Lori and Bruce Bentley of Bentley Design & Remodeling, Hanford, Calif., recently redesigned their job sign. Ruth Lozner, associate professor of design and marketing at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md., took a peek.

“The job sign is actually an extremely important part of marketing in remodeling,” Lozner says. “Because of increasing competition, the job sign must embody attributes of the company and the quality of its workmanship.”

She suggests you remember the following.

  • Signs are more effective when placed perpendicular to the street, not parallel to the street.
  • White backgrounds are best. White offers the most contrast and is readable as daylight fades.
  • If a plain white rectangle is used, use a simple border, so elements are “contained” within the frame.
  • Letters should be at least 4 inches high, but preferably 8 inches or taller.
  • The less information on the sign, the better. Include company name, what you do, phone number, and Web site. Any more takes too much time to read on a drive-by.
  • You should be able to spot the sign from three car lengths away.
  • The Bentley Design & Remodeling sign is 4 feet wide by 2½ feet tall, which Lozner believes is a bit large.

    Pluses: The logo is tasteful and distinctive; the typeface used for the company name gives an impression of traditional values, stability, quality, and elegance; the color of the logo adds impact and legibility with contrast against the white background.

    Minuses: The material used for the sign should be more substantial, with more dimension and depth than plywood; vertical supports should be more substantial and be distinctive to convey the impression of stability, quality, and concern for detail; a shape more interesting than a rectangle is attractive — use a peaked roof, lathed supports, or die-cut details; the phone number is too small in proportion to the size of the sign and the words on it.