(If You’re Using Them, That Is)

These Signs Aren’t Doing Their Job!

Whether you’re a bricks-and-mortar store or simply have a little sign on your business card (yes, that’s a sign of sorts, all you work-from-home folks), there’s something here for you to think about.

What’s the job of your signage? To be readable, clear, interesting, and memorable. To begin the Customer Experience. If I can’t read and understand it, don’t care, or can’t remember it when I’ve driven three blocks, it ain’t working. That, folks, is your money flying out the window. From large scale to small, we’ve got it all today:



Pig billboard: picnic.com


Taku billboard

They’ve been up for a while, and I drive by them every day. I’ve tried, but I just don’t care.

Lesson: Make it relevant, and not too darned clever. Give me a hint! There isn’t enough information on either of these to make me want to know more.


LED Signs

Crabcakes: led signage


Patience: led signage

It’s not the message, it’s pure design here. You may think these are close to unreadable, but unfortunately my camera has made them appear far better than they look in reality. The insane color clashing of the first and the outlined type of the second both vibrate when you see them on the street. Until I stopped to take the photo I didn’t know what the second one said. It’s that bad.

Lesson: If you must have an LED sign, please, make the type very, very simple. Calling to ask my advice? Don’t get an LED sign.


User-Unfriendly “Signs”

Close door, then lock: bathroom sign

Sign in all the bathrooms at my local library. (There’s a sign on the outside of each door instructing us to knock, as if this weren’t enough.)


Don't put cash in here: car wash sign

At a nearby car wash, you’d better pay first.

Two things are going on here, and only one has to do with possibly stupid users. The other has to do with the businesses who must make these “for dummies” signs: I don’t know why the manufacturer made a lock that’s so hard to understand, but why did you buy it? If you didn’t realize all the trouble it would cause, but you do now, why on Earth don’t you replace the locks today?

For the coin-op car wash, it’s even simpler: fix it!

Lesson: People of all ages, abilities, and languages will use your facilities as you grow your business. You do want plenty of customers, don’t you? Keep things in good repair, and be accessible to all so you won’t need “Hey dummy” signage. Aggravating your customers is not best business practice.

Hat tip to Steve for another great example of restroom signage, and to Amy for a lively discussion of professional life and the potty. How could I say no to putting up my signage post, when the signs were written in the ether?

Seen any good ones in your town? Wallet-sized or wall-sized, what does a sign have to do to blow you away?


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson


P.S. I’m usually mum about my schedule, but let’s not kid ourselves: tomorrow I’ll be in the birthplace of this nation as I always am (if I’m within driving distance) on the 4th, soaking up the history I love so well. Harry, I wish you were here to give me a tour in style.

I’ll be around today of course, but if I’m kinda quiet tomorrow, my apologies; you’ll just have to meet me on the Parkway.