Check your spelling on the door

We often check and double-check the spelling in documents and online material. Too often we neglect the face of the business — by that I mean the exterior of the business.

Poor spelling can lead to poor sales

We’ve all seen misspelled words in a sign. Does that lack of care affect our decision to enter a shop or buy a product? Last weekend I spied this sign at a wholesaler.


Now you might think that photographing errors in signs is a bit over the top. But how you present your words outside your business can affect whether or not people enter it. Poor spelling can lead to poor sales.

So before you rush outside to erect a sign, take time to get the spelling right and have someone else check it. And remember: the more text on a sign; the more likely errors will creep in.

Unfortunately, one of the errors (Bacan) in this sign was more noticeable because the word was spelled correctly in a second sign on the same frontage. The sign has a second error. See if you can spot it.

Write the word you mean to write

A while ago I saw a sign that reminds us all to check that the word we write is the word we mean to write. Even with correct spelling, a word’s meaning can be ambiguous. And this sign outside a café had only two words: ‘Barrister needed’.

For a café? Now you and I know the writer meant ‘Barista needed’. I found the sign more amusing because it was at Palm Beach, Sydney. Given the location, maybe it was written in jest. Or maybe it was a gimmick to entice people through the door. Or maybe the business did need a barrister. The spelling was certainly in trouble. The possible meanings were endless. It reminds us all to make our meanings clear and not keep clients and customers guessing.

Signwriting is as much a skill as an art. The four tips that Brisbane-based Sign Age offer are:

  1. make sure your spelling is correct
  2. make sure your logo adequately represents what you do
  3. ensure the wording on your sign makes sense and is grammatically correct
  4. don’t try to cram too much on one sign.

So don’t check your spelling at the door. Check your spelling on the door. Only then can you make your signs sing.

We’ve included one misspelled sign on this page. We welcome comments (no images please) about any misspelled signs you might have seen.

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