The shortlist for the Creative Retail Awards has just been announced, and one of the categories is Graphics, Signage and Wayfinding. The nominees include famous brand names such as Nike, Lotus Cars, and AT &T. This proves that signage should never be an afterthought in retail design, but an integral concept.
At the most basic level, signage identifies the shop and sets it apart from neighbours and rivals. Without a clear and legible sign, customers are unlikely to notice and be drawn into the store. It’s not just there to display information in most cases; the graphics are also used to reinforce brand identity and recognition.
Store signage design can be compared to web design: it is key to the way visitors interact with the store, and the clearer and more appealing the signage is, the better the rates of customer conversion and retention.
We have all had the experience of giving up on making a purchase from a confusing and poorly laid out website, and in-person stores are no different. External signage works to attract shoppers and curious passers-by, or to provide confirmation that they have reached their intended destination.
Internal signage help customers to navigate the store, and locate the products they are interested in. Graphics and signage have another purpose besides drawing in customers and wayfinding; they are also used for marketing and promotion, and to provide general product information.
Sometimes, all of these elements will combine to work as one: when you want to influence the direction of foot traffic towards goods that are on a promotional offer or discount, for example. Product displays can also be backed up by graphics and wayfinding signs, to provide buying inspiration and visual interest.
Well thought out, clear signage communicates with customers, increases sales, and generates higher levels of customer satisfaction, meaning that they are more likely to return to the store in the future.
Tips for creating good store signage
Above all, the sign should have a simple message, that can be read in five seconds or fewer. If the sign is crowded with too much information, customers are unlikely to persevere with reading it. If there is a lot of information to convey, break it up into lines of no longer than five words, or split the info over multiple signs.
Spend some time over the wording, to eliminate all unnecessary words, such as prepositions. This is especially important for the header text. If there are more details to convey, save them for lower down the sign. Add a call to action at the end, such as an invitation to step inside, or add to the basket.
Many stores now make use of LED screens and digital signage, which can be adjusted to achieve optimum brightness and visibility. They also have the advantage of being quick and easy to refresh with new content, which is particularly useful for product promotions, which may change on a daily basis, or even sooner.
If you would like more information on retail design project management, please get in touch today.