Field Notes: Customized Blade Sign

Isaac Kremer/ September 10, 2023/ Field Notes, Physical, storefront/ 0 comments

Blade signs are designed to make stores more visible to pedestrians from 20 feet or more. When walking along a sidewalk in a downtown it is hard to see a business until you are right upon it. The blade sign by being visible from a further distance gives a landmark to shoot for and makes the walk more interesting. An even better way to attract attention is with an illuminated blade sign. These are visible not just during the day but also at night. A lighted blade sign with PAR 20 lamp on both sides provides the maximum visibility for stores and an interesting landmark at night. One source for lighted blade sign brackets is here. See some examples and our list of do’s and don’ts below. We recommend for you to increase the quantity of customized blade signs in your community and have some fun when designing your signs.

Customized blade sign as a stylized coffee cup with steam rising for “Up for Breakfast” in Manchester, Vermont, 2023. The name has a double meaning because the store is on an upper floor. External lighting makes the sign more visible.
Game Zone blade sign, Salem, Massachusetts, 2022.
Earthen Metals, Elgin, Texas, 2012.

Do’s

  • Be visible
  • Illuminate to increase visibility on shorter days and even after hours when the business is closed.
  • Prioritize information – phone number and other information should be on your door or elsewhere – not on your blade sign
  • Position over main entrance to draw people to your door

Don’ts

  • Visually uninteresting signs, i.e. text only
This is an example of what not to do with blade signs in Metuchen, New Jersey. Note how it is not centered over the door. Additionally, the phone number is extraneous information and should not be on the sign. The lack of a distinctive logo, brand, or identity for the business is apparent, with a standard font used instead. Finally, it is not illuminated so the sign is imperceptible at night.
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About Isaac Kremer

A nationally recognized downtown revitalization leader, downtowns Isaac managed achieved $350 million of investment, 1,300 jobs created, and were 2X Great American Main Street Award Semifinalist and a 1X GAMSA winner in 2023. His work has been featured in Newsday, NJBIZ, ROI-NJ, TapInto, and USA Today. Isaac is a Main Street America Revitalization Professional (MSARP) with additional certifications from the National Parks Service, Project for Public Spaces, and the National Development Council.

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