Business Sign Design: How to Crank Up the Conspicuity and Drive Sales

How to Crank Up the Conspicuity and Drive Sales

Signage is your business’ silent salesperson, but they won’t start selling until they get spotted. To that end, today’s post highlights a few ways to tweak your business sign design and placement to get noticed and drive sales.

Business sign design: Crank up the conspicuity to drive sales

Even the most persuasive sales copy won’t work unless your business signs get noticed. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can tweak your business sign design to crank up the conspicuity. For starters, you might consider:

  • Replacing outline characters with solid fonts. In one study for Trends in Optics and Photonics, researchers found that outline characters needed to be 1.8 times larger than solid characters to achieve equivalent legibility (Arditi et al., 1997).
  • Dreaming up a dynamic display. A 2004 report by Transportation Research Record found that dynamic business signs received more than twice as many glances as “non-active” ones (Beijer et al., 2004). Plenty of options are available at all price points, whether you opt for a dynamic digital display or attach a fluttering flag to your static sign, using natural movement to help draw the eye.
  • Upsizing your sign copy. To achieve standard legibility levels, the United States Sign Council Foundation recommends making sign copy 1” tall for every 30’ of viewing distance. In some cases, upsizing your font to 2” or more per 30’ of viewing distance could make your message easier to spot.
  • Cranking up the contrast. In another Transport Research Record report, Kuhn et al. (1997) concluded that “the contrast between a sign and its immediate background is the primary determinant of one’s ability to detect the sign in visually simple environments, perhaps more than size.”
  • Adding a border. Borders help viewers distinguish your size from natural environments and busy backgrounds, defining its shape and drawing the eye towards the center.

Beyond business sign design: The importance of sign placement

Although researchers at the International Journal of Advertising acknowledge the eye-catching power of creative business sign design, conspicuous placement is critical in situations where consumers’ are being bombarded with a multitude of marketing messages.

“Attention must first be captured in some contexts before creativity increases the memory for brands in advertising,” states Wilson et al. (2015).

If you’re trying to stand out in Farmington Hills’ competitive signscape so your business sign design can shine, our team can help.

At the same time that we work to finalize your business sign design, our installation experts will survey your business location to help you determine the ideal display space, factoring in the speed and approach of your target audience, and incorporating the International Sign Associations’ 5 Factors of Sign Visibility.


Arditi, A., Liu, L., & Lynn, W. (1997). Legibility of outline and solid fonts with wide and narrow spacing. Trends in Optics and Photonics, 11, 52-56.

Beijer, D., Smiley, A., & Eizenman, M. (2004). Observed driver glance behavior at roadside advertising signs. Transportation Research Record, 1899(1), 96-103.

Kuhn, B., Garvey, P. M., & Pietrucha, M. T. (1997). Model guidelines for visibility of on-premise advertisement signs. Transportation Research Record, 1605(1), 80-87.