To be a successful small business owner, you must master the art of signage.

You must quickly and effectively communicate what your business has to offer through marketing and brand awareness.

Now, we can’t talk about branding without thinking of major global brands like Coca-Cola or McDonalds– the brand recognition they’ve built is so extensive that just a glimpse of a bright red can or a few notes of a catchy jingle can bring their products to mind.

But branding for small businesses is different.

Brand awareness must be built on a local level… and that’s done with high-quality, visible signage. A successful sign will spark interest, engage customers, and clearly share your business’s message and intent.

Signage links a company to its customer

We are bombarded with exterior signage every day. Every business has exterior signage. However, high-quality, visible signage can be hard to come by. A sign is your business’s most basic link to its customers. Most often, it is an identifying marker for your business location, telling customers they’re in the right place. That may seem obvious – but the signage that aids customers in finding your business will form their first impression.

Poor signage will not gain you any foot traffic or new customers.

So how does one achieve high quality, visible signage?


1) Make it readable!

Sounds straightforward, right? And yet, lack of readability is one of the most common failures of exterior signage. The legibility of your sign is vital to your business’s success, and that comes down to the font you choose. Fonts have varying thicknesses and sizes, and just because it looks pretty in your logo doesn’t mean it calls for easy reading. To ensure visitors can read your sign, follow the industry standard 10 x 1 rule: one inch of letter height can be read from ten feet away.

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2) Contrast and color

The colors of your sign should be heavily considered. Using complimentary colors, like blue and orange, will make your graphics standout and maintain high levels of readability. Pay attention to the surface your sign will be mounted on as well. If your building is brick, white or silver is always a great option to make your sign pop.


3) Imagery

Don’t limit your sign to just your business’s name…while that can make a successful sign, there is no better way to brand your storefront than with a unique, distinctive logo or additional eye-catching graphics. Show off the personality of your business with easily recognizable imagery that will boost your brand awareness. Pro tip: even just adding a border helps with readability!


4) Illumination

What better way to stand out than to make your business glow? Channel letters with LED lights are an easy way to make your signage shine, no matter the time of day. Investing in your sign with cool features, like halo illumination, lets customers know your business has the longevity to survive.

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5) And of course, location!

You can make your sign as bright and colorful as you can, but if it can’t be seen, it won’t attract customers! There are many placement options for a sign on a typical storefront… consider what is most visible: Is it above the door? On a window? Or maybe along a high-traffic road? Each business location is unique, and you of course have to adhere to any landlord or permitting restrictions. But the difference between one placement location and another will dictate the amount of foot traffic a sign will generate.

These rules apply for additional, promotional signage as well. Whether it’s a flag to encourage an impulse “stop and shop”, or a window graphic to promote your business’ most recent sale, branded signage must connect with busy customers and be easily understood.

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Don’t lose out on a key method of advertisement

Small businesses must create a branding strategy that includes effective signage to stay afloat in today’s competitive retail environment. The needs of a local retailer differ greatly to that of a nation-wide company. You may not be able to afford mass-media advertising that makes companies like McDonalds so recognizable… but instead of TV commercials or deals with major Instagram influencers, take your small business’ advertising campaign to the next level right on your storefront. An eye-catching exterior sign will build brand recognition and attract customers in your community!

Help from a professional sign company

So now you know high quality signage is important, but where to start? We understand that working with a sign company can be a daunting experience. As a business owner, you have to put your trust in a company you know nothing about… and that’s if you can get them to call you back!

 At AMI Signs, we’re a different type of sign company. We’ve implemented a full customer success program to ensure 1) you’re fully satisfied and 2) your sign is up to the quality you’d expect (and we guarantee)! We design, create, and install branded exterior signs with customer success in mind, so our clients get seen.

For more information, contact us at 301-682-2349, or send an email to

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