Outdoor Business Signs to Catch and Keep Your Clients’ Attention

by Alicia Peregory on June 2, 2014

outdoor signs

An outdoor business sign is a terrific opportunity to be creative, giving your company the opportunity to show your true colors in a sea of competition. In fact, outdoor business signs really let you think outside the box and let your imagination run wild. Depending upon the size, location and reason for your business sign, you might only have a split second of your clients’ time to play with. But in other situations you might have the opportunity to be really fun and provide an interactive sign, which really captures the imagination.

Of course, the most popular of all outdoor business signs is the billboard. Billboards are big which means that you’ve got an awful lot of space to utilize effectively, but you often need to get your message across to people driving past at high speeds. So you don’t want anything too complicated.

Some clever designers have come up with fabulous ideas, which are particularly effective from a long distance. This billboards effectively create illusions, which may become obvious as the “reader” gets closer and can be extremely effective on the initial approach. Many of the best designed and most effective billboards have a simple, strong slogan which gets to the point without pulling any punches. It’s all about making the maximum impression on your readers in the minimum amount of time – and getting into their psyche without them even knowing that you’re there.

“CARS HAVE BUMPERS BUT BIKERS HAVE BONES” – a road safety message which really pulls no punches, especially in large yellow writing against the background of a road.

Another effective road safety billboard may read. . .

“DON’T DRIVE LIKE A CHICKEN” – with the word “chicken” substituted for an image of a chicken – imagery is incredibly important and can be an effective part of all business sign designs.

3-D effects are becoming increasingly popular with advances in technology and the manufacturing of billboards and other outdoor business signs. A giant image of a child blowing bubbles with some of the bubbles flowing upwards and onwards above the business sign creates a truly impressive sight, and one which certainly makes you look twice . . . Isn’t that, after all, the whole idea?

Bus and transit shelters make the perfect setting for an effective billboard campaign, particularly if you have the ingenuity to utilize the entire shelter. Caribou Coffee has achieved just that with an effective marketing campaign utilizing bus shelters and turning them into ovens – the oven shelves are complete with burgers on the back wall and the red hot element shining brightly at the top. From a distance it truly looks like people are sitting in the hot oven whilst waiting for their ride to arrive – nothing short of ingenious.

Hot Wheels has an incredibly imaginative marketing department which has come up with some truly ingenious campaigns. A billboard “loop” attached to an overpass makes the whole road look just like a Hot Wheels track and is particularly effective from a long distance away as cars drive towards the pass. This is one illusion which really needs to be seen to be believed.

Of course, outdoor business signs can also be used to provide thought provoking images by charities and other world organizations. A particularly poignant image was commissioned by the Leone vs Sweden organization with two photographs side-by-side of children in a very similar pose. Unfortunately the child in the Leone photograph is holding a rifle in the middle of a war zone whilst the Swedish child is holding a fishing rod on a peaceful, beautiful lake. An incredibly thought provoking image indeed.

Companies like Coca Cola and McDonald’s are the true masters of outdoor business signs and marketing opportunities. Creative marketing ideas have helped their brands reach the very pinnacle of success and stay there. Your company may not have the scope to reach the same dizzying heights of success as Coca Cola or McDonald’s, but we can all learn something from their achievements. Some of the most amazing billboards ever can be attributed to them.

On a finishing note, don’t forget to think outside the box for the placement as well as the content of your outdoor business signs. The Lay’s company has enjoyed a very successful and much talked about marketing campaign with the slogan “our potatoes are grown much closer than you think” with graphics of potatoes growing through the ceilings of airport tunnels and other passageway. It certainly makes you look up and see what’s happening.

This post was written by...

– who has written 79 posts on Signarama Blog.

is a marketing coordinator at Signarama headquarters in West Palm Beach, Florida, working in all facets of the marketing department. She has been with Signarama since she left college, but has also had internships in business development, a consumer product launch, and events and trade show coordination. She frequently writes about issues and developments in the sign making industry, the Signarama company, and its franchisees.

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