Content: The first question to ask in outdoor signage is the last one to answer

Content: The first question to ask in outdoor signage is the last one to answer

It sounds so simple and easy at first: starting a business. The team sketches out the products and services, whips up a business plan, develops a prototype, gets funding, finds a location, and slaps a sign atop. The rest is a love affair with the chosen profession. But starting a business can be like walking towards a mountain: the closer one gets, the more one realizes there is to it. This is especially when it comes to choosing the best outdoor signage.

Take heart. Even the most established businesses have to go through a similar process to make sure the signage they select properly tells their story.

The first question is about establishing a first impression

Your outdoor sign is a first impression your business gives potential customers, making this step crucial. Some say you can’t take a second chance to make a first impression. Others say you can try again with re-branding. Either way, who really wants to find out the hard way?

Let’s begin with the first question in determining outdoor signage and see if we can make the mountain climb a little more enjoyable.

The first question - Content: What should your outdoor sign say?

The choice content on the outdoor sign is the first question to ask and the last one to answer. Content - the words, images, colors, and texture on the sign - should be constantly considered when going through the remaining steps to determining outdoor signage. Here are a few follow-up questions to contemplate when considering content:

  • Will your outdoor sign simply be your business logo?
  • Will your outdoor sign provide a Call-to-Action?
  • If your sign(s) provide a Call-to-Action, will it be a phone number, address, website or social media property?
  • What are your competitors doing - both worldwide and locally - to attract customers?
  • Are there opportunities to improve upon what your competitors are doing?
  • Will you use a static or dynamic outdoor sign? (dynamic - message boards, LED screens...)
  • If dynamic - how many resources can / will your business dedicate to update dynamic signage messages?


In the end, content will depend on your business’ subsequent resources, opportunities, and market conditions. As you continue to do your research and start making decisions, always keep in mind the content. Once you have all the other factors sorted out, then begin to make final decisions. At this point, the final decisions will feel like your business is coasting down the other side of the mountain.

Remember: without proper attention paid to your message, your business could be considering, rebranding, sooner than anticipated. Let’s work on getting it right the first time.