This is the second installation of “Looking at shopfront signs with a linguistic perspective” series. That is most definitely a working title.
Today’s sign is…
First things first:
- this sign is boldly coloured, especially against the blue backdrop
- there is not much writing on this sign: large title, three full sentences (of varying length), two paragraphs (excluding the title)
These formatting features mean that the sign is very easy to read. Unlike the sign on my first post in this series though, it doesn’t fluff around. I appreciate that people rarely spend time reading long paragraphs, so I understand what they are doing here. Especially as this particular shop is in a shopping centre, where people are closer together in a closed space, rather than on an open street.
Next, the text:
- The title “STORE CLOSED” is so clear. Points for that
- “our” and “staff & customers” is inclusive language – very “all in this together” vibey
- “temporarily closing our store” is again very clear, and it is positive to write “temporarily”. I can’t help comparing this to the first post though, which had more imagery and a kinder feeling
- “You can shop online…” gives us an alternative to shopping in store which is great. It is not super inviting, but this sign has a different, clearer, shorter message, so it makes sense
- apart from the online address, there is no contact information given. This takes away a bit of the humanness of this message
- “Stay safe” is a kind message. But… a bit generic. It could incorporate the business, or the business slogan into its goodbye – for example, if this was a children’s toy shop, it could say something like “Stay safe and keep playing” (okay, that’s not great, but you get the idea)
- “we will see you soon” is a more inclusive, more positive finish to the sign. It brings hope, saying that soon this pandemic will be over. Again, the use of “we” is inclusive, gives us notions of a team working there and delivering this message. The phrase “see you soon” is redolent of spoken language, so it does sound more personable and chirpy
At the bottom the shopping centre branding – not super exciting, but necessary to this business. Also adds to the professionalism of the whole ensemble.
Altogether, this sign is very different to the first one. It has a whole other “look”: professional, short, it speaks to its customers but doesn’t get sentimental over the whole situation.
Points for getting the message across, a few taken off for lack of empathy. (You may be asking yourself: why should a sign be empathetic? The answer is: business. More connection with customers, more money spent there. Also, I like a bit of fun with words, and the feeling of being cared for and valued, even if it is from a shopfront sign)
So, there we are for another day! I hope that you enjoyed this post, and are looking forward to the next!