You’re a white collar worker with a hobby in non-professional running. You remove your Google glasses which has been promoting an upcoming St. Jude’s walkathon sponsored by Pottery Barn. You pass by a subway station that detects your glasses and a nearby sign flickers to life with images of a Nike runner with text that welcomes you and an arrow that points you in the direction of your work.
Okay. Maybe that’s a bad example, because it starts completely separate conversations about privacy issues and maybe you just don’t want the details of your life prominently splayed on a street sign.
That’s not the point I’m trying to make.
(BTW, if you own a computer, retail marketers already know your preferences…)
(BTW, we are on our way to this reality sooner than later.)
Retailers are some of the best marketers.
- They make the best signs.
- They use the best materials.
- They have the smartest copy. (Seen in a non-scientific comparative copy study between retailers and “everyone else”)
- For you newbs: Copy is Text.
- They know who they are talking to. (Their Audience….)
- They know how to get their audience’s attention.
- They know how to elicit a response and call their audience to action.
It’s kind of a silly to point to the retailers directly, because many retailers outsource their marketing (or have in-house marketing professionals) and it’s their marketers that pull that pull off that kind of magic. But, it doesn’t matter who is behind the magic. The point IS that retailers (through their marketing firms) spend the time and energy to get their message directly into the hands of their targeted audience.
If you want your sign quality to improve – you need to pay attention.
Because with a little time, attention…and honestly not really as much money as the big guys pay… you can greatly improve the quality of your signs.
PAY ATTENTION to:
- The big guys. (Take note of their best practices.)
- The world around you.
- Your audience.
- How they all think.
- How they respond.
- What you believe. Your mission. Your message.
- How you are saying it.
- How it translates on paper with images and color.
- What response you are looking for.
Signage is not a “how-to forum”.
Signage is not a detail communicator.
There are very few exceptions to this rule. A good example: when you need a sign for all to see to reference life saving procedures in case of an emergency, such as the “Are You Choking?” poster.
Signage should artistically represent you and evoke an emotion from your audience to compel them to action. If we want our signs to have the same quality and impact as the big guys, you need to pay attention to WHO is doing it well and HOW they are executing it NOW and in the FUTURE.
Remember that the first guy in the door gets noticed. The thirty-first guy just crowds the place up. The more you anticipate your audience’s future response, the quicker you’ll execute signage that people pay attention to.
Got some awesome signs? See some awful signs? Tweet them to me @jrdesignstrategies or @jneanrogers and maybe (just maybe) I’ll post them on our blog.
Signing off (for now),