7 Top Characteristics of a Sign for a Downtown Business

The downtown district of any state is often filled with much excitement, activity, and an intriguing juxtaposition of buildings. Think Las Vegas strip meets Times Square. It’s easy for your business’ sign to get lost in the midst of all the clutter of the downtown environment.  This article highlights 5 characteristics that are crucial for your business’ sign to stand out in a downtown district. These characteristics, however, aren’t limited to businesses downtown.  They are features that you should look out for in any business sign you’re creating regardless of location.

Characteristic #1: Legibility

A study conducted by the Signage Foundation in 2014 revealed that legibility is deemed the most important signage characteristic by consumers.  It’s pointless to create a sign that people can’t read, especially at a distance. Ensure that you use a legible font and the right contrasting colors.

Characteristic #2: High Quality

Participants in the Signage Foundation’s survey also said that high quality signs made a greater impact. Business signage has to be viewed as an investment. Don’t try to cut corners by purchasing the cheapest sign possible. Invest in a custom metal sign that can stick with your business for a long time.

Characteristic #3: Aesthetically Appealing/Well-Designed

The sign should have some amount of intrigue. The design should cause pedestrians and motorists in the busy downtown area to stop and take a second-glance.  However, don’t confuse aesthetic appeal with something that is ostentatious. You can create a design that has a level of finesse and makes peope want to learn more about your business.

Characteristic # 4: Internal Illumination

Customers who participated in the survey preferred internal illumination over external illumination for signage. Internal illumination gives a sign an iridescent glow that is unmatchable with external lighting. The glow helps the words of the sign stand out better and minimizes any glare.

Characteristic #5: Complementary to the Environment

Although you want to be different, your business’ sign shouldn’t completely contradict the business’ surroundings. Downtown districts tend to have a theme. Pay attention to the theme and try as best as possible to incorporate it into your design. Your aim should always be to maintain the integrity of the community, not go against it.

Characteristic #6:Multiple Approaches on the Same Establishment

Businesses along a busy downtown street often have the distinct advantage of using both parallel and projected signs. Using multiple signage approaches helps your business stand out. The trick is to use the strategies that complement each other well.

Characteristic #7: Architectural Integration

Your business’ sign shouldn’t clash with the architecture of your storefront. For instance, if your storefront has a sleek and modern design, use a sleek and modern sign.


Downtown businesses have to try even harder than their counterparts to stand out amongst the clutter. The business signage characteristics outlined in this article can help you create signs that truly make the right impact. Your sign is a subtle, yet powerful, marketing tool. The team at ShieldCo will design and create a custom metal sign that will make your downtown business shine.

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