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Importance of Target Audience in Sign Design

One of the first steps in sign design is pinpointing who the target audience is. Knowing the audience determines many aspects about the design of the sign. Once the target audience is identified, it is important to layout the sign with the audience in mind. These are a few basic aspects to pay attention to while designing a sign.


The color scheme used for the logo or other marketing materials should also be used for the sign. If it is a new company or the company is rebranding, there are specific colors to use depending on the target audience. The informational textbook, On-Premise Signs places specific emotions with basic colors based on psychological research. The researcher’s state red is associated with excitement, which is why it is often used for warnings or alerts. Blue is typically paired with calmness, which is why it is often associated with banks and hospitals. Green signals freshness and youth, while yellow is identified with cheerfulness and warmth.


The shape and size of a sign’s font has more of an impact then most would think. This is because viewers subconsciously associate certain fonts with specific emotions. On-Premise Signs, states, “An upward slant in a line of text is often associated with positive attributes and a downwards slant may indicate negativity.” The authors also suggest thin letters express simplicity whereas thicker letters indicate self-confidence and boldness. Lastly, they suggest being wary of using all capital letters because it typically indicates pretentiousness. By considering these researched emotions brought on by specific fonts, the likelihood of attracting your target audience will increase.

(Andy Zehner)

The font used on the top sign violates the capital letter idea. A bakery is not a business one typically considers pretentious. Because of this, the font on the bottom sign is more suitable for the business.


Arguably, the most important of the three aspects in branding your business to your audience is the logo. The logo is an important part of the sign because it helps the customer perceive what the business is. The color and font of the sign are both crucial towards catching your target audience, but it is the logo that ties everything together. This is largely due to the fact that, “symbols and logos are read much more quickly than words” (The Signage Sourcebook, 71). Logos enhance sign conspicuity because they do not have to be read to be understood. A logo that accurately represents the company will increase the value your sign has for your business.

Knowing the audience is the first step in designing a sign. From there, you can determine main features such as color, font, and logo based on the target audience. Color has the ability to portray the overall theme or vibe of the business. The font gives the customers a sense of familiarity as to what type of business it is. Lastly, the logo enhances the sign’s brand and increases the value of the sign. Being selective with these three factors in order to reach your target audience will help ensure that your sign communicates the message you wish to send.