So you’ve bought or rented a shop to start a business, or you’ve relocated from somewhere else. At some point, probably before you can open, you’re going to need new signage for your shop. Signage like this isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. These days, you can’t have business premises of ANY type without some form of signage. Shop signs range from the purely functional and cost effective solution to something that’s really attractive and designed to pull in more customers, there are many ways to produce shop signage that’s right for you.

Shop Signs  – Types & Budgets

Temporary Shop Signs

Temporary PVC banner Sign

If you have a popup shop, or only expect to be in situ for a short amount of time, you’ll more than likely need a very inexpensive signage solution that will last a few months. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you sticking some sheets of printed A4 paper in the window with your message on, but assuming you would like something a bit more attractive than that, there is one product that stands out above all the rest.

PVC banners can be very useful in this role. They can be made to any size and are relatively inexpensive to produce. They are fixed into position using the provided hems and eyelets and can be put almost anywhere. They can go over the top of existing signs or even be suspended over a gap where there is no solid wall behind. PVC banners, when printed onto quality material using good printing machines are attractive and long lasting, so if you find yourself in your premises longer than was expected, it’s likely that the banner will be useful for some time. In fact, if PVC banners are fitted securely they can easily last more than a couple of years.

Permanent – Low Budget Shop Signs

Fascia signage fixed to cladding
ACM Fascia signs fitted to external cladding for Motor Serv by Ad Bell

Shop signs don’t have to be expensive if your budget is tight. If a client gives us an idea of what they would like to spend this enables us to work towards a solution that is going to be on budget, and saves wasting time with suggestions that are going to be too expensive. A simple printed aluminium composite panel sign can look very attractive, as well as being cost effective. If your building has frontal lighting you don’t even need your new sign to be lit – you can take advantage of the signage that’s already there.

We produce these ACM (aluminium composite material) signs using a product called DiBond – basically the best quality ACM panel that you can buy. It stays flat once fixed into place and doesn’t ripple when heated by the sun. We add the printed graphics using 3M IJ40 vinyl – a quality polymeric calendared digital vinyl that lasts. Of course, it goes without saying that this type of sign is fully weather resistant.

Your ACM panel sign (typically on the fascia of your premises) is fixed in place using screws and plugs if going straight into brick or stonework, and other types of fixings are used if the panel is going over an existing sign or feature. ACM panels of this nature can be expected to last in excess of five years and are easy to clean and maintain as required.

Permanent – Medium Budget Shop Signs

Fascia aluminium sign tray with vinyl graphics
Aluminium composite sign tray with vinyl and cutout lettering graphics for solicitors, Ison Harrison, by Ad Bell

If you want to spend a little more on a sign it’s possible to achieve something a little more sophisticated than a flat panel. Still using ACM (aluminium composite material), tray signs are very popular for shop fascia signs. These are made in a similar way to regular flat panel signs, but the edges of the aluminium panel are folded back at 90 degrees to make a “tray”. When mounted to the wall this gives the sign an apparent thickness – usually around 50mm. This thickness makes the sign look much more chunky and attractive, and also means that the unit can contain lighting, but more on that later.

Tray signs are very popular with businesses of all types, and they are just as easy to fit as a regular flat panel. They are installed by firstly fixing two horizontal lengths of aluminium angle to the fascia, and then the tray sign is slotted over the top. The tray is fixed to the angle on the top and bottom tray “folds”, so no fixings are seen on the front of the sign.

Standoff lettering and window graphics for Baytree Interiors, bu Ad Bell
Standoff lettering and window graphics for Baytree Interiors, by Ad Bell

A medium budget may also allow for cut out lettering style signage, where individual letters are cut from sheet material and then fixed onto the frontage of your premises using standoff locators that are hidden behind the body of the letters. The lettering can be cut to any size, and again ACM (aluminium composite material) is a very popular choice of material for exterior cutout lettering. The letters can be finished using either simple coloured signwriting vinyl, or a printed finish, depending on what’s required. Cutout lettering is usually more expensive that a flat panel or tray sign, but it does look fantastic and really stands out – important when you’re really trying to attract as much attention as possible.

Permanent – High Budget Shop Signs

Metal lettering signage being fixed in position using access equipment by Ad Bell
Ad Bell using access equipment to fit Pelsis’ built up lettering and logo into position on the cladding of the main building.

When you have more money to spend, the range of options for quality shop signage becomes even greater.  The obvious difference that an expanded budget makes is the inclusion of illumination in your signage solution. Signs can be lit up in a variety of ways, and the addition of illumination makes a sign look much more attractive, and also means that it’s working for you regardless of the weather or time of day or night.

Lighting can be added to a flat ACM panel type sign in the form of trough or spot lights. These are fixed above or below the sign (depending on the space available) and will light up the sign in an effective manner. The lighting fixtures themselves are available in a variety of styles too, so you’re able to choose one that suits your requirements best.

Tray signs can also feature lighting, using trough or spot lighting, and also from internal illumination. This is where fluorescent tubes are fitted inside the tray sign, and the front panel of the sign has routed out text/shapes that are backed in translucent acrylic which allows the light to shine through whilst adding colour as required. Internally illuminated tray signs are very flexible in appearance, and the combination of solid and cutout areas, along with different lighting colours, can allow for a wide variety of finished styles.

Pelsis built up metal letting, halo lit and shown at night
Halo lit built up metal letting, powder coated and lit using red and white LEDs.

Cutout lettering can also include lighting where budget allows. Solid letters can of course be lit using spot or trough lights, but where maximum attractiveness is desired it is more typical to use halo lighting or frontlighting, using LED systems. Halo lighting requires that the letters are “built up”. This means that instead of being a flat cutout the individual letters have sides – almost as if each letter is a jelly mould. This means that the LEDS can be hidden in the back of each letter so that they cannot be seen from the front – only the light that shines back onto the wall can be seen. This gives the letters the unique “halo lit” appearance. Front lit lettering is similar, but is more suitable for letters that will be viewed from a distance. The lettering is again “built up” and has the LED lighting installed, but is fixed to the wall the other way around so that the lights shine directly forwards. We used this type of lighting on the Leeds Beckett University main building.

Shop Signage – The Options Are Almost Limitless

Of course, the above suggestions are just some of the most common types that we regularly design and fit, but there are many more available. The fascia sign isn’t the be-all and end-all of your shop signage either. We often install shop signage in conjunction with window graphics, etched frosting and other internal and external display solutions that all go together to complete the whole package for your clients.

Whatever your budget, let Ad Bell work out the best solution for you. Your signage is working for your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so it’s important to get the right solution for you and your business. Get in touch with Ad Bell today!

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