essential types of signage for retail business

6 Essential Types of Signage For Any Retail Business

For retail businesses of all sizes, signage is an incredibly important branding asset.

Whether you’re running a massive megastore or a tiny village shop, the fact is that good signs are absolutely essential for letting customers know where you are and what you do.

However, signage comes in many more varieties than the simple fascia at the front of the building. From street signs to window graphics and interior decals, there exist a broad plethora of options for retail professionals to use in their stores.

In this post, we’re going to look over six of the go-to types of signage most commonly used by retail businesses – and help you decide which ones will be right for you.

Fascia signage

The classic fascia sign (sometimes known simply as “storefront signage” in the US) is one of the most common types of signage seen in the retail sector.

In essence, it is the main sign over the front door of the establishment, and can be implemented as just a flat two-dimensional board with graphics – or otherwise augmented with various additions such as built-up three-dimensional letters or illuminated elements.

Every retail business needs a good fascia, and it’s important to get this right. A great fascia sign can catch the eye of potential customers, let them know what you do, and draw them in to spend money.

In many cases, it will be the very first element of your branding they will encounter – and first impressions last. Investing in good front-of-house signage for your business is absolutely essential, and it should be the first port of call for any retail professional.

Window graphics

Many retail premises come with large windows and other expanses of glass, and these can offer great opportunities for additional signage.

Digitally printed, wide-format vinyl graphics can be applied to your windows to create a striking branded effect and get you noticed. These could be a permanent installation and an intrinsic part of the look of your business, or they might be a temporary feature to advertise a current promotion or special offer.

These types of graphics are extremely effective at creating a powerful branding impression – and making your retail premises stand out from the crowd.

Freestanding signs

We primarily tend to think of signs as being mostly mounted onto pre-existing walls and structures, but they don’t have to be.

Free-standing signs are a great way of extending your branding into new locations. This might be through the use of temporary street signage such as collapsable A-boards – or permanently installed brand monoliths that add prestige to a car park or larger retail site.

The great thing about free-standing signs is that they aren’t constrained by your existing architecture – they can essentially be placed wherever you like, and in many cases can be constructed in all sorts of creative fashions to suit your brand.

With a free-standing sign, you can make sure that customers can see your branding even when they aren’t present at your main building – which is a great way of letting people know where to look for you.

Wayfinding signage

Particularly for larger shops and stores, wayfinding signs are absolutely essential.

Can you imagine a massive supermarket without any aisle signage to let you know which items could be found in which areas? Locating anything would be a nightmare – it’s thanks to the signage that most of us are usually able to complete quite a large and complex shopping trip with a minimum of disorientation and confusion.

However, you may well have a need for wayfinding signs even if your retail premises aren’t supermarket-sized. They can be used to point visitors in the direction of all sorts of areas of interest, such as payment points, customer toilets, exits, particular sections, and more. For example, it’s common for a store with two or more floors of products to have signage near to the escalators and lifts letting visitors know which items are on which floors.

Wayfinding signs can come in many forms, such as simple ‘this way’ arrows, ‘location marker’ signage (eg. “Customer Service Desk”) to let customers know where they currently are, or even fully illustrated maps of the environment (often with a “You are here” marker for reference).

Illuminated signs

If you need to ensure that customers notice your business outside of daylight hours, illuminated signage is a must-have.

Not only does a glowing sign confer a stylish and eye-grabbing branding effect, but it can also stand you apart from the competition and help visitors to find your shop even in darkness or poor weather.

Modern illuminated signage is usually implemented using light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which are more versatile, economical, and environmentally friendly than the old-fashioned neon tube signs of days gone by.

Even for a retail business that isn’t open all night long, LED signage is still a great investment. It can help you to be seen during the winter months when the sun sets earlier in the evening – and it can ensure you have a powerful branding presence even when you aren’t currently trading.

Safety signage

Every business needs safety signs, and the retail sector is no exception. Whether it’s “wet floor” advisories, notices about low ceilings or trip hazards, or warnings about the safe and correct use of escalators, safety signage is a necessary investment.

It’s more than just legal box-ticking; safe customers are happy customers, and it often reassures the public to know that you are thinking of their best interests.

And while some elements of safety signage form and design are mandated by law (and for good reasons – somebody fleeing a fire needs to know very quickly what the emergency exit graphic is going to look like), there are often ways to get your safety signage done in your style and in line with your own business branding.

In conclusion, there exists a wide variety of options for retail signage, and each can be used in various ways that work to your advantage.

Whether you need a fascia sign, a window decal, freestanding signage, an illuminated sign, or something else, it’s always good to know what your options are – and how they can each help upgrade your business.


Medash Signs has been designing and making shop signs in Kent for more than 40 years, for businesses large and small both locally and nationwide.