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Business awnings donning the company’s logo are so commonplace up and down Main Street, that they’re well, commonplace. Like the roads around your home which you’ve seen countless times whose names you can’t recall when asked for directions, storefront awnings begin to blend into the landscape until they are no longer noticeable.

Bright red, hot pink, sunny yellow, the color coordinations go on and on. Yet, even with bright color schemes, these storefront advertisements seem to disappear over time. They lose their luster and after a period of time, don’t stick out as intended. After all, business awnings are supposed to eye-catching, they’re supposed to make people walking, cycling, or driving by take notice.

But how can you get the right fit for your business? What colors, designs and fonts work best for storefront awnings? While certainly not the most exciting advertising medium, these fixtures are part and parcel of the small business community and do bestow a modicum but necessary of professionality onto a company.

Aesthetics and Functionality

Awnings have been recorded to be used in ancient Egypt and Syria. Remarkably, these fixtures have changed little since that time. In the year 50 B.C, the Roman poet Lucretius wrote about them as part of the grandeur of the city. These fixtures have been a part of commerce since their inception and came to prominence during the first five decades of the 19th century and were fabricated of simple materials, according to the United States National Parks Service.

Designed as a demarcation with personality, these protrusions provide shelter from sun and rain alike for patrons coming in and out of businesses. Over time, these fixtures became more colorful and durable. The color was to attract customers and the durability to ensure safe passage in and out of an establishment.

Unfortunately, with these innovations comes familiarity and that means people no longer take notice when passing by a business’ storefront. In order to overcome the ubiquity, thinking a bit outside the box is necessary.

Designing Eye-Catching Awnings

None of this is to say color isn’t important. What is important is to stay away from the ordinary, to choose a shape and design that makes a distinct impression without being too busy or distracting. That means striking a balance and allowing the fixture to do what it’s intended to do best. Also, matching it to a brand-aligned window decoration or display will make it really stand out. More tips:

  • Remember, less is more, in most cases. The thing with storefront awnings is they are often the first thing customers see. So, it’s tempting to put a lot of information on them. But that can make it look crowded or take away from other signage. Include what’s needed to identify the business and pique interest. Strike a balance between what’s necessary and what’s not to get the most out of the fixture, Sunrise Signs recommends.
  • Don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole. Shapes and patterns are very important. You want your business’ awning to complement your storefront and not to look out of place. Choose a shape that blends into the architecture well and patterns which set it off simultaneously. Color coordination between your awning a storefront can be a real plus, according to Superior Awning.
  • Let graphics speak for your business. Some of the most iconic awnings have little to no information about the business on them. Instead, they incorporate graphics which make them stand out. Good graphics can even project a mood, reports Fabrics Graphics Magazine: “If you show someone the word ‘hamburger’ that doesn’t make your mouth water as much as a picture of a juicy hamburger will,” says Gary Buermann, owner of G & J Awning and Canvas.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for mock-ups. Look at the various designs when using a professional graphics or awning company to get a feel for how the finished product will look. With some imagination and a little persistence, you can design an awning which really catches the eye.

Also read about how three Providence businesses made their storefront designs work.

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As part of Upserve’s family of more than 10,000 restaurants, The Chef is Restaurant Insider’s secret weapon in the kitchen. As a restaurant expert in all things marketing, menu building, management, training and more, restaurateurs trust The Chef and the award-winning Restaurant Insider to dish out the ingredients needed to make your business a sweet success.