The Real-Money Value of Custom Signs & Graphics

The Real-Money Value of Custom Signs & Graphics

In 1997, the University of San Diego conducted a seminal study for the sign industry. For the first time ever, researchers used statistical analyses to assess the money-making impact of on-premise signage. The study collected data from three separate case studies–a large fast food chain, a big-box home decor retailer, and several auto dealers in a major city–and the results are still quoted widely today (Ellis et al., 1997).

In all case studies, researchers found that on-premise signage did generate statistically significant sales boosts.

But a lot has changed since 1997.

That’s why the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center followed up with a report of the same name in 2012 (Rexhausen et al., 2012). Leaning heavily on the original work, Rexhasun et al. (2012) added data from numerous case studies to deepen the examination and bring the findings up to date.

Here’s what they had to say about the economic value of custom signs and graphics:

Custom signs and graphics positively increase brand awareness for consumers and local communities.

In a case study of San Diego auto dealers, 68% of people surveyed indicated that signage helped them find the dealer’s location. An additional 18% indicated that they were only aware of specific departments, services, and deals due to signage.

Custom signs and graphics are directly linked to revenue increases.

Researchers concluded that adding one sign at every fast-food outlet in Los Angeles would boost business revenues by $132 million. On a “micro level,” businesses that added just one extra sign yielded sales increases of 4.75%.

Updating custom signs and graphics helps move more product.

Both studies indicated that 60% of businesses that invested in sign replacements, additions, or updates reported an average sales increase of 10%.

Custom signs and graphics can help you out of that sales slump.

Researchers found that the sales-boosting effects of updating custom signs and graphics benefitted lower-performing stores the most: 15% sales increase for underperformers versus only 4.75% for high-performing stores. In other words, businesses experiencing sales slumps have the most to gain.

Custom signs and graphics improve customer relations.

Rexhausen et al. (2012) found that car dealerships that added digital sign boards increased not only service department revenue and customer traffic, but also reported statistically significant increases in goodwill and community relations.

Customers see your custom signs and graphics as “Quality indicators.”

A meta-analysis of numerous case studies revealed that 34% of North American shoppers associated sign quality with store and product quality.

Create your own custom signs and graphics

If you’re looking for high-performance custom signs and graphics, Legendary Custom Signs and Graphics can help.

Our process is simple:

First, we set up a FREE consultation during which we’ll discuss your signage goals, preferences, and budget. Then we work with your team to create the perfect sign design. If you like what you see, we handle the installation and maintenance. It’s that easy!

Ready to get started? Visit or call 571-512-7446 to speak directly with a Legendary Custom Signs and Graphics representative.


Ellis, S., Johnson, R., & Murphy, R. (1997). The Economic Value of On-Premise Signage. Study conducted at the University of San Diego in cooperation with the California Electric Sign Association). Washington, DC: International Sign Association.

Rexhausen, J., Hildebrandt, H., & Auffrey, C. (2012). The Economic Value of On-Premise Signage. University of Cincinnati.

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