded and dull, you should consider a cleaning at minimum, a repainting or even a complete replacement. Be aware, too, that new businesses or expanding foliage can reduce the impact of sign colors. Your green sign may not stand out in the summer any longer against a row of fully-grown trees that were once hard-to-notice saplings!
3. Is the call-to-action up to date?
Today’s marketing is often about asking your customers to take a positive step with a strong call-to-action. While some signs simply identify, others need to carry a message, even if it’s as simple as, “Save Now on Seasonal Closeouts” or “Park Here.”
4. Does the sign reflect your branding?
One of your most important communication elements, signs are often one of the last to be updated when your branding changes. You don’t want to confuse your customers by having signs that don’t feature your newest logo. Consistent type fonts, colors and styles applied to your signage as well as other communications will help customers identify your company.
5. Are you missing good opportunities?
Outdoor signs, for example, need not be limited to your storefront. Use roadside space, light poles, windows, doors and more! Indoors, consider newer solutions including branded ceiling tiles and non-skid, vinyl floor graphics. And don’t overlook vehicle graphics. Even when parked outside after hours, a branded car, truck or trailer will call attention to your business!
6. Do your event signs match your brand?
When you take your business to new locations through trade shows or community events, do you employ signage that carries your standard design? Signs employed at events should complement the ones used inside and outside your store!
7. Does your signage meet all local laws?
Many communities have local regulations that govern exterior signage. As part of your audit, you should make sure that your permanent outdoor signs adhere to these guidelines. Non-compliant signs can incur hefty fines.
8. Do your current signs need repairs?
Be sure to check your signs for overall quality. Look for loose fittings, burned-out bulbs and the overall appearance. Outdoor signage that’s rundown may discourage customers from entering your business. Burned-out light bulbs are often a prime candidate for replacements. If your signage is not illuminated, long-lasting and energy-efficient LEDs (light-emitting diodes) represent a great opportunity for a retrofit. LEDs are often reason enough for a new sign, given the many advantages of bright, lighted signage!
9. When was the last time you updated?
Even signage with a fresh logo and a like-new appearance can lose its impact over time. People begin to see it as wallpaper, which means they don’t really see it all. If that’s the case, a replacement sign may be well worth the investment!
How does the ADA impact your business signage?
In conducting a sign audit, you have to consider the many regulations that govern signs. The ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act addresses specifications for many signs. Penalties for non-compliance can be costly. So, you’ll want to be sure your audit encompasses these key signs.
What about warning, hazard and safety signs?
Your signage audit should also consider any signs that address safety regulations. Regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA signs must also adhere to strict rules. Be sure to include warning, hazard and safety signs in your regular review.
Ready to begin? Look to Image360® St. Paul for any or all your needs.
Image360 is your all-in-one source for graphics that enhance, signage that works and displays that inform. We work with you closely from imagination through installation to attain the high quality you seek, while adhering to your timeframe and budget. This, of course, includes signage audits of the type described here. Contacts us to discover the many ways we can help you.