Designing effective signs for your retail business is a valuable skill. While a massive number of businesses focus on being clever or funny in their advertising, it’s often the simplest and most direct of signs that produce the biggest amount of sales.

As consumers, we’re exposed to hundreds of marketing messages every day. Radio ads, online banners, search advertisements, billboards, sponsorships and hundreds of other marketing platforms each compete for our collective attention.

With so much competition for the attention of consumers, how can your business stand out? One of the most effective ways for retailers to stand out is by designing signage that attracts the attention of their target audience and inspires action.

From choosing the right fonts and colors to using action-focused language, read on to discover four techniques that your business can use to design signs that increase its response rate and drive profitable sales.

Use powerful, high-contrast color schemes

Retail giant Best Buy recently discovered that 17 percent of all of its customers did not have any attention of stopping to shop at Best Buy – that is, until they noticed a sign and walked into the store.

Signs can be incredibly effective at influencing consumer behavior if they’re clearly visible. Using color schemes with a great amount of contrast is one of the best ways to make your signs more visible, and thus more effective.

When you’re designing signage for your company, choose color combinations that produce contrast. Black on white, blue and yellow, red and black or white and dark blue all stand out and catch people’s attention, increase the focus on your store.

Whenever possible, choose a larger size

The bigger your sign, the greater its visibility. Being visible is a key part of bringing people into your retail store, and having a large sign can often double or triple your total visibility and encourage people to shop with you.

While zoning regulations may prevent you from choosing a sign that’s as large as it could be, it’s almost always best to stick to the large side of average when choosing what size to make your signage.

It’s not just your sign that should be big. The text you use on your sign, as well as the graphics or photos you add to it, should all be nice and big to increase visibility from far away and draw people to your store.

Choose fonts that are easy for everyone to read

That curly, charismatic typeface you like might perfectly suit your daycare business, but is it easy to read from afar? Visibility doesn’t begin and end with color and size – an important aspect of visibility is choosing fonts that are easy for people to read.

Stick with simple fonts that scale nicely to a larger size. Fonts with lots of aesthetic embellishments – exotic serifs or unusual letter structure – can be very difficult for many people to read, especially from afar.

Keep your fonts nice and simple, and use a different font for the body copy of your sign to the one used in its headline. This creates visual contrast that makes it easy for your audience to separate your messages and respond to your marketing.

Keep your sign’s goal direct, straightforward and simple

The most effective signs are usually the simplest. Signs that instruct people to do multiple things – or signs that talk about several different offers – can often create more questions than they solve, confusing your target audience.

Your signage should never split the attention of your target audience between two different things. Focus on one benefit of your business, one product or one offer in your signage and dedicate 100% of your message to your desired action.

Keep your sign’s goal direct and simple, and use wording that’s impossible for your audience to misunderstand. In almost all cases, signs that are simple and direct are more effective than complex, wordy signs without clear goals or objectives.