When people look at signs, they expect to see important information. Whether it’s a sign giving directions, displaying facts about certain products, or countless other functions, signs are valuable in many ways. Within visual media, source attribution is one area often overlooked. Yet it shouldn’t be, for it plays a critical role in how signs are designed, how they are interpreted, and how much credibility they are given by those looking at them. If you want to design better signage, never underestimate the value of source attribution in visual media.
When a design is first created for signs, it of course should be eye-catching and appealing to everyone who sees it. But more than that, the design also helps promote a sign’s credibility. Since a basic premise of psychology is people see only what they expect to see, it is critical that a sign being displayed allow those viewing it to interpret it quickly and easily.
When signs display information about a certain accolade or award a business or product has received, source attribution becomes even more important. Since many consumers will make purchasing decisions based on what is stated on the sign, its design must be one that makes the information prominent, yet also clear and concise. In doing so, the design can in essence influence the behavioral intentions of the consumer, making it a very powerful visual media marketing tool.
From digital signs to outdoor yard signs to those hung on doors, walls, and windows, all signs have a basic goal of establishing trust with consumers and others. Thus, when source attribution is used properly and those reading a sign combine the design of the sign with its information, a level of trust is created and hopefully expanded upon. For example, if signs want to emphasize the many five-star reviews a company has received for its service, incorporating a design that focuses people’s attention on the stars themselves will often be very effective. By using bright colors to create a level of prominence, readers will automatically assume this information is very important and credible.
If there is one thing no business wants to endure, it is the erosion of trust and credibility with its consumer base. Once trust is gone, building it back up takes time and often plenty of money as well. By incorporating various design techniques into the signs your shop creates for customers, you set the stage for success for both your business and that of your customers. From a simple sign to one that is large and contain an intricate design and lots of information, source attribution will often determine how effective a sign will be once displayed.