Real estate signs say more about you and your business than they do about the properties they advertise.
Whether you deal in residential or commercial real estate, your signs are ambassadors for your business – speaking for your brand when you’re not there to do it in person. Although signs are less important than the logo for your real estate business, they serve an important purpose.
It would be best if you took charge of the message your signage communicates.
Please don’t leave it to chance.
Most traditional real estate signage (“For Sale” signs, open house signs, bench ads, and billboards) fall under the auspices of Out-of-Home (or “OOH”) Advertising.
Let’s look at the best practices for creating unique and custom real estate signs that raise awareness about your brand and start a conversation with your potential clients.
Real estate sign design elements you should consider
The first decision you’ll want to make as you plan your signage strategy is what kind of sign you will use.
You have options! The most quintessential real estate sign is the traditional “colonial post” style, but that’s just the beginning.
Here’s a run-down of real estate sign styles that you might want to consider…
Common real estate sign styles:
- Colonial Post – A sturdy, wooden, inverted L frame with a sign suspended from it. These are perfect for marking residential homes for sale.
- H-Frame Stake – This is a light-weight H-shaped wireframe good for temporary signage. Think “Open House” signs. The frame legs (stakes) poke into the ground, making it easy to set-up and remove.
- Frame – Frame-style signs are made of sturdy, metal frames enclosing a sign. They’re available in Standard (just one sign) and Single or Double Rider (including one or two extra smaller signs or “riders”). These are another good option for lawn “For Sale” signs.
- A-Frame – These portable “sandwich board” style signs are great for drawing attention to an open house or another event. But, be careful – don’t leave these easily mobile signs unattended, or they may go missing.
- Vinyl Window Cling– Vinyl window clings are a non-adhesive film that clings to the window glass. These are a great option for commercial properties with large plate-glass windows.
- Feather Flag – A feather flag is made up of a tall, flexible frame attached to a narrow fabric flag. The fabric is loose on one side, allowing it to flutter in the breeze, making it an eye-catching signage option. You can print your content directly on the fabric flag.
Each of these signage options offers unique dimensions and mediums on which to print. The amount of space available (and the shape of that space) will directly influence your sign’s design layout.
This is why you’ve got to decide on the type of sign before you can begin to design the content or graphics.
And now, one last logistical consideration to ponder before we begin taking a look at design specifics… Be sure to brush up on the laws regarding signage in your area.
Many towns and cities (and some residential developments) have ordinances or rules that specify what types of signs (and how many) can be used and where they can be placed. Knowing what types of signage are allowed to be used in your area will help guide you as you select your next signs.
Signage design essentials
Whether you’re making a classic lawn “For Sale” sign, branding signage to raise awareness for your business, or an “Open House” event sign, the same design guidelines will apply.
So, let’s get started!
Design consideration #1: Branding
As we’ve already mentioned, real estate signs are a form of out-of-home advertising. And, as such, they are ideal for creating brand awareness.
Use your logo on your real estate signs
If you fail to feature your real estate company’s logo on your sign, then it becomes almost worthless from a brand awareness perspective.
So, start by making sure that your most valuable visual branding tool – your logo – is featured prominently on your sign.
For more on real estate logo design, read 6 Unique Real Estate Logos That Can Help You Close The Sale.
Use your brand colors on your real estate signs
You should also use your brand colors on your signage to help create a consistent visual presence. This will help potential clients get to know (and quickly recognize) your business.
Creating a consistent visual presence across all of your signage will help develop familiarity and trust between your business and your audience. That’s how random passers-by become clients.
For all the people who walk or drive past your signs, most of them are probably not looking to buy a house or lease commercial space at that time. But, if you’ve used your signage to create a consistent visual presence over the years, you’ve planted a seed.
So, when those same people find that they want to purchase a home or rent a commercial space, they’ll remember your business.
Design consideration #2: Readability
Signs are intended to communicate.
It’s their raison d’etre.
So, every design choice you make should support the sign’s ability to communicate clearly.
Of course, there are other factors at play… Aesthetics and brand awareness are both important, too.
But aesthetics and brand awareness should never trump readability. After all, if the sign cannot be easily read, it will not help you communicate.
Your real estate open house sign won’t attract visitors if they can’t understand what it says.
Ease of readability is the number one design consideration for OOH signage.
Choose fonts that are easy to read
Font choice is one of the most important elements of creating an effective and easy-to-read sign.
And, the rules for signage are different than in many other forms of graphic design. While you can get away with a fabulous script font (like the Ebby Halliday logo on the sign to the right) or funky serif typography in a logo, that won’t work for regular sign copy.
To be effective, signage must be easily read from a distance and a moving car. Otherwise, your message won’t reach a large portion of your audience.
This applies to your company name and all other information on the sign – make sure everything is crisp and easily readable.
For any non-logo text, aim for straight-forward serif and sans-serif fonts.
For more on picking the right fonts for your business, Use These Powerful Psychology Strategies To Choose Fonts For Your Business.
Embrace white space
White space is the area of a design that is left without lines, color, shapes, or text. Put simply, it’s the empty space.
However, white space (which isn’t always actually white) is vital to an overall design in terms of both aesthetics and readability.
Mark Winter of IdentityPR explains:
The empty space surrounding text and graphics is just as important as other design considerations. There is a tendency to want to “fill up” the available area with as much copy as possible. But when text is crowded, it becomes harder to read. Thirty-to-forty percent of the sign’s face area should be left as white space for optimal readability.
Aesthetically, leaving sufficient white space gives a design a feeling of ease and breathability. Packing a design tightly with text or other graphic elements increases visual tension.
Ideally, it’s best if your audience associates ease rather than tension with your business.
Don’t jam too much copy on your signs. Be concise – tell your audience who you are and what you want. That’s it.
Prioritize white space if you want a sign that communicates confidence and peace of mind while also being easy to read.
Therefore, it’s important to brand your business and use a strong, unique logo. By following the example of companies with famous logos, you can focus on what makes your business different instead of making your business the same.
So whether you’re designing a logo for a realtor or real estate company, or have a real estate agency, a mortgage company, or another business in the real estate industry, you should pay attention. This is important.
Make smart color choices
The color choices you make for your signage have the power to make or break the design.
Poor color choices can make a sign down-right illegible. But, smart color choices can make a sign a joy to read and stand out from the crowd.
It’s all about pairing your brand color (or colors) with contrasting colors that will make your sign pop.
The Kelly Right sign pictured above features their unique tangerine brand color with white and a lovely cool grey. The three colors create a unique palette that is brand-specific and easy to read. Perfect!
If you’re wondering what color combinations you should use for your sign – always start with your most prominent brand color.
From there, check out the color contrast guide included in this article to see which color combinations are most legible, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.
Your signs are one of your most valuable advertising tools. They’ll be appearing on properties all over your territory. They must make a strong impression.
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