Monday, July 13, 2009

The ABCs of Signage

Stamped a “Marketeer Extraordinaire,” Judy Sharpton knows signage, and so do accompanying speakers Evelyn Weidner of Weidner’s and Dan Truesdale of Rolling Green Nursery. For the first session of the morning, the room was packed. For a topic that could easily spread out over a number of days, all three speakers did an excellent job packing in some must-dos and don’ts when it comes to your signs.

Evelyn started off the session - here are a bunch of useful bullet-points from her:
  • Signs are unpaid employees (silent salesmen)…have a lot on staff.
  • ABCs of Signage means All the information your customer needs to buy the right plant; Bold signs should be clean, easy to read and up-to-date; Coordinated, all signs must have one voice.
  • Always represent or sign a display on two-sides.
  • Don’t confuse a newer gardener with a sign that applies to one plant, but is displayed among a variety of plants. They might not know what plant the sign matches.
  • Don’t make corrections on a sign with a sharpie marker. No scratch-outs.
  • Large beautiful displays can be great, but make sure you have a sign somewhere that tells the customer what it’s comprised of.

Rolling Green’s Dan Truesdale is currently working on a manual called “A Signage Visual Style Guide.” When he got to Rolling Green, he admitted that the nursery had signs with fonts of all types. Here are some points raised by Dan:

  • “Signage should be consistent, like employee uniforms,” he says.
  • Dan’s a big fan of Ariel because it’s a clean and crisp font.
  • For those of you who are given multiple POP material from your growers, it’s okay to use all of it, BUT, keep it separate. Do not greet your customers with all of them at once.
  • If you are still a garden center that uses handwritten signage, remember the phrase, “One voice, one hand.” Assign ONE person to write all of your signs to keep the look consistent. Dan said, think Starbucks.

Lastly, you might wonder, how much is too much when is comes to putting up signs. Judy recommends stepping into the shoes of a shopper (or even invite a friend, who’s not in the business, to your store). When they walk around, do they (or you) think, “Oh my goodness. What do I do? Where do I go?” If so, you might need to ease up a little.

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