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Everything You Need to Know about

Exterior Signs and Graphics

Did you know almost 8 in 10 consumers choose to enter a business based on its signage alone? (FedEx)

We like to think we’re discerning when it comes to our business choices – hand-selected based on their ethical and sustainable practices, or perhaps for their fine balance of high quality and value for money. But this statistic from a FedEx study shows that consumers are shallower than we might admit!

No need to do yourself down though. Appearances matter when it comes to business, and arguably for good reason.

It’s obvious why a restaurant with signage that’s falling apart wouldn’t be the first choice for a meal out in town. Consumers gather a LOT of information about a business from its signage – from opening hours to the cleanliness of the kitchen inside – after all, if you walk past an unfamiliar business, it’s all you’ve got to go off.

But there is more to successful exterior signage than meets the eye. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of exterior signage and the different types that will help you achieve your business goals.



Why is outdoor signage important for businesses?

1. Increase brand awareness & visibility

Parklife Built Up Letters

To attract people to your business, they’ve got to know it’s there! A well-designed and carefully crafted exterior sign serves as an extension of your brand identity to announce its presence to the surrounding community. Colour schemes, lettering styles, and imagery all play a significant role in boosting your visibility locally and capturing the attention of passersby to turn them into customers – so choose carefully! Also, having an attractive and memorable sign will increase the likelihood customers will think of you when they require your products or services in the future.

2. Create a great first impression

Arthurs Deli Cafe Arylic Exterior Sign

Signage is pivotal for making a positive first impression. It could be the first encounter someone has with your company, so selecting high-quality materials for your signage and ensuring its proper maintenance are essential. By doing so, you demonstrate your commitment to your business's appearance, and communicate to customers that their experience and opinion matter to you.

3. Drive revenue

Signs Express Cumbernauld Illuminated Outdoor Sign

If your business receives high footfall, such as shops and restaurants, effective exterior signage is a powerful tool for attracting a greater influx of customers. Eye-catching, intriguing, and aesthetically pleasing signage can grab the attention of passersby and encourage them to enter your premises. Equally important is the clarity and persuasiveness of its message; it should clearly show what your business offers and ideally prompt them to take action – whether that’s stepping inside, contacting you via phone, or heading to your website.

4. Advertise cost-effectively

2. Promotional

Another way to view the importance of exterior signage for businesses big and small is as a 24/7 advertisement – and one that can come at a fraction of the cost of other methods! It not only promotes the presence of your business, but can give important information about promotions, offers, events, and openings around the clock. They can be an incredibly cost-effective investment over the long-term, and if chosen wisely can need minimal maintenance while continuing to deliver results over time.

5. Guide and inform

Directional Post & Panel Signs Loc It Up

Exterior signage is more than aesthetics – it also serves to guide and inform visitors at your premises. From providing clear directions through wayfinding signage, particularly crucial in large outdoor sites like theme parks and attractions, to conveying essential health and safety information, in industries like construction, healthcare, and professional services. Helping visitors navigate enhances the overall customer experience, fostering feelings of safety, confidence, and comfort.

6. Stay up to date

Cut Vinyl Text For Fascia And Windows And Black 5mm Acrylic Letters On Nylon Locators For Brad's, Exeter

Updating your exterior signage helps you stay relevant and engage your audience. Whether you're rebranding, introducing new products and services, or making changes to your opening hours or contact information, updating your signage ensures that your messaging remains accurate and aligned with your business goals. Also, embracing modern and fresh designs not only reflects positively on your brand and helps you stand out in a competitive market – but also make sure you don’t get left behind!

What are the different types of outdoor signs & graphics?

Fascia & Shop Front Signage

Highly visible and made to catch people’s attention, large fascia signs make a big impact on a building. They create a lasting impression by prominently displaying your business name, often seen high up on commercial buildings. With competition fierce, having a stand-out sign that is clear and can be seen from a distance is ideal to grow brand awareness.

Types of fascia and shop front signs include:


Illuminated fascia signs are a popular option adding the WOW factor to your premises. By illuminating some or all your signage you can increase your visibility and the awareness of your business.

Fascias & Shop Front Signs
Built Up Letters Swansea

Directional Signs

Directional signage is an important part of your signs and graphics package, helping customers, visitors, and staff to navigate any outside areas. The objective of these types of signage may include:

  • Signposting customers to receptions, entrances and exits
  • Showing visitors where to park and enter the building
  • Displaying maps on large sites with multiple buildings
  • Ensuring people are kept safe and stick to pedestrian areas

Whilst directional signage serves an important purpose there are many options available to allow it to meet your exact requirements and incorporate your brand identity. 

Types of wayfinding and directional signs include:


A very popular and versatile signage system, post mounted signs are used across many business sectors. Post and panel systems are durable outdoor business signs and can be made bespoke in practically any size or shape or by adding vinyl graphics or illumination.

Directional Signage
Monolith Manchester

Window Graphics

Window graphics are one of our top recommendations for improving the exterior look of your premises where you have undressed windows. Not only can they create a showcase of your business, but they can also play an important health and safety role.

Once again, aside from some compliance and application restrictions, window graphics can display whatever you wish. Whether that be branding, decoration, privacy screening, temporary promotions or manifestations.

Types of exterior window graphics include:


Make the most of external glazing with frosted, or etched, window graphics. This style is used to create a variety of designs, most commonly though this is a decorative element with branding incorporated.

Window Graphics
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Street Furniture

Signs and graphics don’t need to be costly, especially if you are a small business or are looking for a simple solution. Street furniture such as pavement signs (also known as A-boards or sandwich boards) and café barriers can be very effective for your business.

We have a huge range of standard-sized street furniture to suit different budgets but we can also create unique sizing and custom shapes if you require.

Types of street furniture include:


Some people may think pavement boards are a little dated, however there are so many options for styles and designs that can make them unique and eye-catching. A benefit of investing in pavement signs is they can be moved around and used again and again. They are particularly useful at events or street markets for example.

Street Furniture
Printed Chalk A Board Pavement Sign By Signs Express Loughborough

Illuminated Signage

Add an extra dimension to your signage by using illumination. This is a great option if your business needs to be seen at night or on dark mornings and afternoons in the winter months. By illuminating part or all your sign you can increase visibility and make sure people know you’re there.

There are many options that provide different looks, you don’t need to worry about the ‘how’ just focus on what you want your illumination to look like and we’ll do the rest. 

Types of illuminated exterior signs include:

  • Halo illumination
  • Lightboxes
  • Backlit & fret cut illumination
  • Faux neon
  • Trough & spotlights
  • Cabochon lighting


Create a soft glow of light behind built-up letters and logos for a subtle and stylish look. The light brings definition to each letter, with the illumination coming from behind to create a shadow effect that looks particularly effective on certain backgrounds.

Illuminated Exterior Signs
Norwich Waterfront Night

Digital Signs

Using digital signage can be very effective when used externally and there are several benefits for your business. The ease of use and quick process of uploading new content is one of the biggest benefits, you can change messaging as and when required to suit the situation.

For external use, our range of products are robust, durable and vandal-resistant to ensure quality and longevity. Importantly, screens also have anti-reflective glass and high brightness properties to make content stand out even in direct sunlight.

From one small screen to the largest external video advertising walls and fascias – we can help!

Types of digital signage include:


You can use wall-mounted digital screens for most sectors, retail and hospitality businesses can particularly benefit from displaying eye-catching promotions, up to date menus and opening times. Displays on screens also don’t need to be static, videos or slide shows can also be visible to passers-by.

Digital Signage
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  • Q. Do you need planning permission to install new exterior signage?
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    With the installation of most outdoor business signs you will need to consult local guidance and regulations to ensure you’re complying. You may need to obtain advertising consent for some projects which could also include getting planning permission, so be aware of any restrictions before you add to or refresh your signage.

    Typically, our centres will be able to offer advice at the time of your initial enquiry, however these sources provide some helpful information:

    1. Outdoor advertisements and signs: a guide for advertisers - click here.
    2. Advertisements - click here.
  • Q. How much should I expect to pay for outdoor business signs?
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    With most types of signage there isn’t a single cost, it will vary for each project and each of our centres can provide a no-obligation quote at the point of your enquiry.

    It is worth checking with your local council or Business Improvement District group to see if any grants are available that may support the cost of your exterior signage. Grants for outdoor business signs are seen most commonly for independent retail and hospitality businesses. By supporting local businesses these grants help to rejuvenate town and city centres so be sure to contact your local council.

  • Q. How long will my outdoor sign last?
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    The lifespan is dependent on the type of outdoor sign you decide upon, the materials used and the elements it is exposed to. Our expert team of sign makers will be able to help you determine which type of sign and the appropriate materials to use to ensure longevity.

  • Q. What maintenance does my outdoor sign need?
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    Exterior signs need to be cleaned from time to time to ensure that they are looking their best. Harsh cleaners should not be used as they could damage the material. Our team will be able to provide instruction on how best to care for your sign and keep it looking great for years to come.

  • Q. Are eco-friendly options available?
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    Yes! There are a variety of options available if you are looking for a more sustainable exterior signage solution. These range from those made using recycled materials, to those that can be recycled. A crucial part of sustainability is consuming less, so to be more eco-friendly with your signage choices, selecting high-quality materials designed to last is a good place to start.

    Sustainable outdoor sign options include using LED-lighting for your illuminated signage, which has an incredibly low energy consumption. 

    It is important to mention that the application of vinyl to recycled or recyclable materials will mean that they cannot be recycled again – so this is a consideration if wanting to go green with your exterior business signs.

  • Q. How often should I refresh my exterior business signage?
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    Choosing high quality materials and professional signage providers for your exterior signs can ensure that they last in all weather conditions. Given the impact they can have on your business however, it’s a good idea to consider refreshing your signage if:

    • It’s become damaged, faded, or looking less than brand new
    • Any of your company information changes, e.g contact details
    • You’ve updated your branding and have changed your logo, brand colours or even your name
    • Its message has become irrelevant – perhaps it advertises a product or service you no longer offer
    • Regulations have changed, especially those relating to your local area
  • Q. Why should I choose Signs Express for my outdoor business signage?
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    Established for 35 years, Signs Express has 60 locations across the UK and Ireland, with a broad expertise across all types of exterior business signage.

    Having worked with companies of all sizes and industries, we offer a consultative service to first understand your needs, evaluate, and identify the right outdoor signage solutions to meet your requirements.

    We design and manufacture your custom signage from our vast catalogue of solutions and complete the installation at a time that keeps disruption to your business to a minimum. 

    Use our centre finder to contact your local centre today.