8 Common Outdoor Signage Mistakes to Avoid

Your business sign is meant to stand out and be seen. After putting so much care into developing your brand vision and logo, a well-crafted sign is a powerful way to make your statement to the public. But even the best sign won’t drive customers your way if it’s not placed properly. We’ll be taking a look at eight of the common mistakes businesses make when it comes to displaying their sign outdoors. With these in mind, you’ll be ready to make your business stand out like never before.

Poor Readability

This pitfall is more common than you might think, and usually has to do with the distance at which the sign is viewed by the public. Just like your couch needs to be a proper viewing distance from your TV, your sign should be at a proper viewing distance from your audience. If you have gigantic blow-up letters on the side of a building, pedestrians at the ground level won’t have a clue what your sign is saying. Conversely, if you advertise on a matchbox to drivers on a motorway, unless they have binoculars they’ll be left in the dark. These are extreme examples, but they reinforce the idea that your sign design should have the proper viewing distance in mind.

Another factor to keep in mind when it comes to readability is the backdrop that will be behind your sign. For example, if your sign has sky-blue writing and you’ve placed it in the air, it may be hard to read against a blue-sky backdrop. Your sign should contrast its surroundings; it should stick out. If you have a backdrop of natural materials like trees, you may have to account for the seasonal fluctuations as well. This will help keep your advertisement evergreen.

Visual Obstacles

Your sign is supposed to be seen, not be a backdrop for a lamppost! Be sure to place your custom banner or sign in a way that will not have an obstructed view to passersby. Put yourself in the shoes of the viewer and try to see it from their point of view. You may have to account for objects like trucks that could potentially park in front of your sign, or plants that could grow into obstructors after a few seasons. It’s a good idea to check with local municipalities to make sure that there are no plans for construction near where your sign might be going, so that your sign stays effective for the long haul.

Sun Damage

You’ve probably noticed a few signs in your town that are showing clear signs (ahem) of sun damage. They can start to fade away after just a few summers, giving them a retro look that is less and less legible as it fades to white. Signs meant for outdoor use have to be printed with UV-resistant inks. UV-resistant inks are also waterproof, so they can hold up in heavy rains.

Security Issues

In some cases, sign security can be a concern. Graffiti and theft can be issues worth considering, especially if you plan on displaying your sign for a long time. There are types of laminates that can be used to make cleaning off graffiti easier. Sign theft is a reality for many businesses, especially as their logo becomes more popular. Your sign should be out in public and not decorating a dorm room, so be sure to secure it. As the great saying goes, it’s better safe than sorry.

Improper Installation

Your sign has to be installed properly in order to hold up against weather conditions and other unforeseen issues. If your sign has a complex support system, you’ll want to consult with a trained professional to get it set up right. Installation costs may vary depending on the material, size and intended location of your sign. If you are attaching your sign to a storefront, be sure to check your lease agreement to avoid any penalties.


We’ve all noticed banners or signs around town that may be missing letters, have faded images or are just plain outdated. Though a sign doesn’t need continuous maintenance—this is one of their biggest advantages—periodic upkeep on a sign helps to make sure your brand is being displayed in a quality way. A neglected sign tells the customers that your business may not care about details like upkeep and consistency. Updating your sign from time to time also helps your advertisement stay engaging, and will catch the eyes of those that have started to gloss over your old design.

Forgetting the Night Light

Once the sun sets, you don’t want your sign to become invisible. Maximize your sign’s effectiveness by having it well-lit at night. LED lights are a cost-effective and energy-saving way to keep your logo lit up around the clock. Even if your business is closed at night, your sign can serve as an advertisement well into twilight.

Choosing the Wrong Manufacturer

Perhaps the biggest mistake businesses can make with their signage is choosing a questionable manufacturer. Many of the pitfalls we’ve looked at, such as not using proper UV ink, are easily avoided simply by working with the right printing company. This is why the best choice you can make when it comes to signage is to work with Instant Imprints. Our Image Experts will address all of your questions and help you craft a top-notch sign that will display your brand image proudly. Start the process by stopping in at an Instant Imprints center near you today.

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