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Signs Gone Wrong

Wrong Way Sign

Common Signage Nightmares and How to Avoid Them

Signs are super effective mouthpieces for your business, but only if they are well-designed, expertly made, and carefully maintained. If not, they can be counter-productive and actually turn prospective customers away from your business. We don’t want that to happen, so we’re going to prepare you upfront to avoid some of the common signage nightmares in the industry. The more you know beforehand, the better able you are to prevent a signage disaster later.


Here are 10 common signage nightmares and how you can avoid them:

  1. Vehicle lettering that’s cracked, faded, and downright ugly – Vinyl can fade, shrink and peel in excessive sun and harsh weather. So, get the most longevity from your vehicle graphics by using a high-performance cast vinyl instead of the more economical calendared vinyl. If you’re on a budget, complete the project in phases, but don’t cut corners. Always portray a professional image in the marketplace!
  2. Vehicle lettering that’s crooked and off-center with air bubbles – The vinyl installation process is a crucial part of avoiding a signage nightmare. Work with a technician who has installation experience, or if you plan to do-it-yourself (which is easy), make sure you purchase an installation kit so you have the right tools for the job. We offer many do-it-yourself installation videos to guide you through the process. We even have production techs on hand to answer your questions over the phone or via email.
  3. Signs made out of the wrong kind of material – If you mount acrylic or PVC plastic signs outside then you’re asking for trouble. Throw a big enough rock and that acrylic will shatter. Put that PVC sign in direct sunlight and it’s just a matter of time before it completely warps. When it comes to indoor/outdoor mounting and single or double-sided signage, choosing the right material matters. Make sure you ask lots of questions about durability and indoor versus outdoor lifespan when you order your signs.
  4. Signs with way too much text – You’ve seen the – small signs with paragraphs of endless text. Who has time to read that? The most impactful signs get straight to the point. The more text you put on a sign, the less likely people are to read it. Signs that look overly crowded or don’t have enough white space can fail miserably. Work with a company that has talented, competent graphic artists – they have an eye for accurate spacing and know what will capture people’s attention!
  5. Signs that can’t be clearly read – Fancy fonts, all capital letters, bad kerning (the spacing between letters), tiny text that can’t be seen from a distance – these are all mistakes that can make a sign illegible. There is an art to sign layout, and when it’s done right, it works in your favor. Consult with our designers or check out or lettering sizing calculator to help avoid these mistakes. Don’t waste your money on signage that can’t be read.
  6. Signs that blend in – Perhaps the font choices, spacing and letter sizes are all perfect, but the color choices are questionable. If the foreground and background colors blend in and there isn’t much contrast, the sign’s message will go unnoticed. Make sure the background color of your signage is dark and the lettering is light or vice versa. It drastically increases readability!
  7. Signs with misspelled words and punctuation errors – Do you ever look at signs on the side of the road and shake your head? Signs that confuse “your and you’re” or “their, they’re and there”? Don’t make these easy to avoid mistakes. Have someone else check your design proofs before you approve them. You can become blind to spelling mistakes when you look at text for too long, and a fresh pair of eyes may catch something you had missed. Misspelled or omitted words and punctuation errors all have a negative connotation and come across as unprofessional.
  8. Signs that are ill-placed – Ever seen a super small sign on the side of a massive building or a really big sign squeezed into a tiny space? It kills the effectiveness of the sign, mainly because the focus is on the odd placement. Properly scale your signage to the area it will be installed. If you’re unsure, take a picture of the space and send it to your sign company so they can help you determine the correct sizing for your signage.
  9. Signs that are faded and tattered, with missing letters and words – We get it. Some things just fall through the cracks, especially if they’re out of sight. But don’t ignore outdated signage. Remember, the reputation of your brand and business is on the line. It’s kind of like that one lawn in the neighborhood that’s never mowed and manicured. Update your signage after years of wear and tear, and people will positively associate it with your overall brand. Keep a fresh, modern outlook so the neighbors won’t be gossiping about your sign as the local eye-sore.
  10. No signage at all – Ever find yourself driving around in circles looking for a business? An outdoor sign is a must for a bricks-and-mortar business. It tells customers who you are, what you offer, and where you’re located. Without one, you are simply invisible, and an invisible business is just an expensive hobby. Lost customers go elsewhere. Put adequate signage outdoors so people can find you the first time around.

Avoid some of these mistakes up front, and it could save you a lot of disappointment and frustration in the future. Take your time and carefully plan out your signage, work with professional, experienced sign makers and put quality first. Let your competition deal with the nightmares.

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