I work in a sign shop, so naturally, when I’m driving to and from work I notice yard signs (and vinyl banners, vehicle magnets, decals, etc.). In fact, my shop manager Gary and I usually have at least one sign-mocking session a week where we talk about the most unreadable, nasty-colored, incoherent signs we’ve seen recently. Maybe that’s not your idea of a good time, I don’t know.

However, before you start feeling sorry for me about the obvious lack of excitement in my life, you should think about going out on a sign drive-by. A lot of times looking at a yard sign or a custom vinyl banner on a computer screen is a lot different then seeing it in its natural habitat.

Start out with the type of sign or signs you’re thinking about creating for your business or event – yard signs, banners, vehicle magnets or fleet graphics. Next, hop in your car; turn up the radio (preferably something with a little bass) and go on a sign drive-by. Drive around some high-traffic areas near your neighborhood. Or, even better drive around some of the intersections where you plan to install your signs.

During one 30-minute trip you can get an idea of what your competition is doing and discover how people are using different types of signs effectively. You’ll also see what stands out from a color and copy standpoint. More times than not, the things that catch your eye will be the same thing that will grab the attention of your future customers. It’s a really easy way to improve your signs and sign strategy.

Now you can start feeling sorry for me about the lack of excitement in my life.