Through my research, I have found that downtown commercial districts historically relied on a variety of signage layers to market goods, services, and events. One often overlooked layer to these marketing strategies, was the use of wood type printed broadsides (what is frequently called posters today) and showcards. When Storefont was launched, the goal was to eventually provide wood type printed marketing materials for downtown businesses and neighborhoods. My goal became a reality this past autumn when a 120-year-old printing press with a history of downtown printing became available to purchase. The last few months, have been a whirlwind of heavy research, applied learning, and inky fingers. As a result, Storefont is now excited to share its new line of wood type printed posters for marketing live music, entertainment, and events in historic downtowns! Check out this link to our wood type printing page, and of course feel welcome to connect via phone, or email, to learn more.
It’s exciting to share with our clients and friends the following white paper on the future of shopping small that was published by the organizers of Small Business Saturday: American Express. Some of the big take-a-ways line up with the work that Storefont is engaging in: to strengthen the sense of place that physical downtown environments and historic buildings provide, which contributes to the growing trends of experience-based consumerism. To add to the experience of your customers, connect with Storefont to learn about unique bespoke signage with recreated historic fonts, engaging environmental graphics, and architectural branding.
Downtown branding is connected to space. As a result, your downtown building is a crucial element in how your business is perceived by potential customers. Think about it for a moment—if you have your choice between having drinks with friends at an establishment that has a rehabilitated storefront, or an establishment that has its storefront windows blocked in with plywood, which would you choose? It’s the same with retail—a business with painted creative signage that correlates with its building is likely going to draw more potential customers than one with a sagging mildewed vinyl banner.
As a growing number of customers seek unique spaces for experiential shopping and dining, architectural branding is a way to potentially stand out from your competition and engage customers. Signage is an economical way to connect your brand with your space, in addition to creating a flow between the exterior of your building and the interior. The more you impact those who visit your store with a positive experience, the more likely they are to personally refer your business to others, or return to spend additional time in your establishment. Learn more on how to develop your business, or downtown’s, architectural brand by connecting with Storefont for expert assistance.
In the marketing of a business, or product, fonts greatly contribute to how its value is perceived by potential customers. These two coffees by Folgers essentially taste the same. However, the period font choice and heritage marketing of the “premium” coffee allows it to stand out at a higher value in visually crowded coffee aisles for those seeking an experience. Fonts make a difference on how a product or business are perceived by customers. Stand out in your downtown, and apart from your competition, with our historic sign fonts by Storefont!
For centuries, incremental development has been an important strategy for entrepreneurs. Historically, an entrepreneur may have started their establishment in a back room, basement, or upper floor of an existing business; or they might have started with a cart, such as this root beer vendor from the 1840s. Starting a business, especially one that is food/beverage centric from a cart is still a viable way to build a customer base and to take steps toward potentially having a storefront business in a downtown. This can be a successful strategy for dedicated, and teachable, entrepreneurs with limited capital. Learn more about food carts for downtown spaces by reading this great study from Portland, Oregon. For those taking the steps towards launching a food cart business, check out Storefont for affordable and unique signage, although we may not recommend being as direct with your messaging as the vendor depicted in this post that has the words “STOP HERE” painted on his cart!