JUNE 20, 2019| SpeedPro Cleveland West


Indoor Signage

If you’re a restaurant owner looking for ways to grab people’s attention and draw in hungry crowds, it’s time to think about your signage. A captivating restaurant sign will make your restaurant stand out from competitors and entice people to come inside and make a purchase. Great outdoor signage also provides an opportunity to spread your brand and enhance your marketing efforts. Whether you want to advertise a grand opening or a new menu item, a bright, bold sign will stop people in their tracks and relay the message.

So, how do you choose the most effective sign to advertise your restaurant outside? To design a sign that impresses onlookers, evokes curiosity and sticks in people’s minds, you need to know a few design basics. In this post, we’ll show you how to advertise your restaurant outside with tips and ideas for creating signs that sparkle and pop.


A promotional sign should be designed to turn heads and generate excitement

A promotional sign should be designed to turn heads and generate excitement about your restaurant. How do you do that if other restaurants surround your business? It’s easier than you think — but it does take some planning and consideration. Here are design ideas that will make people eager to choose your restaurant over competitors.


When designing a promotional restaurant sign, you’ll want to think about color combinations and contrast. Contrast affects the readability of a sign and helps people view your sign from a distance. The Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) recommends choosing colors with high contrast. In other words, choose a light text for a dark background, and dark text for a light background. High contrast improves readability and memory recall. Consider the top 18 most visible color combinations ranked from highest visibility to lowest:

  1. Black on yellow
  2. Black on white
  3. Yellow on black
  4. White on black
  5. Blue on white
  6. White on blue
  7. Blue on yellow
  8. Yellow on blue
  9. Green on white
  10. White on green
  11. Brown on white
  12. White on brown
  13. Brown on yellow
  14. Yellow on brown
  15. Red on white
  16. White on red
  17. Red on yellow
  18. Yellow on red

Keep these color combinations in mind when designing your sign to you ensure you have high contrast. If you wish to use lower contrast colors, like yellow on white, for example, you can increase readability by adding shadows or borders to the text.

If you want to design window decals to advertise your restaurant, you’ll need to consider which colors will pop against the window. Since many business windows appear dark from the outside, you might choose white or yellow lettering to make your sign stand out. If the interior is well-lit, black or dark green lettering can jump out beautifully.


Some colors are more stimulating and attention-grabbing than others. For example, red is a popular color used widely in restaurants because it’s exciting, energetic and believed to stimulate the appetite. Red also creates a sense of urgency and encourages customers to buy. Yellows and oranges make excellent restaurant sign colors because they are warm, cheerful and more likely to inspire hunger than calming appetite-curbing colors like blue. If you are promoting a sale or grand opening, go with sign colors that are bright, bold and full of life.

Also, avoid using too many different colors at once. A rainbow of colors confuses viewers and detracts from the message. Lastly, choose colors that relate to you what you’re selling. For example, if you’re promoting vegan food, you might choose green as the predominant color. Green symbolizes health and sends the message that your food is fresh and nourishing. If you’re opening a pizza restaurant, think tomato red.


Imagine you’re a hungry customer walking down a street crowded with restaurants. You feel like you haven’t eaten for days, and you don’t want to waste time browsing through page after page of menu items. You want something quick and simple to stop your grumbling belly. What would appeal to you more – a sign with a paragraph of text describing a restaurant’s age-old cooking methods, or a sign that says, “Buy fresh hot pizza now”?

restaurant signage Cleveland west

Signs should be simple and to the point. You want to avoid cramming too many words in one space. Visual clutter causes confusion and can turn customers away. Consider this – people spend around six seconds reading a billboard. In other words, you do not have too much time to get your message across. Therefore, include no more than six words on your promotional sign, and make sure your sign is easy to understand.


If you want to add graphics, choose images that enhance your message. So, for example, if you own a pizza restaurant named Cool Cat Pizza, it makes sense to use an image of a cartoon cat eating a slice of pizza. On the other hand, if you own a specialty hot dog shop, it doesn’t make sense to add a picture of a cat eating pizza. In such a case, customers will likely look at your sign, scratch their heads and move to the restaurant that doesn’t confuse them.

When it comes to typeface, avoid decorative fonts and opt for easy-to-read sans serif fonts instead, and do not use more than two different typefaces. Also, avoid italics and all capital letters cause that can make it hard to tell letters apart.


Signs should leap into vision as customers pass your restaurant. Make sure your sign is large enough people can easily read it as they walk or drive by. Generally, the bigger something is, the easier it is to read. You’ll want the most important words to be the largest size.

Also, check to make sure your sign will be visible at all times and not hidden behind trees or other objects.


To make sure your positive message reaches a crowd, don’t forget to include negative space. According to the United States Sign Council Foundation, negative space, or the open space surrounding the text in a sign, is critical to legibility. Your sign should be composed of at least 60 percent negative space. Keep this tip in mind to design a sign that’s clutter-free and easy to read from a distance.


Before you transform your restaurant sign idea into an eye-catching display, consider the following tips to ensure your message makes a great first impression and leaves a lasting impact.


Imagine you want to promote the opening day of your unique hamburger joint, but you have one problem — your building is shaped like an ice cream cone. How do you make sure everyone sees your advertisement for the big event? You’ll have to get creative with sign placement to make sure you cover every angle. This may mean using different banner shapes or the window space for signage.

If you want drivers to see your sign, avoid placing the sign parallel to the road. Parallel signs are difficult for drivers to read. Instead, place the sign in a position that faces traffic.


Even though you might be sleeping at 3 a.m., that doesn’t mean your potential customers are. Nighttime provides an excellent opportunity to dazzle onlookers with bright lights and attractive digital signage. You can use digital, neon or light-emitting diode (LED) signs to advertise your restaurant night or day. For example, hang a digital sign in the window to showcase new menu items as they change, or to spread the word about sales or events.


Consider your audience and what they may find funny, then use humor to build a feel-good atmosphere and a warm welcome. For instance, a casual pizza shop might ask customers to “Get a pizza the action” on the grand opening day. Did you just open a bakery? Make sure customers “crumb” again.


Nostalgia never goes out of style. You can draw customers to your restaurant in a competitive area through the power of nostalgia. For example, imagine you are a customer craving fish and chips. You’re in an area with two different fish and chip joints on the same block. Where would you rather eat – the place that advertises “Fish and chips $3,” or the place that has a sign reading, “Serving world-famous fish and chips since 1930.” You may agree that the second restaurant seems to have better quality food from the get-go.


If you want to spread news of a sale to as many people as possible, let customers know your restaurant has an online presence where they can follow you for news, menu updates and events. You can place simple window decals of social media icons on the front door under your restaurant hours, for example. That’s enough to do the trick and invite customers to follow you.


Use restaurant signage as an opportunity to promote your brand

Use restaurant signage as an opportunity to promote your brand and make it memorable. For example, you might design a sign featuring your restaurant’s logo. Your logo should communicate your restaurant’s purpose in one glance. You can use your restaurant style for inspiration or include food-related elements in the design. Research other restaurants to see what works.

Regarding logo shape, simplicity is key. Simplicity is easier to remember than complicated designs or shapes. Make sure your logo is displayed both inside and outside of the restaurant. Lastly, use a trademark color scheme and be consistent with all of your logo prints. A great logo is critical for brand recognition, promoting happy feelings about your brand and securing customer loyalty.


Every single word on a sign must count. Unlike a menu, there’s not enough room to include extravagant descriptions on a sign. An outdoor restaurant sign is meant to capture attention and deliver a message as quickly as possible. Therefore, choose every word wisely to make sure it expresses your message perfectly and encourages customers to take action.


Types Of Restaurant Signs To Use

You have many options when it comes to choosing the type of sign to use for advertising your restaurant. It can be as simple as a chalkboard advertising daily specials or as creative as a window covered in jaw-dropping graphics. If you want to grab people’s attention from afar, think big and bold. Here are a few sign types to consider.


Banners are ideal for promoting a restaurant because they offer high-visibility, are made of durable materials and can be customized to include text, logos and more. Cast vinyl is a premium material that can last for years, calendar vinyl is the traditional material used for banners, and mesh vinyl produces translucency. You can choose the size, shape, colors and graphics to design banners that meet your needs and goals.


One way to make a great first impression or attract customers is to use the window for advertising space. If you have limited building space, windows can come in handy. Window clings and decals can inform customers of your basic business information such as the name, logo, contact information and hours of operation. A window decal also provides a chance to display your logo where customers can’t miss it – on the front door. That way, the moment a customer swings the door open and catches a whiff of something delicious, they’ll think of your logo next time they feel a hunger pang.

You can choose any size window decal you want, whether you want something small to fit nicely in the space, or a complete window covering. A full covering might be the touch you need to give customers a satisfying sense of privacy while they dine. Static clings and decals offer short-term solutions while stickers with adhesive backings are meant to last.


Digital sign can make your business sparkle day or night, open or closed for continuous promotion. You can quickly tailor messages to change with the daily special if you wish, or to inform restaurant goers of your monthly live music events. Why not display the menu in the window to show customers what they can expect before they enter? A digital sign is hard not to look at.


Are you feeling stuck about your sign options? Let us help at SpeedPro. We’re experts at large-format printing, and we take pride in partnering with our customers to create striking signs that are easy to remember. Our consultants will help you choose the best sign to promote your restaurant based on your unique needs and goals. We will work with you to bring your vision to life and create a sign that generates excitement. No matter what you dream up, we can create it for the world to see. To make your restaurant stand out and shine, visit a SpeedPro studio today.

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SpeedPro Cleveland West

Studio Owners

Jeff and Lori Kolenich