Homemade signs might reduce manufacturing expenses upfront, but as any sign specialist will tell you, DIY displays come at a cost.
To help you make the best decision for your business, today’s post reviews research on the effects homemade and pro-made signs have on consumer confidence, promotional performance, and long-term marketing costs.
Read on to learn more, or call (661)-379-6545 to speak directly with a sign specialist in Bakersfield, CA.
In 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Joana McNeish conducted a seminal study for the Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding looking at the effects handmade and home-printed signs had on brand image and customer experiences.
At the time, as a result of rapidly changing pandemic safety protocols, homemade signs were ubiquitous, in Bakersfield and abroad. Indeed, in many cases, business owners had no other option, as government health authorities required COVID-19 safety signs to be posted, yet many sign specialists were either stuck in lockdown or simply overwhelmed with short-notice orders, leaving brands to fend for themselves.
Unprecedented times called for desperate measures. With their backs against the wall, many business owners were forced to dust off their handwriting skills and home printers, creating makeshift safety signs on 8.5” x 11” paper, broken-down cardboard boxes, and anything else they had on-hand.
These “informal” signs were functional, and they allowed owners to open their doors, at least, but their shoddy form had some undesirable consequences.
Analyzing the results from hundreds of survey and interview responses, McNeish (2020) found that consumers overwhelmingly felt that these “informal signs” created a sense of “uncertainty” and “unease,” implying that the company in question was:
In stark contrast, COVID-19 displays produced and installed by sign specialists increased consumer confidence, conveying “certainty and knowing” during this uncertain time, which fostered positive brand impressions and long-term loyalty (McNeish, 2020, pp. 66-68).
So ask yourself: are the marginal savings of “DIY” signs worth compromising consumer confidence in your brand?
In her study, McNeish (2020) also noted how informal signs were read much less often than formal displays made by sign specialists due to their poor organization, lack of cohesion, and haphazard design, all of which combined to put a heavy cognitive burden on the reader. When faced with this cognitive burden, most readers chose to tune informal signs out entirely, rather than struggle to make sense of unoptimized messages.
In other words, if you want your signage to be read for real, presentation matters, and our sign specialists can help make your messages eye-catching and eminently readable.
Homemade signs also wear out quickly, wrinkling, tearing and yellowing much faster than professional displays built by sign specialists. This not only exposes your brand to poor first impressions or thin-slice judgements; it also means you’ll be spending lots of time writing out new signs—or else lots of money replacing those expensive home printer ink cartridges. If you’re looking to control marketing costs and reduce your environmental impact, definitely go pro!
To explore our catalog and get a free quote on any order from a local sign specialist, you can:
McNeish, J. E. (2020). Retail Signage During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, 4(2), 67-89.Back
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