Emerging Trends in Commercial Signage

Every year, commercial businesses are finding new ways to use signage for their benefit. While some of these innovative approaches are the brainchild of inspired marketing experts, others are due to the advancement of technology and the new materials being adopted within the sign making industry. The result is that those seeking high-quality, well-designed signs have an exciting choice of options at their disposal. Here, we’ll look at some of the most important signage trends currently being employed by the commercial sector.

Building wraps
One of the biggest trends over the last few years has been the emergence of high impact vehicle graphics, often referred to as vehicle wraps. These highly visual forms of signage have transformed the way companies carry out their branding and advertising to such an extent, that they are now being used to wrap buildings.

Initially, these large-scale signs were used in major cities to camouflage unsightly building work which was going on behind them. At first, they were used to promote the construction company, then images of what the finished building would look like were displayed. It was only then that someone got the idea to wrap a building in a way that was able to enhance the brand.

Today, they are being used across the country and in all manner of ways. Commercial businesses are taking advantage of suitable space, such as glass frontages and windowless walls to install large scale wraps that contain high-resolution, full-colour photographs, graphics, text and backgrounds.

Architectural 3D signs
The trend for 3D signage is set to develop rapidly over the next year as technologies such as 3D and texture printing and improvements in architectural sign making come to the fore. 3D design, using built-up features, can be created using materials such as wood, acrylic, aluminium, stainless steel, copper, brass and titanium – and these can be embellished with LED lighting, enabling the sign to have 24 hours per day visibility.

When expertly designed, these signs can incorporate company text types, colours and even logos, helping to give your brand and building increased status and having an immediate impact on potential new customers.
Perhaps one of the key factors in its current popularity is that advances in technology have made this once very expensive signage option much more affordable for smaller and medium-sized enterprises.

Brand story signage
A brand story is a narrative that tells the history and culture of your business in order to elicit an emotional engagement with your brand: an engagement that keeps existing customers loyal and attracts those who share a bond with you. Today, we see brand stories on company websites, social media and on TV ads, with perhaps the Lloyds horse stories being the example that most people are familiar with.

With the rise of the brand story as a powerful marketing technique, we are now seeing companies turn to signage as a way to tell their brand story inside their business premises. Often found in foyers and entrance lobbies, signs are used to create a chronological timeline of your business, not just pointing out the journey of the company but of how it has impacted on its customers and the wider community. A series of signs can include a wide range of interconnected stories and topics, celebrating people who have worked for the company, charities you have helped, new products you have developed, moving to new premises, serving your millionth customer, etc. These signs can be displayed using corporate colours, logos, images, photographs and text that can have an emotional response on visitors, helping them to stay loyal. It can have the same effect on your staff, too.

Interior reception signage
While exterior branding has long been erected on the outside of commercial businesses, today, the trend is for companies to follow that up by having it on full view as soon as a customer arrives inside. This is usually done by creating a statement sign for the reception area.

The reception is the first port of call for new arrivals and having the sign there immediately puts the visitor at ease, as they know they have found the right place. At the same time, the quality of the sign on display projects an image of your brand to those visitors, it’s what helps accountancy companies look professional, investment companies appear successful or what makes patients feel more relaxed in a dental surgery.

Custom made reception signs offer a powerful way to present your brand. With designs made from metal or acrylic, you can create visually stunning architectural lettering using corporate typefaces and recreate your logo in 3D – and for additional impact, this can be illuminated, too.

Commercial businesses are stepping up a gear in their use of signage, finding ever more innovative ways to develop their brand and advertise their products and services. This year we are expecting to see more companies wrap their buildings and install evermore creative 3D exterior signs. At the same time, there will be a growth in the number of reception signs and interior brand story installations.

For more information about the types of signage available at ESP Signs, visit our products page


4 Types of Signage That All Businesses Need

Nearly all businesses use signs and with good reason, they promote your brand, products and services, help customers find you and increase your sales. Today, businesses have a range of signage options they can choose from, each capable of fulfilling a variety of important purposes. In this post, we’ll look at the key types of signage that we believe all businesses need and can benefit from.

Shopfront signs
Shopfront signs have been used outside business premises for centuries and their effectiveness makes them as popular today as they have ever been. Probably the most important function of a shop front sign is that it tells customers that they have arrived at the right location. If your business name is not clearly displayed on the outside of your premises, even those who are purposely looking for you might feel uncomfortable going inside. Sixty per cent of consumers are said to find the lack of a sign off-putting.

A good shopfront sign not only tells people they have arrived, it promotes your company to those who are passing by and this can help generate business as new customers discover you. According to a study by Ketchum Global Research, three quarters of shoppers have entered a business they had never been in before as a result of seeing its external sign. What’s more, research from the International Sign Association (ISA) shows that external signs generate 50% of new customers.

Shopfront signs are more than just a way to direct people to your door. They are also a great way to promote your brand. Using today’s materials and design techniques it is possible to create visually stunning 2D and 3D signs that recreate your branding for everyone to see. And with the addition of LED lighting, it is possible for this to have an impact 24 hours a day, helping you promote your business to passing traffic even when you’re closed.

Other external signs
Besides store front signage there are a number of other external signs that can be used to entice new customers. For businesses whose shop front is not immediately visible from the public highway, it can be difficult to be seen by passers-by. One of the main ways of getting around this is to install a sign closer to the roadside. Monolith signs are a great way to do this, as they are freestanding and do not need to be affixed to a building. Freestanding post and panel signs perform a similar useful function.

External facia signs that promote products and services, as well as special promotions, are also useful ways to attract attention to the outside of the building. By creating signs which include images of your best products, for example, you are presenting customers with an idea of the kind of things they can find inside and this can increase footfall significantly.

Vehicle signage
For companies which have vehicles, not having vehicle signage is a missed opportunity. Modern, high-vis vehicle graphics let you turn your company van or car into a professional looking, attention-grabbing advertisement.

Using a combination of high-resolution photography, vector graphics and text, vehicle graphics are the ideal solution to promote your business to your local community. They make it possible to showcase your products, display your branding and contact details and communicate important marketing messages. You can even put QR codes on your vehicle so customers can link straight to your website.

Whether driving or parked, your vehicle will get seen by thousands of other drivers, passengers and pedestrians every week. By using high-vis vehicle graphics, it means you will be able to reach out to all those potential new customers.

Internal signage
Indoor signage carries out a number of important functions. One of the most popular forms is the interior lobby sign. This is used to bring the branding seen on the exterior of the building, indoors. In doing so, it makes an impactful statement about your brand to your visitors. You often see these types of signs in businesses which have receptions, such as hotels and health centres and in the offices of legal companies and other professions.

In larger premises, wayfinding signs are often essential to help people make their way to the right location. These can serve a dual purpose, for, aside from giving directions, they can be branded, helping to keep the brand message remain consistently on show across the entire facility.

Another common form of internal signage is the promotional sign. Signs can be displayed which advertise customer offers or which promote forthcoming events. In large retail stores, they are often used to help customers know which section they are in.

For example, a large sign showing a butcher is an easy way for customers to know they are in the meat section of a supermarket.

Make that sign show the butcher smiling and holding generous portions of delicious looking cuts of meat and you are promoting friendly service, high-quality food and generous prices at the same time.

High-quality signage can have a dramatic impact on the success of your business, promoting your brand, your products and your services. While there are many types of sign you can choose from, storefront and other external signs, together with vehicle graphics and internal signage are the four key elements of creating an effective and potent signage strategy.

If you are considering new signs for your company, check out our products page.


4 Ways to Make Your Signage More Effective

Effective signs are those that have an impact on the people who see them. They can be used to promote awareness of your brand, let people know where to find you or to advertise products, services and events. To make a sign effective, there are some basic things you need to consider and, in this post, we’ll look at what they are.    

Make your colours count

Your choice of colours can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your sign and one of the first things you need to consider is where it will be erected. For example, there’s little point in using a white sign if it’s being placed on a white wall as it will blend in too much with the background and go unnoticed. If you want your sign to stand out and get seen, it needs to contrast with anything behind it.

Contrast is also crucial when designing the sign itself. For your text, branding and any images to be seen clearly, they need to leap out from the background colour of the sign. What you need to avoid, however, is using contrasting colours that clash. Some colour combinations can be hard on the eyes, such as red and green, while others are just unattractive.

With today’s materials and printing techniques, you can use a wide range of colours on your signage and this means that it is easily possible to use your corporate colour scheme and even recreate your branding.

One consideration you may not have considered is whether the colours you choose will be permitted by your local council. Town planners are often keen to ensure that any signage is not detrimental to the local area and in conservation areas, especially, they will ensure that any sign fits in with the existing style of the surrounding neighbourhood.

Be visible 24/7

One way to significantly boost the effectiveness of your sign is to illuminate it. Adding cost-effective LED lighting to the design means that you can extend its visibility beyond daylight hours and have it seen 24 hours a day.

One of the issues with unlit signage is that, even in dim light, it begins to lose its eye-catching appeal. From dusk to dawn or during times when the weather blocks out the sunlight, an unlit sign is not going to have the impact you wish.

LED illuminated signs are particularly useful for businesses that open in the evening, such as pubs and restaurants, and for those that have signs which are aimed to be seen by passing traffic. During the winter months, when the morning and evening rush hours take place in the dark, having an illuminated sign means it can still be clearly seen by all that passing traffic.

Put your sign in the right place

One of the key considerations when using a sign is where to locate it – getting this wrong could result in it having no effect at all.

While it is obvious that you will want to put it in a place where it will get seen by lots of people, there are other factors you will need to think about.

One key factor is the height from the ground that you display the sign. If you want people walking past to notice it, it needs to be at eye level. However, if you want it to be read from a distance, it will need to be higher so that it doesn’t become obscured by things which may get in the way.

If you are putting a banner sign on the side of a road, you may want to put it lower to the ground so it is at eye level with the majority of people driving by. You may also want it angled in a way that makes it easier to read. Placing it near a roundabout or traffic lights where traffic can queue for a while means people will have more time to see it.

As you can see, you need to think carefully about maximizing impact before you decide on the final location.

Simple and easy to read

A good sign is one which quickly and easily communicates an important message to the reader. For this reason, keep the message short and simple and use vocabulary that is accessible to all. Having lots of text means making the font smaller and more difficult to read while increasing the time needed to take all the information in – all of which can reduce its effectiveness.

When it comes to fonts, try to use those which are plainer and easier to read. Fancy fonts are generally more difficult, so if you have one of these for your branding, making it larger will certainly help.

If you are going to purchase new signage, you want the end result to be as effective as possible in order to maximise your return on investment. Hopefully, the four points raised in this post will help you understand how you can create a sign with more impact and get it to achieve your aims more effectively.

If you are looking for signs for your business, check out our product range to see how ESP Signs can create effective signs for you.


How Builders Can Benefit from Better Onsite Signboards

It’s become the standard practice for builders to put banners and portable signage outside of properties they are working on. However, not every builder takes advantage of the things that can be achieved with a modern signage solution. Today, with affordable printing techniques, it is possible to make portable signs using different materials and in ways which are far more effective at selling your services. In this post, we’ll look at ways this can be achieved.

The aim of a signboard
Signboards can be a powerful part of your marketing campaign, letting the passing traffic know that a property is being developed by your company and showing them where to get in touch if they want to make enquiries.
One of the issues with many signboards is that the marketing focuses on promoting the company’s brand rather than the type of services on offer. When the builder’s name and logo are the most prominent feature of the sign, little is left to give an impression of the work you do. Often, the work you are doing at the property is left to market itself, with the belief that if someone likes the look of it, they’ll inquire. There are, however, better ways to communicate your services and your brand to passing traffic.

Signage materials that work
Improvements in technology mean hardwearing signage materials, such as panel signs or PVC banners, are more affordable and easier to display while you are temporarily on-site. They are exceptionally versatile to print on, come in a range of sizes and designs and look professional. Importantly, they are durable enough to be taken from job to job.

Go bigger – say more
Though there are council limits on the size of your onsite advertising signage, using the largest permitted signboard allows you to attract more attention and point out key services you offer. This way, you can add details about specific services you do, such as roofing, loft conversion or extension building. This can interest those people looking for those particular services and lead to an increased number of enquiries.
While it is important not to cram too much information on a sign, using the text wisely can trigger the curiosity and lead to potential clients seeking more information and asking for a quote. A larger sign can also be seen from further away, attracting more people and enabling them to view it for longer.

Embrace technology
In some areas, building companies are using signage that helps potential customers find out more about their services using smartphone technology. Two particular ways this is happening is through printing QR codes on signs or attaching an RFID tag and adding the words ‘tap your phone here for more info’. Using these affordable technologies, interested passers-by can get instant access to your website and find out how to get in touch.

Give the full picture
The beauty of many modern signs and banners is that they enable you to incorporate stunning photographic images. If you have a portfolio of your best work, you can include images from here on your sign, giving potential customers an idea of the quality of the work you are able to carry out and showing them how you can improve their own properties. This is helpful as potential customers are much more likely to be impressed by a photo of the final result rather than the work in progress they see as they pass.

Make your signs work 24/7
Adding LED lighting to your on-site signs ensures that they can be seen by passers-by no matter what time of day. This is particularly important in winter when the majority of rush hour traffic will be passing in the dark. At these times of the year, neither the property you are working at or the sign is easy to see. However, with a well-lit sign, this needn’t be the case. And if the sign has an image of your work on it, that can be seen, too.

Bring your brand to the fore
While modern printing techniques enable you to recreate your branding in even better ways on your signboards, equally appealing to potential new clients will be the quality of your signs. The addition of informative text, high-quality images of your best work and 24/7 visibility shows customers that you are a professional brand that takes pride in the quality of its services.

The use of construction signs and PVC banners enables builders to advertise in better ways to passers-by. Let nearby residents and passing traffic see the quality of your work, discover the services you offer and find easier ways to visit your website and get in touch. By adding LED illumination, you ensure that even when you’ve packed up for the day, the sign is still working for you.


How to Make Signage Lettering More Effective

Lettering is a key feature of any sign and, to be visually effective, careful consideration needs to be given to the font size, choice of typeface and background colours, font style and sign placement. In this post, we’ll look at each of these aspects to give you an overview of what you need to do when designing your signs.

Letter size
One of the most important design aspects of your sign is the size of the letters that you use. Your choice will determine the distance at which people can accurately read the sign. If the lettering is too small it won’t be seen from far away, if too large it may prevent people from reading it clearly when close up. It is critical, therefore, that you pick a letter height that is appropriate for the distances at which you wish it to be read.

In order to make the right choice, you first need to know where the sign will be placed and find the optimum distance that you want people to be able to read it. As a guide, you should consider increasing the lettering size by around 3 centimetres for every 3 metres the reader is away from the sign. This would mean that that for a sign to be read from 30 metres away, you would want the lettering to be 30 centimetres in height.

Different typefaces
There are unlimited typefaces (font types) you can use for your business signs. Indeed, some companies spend a small fortune having trademarked fonts designed for their own, exclusive use.

Fonts are either serif or sans-serif in style. A serif font is one where some of the letters have a slight curl or projection to make them more decorative and slightly more handwritten. Examples include Times New Roman, Courier and New Century Schoolbook. Sans-serif fonts (sans is French for ‘without’) are letters that lack these embellishments and so are plainer and, supposedly, easier to read. Examples include Ariel, Helvetica and Calibri. Both types of font, are good for general signage.

What are less easy to use in signs are highly cursive or decorative scripts, such as French Script or Edwardian Script. While these can be ideal for depicting particular kinds of brand identities, they aren’t the easiest typefaces to read at a distance. If you choose to use these types of font, the recommendation is that you increase the size beyond what you would for serif and sans-serif fonts.

Typeface colour
There are two colours you need to consider when creating effective lettering for your sign: the colour of the typeface and the colour of its background. The rule is that, for the best visibility, the two colours need to be highly contrasting. Ideally, you need dark letters sitting on top of a lighter background or light letters on a dark background. For example, black lettering on a white background can be read easily, yellow lettering on a white background or dark blue lettering on a dark green background would render your sign unreadable to many.

When choosing colours, you also need to take into consideration the effects of light. Some colours are not too distinguishable in low lighting conditions, so these should not be combined. At the same time, you need to think about reflected light. If your sign has a glossy surface or is placed inside a window, the light it reflects from other sources may impact the way a particular colour is seen. If this affects its readability, then choose a different colour.

Luckily, with modern printing techniques, many signs can be created in almost any colour, so no matter what challenges you face in designing your sign, a suitable solution will be available.

Placing your sign
The ability to read your sign will be affected by where you place it. Its height off the ground, the angle people approach it from and the distance at which they see it will all impact on their ability to read the letters clearly. Consider a business sign on a narrow road, for example. If the sign is flat against the wall and faces directly onto the street, people won’t be able to see it clearly until they get near. Having a sign that projects perpendicular to the street (e.g., think of a traditional pub sign), on the other hand, enables people walking towards the sign to see it from much farther down the street, attracting more people.

Lighting your sign
No matter how large the lettering or well placed the sign, if it is not illuminated, it will only be fully effective during daylight hours. The use of lighting ensures that the letters are visible 24 hours a day and that your sign gets the maximum number of views that it can.

Hopefully, from reading this article, you will have a better understanding of how to use lettering in your signs. You’ll know how to judge the best letter height, how to use contrast to make lettering more visible, understand the difference between various font styles and how this affects readability and know how the positioning and illumination of a sign can make it more effective.

If you need expert assistance in designing your business signage we’ll be happy to help.


6 Benefits of Exhibition Signs

If you’re an organisation that exhibits at trade shows, its essential to have cost-effective display materials that have visual impact and which are easy to transport, use and store. Today’s portable exhibition signs are made from robust, lightweight materials, can be created in a range of shapes and sizes and offer eye-catching graphics. Here are the six major benefits of using them.

Customised designs

Although exhibition signage is usually modular, it is relatively simple to customise in order to create the precise design and structure your organisation needs. Systems can be flexible, enabling you to arrange displays in different ways so they fit different stands at different venues. You can also modify your display so that it looks different on each day of a trade show, helping to keep your stand looking fresh.

With today’s materials and modern printing techniques, the displays themselves can be made in almost any colour and design, providing you with sharp, multi-coloured graphics that can incorporate branding and photography.

Simple set up

You are never given enough time to get into a trade show venue prior to it starting, so it’s important that any display signage you use can be erected quickly. There are now various pieces of display equipment that help you create pop-up exhibition stands where your signage can be put up and taken down with ease.

Additionally, the compactness of their design and their lightweight frameworks mean you can also cut down on transport costs as you can fit everything into a smaller vehicle and reduce fuel consumption when travelling.


The modular, lightweight construction of exhibition signage makes it very easy for each element to be moved around and reconfigured so it can be used in a variety of circumstances, time and time again. You can remove components for smaller events or add them where you have more exhibition space and interchange different elements for different purposes.

Additionally, you can tailor your design to match the number of staff that will be running your stand. If it’s a small trade show and you only have one employee attending and they are taking a small vehicle, you can create a display using fewer components. And, as most of these are simple to erect and take down, it won’t be difficult for that one member of staff to set up the stand unaided.

Exhibition signs that last

If you’re investing in exhibition signage and you plan on taking it to lots of events, you want it to last. With the constant putting up and taking down that many trade show displays have to endure, it is important that the materials used are hard wearing and durable. Materials such as PVC vinyl is an ideal fabric for such purposes. It can be rolled and unrolled without damage, its print remains fixed throughout its lifespan and its suitable for both interior and exterior exhibition spaces.

Signage that captures attention

One of the advantages of PVC vinyl exhibition signs is that they have an ideal surface on which to print high-quality graphics. Signs can have 100% print coverage and virtually any image which can be created on a computer screen can be put onto your displays. This includes your logo and other branding, text in any typeface, vector graphics and photography.

And with today’s high-resolution printing techniques, your signage will have the incredibly focused pictures, crisp lines and vivid colours needed to outshine your competitors and capture the attention of trade show attendees who are being bombarded by displays everywhere they look.

A cost-effective signage solution

While you can get very cheap display materials, these are unlikely to show your brand in the best light. They won’t have the visual impact that attracts customers and new business and, as they will be constructed from lesser quality materials, you’ll need to replace them more often.

A cost-effective solution for exhibition signage is an investment that will bear the test of time and bring a return. High-quality materials, such as PVC vinyl, will help generate new income streams and will last for many years, saving you money over the long term. Add to this the fact that these display products are cheaper to transport and store and quicker to put up and take down, the potential savings are even greater.

The ultimate aim of any company that exhibits at a trade show is to get attendees to visit your stand so that your staff can generate new business. The challenge is in getting those attendees to visit your stand in the first place. With most trade shows being busy places with many exhibitors all vying for attention, having high-quality exhibition signage can be the decisive factor in making your event successful. Doing this repeatedly, show after show requires superior standard exhibition signage and hopefully, from reading this post, you can see the benefits of using it.

If you are looking for high-quality displays for trade shows, check out our exhibition signs page.


6 Tips for Designing Effective Outdoor Banners

Outdoor banners have long been used as a way of promoting an organisation or event to a large audience. However, they are only going to be effective if they are properly designed. Aspects such as typeface, colour choices and size can all have an impact on its ability to attract people’s attention and persuade them to act on the message being communicated. In this post, we’ll look at six ways you can improve your banner design so that it has a greater impact for your business.

Simple designs work best

There’s an awful lot of information you can put on a banner, however, making it overly complex can work against you. The reason for this is that most people usually spend only a few seconds looking at a banner because they are driving or walking by. This gives them limited time to take in the information they see. By making your design simple, you give them the opportunity to find out everything they need to know in the short amount of time they have. If you include a lot of information the key message might not get seen. When designing your banner, therefore, make sure people can understand the key points of your message just with a quick glance.

Size matters

To have maximum impact and to attract the attention of larger numbers of people, an outdoor banner should be big. Ideally, you want it to be able to capture the attention of people at a distance, as well as those nearby, and small banners are less effective at doing this.

It’s not just the size of the banner which is important, the size of the typeface and any images are also crucial. Ideally, if you want your text to be read clearly over a distance of 30 metres, the typeface should be around 30cm in height. However, before deciding, other factors need to be considered, such as where the banner will be displayed and the average distance a person will be when they see it.

Create an eye-catching focal point

There will be key messages that you want to communicate in your banner and it is important to put these in a place that will have the most impact. When doing this you are creating a focal point, the part of the banner that you want your reader’s eye to be drawn to.

Focal points can be created in a number of ways, through the use of contrast, such as white font on a dark background, or by putting important information inside a brightly coloured shape. You can also use images to draw attention. Ideally, you should seek advice from your banner designer in helping you with creating impactful focus points.

Don’t forget to include a call to action

If you are using your banner for advertising purposes, then, like all effective advertisements, you should include a call to action.

After all, you don’t just want people to admire the banner you have created, if it is going to be effective, you want them to act. A call to action directs them to take the action you want.

Examples of calls to action include Call Us Today, Book Tickets Now and Visit Our Showroom. To make these more effective, make them quick and easy to read and create a focal point for them on the banner so that they get noticed.

As most people now carry smartphones, using a call to action that directs them to your website (e.g., Visit mybusiness.com Now) can lead to immediate responses.

Choose the right materials

Banners can be made from a variety of materials. Before deciding, you need to consider where the banner is to be displayed and how long you want it to last for. This is because some materials are stronger and more durable than others.

Perhaps the best material is PVC vinyl. This is an exceptional material on which to print, ensuring your banner looks as good in real life as it does on the computer screen. Additionally, this long-lasting material is robust enough to bear the brunt of the wind and rain over the long term and, being vinyl, it is easy to clean – which is ideal for banners that are sat by the side of a busy road for months on end.

Remember that a banner needs to be mounted

If you are going to create your own design, then take into account that the way a banner is mounted may affect the way it needs designing. For example, some banners need grommet holes to allow them to be tied securely to fences and posts. If you put key elements of the design in the places where the holes and ties are positioned, the information won’t be clearly seen.

The sheer number of banners we see every day tell us how useful organisations up and down the country find them. However, not all banners are effective at doing the job you want them too. Hopefully, the tips provided here will help you create banners that have a real impact on your business or event.

If you are looking for a banner for your organisation, check out our banner page.


Sign Makers: 10 Reasons To Choose Wisely

Great signage can make a big difference to your organisation. It can improve your brand’s identity, show people where to find you, advertise your services to a wider audience and make you stand out from the competition. These things, however, will only happen if you have the right signage and you’ll only get that if you choose your sign maker carefully. Here, we’ll show you ten key things to look for in a quality sign maker.

Understanding your organisation

For a sign to be effective, it has to work well for its audience. To achieve this, the sign maker needs to have a full understanding not just of your sector but of your individual organisation. When searching for a sign manufacturer, you should look for one which has experience within your sector and which will be willing to spend the time getting to know your business. Before they make your signage, they should make the effort to understand your brand’s identity, your company’s mission and the customers you want to attract.

Experience in the industry

Sign making has been a skilled profession since the reign of Richard III when ale house landlords were compelled to display signs outside their pubs. Although the profession has changed radically over the last 650 years, today’s sign makers still undergo years of practice in order to hone their skills.

When choosing a signage supplier, look for a company that employs highly experienced sign makers whose expertise will ensure that the signs you want are of the highest quality and suitable for your needs.

Offers a design service

One of the key services a sign manufacturer can offer is to design your signage for you. While you can design a sign yourself or have an artistic designer create one for you, what a sign designer brings to the table is a knowledge of the materials in which they work. This gives them the capacity to see potential in the use of materials that other creators might not have conceived.

However, not all sign makers offer a design service, some will only create what you bring through the door. Our advice is to choose a maker that can design and manufacture. This often works out to be less expensive, too.

Uses advanced technology

Like in most industries, the computer has revolutionised the way sign makers work. Today, a good sign manufacturer should be using a range of hi-tech solutions to create even better designs and signs of a higher quality finish.

Computerised technologies can be used for 2D and 3D designing, accurate architectural cutting and printing, LED lighting design and for ensuring the structural integrity of your signs.

Works with a range of materials

Advances in technology have enabled sign makers to use a wider range of materials from which to manufacture their signs.

Today, you can purchase signs made from acrylic, wood and various metals, including aluminium, stainless steel, copper, brass and even titanium – all of which can be created in different styles of with different finishes. There are also graphic signs which can be printed and attached to vehicles or windows.

Signs can be created in 2D or 3D, can combine multiple materials and be illuminated with striking LED lighting. Make sure your sign maker offers you a wide range of options.

Can make bespoke signage

While there are instances when you can save money using an off the shelf design, there are some signs that need to make a statement about your organisation and others that, because of where they are to be placed, demand a unique approach to their construction. At times like these, you need a company that is able to provide a bespoke signage solution and which can work with you to produce something that is visually stunning, or which overcomes any installation challenges that you face. Check out whether a sign maker can create bespoke signage before you use them.

Variety of signage types

It makes sense to choose a sign maker that is able to design and manufacture a wide range of different signs. If you are installing a wayfinding system, for example, you may require more than one type of sign to do this effectively (i. e., ‘You are here’ maps, directional signposts, room name signs, wall signs and ceiling hung signs). If your sign maker cannot produce all the different signs you need, it complicates things enormously.

The other advantage is that if you ever need another type of sign manufacturing, the sign maker will have your previous designs on record and will already know the needs of your business.

Signage installation

It should go without saying that a company that manufactures your sign should also be able to install it for you – after all, they designed and built it. An experienced sign maker will know the legal requirements of where to place health and safety signs, will understand how to erect free-standing signs and have the expertise to install more complex signs, such as those that incorporate lighting.

Signs that come with a warranty

If you are investing in high-quality signage for your business, you want to make sure that the products you receive are guaranteed. The industry standard is to offer a 12 months’ warranty, so don’t accept anything less.

Excellent reputation

One of the advantages of the internet is that you no longer need to take what a company says about its services at face value. Today, you can find out what other customers think about them by checking out reviews online or on social media. Not every sign company has taken advantage of this yet, but if they have, take a look at their reviews before deciding if they are right for you.

As you can see, there are a lot of things to think about when choosing a sign maker for your organisation. Hopefully, the points we’ve raised here will help you make the best choice. However, if you are looking for a company that ticks all these boxes, ESP Signs will be happy to help you create the perfect signage. Visit our homepage to find out more, or check out our reviews on Facebook.


How to Create Effective Wayfinding Signs in Schools

Schools are large, sprawling places that can be difficult to navigate; without good signage, those who are unfamiliar with the layout can easily get lost. The most effective way to help them reach their destination is to install wayfinding signs. In this post, we’ll look at the particular needs of schools and how they can create an effective wayfinding signage system.

Why schools need wayfinding signs
Schools, especially large secondaries, have complex layouts. They have several floors, long corridors going off at tangents and external blocks away from the main buildings. As schools have grown over the years, many now have extensions, sometimes more than one, that make the layout even more confusing. Within this space, there is a multitude of different areas that people will need to find: departments, classrooms, sports and assembly halls, drama and dance spaces, canteens and cafes, admin areas, IT suites, toilet blocks, caretaking stores, reprographic suites and learning resource centres.

The belief in most schools is that after a few weeks of the new intake arriving in September, most people will be familiar enough with the building not to need wayfinding signage. However, even for these people, there are potential issues: cleaners can be allocated new areas, teachers may need to attend meetings in other departments and pupils might have a classroom change. If these are in parts of the school with which people are unfamiliar, they may still get lost.

However, it’s not just permanent members of the school community that need to find their way around the building. Parents need to find teachers on parents’ evenings, supply teachers need to get to classrooms and tradespeople need to locate the places they are carrying out repairs or installing equipment. Ofsted inspectors, too, will want to find their way around easily.

Aside from finding places within the building, another important requirement is how to find the way out in the case of an emergency. Wayfinding signage is crucial in helping people get to the appropriate emergency exits and muster points.

Solutions for schools  
A school wayfinding system has to offer a practical solution that helps staff, pupils and visitors get to the places they want to be. To do this, it has to display the relevant information in a way that is easy to understand and which gives clear directions. Getting it right requires experienced, detailed planning and a thorough understanding of the way the school functions.

To achieve this, you will need to consider the flow of the school building and the places where people have to make navigational decisions, such as in foyers or at staircases and corridor junctions. Displaying information in the right places is essential if the system is to be effective and this may call for a range of different sign types to be installed, such as ‘You are Here’ maps, wall mounted signs, ceiling hung signs and, in external spaces, upright signposts.

The information included on a sign needs to be simple to understand, using universally recognised symbols where possible, and taking into account the needs of all users. It also has to be displayed in a clear and consistent way. Clear, so that it is easy to see, and consistent, so that it becomes obvious to everyone which signs are wayfinding signs. This means that all wayfinding signs should have the same design, use the same typeface and colouring and, where possible, have the same shape.

One of the specific difficulties for wayfinding signage in schools is that classroom and corridor walls are often full of posters, displays and other signs all vying for attention. With such a visual overload, it is important that wayfinding signage stands out from these; they should not, therefore, be surrounded by posters for the school play or notices about not running on corridors.

Another way to make a wayfinding sign more obvious and give it more authority is to add creative elements that reflect the school’s brand, for example, by incorporating the school colours and typeface. Doing this has the additional advantage of helping extend the brand identity throughout the school building and thus, reinforces the school’s values and mission.

Choice of materials
There is a range of different materials from which wayfinding signs can be manufactured, however, in high traffic areas like school corridors, it is helpful to choose materials which are robust, long lasting and can withstand the occasional prang or marker pen mauling. Acrylic signs are a good choice, as they are able to be produced in a wide range of colours, shapes, sizes and fonts. You can even incorporate images and the school logo onto your design.

Wayfinding signs help students and staff find their way around the complex design of many school buildings. Rather than getting lost and in a panic about being late, signs help them arrive on time, feeling less stressed – and this can have a positive impact on classroom behaviour. It also makes the school more user-friendly and welcoming for visitors and when the design incorporates the school’s branding, spreads that identity and the values it promotes throughout the entire building.

If you want assistance in creating a wayfinding system for your school check out our Wayfinding Signs page.


4 Most Popular Trends in Sign Design

As a leading specialist in the signage industry, we’ve seen many changes in how signs have been designed over the years.

With the introduction of new and exciting materials and the development of hi-tech manufacturing systems, trends have moved towards designs which promotes the brand just as much as the message. This is done by using innovative products to reach far wider audiences and developing creative ways to capture the attention of consumers. These include LED illuminated signs, vehicle graphics, 3D built-up lettering and freestanding monolith signs.

Here, we’ll show you the top signage trends currently being used today.

High-vis vehicle graphics

One of the major trends in signage use over recent years has been the move towards high-vis vehicle graphics. With the ability to combine high-resolution photography, vector graphics and text onto any design it has been possible to turn a boring white van into a professionally presented, eye-catching mobile advertisement.

Vehicle graphics offer endless possibilities for brand, product and service promotion. You can show photographs of your products, services and your workforce, display your branding, place promotional text and even show your contact details, like phone numbers and web addresses.

What’s more, these designs are not just available for typical business vehicles, they are also being used on standard cars used by businesses such as driving instructors, dog walking services and mobile hairdressers.

A major reason for their popularity is that they get seen regularly in and around a company’s catchment area. Whether moving or parked, they are noticed by everyone passing or driving by, reaching thousands of potential new customers every day.

  1. Go bright

LED lighting has revolutionised the signage industry and is one of the most popular design elements asked for by businesses. Besides giving your business 24 hour day visibility, helping it to get noticed in the dark and in poor weather, LEDs bring other advantages that make them ideal.

For a start, LED lighting offers far more versatility when it comes to signage design. Available in a wide range of colours, they can create your branding in a spectacularly eye-catching fashion and can even be animated or change colours. All this is achievable because LED signs are made from many individually programmable bulbs. In addition, they can also be used to illuminate other types of signage, such as fabricated letters and glass signs.

The other benefit is that compared with other forms of illumination, LED signs are far more efficient to run, last longer and need little maintenance. And as they don’t generate the same amount of heat, they are much safer to use.

Stand out with 3D

For high impact branding at the entrance to buildings and in entrance lobbies, the current fashion is to create a 3D design using built-up letters that stand proud of the wall. These make a bold statement about a company that gives its brand a definite air of substance.

3D built up signs can be made from metal or acrylic and have the option to be illuminated by LEDs. Using metals such as aluminium, stainless steel, copper, brass and titanium, with polished or brushed finishes, it is possible to create stunning designs that give your premises immediate status. Similarly, acrylic signs, which can be created in a range of colours, produce a clean, modern impression.

Ideal for pushing a brand, one of the reasons for their popularity is that modern manufacturing techniques make it affordable to produce these signs using company text types, colours and even logos.

Freestanding monolith signs

Not every business has the advantage of being by the side of the road and this means pedestrians and those in vehicles often pass by without even noticing they are there. Today, thousands of businesses who find themselves in this position are taking advantage of monolith signs to make sure they get noticed.

Essentially, monolith signs are freestanding signs that can be erected away from a building so that those companies hidden on retail or industrial estates or set back from the roadside can let their customers know where they are and what they do.

Available in a wide range of materials and with almost limitless design options, including illumination, monoliths can be placed in the most advantageous place to attract passing custom. One of their biggest advantages is that they can be multi-sided or shaped in a way that people travelling from any direction can see them. And provided they don’t infringe local planning regulations, they can be built in any size, height or width to suit your needs.


Signage trends have developed dramatically over the last few years with a greater emphasis on branding and visibility. Businesses want signs that make a clear statement about who they are and which have maximum impact, day or night, whether on their premises, by the roadside or on their vehicles. To do this they are taking advantage of the new materials and technologies which are now at their disposal. Hopefully, the trends we’ve shown here will inspire your next signage upgrade.