Sign Survey



We have had requests for "sign surveys" in the past that typically involve going on-site, take some pictures and measurements and sending them off to a larger sign shop that is out of town. However, we recently had a customer inquire about us coming to their site and analyzing their signage inside and out and creating a "sign success study". Basically to help them better use signage to improve sales, organization and the appearance of the business. Great opportunity! But we are at a bit of a loss as to where to start? Has anyone else done this or have advice on where to get started? We have been to the business, taken photos, measurement and interviewed the manager and employees... now what?

Thanks for your advice!


New Member
This is basically a "what would you do" situation.

If there was an open check book, what would you do to the business, how would you best promote it and how would your "vision" assist them in promoting the business / brand.

Often people just slap some signs up as opposed to painting the building a certain or same colour as the sign and having a total image. Fortunately if you paint both the sign and the buiding the same colour, it looks huge but the sign only comes into play for local government regulations.

Make sure that the building has highlights (striping, cove decoration etc) and use max 3 colours - complimentary or opposing. Depends on the "feel" you are trying to achieve.

Hope this helps

Cheers - G

James Burke

Being a grandpa is more fun than working
Has anyone else done this or have advice on where to get started?

It all starts with an eye for design. Upon seeing the existing signage, you should already have the "wheels turning" as to how you would like to improve the client's image.

Beyond that, you need to understand the client's goals for their identity, direction and or instruction (call to action) for their clients, and so on. If they don't have a clue, you'd better be prepared with solid reasons for the makeover.

Every client will be different and you'll really have to be on your toes.

Understand the full capabilities of your design progams and know how to use them well. This is where photo mockups can really help you sell your ideas.

Do your job well and you'll be rewarded with more clients.


a good variable would be to include the amount of views it will have on any given day. or what kind of people would most likely be viewing it.


Certified Enneadecagon Designer
I have done quite a few... either retail signage conspicuity studies, master planning and/or pre design research.

I think since you have done the survey already I would study the sign code(s) on what is allowed, but the biggest thing is a study of the business' competition.

There are a few very geek books on design research, a bunch of brain pulling info and a few words I had to look up, but it's basically the design process right up to the point of offering a solution... or maybe a glimpse at the solution.

The 2 books I have read that made some impact was:

"A Designer's Research Manual: Succeed in Design by Knowing Your Clients and What They Really Need" by Jennifer Visocky O'Grady and Ken O'Grady


"Design Research: Methods and Perspectives" by Brenda Laurel and Peter Lunenfeld

I don't know if those books will help at this stage, or it might be too much info to take in... it was not all that much fun too read.

Another thing.. There is probably an organization and/or periodical for every business and they have done some research, I always rummage through that information and add that as well.


New Member
How about talking to jon aston i think hes real smart and could offer you great advice.I'm not sure but i think thats who I'm thinking of he often offers a free phone discussion`

Sticky Signs

New Member
I'm no expert in this area but to me it sounds like a great opportunity to introduce your client to some new things. IE - Floor Graphics, wall graphics, backlit sign on one or several of the walls, clip frames that can easily be changed over to reflect the current sale, etc. Of course, I don't know your client or what they do or what kind of budget they have but I would think that some of these ideas could work. For example, let's say your client runs a clothing store, I'd suggest having one decorative wall covered in vinyl that displays models wearing the clothes (life style Images) but make it look a little more artsy fartsy than just a model standing there. I would also use clip frames to attract attention to the latest styles and/or promote the next sale.
Ultimately, I'd like to see the client use a system that allows them to change out the signage accordingly, either every season, twice a year or even once a year. It allows them to keep a fresh and interesting look and allows you to keep taking orders from them whenever they decide to do a change over.


Active Member
What's the budget for the design survey? Is there a predetermined budget for the improvements or is it a "skys the limit" deal?


Good questions! We didn't discuss budgets, but we have worked with the customer before on a similar project that he "surveyed" himself and then had us do quite a few signs changes.. around $4000. I would assume this is a similar sized job, though there is quite a few more options for exterior signage at this location.

How much have you charged for similar services?