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Essential tips for eye-catching
restaurant signage

As a restaurant owner, you know the importance of great food, exceptional service, and an inviting ambiance. An often-overlooked aspect is signage and decorative elements that create atmosphere and delight customers. From window graphics to table tents, signs provide helpful information and create a memorable experience.

Let’s explore the types of signage you should consider for your restaurant and some design best practices you can use to improve their impact.

Designing your restaurant signage - Tips and best practices 

By carefully designing your exterior signage, you're not just putting up some letters—you're making a statement. It's all about making a first impression that gets folks walking through your door ready for an amazing meal they won't forget.

Choosing the right colors and fonts

  • Easy-to-read typography: The right font and design choices help you clearly communicate your restaurant's name and key offerings
  • Words that pop: Use contrasting colors, ample white space, and minimal text to help your message stand out
  • Eye-catching images: Show off your signature dishes or display graphic elements that make your dining experience unique
  • Creative shapes: Consider arrows, circles, and unique cut-outs to draw attention to your signs
  • Strategic lighting: Ensure your messages are easy to read in any lighting 
  • Branded elements: Use colors, materials, and fonts that align with your brand and highlight your restaurant’s vibe
  • Dynamic messaging: Refresh your messaging frequently to encourage repeat visits

Balancing information and visual appeal

  • Clear hierarchy: Arrange information on your signage in a hierarchical manner, prioritizing key details such as your restaurant's name and featured offerings. A clear hierarchy makes sure that important information is easily available and understandable.
  • Minimalistic approach: Opt for a minimalist design that avoids clutter and unnecessary distractions. Focus on essential elements can create a clean, visually appealing aesthetic that effectively communicates your message.
  • Consistency in design: Maintain consistency in design elements such as colors, fonts, and imagery across all signage materials. Consistent branding reinforces your restaurant's identity.
  • Whitespace utilization: Incorporate ample whitespace around text and graphics to improve readability and visual clarity and to help prevent overcrowding.
  • Information accessibility: Make sure that important information, such as menus or special offers, is readily accessible and clearly displayed, and organize the information for easy navigation and decision-making.
  • Attention-grabbing elements: Integrate attention-grabbing elements such as bold colors, engaging imagery, or unique design features to capture the interest of passersby. These elements should complement your overall design while effectively drawing attention to your signage.
  • Feedback consideration: Solicit customer feedback and observe their interactions with your signage to identify areas for improvement. Listening to what your customers say about your signs helps you edit them just right so they speak directly to those you're trying to impress.

Strategic signage placement for maximum impact

Even before diners enter your restaurant, exterior signage makes a strong first impression. Think about using eye-catching designs on sandwich boards or banners to display daily specials or limited-time offers. Welcome guests in with branded window and door decals that set the right vibe for your restaurant. Inside, direct foot traffic with intuitive wayfinding signage pointing to the host stand, takeout counters, and restrooms.

Worker placing an A-frame sidewalk sign that reads 'Now Open' for 'Ruby Delicious' food truck, promoting farm fresh food, with customers in the background.Worker placing an A-frame sidewalk sign that reads 'Now Open' for 'Ruby Delicious' food truck, promoting farm fresh food, with customers in the background.

Exterior signs

  • Sidewalk signs: Eye-catching A-frames placed on the sidewalk to attract passersby and promote daily specials or limited-time offers
  • Window graphics and door decals: Branded graphics applied to your restaurant's windows or doors to showcase your logo, hours of operation, or key messaging
  • Banners and flags: Large, visually impactful signs that can be used to announce grand openings, seasonal promotions, or special events
Floor decal at a restaurant's entrance with 'WELCOME' text and images of pasta dishes, part of the interior signage for Alfa’s dining space.Floor decal at a restaurant's entrance with 'WELCOME' text and images of pasta dishes, part of the interior signage for Alfa’s dining space.

Interior signs

  • Wayfinding signs: Clear, easy-to-follow signs guide customers to key areas like your host stand, bar, or restrooms 
  • Floor graphics: Use as directionals or to add custom design elements to your space
  • Menu boards: Large, prominently displayed signs make it easy for guests to see your selections, prices, daily specials, and promotions
  • Posters: Include artistic elements or limited-time promotions on high-quality posters you can swap out seasonally or keep up for years  

Leveraging signage for branding and promotions

When it comes to your restaurant's signs, it's all about covering all the bases. Each sign plays a special role in attracting customers, guiding them through your space, promoting your offerings, and enhancing the overall dining experience. Signage can also give a little nudge toward trying something new.

Green promotional banner in a cafe window announcing 'Dine-in, Takeout, or Delivery' options with a picture of a club sandwich on a wooden board, next to the website address'.Green promotional banner in a cafe window announcing 'Dine-in, Takeout, or Delivery' options with a picture of a club sandwich on a wooden board, next to the website address'.

Incorporating your brand's personality

Let your brand's personality shine through in every little detail. When it comes to your signage, the fonts you pick are like your brand's voice—they should match the mood you're going for. Whether you're all about fun and playful, chic and classy, or bold and modern, your typography sets the mood. When selecting fonts for your signage, consider the typefaces' readability and versatility. 

Colors can evoke emotions and can convey your brand's personality. Bright and vibrant colors are great for energy and excitement, while muted tones bring a sense of peace and sophistication. Whatever hues you choose, make sure they all work together to tell your brand's story.

They say pictures are worth a thousand words. Whether it's shots of your mouthwatering dishes, fun illustrations, or custom graphics that speak to your brand's values, visuals bring your personality to life.

Your messaging should be as unique as your brand. Whether witty and warm or straightforward and pro, make sure it speaks directly to your audience and stays true to your brand's voice. Keeping things consistent across the board helps customers remember who you are and what you're all about.

Tabletop advertising banner for a smoothie shop's loyalty program with vibrant graphics of fruit juices, a special discount offer, and the website for more information.Tabletop advertising banner for a smoothie shop's loyalty program with vibrant graphics of fruit juices, a special discount offer, and the website for more information.

Seasonal and promotional signage tips

Let your windows do the talking—use them to showcase promotions, such as the latest seasonal specials or holiday treats. 

Keep your menus updated regularly to feature seasonal ingredients or limited-time offerings. This allows you to highlight the freshness and uniqueness of your seasonal dishes while adding authenticity to your restaurant ambiance.

Hang banners or flags outside your restaurant to generate buzz around your seasonal events. These larger outdoor signs attract attention from passersby and create excitement around your seasonal offerings.

Utilize table placards to showcase your specials, share your brand story, or highlight upcoming events. They're perfect for sparking conversation and spreading the word about what makes your spot special.

Design eye-catching signs to promote special deals, highlight seasonal menu items or showcase happy hour specials. The more enticing the language, the quicker customers will take advantage of the limited-time offer.

Display signs strategically throughout your restaurant to promote your loyalty program and encourage customers to sign up. Highlight the benefits of joining, such as earning rewards or receiving exclusive offers, to incentivize customer participation and drive repeat business.

Make your restaurant pop 

Thoughtfully designed signs provide helpful information to customers and contribute to your ambiance. Whether you want to reinforce your branding, highlight promotions, guide customers, or tell your unique story—it all starts with signage. Let the experts at FedEx Office help you make the most of your restaurant’s signs and graphics.