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The Analog Disconnect: Proof Your Signage Still Matters in 2018

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It’s no secret that the world of advertising has become increasingly digital. More and more companies elect to pursue online only advertising campaigns. With that in mind though, not forgotten is the art of the sign. A well-placed, beautifully designed sign can attract impulse-buy customers and enhance the perception of your brand. They can become landmarks, synonymous with the area. In 2018 let us not forget the importance of signage.

The Values of a Sign

Signs Sell You

Consider your sign to be a representation of who you are as a company or individual. They provide the who, what, and why of your business. In the digital world they are one of the few forms of physical advertising that is left.

Quick Shot Branding

Imagine, if you will, being in front of a group of potential investors with 30 seconds to sell them on your business. What would you say? Well that is the beauty of a sign. They are your brand and message in one place that hundreds, maybe thousands will see in a day.


Signs get your name out to the public. A well designed logo may inspire someone to pull out their phone and look you up. There is strong importance placed on where a sign is built. If it’s too far, people may forget about your business by time they pass it. Used in conjunction with a digital campaign, signs can increase your exposure to a growing group of potential customers.


New technology has made it possible to create unique, eye-catching signs. These signs provide more opportunity to present a brand. There is very little limit to creativity.

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Impulse Buys

A 2017 study conducted by the Huffington Post estimates that we are exposed to 4,000 ads per day. With that kind of sensory overload, what’s stopping us from interacting to everything we see?

TNS Global (on behalf of Ebates) conducted research in the US on the subject of impulse buyers. Their research showed two conclusions:

  • 62% of participants bought something to cheer themselves up
  • 28% of participants bought something to celebrate an event

The power of the emotional purchase is not lost here. Take something simple such a McDonalds. As seen in the film, The Founder, Ray Kroc expresses a genuine interest in creating a positive relationship between wholesome family values and the golden arches.

Sometimes you may be heading home after a long day at work and feel compelled to turn into the place with the golden arches. Why? For no other reason than it elicits an emotional response whereby making a connection between a hamburger and happiness.

The Unconscious Mind

An article published in Psychology Today stated the following:

The simplest explanation is that some people just derive enormous amounts of pleasure from acquiring something new.

This trigger is becoming more prominent in 2018. There is a growing trend of consumers seeking to buy locally produced/grown products. The FCC’s Chief Economist, JP Gervais said the following in a recent article, “There’s a growing number of consumers who choose brands that reflect their values.”

So picture your signage as a unique opportunity to trigger this value proposition within the consumer. They seek to create a relationship with the businesses in their communities. Good signage communicates the values of the business to the public.

Fedex Study

In 2012 Fedex conducted a study on the effectiveness of signage. From it they determined that 76% of respondents entered a business they never knew existed based on a sign. Furthermore 75% of the respondents said that they recommended a business based on a sign alone.

There isn’t a limit anymore with regards to the size, shape, type, and really any physical characteristic of a sign. It’s quality and upkeep play a major role in its public perception. 68% of respondents believed that the quality of the sign reflected the quality of the product.

Marketing articles will claim that if a business needs to cut the budget, they start with the money associated to signage. The Fedex Study had 52% of respondents stating they were deterred from business because of the quality of a sign; 60% said they wouldn’t enter a business without a sign.

Dimensional Sign by Summit Signs & Design

The Future of Signage

I could spend a long time detailing what makes a good sign. The basics of design, print, font, logo, etc. But the future of it is where we should look.

In 2011, Samsung won the Cannes Grand Prix Award for design for their digital art display in the Las Vegas Cosmopolitan Hotel. While that is not signage in the traditional sense, it still communicates the brand of the hotel. The eight 15’ columns of LCD screens show a digital art collection and have created something that keeps the hotel in the minds of potential patrons.

According to the AVN Network, digital signage has been around since the 1990’s. Each year the industry has seen a growth of about 20%, according to the article. There has become a big focus on interactivity. For example, in England McDonald’s restaurants have include interactive games that are inline with their happy meal brand. Build-a-Bear stores in America have added an interactive side, making customer’s creations a part of this game.

In this world bigger doesn’t always mean better. Some cities in the US have banned billboards altogether. A small, well placed sign at a busy intersection could attract more eyes than an add occupying an entire wall is. A study by Canadian firm True Impact measured that it takes less cognitive effort to comprehend physical ads.


Signage still plays a major role in 2018. Even in a digital world a well placed sign outside of, or near, your location can attract a great deal of customers. In the digital age of advertising, there are fewer limitations to creativity. Signs provide a window into a business’s brand; with the current technology available, that window can be pretty big.

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