Signage is the practice of the use of signs and symbols to communicate a specific message to a particular target-audience, for the underlying purpose of mass-marketing or recommendation. The concept attained popularity around the 70s and is an absolutely indispensable tool in today’s globalized consumerism.that has been built on the foundation of advertising.
Signs are any kind of visual graphics created to display information to a specific target- audience. This is inherent in the form of ‘wayfinding’ information in places such as streets or alleyways or on the inside and outside buildings. Signs vary in form and size based on location and intent, as also on budget and outreach, from more expansive, and expensive, banners, billboards, and murals, to smaller street signs, street name signs, sandwich boards and lawn signs. Signs may also use digital or electronic displays to augment their ability to induce audiences to the desired goal.
The chief function of signs is to communicate, to convey information designed to aid the receiver in decision-making based on the information provided.Often it ensures that the subject does not get lost and is able to reach for the exact service he wishes to peruse. Promotional signage may also be connived to convince receivers of the virtues of a given product or service. Signage is different from ‘labeling’ in the aspect that while the former only conveys information about a particular product or service, the latter, while performing that function too, also endeavors to persuade the customer towards using that particular product/brand/outlet.
Signage is a crucial component of any successful business. Both the indoor and outdoor signs of a marketing entity are a direct reflection of what it is as a brand and how it is regarded by its customers. Without signage, most of the target audience wouldn’t even know that a brand exists.
Origin of the terms ‘ sign’ and ‘signage’:
The word ‘sign’ comes from the old French word ‘signe’ that refers to a gesticulation of the hand. This, in turn, sprouts from the Latin word ‘signum’ indicating an “identifying mark, token, indication, symbol; proof; military standard, ensign; a signal, an omen; sign in the heavens, constellation.” In English, the term is also associated with a flag or insignia. In France, a banner often replaced signs and signboards in the Middle Ages. Signs are most commonly observed in the form of painted or carved advertisements for retail stores, restaurants, movie theatres, etc. They are one of the most effective methods for drawing the attention of the public to the entity which they refer to.
The term, ‘signage’ has been widely used in the 20th century as a collective noun used to describe a class of signs, especially advertising and promotional signs that were absolutely crucial to capture the customer’s attention in the consumer-driven world of the 20th Century.