A small business owner hangs a branded awning sign above their restaurant.

Stand out from the crowd with these creative business sign ideas

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

As an entrepreneur with an exceptional offering, it’s no wonder you want your business signage to go stand out from the competition. After all, small business signs are an extension of your brand and reflect your passion, personality and products.

Strategic small business signage is crucial for catching eyes on crowded streets, distinguishing your storefront from the competition and elevating your brand’s consistency and cohesion. Whether it has a big, bold font, uses bright, flashy images or makes a remarkable impact thanks to a surprising slogan, a unique sign can attract foot traffic, drive sales and grow your business.

To help you get inspired, here are some business sign ideas that’ll help your establishment stand out and make a memorable brand statement.

Stop sidewalk passersby with engaging sign shapes.

Passersby typically have somewhere to be with little time to spare, and they may not turn their heads and notice your business. That’s where A-frame signs (also known as sandwich boards) come in handy. These portable, eye-catching signs can be placed on the sidewalk to attract customers coming from either direction. A-frames are a great option for a variety of in-person businesses, from barber shops and salons to retail shops and restaurants.

VistaPrint Tip

Outdoor signage should be sturdy and waterproof to weather the elements. VistaPrint’s vivid, fade-resistant printing will ensure your signs don’t lose any of their wow-factor over time.

Use enticing graphics to draw in potential customers.

Have you ever walked past a restaurant or bakery when you didn’t think you were hungry, only to see a window sign showcasing something that you instantly started craving? Whether it was a chocolate croissant or a chicken gyro, that’s the power of an enticing image on business signage.

Signs come in all sizes, from tabletop banners to billboards, and using enticing graphics on them is a great way to build your brand and encourage sales. This is especially true for the food and beverage industry, but other small businesses can leverage graphics smartly, too. For example, a realtor can show off their available properties on a sidewalk sign, or a jewelry shop could showcase some of their newest designs on a storefront poster. An appealing picture can evoke feelings that turn potential customers into paying ones.

Show off your sense of humor and creativity.

When a store’s signage gets giggles, it leaves a lasting impression. A sign remarkable enough to elicit a chuckle could even be powerful enough to draw someone into your establishment who ordinarily would’ve kept strolling by.

You can build brand affinity by using humorous wordplay on signage that simultaneously promotes your restaurant’s signature dish, your salon’s sale or your store’s seasonal special. Consider what appeals to your target audience and create signs and banners that could encourage word-of-mouth and social media sharing.

The same is true for creative signs that let you customize on a day-to-day basis, like chalkboard signs. If you’re a natural artist (or you employ one), opting for a chalkboard sign can help show off your brand’s endless creativity and appeal to artistic souls.

At the same time, use your chalkboard to share contact information and entice people with discounts, sales and specials. Remember that clarity and spacing are vital when composing signage, chalkboard or otherwise, so use fonts that are large and legible enough to be read at a distance and contrasting colors that pop against the chalkboard’s black background.

Flag down foot traffic with high-visibility signs.

Traditional signs are highly effective, but why stop there? Flags are portable and great for standing out at events, driving retail foot traffic and promoting specials.

Any business from restaurants and retail to beauty and legal services can benefit from these high-visibility marketing tools, as they grab people’s attention both on foot and when they’re vehicle passengers. Use flags to add a fun surprise to your storefront, food truck or farmers market booth to catch more eyes and boost foot traffic.

Key takeaways for small business signs

Now that we’ve covered a few creative business sign ideas, let’s discuss what they have in common:

  • Simple fonts. Successful signage features clear fonts (it’s usually best to stick to 2-3 fonts max) and avoids scripts and brush fonts that make reading difficult from a distance.
  • Smart usage of space. For business signs to be effective, avoid overcrowding words and designs and leave plenty of white space — the space between your main text and graphics that lets those key elements stand out.
  • On-brand copy and design. Whether deploying humor, expertise or sophistication, the best small business signs stay on-brand with their witty wordplay and imagery to maintain consistency.
  • Bold, bright colors. Colorful signs and banners attract attention, and bright, eye-catching hues with plenty of contrast are best for maximizing attraction. Start with your brand colors, then add in complementary ones to make your signs pop.

VistaPrint Tip

Turn your event table into a sign with a custom, full-color tablecloth that’s perfect for tradeshows, community events, farmer’s markets and fairs.

Trust your instincts

The most successful business sign ideas come from those who take inspiration from others while also trusting their own instincts. Act with calculated boldness when crafting your messaging and sign designs to connect with people and turn them into loyal repeat customers.