Branding for Communities: Signage

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“Branding for Communities: Signage” is the latest posting in the Branding for Communities series. Understanding the need for the development and implementation of a brand is important for every community. Check out the first post in this series, “Why Branding“, for a refresher as to the importance of branding to your community.


“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign. Breaking up the scenery, breaking my mind.”

– Five Man Electrical Band

Signage is everywhere. For many communities signage is a point of frustration as sign clutter distracts from the look and feel of your community. But that shouldn’t keep your community from using it to express your brand.

Incorporating your brand into municipal signage has important benefits. If a visitor sees a brand on one sign, they are more likely to see others with the brand on it. Hence, visitors are much more likely to get around town with greater ease. This also increases the possibility that they come away from your community with a favorable impression.

Signage is also likely the most seen medium that you can put your brand on. Every day residents and visitors pass by the various signs in your community. Yet they are unlikely to interact with the community government on a daily basis in any other way. Hence, signage is the most effective way to impress your brand on residents and visitors alike.

Two Ways to Express Your Brand Using Signage

There are two main ways to express your brand through signage. First is of course entrance signage. Entrance signs are the most obvious version of signage to put your brand on. It is many times the first thing a visitor sees as they come into town. It is your biggest pallet. The result can be as simple as a wooden board sign with your community name and branding on it. Or it could be a whole different construction that vibrantly expresses your community and your brand.

Notice how the brand has been incorporated into the entrance monument sign for Schuyler, Nebraska, below. The community’s tagline is included below the welcome message. If you check out the City’s website, you’ll see it utilizes green in its design, much like the sign. This ties back to the growing corn and the “live and grow” verbiage of the tagline.

Schuyler Entrance Sign

Schuyler Monument Sign

There’s also wayfinding signage. This is often of a much different mold than entrance signs. Wayfinding is often most expressed through standardized MUTCD-compliant (boring) metal signage on street lights or poles. But it can also be an effective way of expressing your brand. These signs are often sprinkled throughout town helping visitors and residents alike find important facilities, parks, or landmarks.

In the image below, you can see the commonality of design between the different types of signs. The blue color and the fonts used are from the City of La Vista’s branding initiative. It ties the signs together and back to the brand, so people can know where they are even if they don’t see a La Vista logo.

Wayfinding Signage Concepts

Wayfinding Signage Concepts, Courtesy – City of La Vista

So, while signage may be breaking up your scenery, let it blow others’ minds.