Modern Guide to Restaurant Sign Design

8 November, 2023 by Signarama Asheville

If you own a restaurant, drawing attention to your place of business can be hard, especially in the post-COVID era, where many people are clutching a little tighter to their pocketbooks due to inflation. Whether you are posting up simple signs in your window or need a full-service signage package, there are plenty of things to consider that you can use to attract customers and drive sales. 

In this blog, we will introduce you to several common types of signage used in the restaurant industry, as well as give you some pointers to get the most use out of your signage.

Restaurant Signage 101 - Branding

When we talk about restaurant signage, we are talking about nearly everything under the sun. This could be simple menu boards or complex digital signage. Regardless of the sign, your branding should stick out, and your messaging should be clear. 

If you haven't already decided on a logo, be sure to connect with a designer who can effectively showcase the story of your company in a single image. Also, while having a logo is great, making sure to spring for a branding guide will prove extremely valuable. These guidelines are set so that all of your brands' messaging is clear and consistent.

Your restaurant's branding should stick out but also be professional and clean so that it is easily legible. This is very important when it comes to putting up signage around your business. There is nothing worse than having excellent signage with illegible branding.

4 Types of Signage for Restaurants

Once your branding has been settled, having a good understanding of the different types of signage you will need for your restaurant is vital to getting your message across. There are so many different types of signs that you may see in a restaurant, from indoor signage to the main branding signs outside.

1) Menu Signage

Being able to display your menu for a crowd can ease the tension of a customer walking into a new place. There are three types of menu signs that we believe are very useful for restaurants. They include:

  • Menu Boards:  Menu boards are easy to read and adjust and extremely cost-effective. From dry-erase and chalkboard to the classic felt letter signs that you see at old burger joints, there is nothing more aesthetically pleasing than an old-fashioned menu board. 

  • Digital Menu: You have likely seen digital menu boards in tap rooms displaying their massive list of craft beers from around the world. Digital signage has improved a lot and gives you lots of design flexibility. Most digital menus are simply televisions with specialized menu software installed.

  • Menu Stands: Often attached to the outside of restaurants in walkable downtowns, menu stands or framed menus allow you to display your menu and promotional materials at eye level. This is attention-grabbing and can save lots of space.

2) Advertising Signage

Restaurants that have events and offer specials should have some form of bulletin board or A-Frame signage displaying promotional materials. Bulletin boards specifically are great for connecting with your community, while A-Frame signage is an excellent tool for grabbing customers' attention outside of your establishment. 

Even the classic neon sign in your windows is very effective for advertising your hours or what kind of business you are. Many neon or LED signs feature bold graphics and bright lights, making it very easy to communicate whatever you are trying to let potential customers know.

3) ADA and Wayfinding Signage

Like other public spaces, restaurants are required to have certain ADA-appropriate signs throughout the space. These can include things such as bathroom signs and emergency exit signs. These signs should follow any of the requirements for font size, style, color, etc. However, do not forget to make sure that they are as consistent with your branding as they can be, considering the regulations that they have to meet.

4) Restaurant Main Sign Design

While all of the other types of restaurant signage are important, your restaurant's main branding sign is the most important thing. It is what announces your restaurant to the world. It should scream, “I am a restaurant; hear me roar…” A good restaurant sign is easy to read, easy to notice, colorful, and reflects your brand identity. 

Signage Visibility

The most important thing about signage is that it should be visible at all times. Placement and size should be well thought out so that people can notice it from where they are. You should consider all viewpoints and place your signage appropriately. If you are having a hard time finding one spot to put up your sign, a second or even third sign may be needed. 

If there isn't a lot of space for your signage, or your building doesn't allow permanent signage, get creative by using the windows of your space or putting down branded floor vinyl pointing the way to your restaurant.

If you are using some sort of digital LED sign for your main restaurant sign, using some form of animation to keep your potential customers engaged while they look at your sign could get them in the door. Many modern digital boards allow for programmable signs that show scrolling messages. 

Color Composition

The color composition of restaurant signage plays a pivotal role in conveying the ambiance, style, and essence of the dining experience. Restaurants often employ a strategic blend of colors to evoke specific emotions and create a lasting impression on passersby or potential patrons.

Warm tones like reds, oranges, and yellows can stimulate appetite and evoke a sense of comfort and energy. On the other hand, cool hues like blues and greens can convey a calm and refreshing atmosphere. The choice of colors should harmonize with the restaurant's brand identity, interior decor, and target audience. A well-thought-out color scheme not only captures attention but also sets the tone for the overall dining journey, leaving a lasting visual and emotional impact on customers.

When building a restaurant, choosing the right restaurant signs can go a long way. With so many types of signage available, it can be confusing. By putting together your sign package with intentionality, you can set yourself up for success in today's competitive market. If you are looking for help with your restaurant's signage package, contact us at Signarama Asheville. We are here to help!

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