Building an Effective Business Sign

Tips for Planning and Building Great Signage

Are you opening a new retail store in the Comox Valley and in the market for an outdoor sign? Or are you looking to improve the signage of an existing business? Signs are an important part of your marketing strategy and building your business’s brand. You will want a sign that is highly visible but also attractive and well-maintained; leaving a good impression with potential customers. Signs are also a considerable investment – so you want to make sure you get it right the first time! Here are some tips to consider when planning your new exterior signage.


Sign visibility is of critical importance. Try to find a location that will allow people passing by in their vehicles to see your sign without needing to look back. Walk or drive by your store and make sure the view to your sign is going to be unobstructed all year round. Be mindful of how big and full trees will be in the summer, and try to avoid putting your sign behind power poles and lines.

The sign’s size is another important factor in visibility. A general rule-of-thumb is to make sure the sign is 10 inches tall for every foot away that it will be viewed at.


There are many elements to good sign design. Here are just a few of the top considerations:

  • Example of clear, high contrast signage.

    Example of clear, high contrast signage.

    If it isn’t clear in your business name, make sure your sign says what services or products you offer. But don’t get too wordy.

  • To maximize readability, text should stand out from the background through the use of contrasting colours, and the font should be kept simple.
  • Research has shown that Title Case (a combination of upper-case and lower-case characters) is easier to read than all upper-case letters.
  • Limit the use of graphics to a single company logo so that the viewer isn’t overwhelmed with things to look at.
  • Try to choose “timeless” colours so that your sign never looks out-dated!
  • Stay consistent with your brand!

For detailed design tips, check out:


Make sure you build your sign using materials appropriate for the location. Wooden signs are beautiful but you may want to reconsider if your sign is going to see heavy abuse by that Comox Valley rain or sun. You don’t want maintenance to be expensive and time consuming. Otherwise you may not do it regularly and the sign will look neglected; leaving a bad impression to potential customers. A lot of modern sign materials are designed to give your sign a long service life. Find out what the best options are for your sign location and what kind of maintenance you can expect to keep it looking clean and the colours bright!

Local Sign Legislation

Lastly, before building, make sure your sign design meets with local regulation regarding business signs. Your municipality may have restrictions on size or height. Or perhaps fancy, electronic displays are deemed too distracting!

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