sign industry trends

Don’t Miss These Sign Industry Trends for 2020 When Planning Your Next Project

Published on: January 9, 2020

Current sign industry trends aren’t about the latest flashy digital signage or scrolling marquees. Instead, they are about how we can respond to the changing commercial climate. Today’s branded environment is far more competitive than it’s ever been. You must be able to create signage that stands out but, at the same time, you need some tried and true processes to get there. If you focus on being ‘trendy’ to try to set your company apart, even with a one-off project, you’ll be left behind not too long after.

Sign Industry Trends That Will Stand The Test of Time

To stand the test of time in an ever-changing field of competition, you need to be building a signage program that’s flexible, scalable, and sustainably-designed. Flexibility will be required of businesses that want to adapt to changing market pressures, especially in a globalizing economy. At the same time, scalability is necessary. You don’t want to cut out your potential for growth by not planning for it early and creating architectural signage that’s too expensive to expand. And, finally, you should show that you understand consumers’ growing concerns about environmental sustainability. 

Building in flexibility

Much of the increased market pressures that companies feel is due to the internet and the ease of globalization. Companies who previously could not expand beyond their domestic borders now have the opportunity to open up shop virtually anywhere. While this creates a lot of opportunities, it also causes issues for brands who want to stand out and grow in new markets. Companies will need the ability to easily update branding as new market opportunities arise.

sign industry trends

Competition can be especially tough for a restaurant that needs to stand out amongst dozens of other familiar brands in a food court. But Bistro Burger managed this by gaining attention from passersby with elegant, three-dimensional signage. Internal illumination helps the main sign get noticed, while a graphic pattern, abstracted from the brand typography, highlights the menu board. 

Altogether, it’s an elegant sign design that helps the eatery catch the eye of consumers looking for an upscale but familiar option. It’s also one that is classic enough to last for years but that can also easily be updated in the event of an eventual brand refresh. Planning for agility in a changing marketplace like this is key staying top-of-mind of consumers—and sign industry trends.

Planning for scale

It used to take companies decades to grow from small mom and pop shops to massive conglomerates. Now, some of the world’s largest companies are barely in their teens. The rapid growth of companies has changed how you need to approach corporate signage. You need to have to establish policies that work for anywhere from one to 100 offices. 

sign industry trends

LinkedIn went through a period of rapid growth, opening locations both domestically and internationally in a short time span. Often, this can result in the loss of cohesive corporate branding across locations. That’s why LinkedIn established sign standards that applied to everything from basic graphics and regulatory signage to necessary wayfinding design for every location. 

By creating a sign program that can be applied to all their sites, the company ensured they’d be prepared to keep branding on point across all locations—and within budget. Long term thinking like this is how some of the top companies stay on top of sign industry trends, now and well into the future.

Designing sustainably 

Today’s companies are expected to be environmentally responsible. In fact, in the US, 68% of consumers believe it’s incredibly important that corporations adopt practices that reduce their environmental impact, whether those policies are tied to waste reduction, natural resource usage or energy conservation. One simple change that many companies are making to meet that consumer demand is switching over to more efficient LED lights for signage. 

sign industry trends

Veeva, a cloud-computing company focused on pharmaceuticals and life sciences, made some bold choices when they established their colorful, bright yellow theme that helps their corporate office stand out. Of course, that’s not as easy at night, which is why the company uses three recessed LED lights to illuminate their sign. Meanwhile, fabricated aluminum—one of the most environmentally friendly and recyclable materials on the planet—makes up the body of most of the larger signage, to ensure these signs are both durable and sustainable. 

Using sustainable materials and designs conveys a specific message about the brand’s values, which helps meet consumer expectations of corporate responsibility. This approach to signage is not just trendy, it’s smart.

Managing Signage Now And in the Future

Your signage needs to work all that much harder to gain the attention of consumers. It also needs to be responsibly sourced and managed, while providing flexibility and scalability far into the future. To achieve that, you’ll need an agile signage design consultant that doesn’t fall back on fickle trends but can build a program that stands the test of time. Only one signage design firm offers the Sign Standards Advantage™ to help you do just that: GNU Group.


GNU Group can be your guide in creating a flexible, scalable, sustainably-designed program to gain a competitive edge in 2020. Our signage programs are designed to last for decades so you can create a program with longevity in mind rather than one based on trends. For more details, connect with our team.