If you have a place of business, there are probably some signs to help clients find you. Beyond wayfinding and informing, however, the design and placement of custom signage can positively impact revenue for businesses and institutions.

Picture these: building signs, storefronts, post-and-panel or pylon signs, directories at a plaza entrance, vehicles wrapped with graphics, event signage. Signage should be an essential part of marketing for 5 reasons.

#1 — The power of signs to impact your top-line growth is found in this: signs, in their most basic form, serve as prompts to change a person’s behavior.

#2 —Custom signage is essential to brand awareness and helping companies create first impressions on potential customers.

#3 — Signage is a branding opportunity, differentiating you from the competition. They provide a platform to express the brand’s personality in design and messaging and exude an attractive feel to their target audience.

#4 — At a local level, signage is ideal for generating word-of-mouth sharing within communities. Location and visibility of the sign plays a major role in maximizing awareness in a very cost-effective way. And speaking of cost effective…

#5 — Signage is economical, with low-maintenance costs over the long term. Unlike mass media, signage does not depend on high-cost infrastructure. It doesn’t rely on technology platforms and a perpetual investment of time to communicate like social media does.[1]


Painted building sign

Signs prompt behavior change. This painted building sign moves people toward the parking and entrance of the club.


The Survey Says…

So, what makes signage so valuable to businesses? Awareness. Attraction. Recall. Results.


According to U.S. Small Business Administration research and surveys, eight out of ten Americans have entered a store based on the signage alone. Broken down by gender, four out of ten females and about one-third of males will enter a store for the first time because a sign drew them in.

How does that translate into tangible value, you ask? Data has show that almost 70% of consumers have made a purchase because a sign sparked their interest. First, they had to become aware that the business existed, and then that timing had to intersect with the need/desire for something the business offered.[2]


The quality, attractiveness, and positioning of signage have a direct correlation to drawing customers into a store or location.

In a BrandSpark/Better Homes and Gardens American Shopper Study™, it was learned that six in ten shoppers are unable to physically find their intended business destination because the signage is unclear, too small, or not easy to see. The study also found one-third of consumers are drawn into unfamiliar stores because a sign grabbed their attention.

Signage also impacts consumer perception at the very first interaction between brand and market. It was learned in this same study that over 38% of consumers make assumptions about the quality of a business based on the signage alone, underscoring the importance signs have on initial engagement with audiences unfamiliar with a brand.[3]

Storefront acrylic signage



Long term, custom signage is a tool for creating brand/location recall.

Even when a consumer does not enter a location right away, signage helps to trigger memory recall, connecting the brand and location for future attraction opportunities.

The data show that 79% of people remember a business because of its sign. However, what really stands out is that three-quarters of consumers state they have told someone about a store based simply on the signage associated with it, according to a survey conducted by FedEx.[4]

Word-of-mouth is one of the strongest points to be made about custom signage because we know from general industry surveys that more than 90% of consumers trust their friends’ advice and suggestions over traditional marketing campaigns.

Storefront channel lettering and window graphics



Academic research conducted by the University of San Diego (UCSD) in 1997 and a follow-up study done by the University of Cincinnati in 2012 have proven the measurable impact signage can have on a business.

Working with a large fast-food chain, UCSD was able to tie an increase in sales at the local-store level directly to the addition of new location signs. The study found that with just one new sign added to a local establishment it would yield an uptick of 4.75% in sales. When compared to other local-store business improvement actions such as the expansion of a building, lengthening the number of operating hours, or considering how long the location had been in business, new signage had more impact than any other measured factor in the study. In fact, researchers were able to determine that the addition of a sign at a location would generate a higher number of transactions. Thus, when the number of transactions and total sales dollars generated was calculated, it was learned the installation of one new sign at all the fast-food locations studied would raise $132 million, adding $10 million to the tax base.[5]

The study looked at the type of new sign installed and the effect on transaction numbers. In short, here’s what they found.

  • Pole sign, 144 sq.ft. = 6% increase in transactions
  • Monument sign, 225 sq.ft. = 3% increase in transactions
  • Directory sign, 6 sq.ft. = 5% increase in transactions
  • Building sign, 36 sq.ft. = 3% increase in transactions[4]



The lesson here is that investing in the right type of signage, focusing on its quality, and paying close attention to proper positioning for installation can have a direct, positive impact on business income and deliver top-line results.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5576639/ – National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information.
[2] https://mgraphicsinc.com/business-signs-are-an-important-marketing-tool/
[3] http://www.signresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/Signage-Communication-Evidence-BrandSpark-BHG.pdf
[4] https://newsroom.fedex.com/newsroom/fedex-office-survey-standout-signs-contribute-to-sales/
[5] https://www.poyantsigns.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/On_Premise_Signage_Report.pdf