There is a reason why we automatically recognize the Coca-Cola font or Ford Blue. The reason? Advertising works. I opened up a Chase bank account simply because I liked the bank building. Any time a company invested in advertising and puts itself on display, it needs to make sure that 5 key things are happening.
Whatever the company is advertising, and however the company approaches its line of work, the display needs to reflect that. Some businesses cater to creative minds, so they aren’t going to go with a traditional display. Other companies want to instill a sense of stability and would choose something different. Neither is right or wrong, but every company needs to pick something suitable.
Most companies aren’t going to be able to afford a $1 million-a-day high-def ad in Times Square. But visibility needs to be a prime concern for any display. Remember, size matters. So whether it’s font on a billboard or the company name on the size of the building (check out Impact Sign for inspiration here), calculate size by how far away the target audience is when they see it.
Think of it this way: what is it that the customer is supposed to take away from the display. Just the company name? The slogan? The mission statement? It all depends on the platform, of course. But for the most part, keep it simple. Be witty, sure, and throw in a pun or two. But avoid jargon and don’t act overly “sell-y”. The best advertising occurs when the customers don’t even notice that it’s working.
This is similar to being visible. But this is more of a “stand out from the crowd” sort of thing. Signs should contrast the building color or the landscaping. It also needs to be noticeable to the key demographic it serves. Putting a billboard for glass bottom boat tours in the middle of an area that doesn’t have any water is going to be pointless, no matter how wonderful the billboard is. Keep in mind that the people who will use the product or service being advertised and plan accordingly.
Make sure that the sign is in a font that is easy to read. And, for the love of all that’s holy, don’t put it in Comic Sans. Or Curlz. The company needs to look professional, even if it is a company that’s more geared towards creativity. Unless designing a specific font, go with a classy, easy-to-read standard. And for those wondering if font really matters all, check out the documentary “Helvetica”, which is a fascinating look at the history of font and its impact on advertising.