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If you’re on the hunt for custom signage for your retail business, there are a few things you’ll need to consider first.

While we aim to make buying a new sign as easy as possible, it’s not quite as simple as, “We’d like a new sign, please. Great, thanks!”.

Whether you need a custom sign, illuminated signage, or backlit signage, there are several things you’ll need to decide on that could impact the process: the design, the production, materials, access to the location, and labour and installation.

We’re experts in all things shop signs, so we asked our expert sign makers for their top tips on what you’ll need to think about before and during the process.

What do you want your sign to do?

This sounds a bit odd, but what is the purpose of your sign?

Do you need something which displays basic information? Do you need a sign that entices customers to visit your shop? Are your neighbours your competitors, so you need a sign that makes your brand stand out boldly and brightly against theirs?

Once you know what impact you want your signage to have, we can help you design the perfect option.

What custom sign is most suitable for your shop?

Signs can be surprisingly heavy.

If your shop is in a really old building, there’s a possibility that the brickwork won’t take the weight of a sign made from certain materials.

Back-lit signs or illuminated signs, tray signs (where the edges are folded to create a ‘tray’ effect), and designs with big, built-up lettering – like the example from Esquire’s Coffee Shop – can weigh a lot as they often contain aluminium or steel.

The material of the building itself – brick, stone, wood, to name a few – can also impact the type of fixtures and fittings that can be used.

This is where our expertise comes in: we can advise on the best options to ensure your sign is safe, secure, and hardwearing while looking awesome and fitting in with your brand!

How developed is your visual brand?

Do you have a logo already?

If you do, do you have it in a vector file so that we can make it big enough to use on a sign?

If you don’t already have a logo, or only have it in PNG or JPEG formats, we’ll either need to create a design from scratch or re-draw your existing logo so it’s a high enough quality for our machines to cut out.

Luckily, we have an in-house team of expert sign makers and designers to help you with this process. They’re particularly skilled in taking our customers’ briefs and helping develop them if they aren’t sure what they want!

Shop signs Luton | Motive Graphics
Shop Sign | Whitchurch Wines | Cambridgeshire | Motive Graphics

shop signs & illuminated signage ideas


Shop Signage | Exterior Signage | Motive Graphics Cambridgeshire
Shop Signs Cambridge | Motive Graphics | Bean Theory

When do you need your custom sign?

Most of the shop signs we create take five to seven working days to produce in our warehouse.

From design sign-off to installation takes, on average, two working weeks.

However, there are of course factors which can impact that. If there are lots of design amendments, that will add to the overall project time. The more complicated the sign is, the longer it will take to produce. The location and surroundings of the building the sign is going to be fitted to will likely affect the installation time. The longer it takes, the more it will cost.

Some of the biggest signage projects we’ve completed – like this monster for Beantheory – have taken almost three weeks from start to finish.

Fitting your shop sign could require specialist labour

Outside of the sign itself, the second biggest cost in a shop sign project is often the fitting and installation.

Some flat signs – like small custom signs made out of aluminium composite material – can be easily and quickly fitted by the customer (although we will of course do if the customer can’t or doesn’t want to!).

But if specialist labour is required, the time it takes to fit a sign can be anything from half a day to a few days. The type of sign, the number of people required to fit it, and the location all impact the installation time.

And when we say ‘location’, we don’t just mean the physical location of your shop – the location of the sign on the building will need to be considered, too. A sign fitted on the sixth storey will require more time (and will be more expensive) than something going at eye level!

We’ll need specialist lifting equipment, people with low-level power access training (known as ‘LPAF’) and scaffolding to fit signs high up.

You might need to get permits for your sign

If you’ve opted for illuminated signage or a design which protrudes from the wall, you might need to be granted a council permit.

And if your shop is located on a busy high street, health and safety requirements might state that parts of the road and pavement need to be closed for installation. This means either you or we will need to liaise with the council to make the necessary arrangements.

This might sound daunting, but we’ve liaised with many councils to arrange for the safe fitting of signs for our customers – it’s easily doable; you just need to know what’s required!

If you’re unsure what paperwork your dream custom sign might need, we can advise on that.

Expert Financial Signage | Huntingdon | Motive Graphics

Give our friendly team a call

If you’re ready to bring a new lease of life to your shop or retail premises, a custom sign is the perfect place to start.

Get in touch with us today and we can help you navigate the process from design to installation.

What to consider when purchasing new shop signs 3