Principles of Storefront Design

Steven Vigeant owns Berkeley Signs, a commercial sign company serving the San Francisco Bay Area since 1985. Visit his Web site at or contact him at

In this article we take a look at designing complete storefronts as opposed to reacting to piecemeal requests like, “How much for a sign?”

It is my sales strategy to treat sign design as a holistic design art. I am never satisfied with a simple request for “a sign.” Anyone can admire a given graphic design at first glance but it should be our job as sign designers to posit the question: how will this design be employed as a sign at a given location? How will its 3D rendering fair when it is fending for itself in the rough and tumble street environment?

It is amazing that once I started to think of myself as a “storefront designer,” that’s how people would treat me. I can sell holistic solutions because I have the experience in addressing storefront design problems on a daily basis. I am constantly mindful of the fact that clients have a pressing need to convert their flat digital creative elements into 3D realities, at a physical location, in a specific neighborhood. I endeavor to maximize each set of design solutions until they can live up to their highest potential for the client. The expertise and judgment required to assist in the necessary design choices should be the sign maker/storefront designer’s bread and butter. Follow along with the pictures as I pick out some key principles that support my argument that storefront design can and should be the domain of the sign maker.