The importance of a quality sign for a therapeutic riding center, or any business, cannot be understated. While something as simple as a sign may not seem important, it's one of the many aspects of marketing that either adds or takes away from your center's reputation.
Think about it as walking into a store and seeing a large sign that announces a product on display. If it's in disrepair, you will think the store does not take pride in the product and/or does not care, so why should you? If the font is impossible to read, your interest is either peaked or completely gone, a risk which most centers are unable to take. This article will help guide you on ways to make your sign readable, relatable to your center, and to make it as inexpensively as you can.
-Choosing a good location: For this article, we will assume that your sign is to show the exact location of the center or business (think out in front). You should choose a place that is easy to see from the road and is free from brush.
-Designing it: There are many things to take into consideration when designing your sign. Of these things are color and font. If you already have a set of colors for your business, try to work at least one of these colors into the sign along with a neutral color. I would not advise doing more than three colors maximum, neutral or otherwise. If you do not have set colors for your business, take a look at your logo and pull from that. Make sure that the colors chosen are not close therefore making the sign hard to read. Also, look at your surroundings. You can see above where a green sign would have gotten lost in the background of trees and grass, making it hard to notice.
When choosing a font make sure it is readable, welcoming, and clean. I chose to do the sign free-hand giving it a unique but professional look. I would advise against using "Comic Sans" as a font as it's very common and more dated than others.
-Building it: There are many fantastic ideas for building signs. Some stick with plywood and 2x4's to keep it simple and inexpensive, others to go great lengths with brick and other elements to give it a more upscale look. We went with taking an old wooden tabletop (found at an antique store) and with the bottom side facing up, created a frame on the back consisting of two 4x4's which entered the ground, and two 2x4's acting as a brace. If you decide to go this route, DO NOT use particle board! It will not stand the test of time against the elements. You can use plastic or metal as well, but plastic tends to not last as long, and metal is prone to rusting. In the case you chose wood, make sure to use a good outdoor paint (we used Home Depot's BEHR). If you are wanting to use brick, stone, concrete, or other elements to build your sign, but don't have the funds, craigslist and freecycle can both be good potential avenues for this. Just remember to be safe when using these types of websites. Never going alone, bringing your cellphone, and (if possible) meeting in a public place are all VERY smart.
So as you're choosing your colors, fonts and building materials, remember how neat it is that you get to represent your center or business in a way that nobody else is able to. Put your heart into it, accept criticism well, and you should be pretty darn well off in creating a fantastic sign.
P.S. Thank you to our ranch hand Kyle and our wonderful volunteer Lacey for building this!!! Power tools are not my friends......