Cringe Countdown: Top-3 Outdoor Retail Sign Design Errors Spotted In Michigan

Cringe Countdown: Top-3 Outdoor Retail Sign Design Errors Spotted In Michigan

Today’s post spotlights 3 major retail sign design mistakes spotted in Southfield, Michigan. Read on to learn how to avoid these common and costly design oversights, or call 1-248-354-8346 for a free retail sign quote.

Retail Sign Design Error #1: Failing To Communicate Brand Identity

The International Sign Association (ISA)’s “Consumer Perceptions of Signs” study showed how much retail sign design matters when it comes to building authority and brand recognition.

After surveying more than 100,000 US consumers ages 18 to 65, ISA researchers found that over a third (34.5%) of American consumers make quality assumptions about businesses based on retail sign quality. These findings are consistent with existing research on thin-slicing, which describes our tendency to find meaning and make judgments even with “thin slices,” or narrow windows, of exposure to brand materials.

Clearly, then, retail sign designs play an important role in consumers’ brand perceptions, even when they’re only seen at a glance.

But why then are so many Michigan businesses still using retail signs with little or no brand identity?

Take a tour through Southfield and you’ll see plenty of basic signage, with big, bold letters on high-contrast backgrounds. These signs are visible and functional, but they’re also forgettable, doing nothing to tell your brand’s story or make meaningful impressions.

While it’s important to create contrast and keep signage simple, the best retail sign designs do much more, elevating your brand identity with:

  • A memorable logo that tells your story and explains your service
  • On-brand supporting graphics
  • Professional typography that appeals to your target audience
  • The attractive, on-brand color palette
  • Eye-catching sign shape and installation
  • Touch of Personality

Retail Sign Design Error #2: The One-And-Done Approach

If you’re relying on a single retail sign to get the job done, you’re making a big mistake. While research has shown the economic value of a single retail sign, “putting all your eggs in one basket” isn’t the best approach.

In a major study by the ISA and University of Cincinnati, researchers evaluated the sign systems of 225 business owners around the country “in order to understand whether having multiple signs was important for their perceived impact on business performance” (p. 16).

No surprises here—sign systems boost performance! In fact, 69% of all businesses used at least 2 signs as part of their storefront system, while another 26% used 3-5 signs, and 5% used 6 or more. Large companies (10+ establishments nationwide) were most likely to use multiple retail signs, with over half reporting 3 or more signs at a typical location.

Sign systems beat standalone signage any day of the week, and they don’t have to break the bank. Combining your existing retail sign with cost-effective window graphics, A-frames, or banners lets you tell more of your story and stand out in Michigan’s crowded signscape.

Retail Sign Design Error #3: Throwing Out The Rulebook

While you don’t have to worry about creative constraints when you work with our design team, you should still be mindful of Southfield’s retail sign rules and restrictions. For instance, did you know that Southfield zoning laws prohibit flashing retail signs, moving retail signs, or festooned retail signs? Throwing out the rulebook and pushing forward with these projects could result in fines or redesign costs.

Before you go all-in on your unique retail sign design, clear it with our Southfield zoning experts!

Book A Free Retail Sign Design Consultation In Southfield, MI

Call 1-248-354-8346 or visit the SignScape website to book a free retail sign quote and consultation today.



Our Industry Affiliations

email icon
phone icon