When you want to grab a viewer’s attention and direct them to your business, an outdoor directional sign is exactly what you need. When customers approach your business for the first time, your outdoor directional signs will help them form their first impression of your business. A lack of signage can leave customers confused and even anxious while clear directions will help them feel confident in finding their way and impressed with your company’s welcoming and professional image.
Even if customers don’t consciously consider the value that your directional signs provide, they will enjoy a better experience overall with your business.
Table of Contents
What Are Outdoor Directional Signs?
Outdoor directional signs are a kind of outdoor signage that provide information and direct people to locations. These signs are similar to their indoor counterparts in function but will often be larger so people passing by your building can see them clearly. They also help you make a positive first impression, which makes them crucial to your company’s image.
Directional signs can serve several different purposes. They can:
- Point the way: The primary purpose of directional signs for businesses and events is to give directions. Whether they employ text or images, the main purpose of this kind of sign is to point people in the right direction. For example, a sign may point people to your entrance or to additional parking behind your building.
- Name buildings: Outdoor wayfinding signs can also help people identify particular buildings. If your building is in an office park or shopping plaza, for example, you will want to clearly mark which building is yours. The same idea applies if your organization has multiple buildings on a campus. You’re going to want to differentiate these buildings from one another, and a directional sign that names the buildings will do just that.
- Showcase special zones: Using directional signs for events can help you to designate separate zones, such as a food court, activity booths and performance tents. For businesses, parking lots, smoking areas and drive-thru lanes are all common areas that you can identify using directional signs.
- Provide information: Along with all of their other uses, outdoor wayfinding signs can include extra information, such as store hours or an advertisement for a new sale. You can also include instructions. For example, you may note that smoking is not allowed within a certain vicinity of the building or that masks are required inside.
Benefits of Outdoor Directional Signage
As you consider using outdoor directional signage for your company’s building or event, you should be aware of the positive impact wayfinding signage can have on your business. The top benefits include the following:
- They make a positive first impression: Often, potential clients or customers will see your signage before they see your building or office space. High-quality signage that quickly delivers a message and doesn’t confuse visitors will put your company in a positive light. You can even use welcome signs to create a feeling of hospitality.
- They offer reassurance: When someone is trying to navigate an unfamiliar location, wayfinding signage will reassure them that they are on the right path. Even if an outdoor sign has previously told the visitor that a path will take them to an appropriate building, they may lose confidence or worry that they’ve read the sign wrong along the way. Having a directional sign constantly in view will let the viewer know instantly that they are going the right way.
- They help customers navigate independently: From the moment a visitor nears your property, a directional sign can greet them and direct them to the appropriate parking lot and entrance to your facility. This improves the customer’s experience and saves your employees time. For example, no one will have to answer calls from clients who can’t find the office and need directions.
- They deliver on-brand messaging: Even though directional signs are primarily functional, you also can add on-brand colors and logos to them to spread awareness of your company and reinforce your brand identity. Companies should be looking for ways to brand their space, and directional signs can be a part of that branding.
- They provide additional ad space: While a sign gives directions, it can also incorporate sales advertisements or other promotional messages that highlight your organization’s latest offerings. The ads shouldn’t overshadow the functional value of the sign but rather complement the main message. For example, a sign pointing to your entrance may prompt shoppers to come inside to shop your semi-annual sale.
Providing Directions Where It Counts
As we’ve seen, one of the primary uses of directional signs is guiding people in the direction they need to go. Directional arrow signs, in particular, can be very effective in directing customers. While you consider directional signage for the outside of your buildings, think about whether your consumers would benefit from any of the following information:
- Locations of entryways and exits
- Locations of parking lots
- Designation of reserved or special parking spaces
- Locations of pathways
- Locations of buildings
- Location of drive-thru entrance
- Traffic directions for parking lot
- Location of the curbside pickup area
Directional Floor Decals
When you picture directional signs, you may picture signs on posts or window graphics affixed to your doors and windows. These are all excellent choices for outdoor directional signage, but another option you should consider is floor graphics.
Directional floor decals can communicate important messages, such as directions, on the ground surrounding the facility. They are typically applied to concrete and asphalt, making them popular on roadways and sidewalks surrounding a facility. Their presence can give the grounds an extra ambiance while also assisting visitors in finding their way to the correct buildings and entrances.
Often, these decals will advertise the business by showcasing the company’s logo and name. More importantly, the directional floor decals will use shapes and text to point visitors in the right direction.
Creative companies that have large campuses often use directional decals as a sort of trail for visitors to follow. This sort of application adds an extra flair to the outdoors while also helping visitors find their way.
Another common application of these floor decals is conveying information to people standing in line or on their phones. If you have a storefront where people sometimes have to wait in line outside or that people consistently pass by, a floor decal can capture attention.
For those standing in line, anytime they look down, they’ll see relevant information about your company. For people who are simply walking by, instead of missing your store entirely, a directional floor decal can grab their attention and make them aware of your building. The best part about floor decals is that they ensure that people are exposed to your business, no matter where they’re looking.
Tips for Outdoor Signs
As you decide on the look and placement of your outdoor sign, you should consider some industry standards and guidelines that the best companies understand and follow. From designing the sign to its installation, you’ll want your sign to be in the best possible position to succeed.
Below are some of the most useful tips and guidelines to follow:
1. Keep Designs Simple
When it comes to designing wayfinding signage, it’s wise to keep the layout as simple as possible. Minimalistic designs that are crisp and easy to understand are ideal, as you are trying to communicate crucial information quickly. Another way to highlight the sign’s message is to stick to colors and shades that are on-brand. Instead of having to figure out who’s behind the sign, the potential client or customer will intuitively know who the sign is from if they’re familiar with your brand.
You want the viewer to focus on the message itself, which is why it’s important that any embellishments do not detract from the sign’s message. Fonts should also be readable, whether the viewer is close or far away.
Another element of simple design is to make the symbols, pictures and icons used on the sign subtle. You don’t want an image to overtake the sign’s main message, as the purpose of a directional sign is to get people where they need to go as fast as possible. Keeping imagery to a minimum is usually the right option to go with.
2. Pay Careful Attention to Placement
If you want people to use your wayfinding signs, they need to be able to see them. No matter how impressive a sign is, if it’s not in a location where people can see it, the sign’s design won’t matter.
When visitors pass by your store, you want them to be able to find the entrance instantly. If someone drives by the store, you also want them to know where the parking lot is, meaning that the sign should be visible from the roadway.
Some popular locations for signage include parking lots, sidewalks and walkways. In these locations, the signs shouldn’t be obstructed or placed somewhere where people will not quickly see them. Wayfinding signs can be coated with UV-protecting materials to ensure the environment doesn’t damage the sign. You can also use laminates on the signs to make sure they can withstand inclement weather and other environmental factors.
Pay attention to the different directions people can approach your business from, and make sure you capture the attention of all of these people with your directional signs. Double-sided directional signs provide a simple way to provide directions to people approaching from either side of the sidewalk or street.
The main principle for signage placement is a simple one — make sure that you install your signs in locations where people can easily see them.
3. Use Attractive Lighting
A sign’s lighting impacts the effect your signage has on its audience. For outdoor signage, there will, of course, be a change in natural lighting throughout the day and night. If your organization operates at night or early in the morning, people need to be able to see your signs even when it’s dark out.
To ensure that your signs are always well lit, whether it’s day or night, add backlighting to your signs. This backlighting will make the sign more visible at night and make its message pop more during the day. Ground-installed spotlights that point towards directional signs are another popular option. The glow that these spotlights provide adds an ambiance to the signage that attracts the attention of passersby.
Even during hours when your business is closed, well-lit signs can attract the attention of passersby so they know your business is there. They may choose to come back during open hours.
4. Consider the Backdrop for Your Signs
When designing your outdoor sign, you’ll also need to determine if it will be freestanding, mounted on a wall, placed on the ground or hung off the side of a building. These different display methods bring with them different backdrops.
For example, if you mount a sign onto a wall, the rest of the wall will act as a backdrop to the sign. You’ll want this sign to pop against its backdrop. For example, a rust-colored sign may blend in too much on a red brick building. A sign that will be placed on a stake in the lawn may need to be a color other than green.
On the other hand, you also want your signs to complement their backdrops. Before you design a sign, examine the area where you’re thinking of placing it and ensure that your signs don’t clash with their environments. While this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to grab people’s attention, it does mean that your signs shouldn’t make your building or property look ugly or uninviting. Simple background colors like white or black work well in most environments.
5. Correctly Utilize Images and Icons
The best images and graphics for directional signage is minimal and doesn’t distract from the message of the sign. To ensure that nothing distracts, use imagery that relies on shapes that people are already familiar with and can quickly understand. Recognizable icons can also help people who do not speak English navigate your business.
Imagery can be an incredible tool to capture the attention and imagination of potential customers. If you operate a store on a busy road, you’ll need to get the attention of consumers first before you can direct them to your store. The best outdoor wayfinding signs attract people’s attention and then direct their attention to how they can get to your building or event.
Companies that don’t market to people passing by on the street can still use outdoor directional signage to point clients or other important visitors to the right parking spaces and direct them to the appropriate entrance. A simple design, such as an arrow, can immediately show them where they need to go.
Interested in Growing Your Business With Directional Outdoor Signage?
You want visitors and employees to have an excellent experience when they visit your facilities. Outdoor signage is the first chance that a company has to make that experience the best it can be. If you want to make a great first impression and provide practical value to visitors with directional signage, SpeedPro can help.
With a nationwide network of studios that specialize in large format printing, SpeedPro has the experience and expertise needed to turn your designs into stunning custom directional signs. Contact your local studio to learn more about your outdoor directional signage options.