Placement matters


What are the most important parts of a sign?

Distance makes the difference

Messages on signs need to be simple and serve the right purpose. One important factor is the distance to the product. In general, the closer you get to the product, the more details you can provide.

Outside the store, you may use sandwich boards, facade signage or maybe digital signs. Their purpose is to attract people passing by, to draw attention and to lead customers into the store. They can also plant ideas of products to buy, consciously or subconsciously.

All the written information on an outdoor sign should be able to fit on a small box of matches.

At a distance, product image and brand is more important than the price or product details.


Well inside, you can use signage, both print and digital, at different distances to the product. At all distances, you need to think about what the most effective and triggering message is.

A customer is planning to buy a new TV. Standing next to an ocean of TVs in your store, she scans to find what she’s looking for. The right size, maybe the right brand, something that looks affordable. That information leads her to move closer to the actual product.

She is now standing in front of a selection of TVs that look like they fit her requirements. Now, price and product details are a lot more important than before. The products are all in her price range, but she needs to examine the specifications and compare those to the price.

Elements versus distance

To summarise, look at this chart. It shows how different sign elements’ importance relates to the distance to the product. As you can see, price and product information become more important the closer you get to the product. And on the opposite, product imagery and branding become less important as you get closer.


There is a difference between writing content that is selling versus informative, even though there’s no clear line between the two.

Generally, selling signage content is shorter, targeted and to the point. Most importantly it’s written for a certain purpose; to gain attention, lead a customer, highlight a certain offer and to call for action.

Informative signs can be selling too, but more indirect. They serve their purpose; to inform the customers about technical specification, size, colour and treatment, but in most cases, you probably aim for a sell. Consider the length of your content and keep it simple.

How much information a sign can carry

Different signs can contain different amounts of information, depending on their purpose and where they are placed.


This is the size of the classical sandwich board sign and is often used in close vicinity to the store. As its purpose is to draw attention and attract customers to the store, it should be easy to read while passing by.

The product image is the most important component, followed by the product name.

It shouldn’t contain any pictograms or detailed product information.


An A4 sign is often placed near the product and guides the customer in making a purchase decision.

The sign should focus on the price, product name and product information, but can also contain a product image, a logo and pictograms, if used.




Labels have very limited space, so the information should focus on price, the product name and very short product information.

It often contains a barcode and pictograms, if used.

It could also contain a QR code to enable customers to obtain more information about the product on their phones.

Digital Signage

Digital signage comes in many sizes, from 10’’ and up. It is based on movement and switching between different messages. It can include film as well as pictures and text.

One important aspect of digital signage is the weighting of the messages and to show them in an effective order.

It’s also important not to use too much text.
There should be a good balance between the amount of information on each slide and how long a slide is shown.