First impressions matter for any business and can make or break a company’s image. A well-cared-for outdoor sign is a crucial part of that first impression: it displays your professionalism, represents your brand, and shows that you care for all aspects of your business.

High-quality external signage will stay in good shape for years, provided you regularly maintain it. Several types of signage can look as sharp and bright as new if you show them a little care. From changing bulbs and electrical cables to giving your sign a fresh coat of paint or replacing adhesive vinyl surfaces, a simple makeover can revitalize the image and perception of your business.

However, there comes a moment when repairing your external signage may not be sufficient, and replacing becomes the better option. How do you know when this moment has come?

Here are a few factors to take into consideration, in order to make the best decision for your outdoor signage.

When to Repair Your Sign

Your Outdoor Sign Is Iconic

In some cases, signage may have a special symbolic value. You may want to keep and repair valuable vintage signs such as Denver’s Neon signs from the 50s, which are having a strong come back and are now preserved by several restaurants and theaters.

If you have such an iconic outdoor sign, you should consult signage specialists to see what it takes to repair and maintain it. If the cost or the damage is too great to keep it as part of your external signage, consider preserving it as an interior decorative piece.

The Signage Is Relatively New and Repairs Are Easy

Every type of signage has a typical lifespan, during which normal wear and tear can be repaired. Electrical components can be changed, bulbs can be upgraded to LEDs, fading colors can be freshened up with a lick of paint, vinyl parts can be replaced with newly printed ones, and rust can be treated and painted over.

Since some repairs may be more complicated or costly than others, consult your signage expert for advice on how to efficiently maintain your signs in order to make them last. They may also propose repair options that you might not have thought of.

It Makes Financial Sense

Refurbishing your signage may be a cost-effective option compared to replacing it completely. The costs for replacing outdoor signs may include not just creating the signage, but also added costs such as installation permits.

When replacing your signage does not fit your budget, consider repairing your existing signage as a temporary solution.

Only Small Changes Are Needed

As your business evolves, some elements of your outdoor sign may change. You may want to add a new e-shop address, your social media, or an updated phone number. Maybe you are now offering a new service or have a new motto but have otherwise made no changes to your branding.

If such changes don’t require extended modifications on your signs, you may simply refurbish them instead of replacing them. An expert signage professional can make those additions blend smoothly with your existing sign at a modest cost.

When to Replace a Sign

In some cases, completely replacing your old outdoor signs with new ones may be the best solution. When your signage is not performing anymore, when it is not representing your brand and business effectively, when it is not attracting customers—or, worse, motivates potential customers to go to your competition—then it’s time to replace your sign.

A brand new outdoor sign revitalizes your brand, façade, and even energy. After all, it feels good to walk to your business every day and to be welcomed by a beautiful new sign you feel proud of. Customers get a perception of vitality from a renovated façade with a fresh sign.

Besides, a new sign comes with a new warranty for repairs and maintenance, which may really make it worth it. And, of course, the improvement in the appearance of your business may increase your customers and sales so your sign will be paying for itself.

Furthermore, replacing an old sign also offers you an opportunity to use new technology like LED lighting, digital signage, etc., thus updating the image of your business while cutting energy costs.

Here is when you should consider replacing your old signage.

Your Sign Is Too Damaged for Repair

At some point, despite good maintenance, all signs reach the end of their lifespan and no repair or improvement can give them a fresh look.

In other cases, a sign may be damaged by something that has nothing to do with normal wear and tear, such as damage from a particularly strong storm.

A badly damaged sign, even if it’s relatively new, is as bad as a sign that is obviously worn out: they both create a bad impression for your business. In the mind of customers, a poor sign creates the perception of equally poor service.

So, when your sign is too damaged for repair or the cost of refurbishment is too high, then opting for a new sign makes a lot of sense.

Your Old Signage Is No Longer Lending You Visibility

If your business has been established in the same neighborhood for years, chances are that your old signage is no longer sufficient for the changes the neighborhood has seen over time. Maybe the street has gotten busier. Competition may have grown. The traffic may be faster and passersby may pay less attention to their surroundings and more to their mobile phones.

Does your sign still attract attention under the new circumstances? Is it large enough to attract attention with the current traffic?  Does it stand out among the signs of possible competitors? Is it placed where it would be most visible? Is some new building or structure blocking the view to your sign?

Whatever the reason your sign may be underperforming, it is failing to draw more potential customers to your business. Upgrading your sign to be more prominent given the new circumstances could increase your business’ visibility once again.

You may also opt for a larger sign, better placement, illumination 24/7, a more noticeable font, more vibrant colors, or even for a simpler, more direct design. Any of these options may let your new signage succeed where the old one failed.

Your Old Sign Is Misrepresenting Your Business

Is your business the same as it was five years ago? Businesses evolve, grow, and change their products and services. This often results in the old sign misrepresenting the current state of the business.

A sign should help potential customers understand what the business is about and what it offers. However, if your business has evolved through the years without your sign reflecting the changes, you may be losing potential customers because your signage sends the wrong message. Even worse, it may be misleading people, making for unhappy customers.

If your signage is no longer representing your business, then it’s time to replace it.  

Your new sign is a great occasion to show where your company is now, as opposed to what it was when you created your old sign. Using new technology can demonstrate how your company follows technological evolution. New materials and techniques may show that your company knows the trends and is not stuck in the past. Use colors, fonts, and materials to highlight the significance of your company in the market. After all, you can’t be a market leader with an outdated sign.

You Are ReBranding

Rebranding is something that becomes necessary not only when a company decides to revitalize its brand, but also after an acquisition, new joint venture, new owner, etc.

Rebranding implies changes in logos, colors, fonts, or messages. These can rarely be made to your signage through the simple refurbishment of your old signs. Opting for a new sign is usually the best decision from a financial point of view but also regarding branding efficiency since with the new sign you can choose exactly the materials and techniques that best fit your reinvented brand.

Your Old Signage Is a Bad Fit for Your New Building

Although companies often reuse external signage when they move to a new location, the size or shape of the old sign may be a bad fit for the new building.

Rather than have an awkward façade with an obviously mismatched sign, we strongly suggest that you invest in a new, appropriately sized sign as soon as possible. If you want the façade of your business to reflect your professionalism, you need a sign that seamlessly fits with it.

Your Energy Sign Consumes Too Much Energy

Upgrading your lighting from fluorescent bulbs to LED lighting is very common. LED lighting is an environmentally friendly and economical solution. It can make an old sign look new and decreases long-term maintenance because the bulbs last so much longer.

Your Old Sign Is Not Compliant with the Current City Codes

Usually, an external outdoor sign needs to follow building codes and requirements, which impose restrictions on the kind and size of signs allowed, types of lighting, etc. As these requirements are regularly updated, an older sign may suddenly fall foul of the latest rules.

While compliance can sometimes be achieved with minor changes and at low cost, complying with a new regulation can often result in the need to completely replace your signage. Ask an experienced signage professional who’s familiar with the latest building codes to advise you on your options.

Repair or Replace?

From the above, it’s clear that there’s no right and wrong answer. There may be cases when repairing your signage makes perfect sense, especially if you regularly maintain it.

However, when refurbishing your outdoor sign is not sufficient, then replacing it becomes the better option. Hopefully, the tips above will help you figure out whether you should repair or replace!

Whichever option you choose, let us help! Call now 303-647-9005 or contact Magnify Signs online for your free quote.