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Yard Sign Advertising Tips and Ideas

And where to use them for best success

written by Eric Postma for For inquiries about Yard Signs, call 1-877-421-0668 or email us at

Intro to Yard Sign Advertising

Signs, signs, everywhere there are signs. We all know the song. What’s more, we know it’s true, signs are pretty much everywhere marketing everything from real estate to garage sales. And why is that? Because they get our attention. Even in the digital age where everyone is obsessed with little glowing rectangles and the interwebs, signs are still one of the best ways to advertise.
This doesn’t just apply to banners in the sky and overly active electronic billboards. Even simpler things like storefront signs and flyers stapled to a telephone pole are important. Done right, yard signs can get the attention of a random stranger and send him or her walking into your store ready to empty their wallet.
Wants some yard sign design tips?
We’re going to take a look at how to design signs to get someone’s attention to promote whatever cause or business you’ve got a mind to advocate for. The focus will be narrow though as we direct our attention to that most humble and temporary of signs, the simple, unassuming yard sign.
yard signs for success
yard signs for success.

Why little rectangles on sticks?

As was said in the introduction, signs of any kind seem awfully quaint in the era of the irritating pop-up add. Perhaps no kind of advertising or marketing more old-fashioned than those little plastic rectangles that seem to litter suburbia every summer for garage sales and every election season as those same suburbanites display their political loyalties. ( Not to mention all-year round for home sales ).
Yet, as silly as they might seem at first, think about how many times you turn your head to see what one says, looked at the house labeled 'FOR SALE' or looked up a candidate you never heard of before, or pulled into a garage sale and were finally able to complete your Van Halen cassette tape collection.
The fact is that even in our fast-paced world, this humble piece of plastic is still a great way of getting the kind of attention you are looking for. They are cheap, easy to carry around and easy to get rid of when you don’t need it any more. And if yours are big enough, they make great sleds in the winter.

Tips on Doing Yard Sings Right vs Doing Yard Signs Wrong

There are two main mistakes that people can make with yard signs:
Wrong #1 - They make them too hard to read
Wrong #2 - They make them too large and gaudy.

Analysis of Wrong #1 → Too hard to read

In the first case, maybe people drive right by and don’t even notice the sign. The design and the writing can be so small that anyone driving by would have to be driving while holding binoculars to read the blasted thing. I’ve never tried that but I suspect it would lead to getting my car wrapped around the nearest telephone pole.

Analysis of Wrong #2 → Clutter!

Trying too hard can drive people away. Here's another valuable tip in yard sign design - less is more. A massive 6 by 3 banner will get attention but if you put enough streamers and balloons on it people will just assume that you’re advertising a My Little Pony Party. Though I suppose that could work if you are promoting a decorating or catering business. Maybe.

Analysis: Right and Well Prepared:

Whatever you are doing, that sign has got to have:
  • All the right info on it and nothing you don’t need. Otherwise it gets to cluttered and hard to read.
  • Use colors that contrast well enough that even the color blind can tell what you are trying to advertise.
  • Make the font as big as possible and for crying out loud, don’t put the dang thing behind a tree or something. Or in a little sign forest you’ve started cultivating in the front yard.
Naturally, there are all kinds of different signs and slightly different rules apply to each.

Where to Use Yard Signs for Best Success

  • Where to Go? – No matter where you are going, it’s nice to have a few signposts along the way to let you know you are going the right direction. Is there anything more annoying than trying to find a wedding reception in the middle of nowhere and you can’t even find one arrow someone drew with a Sharpie to let you know where to go? We’ve all been there. I almost was guilty of creating that kind scenario once. I had organized a conference and didn’t really think it was important to get some signs out on the campus to point people in the right direction.
    fund raiser yard sign
    fund raiser yard sign.
    Fortunately, my co-planner had more experience with these things and insisted on them. The important thing here is to make sure the event is clearly indicated and the directional arrows are big and easy to read. Don’t make your friends and family be that guy driving 20mph in a 40mph zone because they don’t know where to go.

  • Political Season Signs – These things spring up like weeds in people’s yards every fall. And while they might cause some annoyances when you see support for someone you don’t like, they can also serve a pretty good purpose. I can’t imagine how many times I’ve told myself I was going to get more informed about local politics but didn’t know where to start. Truthfully, when local elections come up, those annoying political signs are sometimes the best source to at least learn the name of the people running for office. Take that name to Google and start making an informed decision.
    political yard signs
    Political signs.
    As for the signs themselves, the most important thing is to make sure the name is easily read and the colors stand out without being offensive.
  • We’re Moving! – There is a special sense of excitement and trepidation when you pound a For Sale sign in the front yard. Big changes are afoot. Realty signs might especially redundant these days with the existence of sites like Zillow but there are still plenty of people who drive around just curious about what kind of houses are for sale in a given area. That’s actually how my wife found our first house. Because people will often already be plodding along in the car, you can cram a bit more info on the sign, the most important being the realtor’s name and number.

  • Work from Home – Have you ever driven, or even walked by a yard sign and had no idea what it was promoting? You know you have. That person just wasted his money because that sign is not sending any traffic to his business. It doesn’t matter if you area a private investigator, a dog groomer, or a tattoo artist, your sign needs to be legible. A good eye-catching (and appropriate) logo along with the name of the business and a phone number are all you need on there.
    garage sale yard sign
    garage sale yard sign.
    In fact, don’t be afraid to make these a little bigger to make sure that passers-by can tell what you are selling without having to actually walk into your yard. A subset of these is the garage/yard sale sign that we’ve already talked a bit about. Just please don’t go into saying things like “Biggest HUGE Sale EVER!!!” It’s trying to too hard and might turn people off. Unless the word “Neighborhood” is on that sign, it’s best to keep it nice and simple. Also related is the venerable old lemonade stand type sign. I don’t know about you but I actually feel sorry for the kids hold a brown piece of cardboard with a thinly written sign in black marker. I never know what’s going on until I’m three houses down. Mom, Dad, get those kids a big white poster board at a minimum so thirsty travelers know what your budding entrepreneurs are selling.
  • Party Time! – Having a birthday party? A bridal shower? A Pampered Chef party? A reunion of the underwater basket weaving class of 1987? It’s a good chance that not everyone is going to be able to find you right away. Yard sign advertising can help. Especially if you live in one of those planned communities where all of the houses are painted some variety of beige. Getting a bright colorful sign with your event printed on is a must. Better yet, get two or three so you can put some on the cross roads because let’s be honest, you phone’s GPS isn’t completely reliable. While you’re at it, balloons are a nice touch as well. Things like school plays and church gatherings needs a little promotion. So in addition to getting your signs up at the site, get some people to put some signs in their yards for promotional purposes.
  • Advertising, Advertising, Advertising! – Have you ever been wondering who you should hire to build your house or fix your roof and not known where to start? I’ve found the answer in yard signs, especially with a roof issue. Several years ago a large hail storm went through my area and everyone was getting their roof done. I didn’t know any roofers, so I hired one that had signs in the yards of houses with fresh roofs. It worked out pretty well. The same kind of promotional magic works no matter the business; from taxes to lawn care.
    advertising yard sign
    advertising yard sign.
  • Humoristic Signs - Life is more enjoyable when there’s a smile.
    funny yard sign
    funny yard sign.


Yard signs really are everywhere and when you take a moment to think about, this simple form of advertising is actually pretty effective at getting people’s attention. While it is true that their designs aren’t necessarily flashy, or the latest greatest thing, Yard signs have also been around so long for a very good reason. Hopefully, you now realize just how often you respond to the quaint little rectangles and you enjoyed our tips on how you and your business or cause can benefit from them.

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