The Use of Symbols vs. Words in Signs

Despite the increased digitalization of advertising and branding, Kachina Sign Center firmly believes in the power of physical signage in business. According to a study by FedEx, up to 76% of consumers surveyed said that they had visited a previously unknown store simply because of its signage. Additionally, 75% of the consumers surveyed said they had recommended a business to others based on its signage alone. These findings suggest that business signage serves the important role of informing and attracting potential customers to a business. Signage is also more cost-effective than marketing strategies such as the use of mass-media advertising.

One question that Kachina Sign Center customers often ask is whether to use words or symbols in signage. Research suggests that only 7% of communication is through words with up to 93% of communication consisting of non-verbal/visual cues such as symbols. These statistics suggest that while words are an important part of communication, non-verbal cues are just as important. The power of symbols is evident in the fact that many well-known international brands are identifiable simply by their logos/symbols they use. Unfortunately, only a few brands can enjoy such an advantage. What’s more, to have an internationally recognized logo/symbol, one must invest heavily in branding and marketing.

The question of whether to use symbols, words or a combination of both in signage depends a great deal on the intended purpose of the signage. For example, signage that is meant for use at a trade fair may have a different design and message from signage that is used on a business premise. The most important thing is to ensure that signage is relevant and simple.

According to a survey by The Sign Research Foundation, 7% of respondents preferred signage that uses symbols/icons rather than words with 7% being neutral on the issue and another 6% of disagreeing that they prefer signage that uses symbols over words. On the other hand, 9% of the respondents agreed that they prefer signs that use both words and non-verbal elements such as symbols with another 2% remaining neutral on the issue. Interestingly, 9% of the respondents disagreed with the idea that they prefer signage that uses both words and symbols. These statistics reflect the complex nature of the symbols vs. words debate. Nonetheless, these statistics also suggest that it is better to incorporate both symbols and words in signage rather than using one exclusively.

Whatever your choice, Kachina Sign Center is committed to developing high-quality commercial signage that is highly visible and effective.