The Trawlerman - Illuminated Sign

5 Key Design Elements of Restaurant and Takeaway Signage

Getting the right design is essential when you are investing in restaurant signage or for your takeaway business.

With so much competition on the high street, you need more than a sign that simply stands out from the crowd, it will need to evoke the right feelings and send the right messages in order to attract customers to your door. With so many design options to choose from, it can be difficult to get it right. Here, we’ll look at the key design elements that restaurants and takeaways need to consider.

Essential illumination

Illuminated signs are a necessity for restaurants and takeaways simply because they do much of their business in the evenings when it is dark. An illuminated sign enables your premises to be seen from a distance both at night and in poor weather conditions, ensuring all that passing business knows where you are. A lit-up sign also acts as a beacon to hungry passers-by telling them that you are open for business

Designs that connect with your customers

As a restaurant or takeaway, you’ll go the extra mile to create the right setting for your customers. Restaurants, especially, will invest heavily in interior design to create the right ambience for customers to enjoy their food.

Creating a stylish interior may not have the desired effect if you have an exterior sign that frightens customers away rather than encouraging them to come in. You want a sign that matches your restaurant or takeaway and which connects with the customer on an emotional level. This could be something that communicates that you are a stylish, upmarket restaurant serving the finest cuisine, an intimate bistro perfect for romantic couples or a relaxed, informal ristorante that’s ideal for family and group outings.

Whatever audience you are aiming to market to, your sign needs to convey the message in a way they find attractive and which gives an indication of what is to come once they walk through the doors.

Communicate information clearly

The whole purpose of a sign is to inform customers about your restaurant or takeaway. While the aesthetics are there to create the right image, the information on the sign is just as vital from a functional point of view.

To get this right, you need to consider what information a customer would need to know to make your sign effective. Obviously, as you cannot put every key piece of information on a sign, you need to trim it down to the essentials – and these may be different depending on whether you are a restaurant, a takeaway or both. The essential requirement is the name of your business and often this is followed by the specific type of business you are: Thai restaurant, Chinese takeaway, fish and chip shop, burger bar, etc.

Takeaway signs tend to have more information than restaurants and can include details such as opening times and even list some of the foods available, especially if they sell a range of food styles.

Aside from the actual information presented, an important consideration is the legibility of the text. Text needs to be easy to read from a distance and this affects both your choice of font and the size of the actual lettering. Overly cursive, script-like fonts can be a challenge to read, as can opting for smaller fonts in an effort to cram in more information. If this prevents clear communication, the sign won’t work effectively.

Extend your brand’s reach

Your brand’s reputation is critical if you are a local restaurant or takeaway and incorporating your branding into your signage can be a very useful way to build brand awareness. There are various ways you can achieve this, such as including your logo, brand colours, strapline and typography in your signs. This can help create the uniformity, continuity and balance needed to establish and extend a brand’s reach, especially when it ties into the design of your interior, the signage you use on your vehicles and any branding used on other items, like staff uniforms, pizza boxes, carrier bags, etc.

With the modern materials and manufacturing techniques available today, there is a wide range of options when it comes to creating branded signs, from simple, multi-coloured acrylic signs to the grander architectural signs made from 3d metal lettering. Whatever image you are wishing to convey, there is a way to achieve it.


As a nation, we are eating out and ordering takeaways more than ever before. An effective sign can attract hungry eaters off the street or inspire them to book a table or order from you at a later time. Indeed, even when we order a takeaway from an online service like Just Eat or Deliveroo, it’s often because we’ve remembered seeing the sign when driving by and liked the look of your business.

If you are looking to create a successful sign for your restaurant or takeaway, take a look at our restaurant and hotel signs page.

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