Living in Austin, we are used to hearing the expression “Keep Austin Weird.” The origin of the motto was to create demand for local businesses. If you want to take advantage of your location’s built in exposure, having great signage is no longer optional. Let’s look at the good, the bad and the weird of Austin signage and window displays. Perhaps it will inspire your own window display or signage.
The not so good sign
For months, I drove by this location trying to make sense of the sign. I could not easily pick up the name of the location so I could Google it and learn more. While the sign certainly caught my attention, without knowing exactly what the place was I certainly was not going to stop in to the shopping center it was located in. The challenge facing this restaurant‘s sign was a bad font choice that made it difficult to read. If your potential customers can not read the sign they are not likely to walk in.
Other issues you would like to avoid are signs that use all capital letters (DON”T DO IT) and bright blue signage. Blue signage shining at night is an irritant to people’s eyes.
Radiant Plumbing has an award winning window display. One would not expect a plumber to choose a retail location like the one for Radiant plumbing’s spot. Most plumbers and many service businesses pick locations assuming that people only find them from a search or a friend’s referral. Radiant Plumbing chose a location with lots of drive by visibility for their main office, they have their warehouse elsewhere.
As you drive down the busy main artery where they are located, you can’t help but notice shiny toilet bowls sitting in their window. This high visibility location, with the use of incredibly creative displays has turned the ordinary plumber into the brand you can not forget.
They also benefit from having trucks with a well designed wrap, that sit on their lot as you drive by and can recognize as you drive around town.
The Weird and Wonderful
As the Austin Business Journal summarizes so well:
“In the world of valuable signage in Austin, the low-tech black lettered sign in front of El Arroyo restaurant on West Fifth Street downtown is probably more effective than any I-35 billboard or banner plane during a University of Texas football game.
That’s because of the witty puns, maxims and affirmations the owners of the Mexican restaurant put on the sign each day, making it a sort of old Austin “quote of the day” greeting for drivers exiting Mopac toward downtown.”
Once you pick your ideal location, make sure you come up with a creative way to capture your customer’s attention. Few businesses can rely on their name alone to pull people in, sot get creative with your displays and make the most of the space available. These businesses are succeeding by displaying toilet bowls and using a simple black lettered sign. There is nothing holding you back!