Sign Psychology

Part 1: Quality

Signs are often the first thing that prospective customers will recognise when walking by a business, so owners (or anyone who uses signs to attract customers or clients) should recognise that signage is instrumental in attracting customers and clients. Before they eat your food, or before they buy your clothing, they will see your sign.

The psychology behind signage can therefore be quite complex – as consumers encounter potentially dozens of signs in a day, it takes special signs to draw someone in. Making the effort to ensure your sign is a step above those of other businesses is therefore the first step to opening up consumer potential.

Sign psychology in business

A survey conducted by the marketing division at FedEx in 2012 produced statistics that reflect this completely. The results found that 76 percent of American consumers enter a store they have never visited before based on the quality of its signs, while 68 percent of these consumers go on to purchase a product or service because a sign grabbed their attention.

Despite the fact that these survey results are from an American source, they still completely speak for human psychology. Humans are attracted to things that are visually stimulating or presented in an aesthetically pleasing way. It is likely at some stage you would have witnessed signs in your environment (whether in a hospital, school, church, or even retirement home) that were cheap or kitschy, and you responded with caution as a result. This same situation can very easily occur with your business – cheap signs are invariably associated with low quality businesses.

Quality signs translate to curious consumers

On the other hand, when high quality products are used by a business in any capacity, this is usually translated by a consumer as meaning a business cares about quality. When the sign of your business is the first thing a consumer sees, this means that a sign should be the first indicator of quality (this means that cardboard signs are an obvious no-no!).

The visual appeal of your sign goes hand in hand with the quality aspect. If you create a memorable sign with a clever or efficient logo, consumers are far more likely to remember your business. Stick on Signs are here to help you make your sign appealing so that you can help your business. Make sure to not disregard quality signage, as this is the first step to consumer disapproval and a very simple thing to avoid.

Part 2: Colour

While the other blog this month discussed the psychology behind quality in signs, this blog is going to focus specifically on the colour choices. Although it may at first seem like a small part of your sign (being less important than the logo and the name of your business), colours used on the sign can trigger emotional responses in people that logos and business names simple cannot.

As a very simple first example, a black and white sign may promote a very neutral response from a passer-by, while a sign that effectively uses bright colours like yellow and green is far more likely to catch someone’s attention, if only for a moment.

Colours, emotions, behaviours

With greater interest in your brands, an increase in clients and customers often results. Simple things like colour have psychological effects – Forbes contributor Amy Morin explains in detail how colours can very easily play on human emotions and behaviours.


Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In this example, it is not simply colours like blue and green creating different responses in people; it explains how different shades of the same colour can result in completely different responses. The diagram featured above demonstrates that different shades of yellow can lead to three very different responses: serenity, joy and ecstasy. While these are three very positive feelings, three different shades of orange create very different responses not entirely associated with each other: interest, anticipation and vigilance. The darker the colours in the wheel of emotions, the more extreme the feelings associated, while the lighter the shade promotes feelings that aren’t as intense.

Colours and your signs

When integrating colours into your corporate signage, it’s important to balance different shades to maximise the effect on those who encounter your sign. By using colours that do not have any negative connotations attached, customers passing by or visiting your business for the first time are far more likely to be attracted than if you were to use darker, more depressing colours.

If you browse our gallery, you should be able to get a good idea about what colour signs might be ideal for your specific business (and perhaps which colours might not suit at all!). If you need any help with colour schemes for your sign, or are unsure about whether certain colour schemes work for your purposes, Stick on Signs would love to talk to you. We can also offer you a free quote, so make sure to get in touch!