What Do I Need to Know about A-Board Signs





What Do I Need to Know about A-Board Signs

When it comes to catching the eyes of passers-by and attracting new business, A-board signs, also known as sign boards are one of the most effective ways to go. They’re a great way to beef up your marketing efforts, so we’ve put together a handy guide to help you get to know them better.

Attracting more customers to your business begins with increasing your visibility.



What Are A-Board Signs?

Used to promote products, discounts, deals and brands, A-boards are outdoor signs used by many different types of business. The masses won’t just come traipsing through your door because you’ve flipped the “open” sign and hung the bunting. A-board signs signpost your premises to people walking past and are designed to attract new customers by boosting footfall.

This is one of the most popular forms of pavement sign going. They’re available in two main designs:

  • Whiteboards and chalkboards that can be customised every day
  • Professionally-printed sign boards displayed in durable aluminium frames

Your customer needs to be enticed by what you have to offer, and you need to make that happen. Used properly, these signs can make a major difference to your daily business.



London Street with Businesses displaying A-Board Signs



Where Does the Name Come From?

When looked at side-on, A-boards resemble the capital letter ‘A’. A-boards feature two flat sides with a connecting joint in the middle, and can be made from a variety of materials.

They help to attract people walking in either directions, as their flat sides allow you to advertise on both sides of the sign, rather than just the front.



A-Board Sign - example product

You absolutely have to discuss customer demographic if you’re thinking about the placement of pavement signs to increase footfall. When it comes to business advertising, unique designs like the A-board sign and other pavement signs can make all the difference. In city centres and busy towns, A-board signs are sturdy enough to stay in place in all weathers. In the past, these signs were also used as a more mobile form of advertising which were carried up and down the streets by men hired by the advertising establishment.

Famous English writer and social critic, Charles Dickens is believed to have coined the term “sandwich men” to describe the men carrying these boards.



Selection of A Board Signs from red17



What Size Are the Signs?

Forming the shape of the capital letter ‘A’, these sign boards are absolutely everywhere. There are loads of different frame types, dimensions and prices to choose from when you invest in an A-board. Red17’s A-frames come in a range of sizes from 60” x 40” down through the A sizes, A0, A1, A2, etc. and also come in a variety of colour options:

Find out about all our different A-board signs here.



Old sign in dark alley

With each sign leaning against the other, the design of an A-board makes them easy to recognise and makes it easy to display designs on either side.



What Is a Sandwich Board?

It’s worth noting that “A-board” and “sandwich board” don’t always refer to the same thing, though many people use the terms interchangeably. Fitting over someone’s head to turn them into a walking sign for a business, sandwich boards are often designed to be wearable. This allows businesses to move their advertisements around freely (within reason), and can be a quirky and unusual way to promote a takeaway, student bar or event.



Sandwich Board example pic

Whether it’s the town centre at lunchtime or the bus stop at closing time, a wearable sandwich board allows businesses to bring their advertisement to the people.

Pointing people in the right direction, A-boards are static signs that are set up outside cafés, barbers and other businesses. Their messages can be changed quickly by creating a new written message or replacing the poster they hold, making them more adaptable than sandwich boards and a little more professional in appearance.

Top Tip: Identify Your Target Demographic

If you want to draw the right people to your business, you need to make sure you’re using tricks and designs that your customers will respond to. When it comes to increasing the visibility of a business or store, pavement signs are a widely used, tried and tested way to go. The A-Board Sign has evolved over time, but still remains a firm favourite for all different types of business. The idea is that once they have read your sign, they’ll glance in the direction of your business for more visual clues.

You should soon be able to reap the rewards if you’re able to get an understanding of your customer demographic.



Street shops with a-board pavement signs



Why Are A-Board Signs so Popular?

As potential customers walk by, A-board signs work to communicate to them a simple and effective message about your business. A-board signs…

  • Grab attention on the street
  • Share information about your latest deals and promotions
  • Introduce customers to your new shop or other business
  • Attract customers if you’re located off the high street

A-board signs have been at the top of the visual marketing game for years now. Their A-Frame structure provides a sturdy, double-sided display and their foldable and lightweight design makes them simple to store. They attract attention to your business, encouraging potential customers to think about your premises as a place they’d like to visit.



red17 a-frame-sign



Where Is the Best Place to Set Up an A-Board?

Busy junctions and high-streets are often some of the best places to position an A-board sign, as these areas experience high footfall – the other option, of course, is to set it up right outside your main entrance or front door. If your business is located in an off-the-beaten-track location like an alleyway or industrial estate where fewer people pass by, it’s generally best to place it somewhere with a little more traffic (and make sure it includes information on how to find you).



European High Street with cafes displaying a-board signs

If you manage to pique a potential customer’s interest and get the impression of your business right, that potential customer will become… a customer! Remember: You don’t have to leave your pavement sign in one place!



Do A-Board Signs Require Planning Permission?

It’s likely you’ll need permission to set up a new pavement sign, so if you’re thinking of setting one up beside a main road, you should contact your local council authority to find out what you’re allowed to do. Pavement displays all need to follow this rule. Take a look at the Government’s pavement or street display licence guidelines to find out more on the subject. Ease of transport is incorporated into the design of most signs, so if you do accidentally invest in a sign for a space you aren’t allowed to display in, just set it up somewhere else.



What if it Rains?

Fear not! Usable on a daily basis, the pavement sign should be a key part of your marketing arsenal. Signs like the Budget A Board Sign from Red17 are completely weatherproof. Some A-board signs with user-inserted graphics come with a plastic sheet that fits over the design to protect it, while others are designed for use with adhesive graphic designs that are also weather-resistant. If you want to show your business in its best light whatever the weather, investing in a weatherproof A-frame is a must – the British climate isn’t always the most reliable, after all.

Unfortunately, this guarantee does not extend to chalkboards, whose message can be washed off quite easily.



Prominade with shoppers walkers market stall and A-Board Signs

Top Tip: Using Your Pavement Sign

Familiarity can breed contempt, though for places that always serve a certain brand of coffee or a signature flavour of ice-cream, pre-printed pavement signs are pretty normal. Your A-board has the potential to become less effective if you set out the same design every single day. That said, before they begin to recognise your brand and take note of what is on offer, your customer needs to see your sign and the information and branding it displays several times.



Read more: How to Use Pavement Signs to Stand Out





Designing Your A-Board

If you’re able to get just one clear message across, your A-board has been successful in its mission to grab attention. Their effectiveness really hinges on the design they hold.

Try to use the following when you’re designing your sign…

  • Short sentences and bold lettering

    to ensure everyone can read the sign


  • A sense of humour

    to attract attention and come across as a welcoming environment – successful signs may even find their way online


  • Bright and simple imagery

    colourful, impactful graphics don’t get in the way of your text

If you follow these tips, your A-board should be able to get you noticed and create recognition, without appearing stale and boring.

Did You Know? Some historians believe that the sign was first used in the town of Sandwich, England, which is why they are sometimes called “Sandwich Boards”. The owner of a small cafe at Number 10 Board Street is believed to have been their inventor as early as 1221.



Corner Bistro with sign boards



When Will My A-Board Order Arrive?

Different providers will take different amounts of time to create an A-board. Provided your order is placed before 3pm, Red17 is able to offer A-board signs on a next-day basis, with free UK delivery on all orders over £75. To explore all of our delivery and product options, check out our A-Boards page!



Collection of pavement signs and a-boards

There’s a reason A-board signs have maintained popularity for over a hundred years – buy yours today and discover that reason for yourself.



Read more: The Popularity of A-Board Signs









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All Weather Sign Boards from red17