We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Signage?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Signage is a general term for any sort of graphic display intended to convey information to an audience. There are many different types of signage, and it has existed for thousands of years. Most modern signage relies on words, often in tandem with images, but a great deal of historical signage used only images, and much modern signage geared towards an international audience also omits text entirely.

Custom-made signage is usually designed for a business, to convey the name and location of the business, or to promote a specific service or product that the business offers. Custom-made signage may be as simple as a small hand-written sign hung in the window of a shop, or it may be a very intentional bit of branding put together by a large-scale marketing company and present on thousands of outlets of a single corporation. This type of signage comes in all shapes and sizes, and there are very few common themes among the different types.

Often custom-made signage meant to promote a business will include the name of the business, but the most effective forms of signage tend to have a central element aside from the name that becomes iconic. The signage used for the McDonalds™ company is an excellent example of this. The iconic Golden Arches used in their signage have become as well-recognized as their name, making them immediately visible from great distances, and giving them limitless branding opportunities.

Another ever-present form of signage is street-signage, meant to give information to pedestrians or drivers. Actual street signs, for example, such as those seen in many cities throughout the United States with white lettering on a green background, give the names of streets and cross-streets to help people navigate their way around a city or town. Although these signs have changed over the years, since their primary goal is to communicate location to busy, often fast-moving people, they tend to focus on legibility above all else.

Hazard and instructional signs are another form of street-signage which can be seen in most countries throughout the world. Since these signs need to be easily recognized from a distance, and also need to be comprehensible to anyone who may be driving, including those who do not speak the native language, they nearly always feature some sort of design theme or infographic, either accompanied by text or alone. For example, a street sign indicating deer may be crossing the road sporadically, meant to warn drivers to slow down, may simply show a picture of a deer, in the United States generally in a simple black silhouette on a yellow background. Similarly, a Stop sign, as it needs to be easily recognized from a distance, and in poor visibility conditions, is a unique red color and a unique octagonal shape.

With the advent of the internet, the concept of signage has made its way into the digital world. Digital signage is a term used to describe logos, banners, and other navigational devices found online, even though they are not technically signs. They do, however, serve much the same purpose as real world signage, and often rely on a similar design aesthetic.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.