retail signage design

The Secret Sauce for Retail Signage Design That Drives Sales

Published on: August 29, 2019

Every multi-tenant shopping center provides unique challenges for developers. How do you make your shopping center stand out from every other location along the freeway? How can you get shoppers to choose your destination over another center that’s anchored with the same big box store? And how can you inspire potential tenants to anchor in your property instead of the center a few blocks away?

The answer to all of these questions is branding. Every retail location⁠—be it a standalone mom-and-pop shop or a billion-dollar mixed-use development⁠—must be outfitted with a cohesive visual brand that helps the property feel unique in the local retail marketplace. 

Retail signage design is crucial to communicating your brand messaging and announcing your retail center as a distinct destination. Architectural, wayfinding, and identification signs help to facilitate a smooth shopping experience and communicate your brand identity to your most valuable customers. By improving the way shoppers get from point A to point B, you’ll also be creating an immersive brand experience that leads to customer loyalty and significantly increased sales. 

How Effective Retail Signage Design Increases Revenue

Very few shopping centers have branded signage programs that stand out⁠—and that’s why those locations that do gain so much “buzz” from their local communities. The best shining samples of retail signage design give shoppers the feeling of distinctiveness, newness, and style. To bring your property in line with these innovators in building signage design, consider taking inspiration from the following examples: 

Fallon Gateway 

When developers began preparation for the 380,000 square foot shopping center that would become Fallon Gateway, they were determined to stand out from the crowd. They chose to implement a comprehensive signage program that included a massive, 99-ft monument sign to announce their presence to passers-by on I-580 in Dublin, California. Getting such a sign approved by the City of Dublin was no small feat⁠—nor was securing a design that met the brand standards of Target, the center’s first major store anchor, along with the other 10+ tenants that would be featured on the sign.  

 retail signage design for Fallon

The result of these efforts is a shopping center that makes a boldly branded statement in the Dublin community. The monument sign combined with the fully branded wayfinding and directory signage make the navigational process a breeze for local vehicular traffic. Fallon Gateway now stands apart as an aesthetically-pleasing landmark on the I-580 corridor⁠. And city officials actually provided compliments on the design of the monument sign itself upon completion. Without this “wow” factor of a signage program, the center might not be experiencing the incredible traffic and sales it enjoys today. 

Union Landing 

Existing shopping centers often benefit immensely from rebranding efforts that upgrade, update, and uphold the modern character of a property. Union Landing is a shopping center that has served the Union City area for over two decades. In short, Union Landing had begun to show its age. With competition growing north and south on the I-880 corridor, it was a critical time for Union Landing to evolve and thrive.  

Stakeholders at Union Landing chose to take a comprehensive approach to rebranding through an identity refresh and implementing intuitive wayfinding and dynamic signage. Digital freeway elements immediately announced the newness of Union Landing to the thousands of people driving along I-880 every single day, and helped the shopping center act as a new gateway to the city itself. Changing the original art deco feel of the signage helped update the reputation of Union City as a whole. By bringing their signage program up to meet their current brand identity, Union Landing tenants experienced revived traffic and sales to this iconic retail location.  

The Pruneyard

This shopping center in the northeast side of Campbell, CA dates back to the 1970s, but you would never know it. When owners of Pruneyard decided to rebrand the center, they modernized the overall brand of this property in a way that made the building fit in with its current surroundings. Pruneyard as a whole feels cohesively integrated with the commercial retail and corporate office tenants within its borders⁠—as well as with the entire Campbell community, which has grown up around the center and flourished significantly since Pruneyard was first built. 

retail signage design for the Pruneyard

The signage program implemented at The Pruneyard contributed to these effects by announcing the rebrand loud and clear to all visitors to the property. The new architectural signage makes the buildings appear completely transformed and modernized, and directory signs help establish the bold, contemporary color scheme of the new Pruneyard. Signage helped the center present a new visual identity to the public in addition to helping customers navigate more efficiently to their destinations. Thanks to successful rebranding efforts, The Pruneyard experienced significant sales increases and finally lived up to its slogan: “Shopping, dining, and entertainment reimagined.” 

Investing in High-Quality Retail Signage Design 

When you combine retail signage design with expert environmental branding, you open up many opportunities for your property⁠—including increased customer satisfaction, improved reputation, and increased revenue. These complex branding projects require exquisite attention to detail and plenty of experience with complicated retail environments. 

The best signage consultants have both the creativity and the skills necessary to complete projects like these as well as securing any variances or approvals that could be necessary by your municipality. By partnering with an experienced retail signage design firm, you’ll be able to achieve your development goals while staying well within the confines of your budget and meeting the timelines that would be necessary for project success.


GNU Group is a signage design and implementation firm with over 30 years of experience in the retail industry. We’re proud to include the three projects listed above among our extensive portfolio of retail work and to have contributed to the success of properties like these across California and the United States. Connect with our team to discover what  GNU Group’s retail signage design might look like for your retail property.