Elevate Your Sign Designs In Bakersfield, CA: Lessons Learned From Big Brands

Elevate Your Sign Designs In Bakersfield, CA: Lessons Learned From Big Brands

You can learn a lot about effective sign design practices by analyzing big brands. And while national franchises probably have a larger sign budget at their disposal, many of their secrets to success can be applied to more economical, small business-friendly signs.

To help you elevate your signage on a small budget, today’s post reverse-engineers a successful sign design used by one of Bakersfield’s larger restaurant chains: Panda Express.

Read on to learn more, or call (661)-379-6545 to speak directly with a sign design specialist near you.

Best Practices For Sign Design: Lessons Learned From Big Brands

With over 2200 restaurants to their name, Panda Express definitely qualifies as a big brand. Recently, our team was chosen to create marquee channel letter signage for one of their Bakersfield locations.

In this case, the client came to us with a strong design vision, and our team delivered according to their exact specifications:

Elevate Your Sign Designs in Bakersfield, CA: Lessons Learned from Big Brands

So what design lessons can small business owners learn from Panda Express? Although they chose to omit their iconic panda logo, this sign still manages to be eye-catching and evocative, thanks to:

  • Strong contrast. In a 2017 report for the Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, James Bullough wrote that “the contrast between a sign and its immediate background is the primary determinant of one’s ability to detect the sign… perhaps more than size.” This is why sign designers like to say that contrast is king!

    For this project, Panda Express went all-out, using two of the most high-contrast color combinations available: white-on-red and white-on-black. Their use of dimensional lettering cranks the contrast up even further, casting shadows to outline their brand name in black.

    If you’re looking for ways to stand out from your local signscape, take a page out of Panda Express’s book and try incorporating more contrast into your sign design. This tip is perfect for small businesses, since high contrast does not mean high cost—even economical banners, yard signs, and sandwiched boards can be made with dark backgrounds and bright text (or vice versa).

  • Evocative color. Panda Express’s channel letter sign also exemplifies effective use of color psychology to convey brand character and engage viewers. In this case, red is the dominant color, and this is consistent with their brand palette in other logos and marketing materials.

    So what makes red such a great choice to anchor their storefront signage? First of all, building off the previous point, red really stands out from the surrounding environment, creating external contrast in addition to the internal contrast within their sign design.

    But that’s not all. As written in “Color Red: Implications for Applied Psychology and Marketing Research,” a study published in Psychology and Education, the color red is frequently used in the restaurant industry because it triggers appetite, likely due to neuro-associations with ripeness or sweetness in natural foods like berries, bell peppers, and apples. Some researchers speculate that it could also be linked with savory cravings for red meat. Red is also associated with energy and excitement, both feelings Panda Express tries to capture in every customer experience.

    Just like color contrast, color psychology should be incorporated into the advertising strategy of any small business because it is so cost-effective. Indeed, in many cases you can choose different sign colors for no added cost. You just have to decide what color represents your brand (e.g. green for eco-friendly companies, gold or silver for wealth management firms, etc)—and our sign design experts are standing by to help!

Get A Free Quote On Custom Sign Design In Bakersfield, CA

To schedule a free consultation and get a quote on any custom sign design, you can:


Bullough, J. (2017). Factors affecting sign visibility, conspicuity, and legibility: Review and annotated bibliography. Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, 1(2), 2-25.

Piotrowski, C., & Armstrong, T. (2012). Color Red: Implications for applied psychology and marketing research. Psychology and Education-An Interdisciplinary Journal, 49, 55-57.


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