How to Chalkboard: The Ultimate Guide to Chalkboard Design

Some of the best marketing ideas are also the simplest. And you can’t get much more simple than the humble chalkboard!

Chalkboards have long been used to promote pop up shops or display menus. But more and more, we’re seeing businesses – from boutique artisan coffee producers through to multi-national corporations like Starbucks – making use of chalkboards to attract passing custom and express their brand personality.

We asked leading experts in chalkboard design to share their tips for getting it right and are pleased to share all of those tips here, in the ultimate guide to chalkboard design:

ultimate guide to chalkboard design
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Meet the chalkboard experts

Our chalkboard experts have shared their tips on how to plan, design and make great chalkboards. Our experts are:

Diane Henkler, retail display expert and blogger

Diane Henkler is the blogger behind In My Own Style, where she shares her tips for DIY and home decorating. Prior to becoming a blogger, Diane worked in retail display, where one of her first jobs was drawing the shop’s signs. She is well known for sharing her design tips, and her own blog post on how to draw like an artist on a chalkboard has received over 109,000 shares on social media.

Jane Milton, food industry expert and Dragons’ Den advisor

Jane Milton is a renowned food industry expert with over 30 years’ experience in helping food businesses to solve problems and be more profitable. She is an investor and advisor with Deborah Meaden on her Dragons’ Den food and drink investments. With nearly 7,000 followers on Twitter, Jane regularly shares her advice and insights into the food industry.

Tessa Stuart, food industry expert and author

Tessa Stuart is a food and drink customer insights consultant. She works with food businesses to help their food products get maximum attention and sales in the super-competitive supermarket aisles. She has also written two-tip filled books of advice for food businesses, Packed: The Food Entrepreneur’s Guide, which helps start-ups avoid costly mistakes and Flying Off The Shelves, which helps food businesses sell their products faster.

Lisa Forde, retailer and winner of Small Business Sunday

Lisa Forde is the director of Dotty About Paper. Originally established as a wedding and christening specialist in 2004 under the name The Card Gallery, it has since grown to offer stationery for birthdays, engagement parties, anniversaries, and other occasions. Lisa has also been featured by Talented Ladies Club and was selected as the winner of the Small Business Sunday prize by Dragons’ Den’s Theo Paphitis in 2014.

Tracy Bodenham, retailer and chalkboard user

Tracy Bodenham is the owner of artisan sandwich shop and coffee bar, Tillybods. She regularly uses chalkboards to attract passing trade herself.

Aaron Inglethorpe, branding expert and marketer

Aaron Inglethorpe is a branding expert here at Discount Displays and regularly advises customers on the best chalkboards for their businesses.

Chalkboarding: a growing retail trend?

The popularity of chalkboards is increasing all the time, with more than 49,000 searches conducted on Google every month for the term ‘chalkboard paint’ and over 25 million search results for ‘chalkboard tips’ – that’s a lot of chalkboards!

As well as gathering tips from our experts, we also asked independent retailers to share their experiences of chalkboarding as a way of differentiating from their competition and attracting passing trade. Here’s what they told us:

“Our unique boards not only inspire the teams themselves to be creative but our customers love them. We have so many positive comments from the general public telling us the A board has made their day, customers often post our boards on their own social media too, which is such an amazing marketing tool for us, building our brand.” – Matt, 200 Degrees

“Our chalkboards get a second/third/fourth show on social media where the humour and style influences a wider audience. When it comes to food, which is a global sector, that seems to work. In a world rammed full of hard sell and heavy handed advertising, we go gently, making people smile and conveying the spirit and purpose of our business. We seem to get a decent response through this wider sharing.” – Barrie Thomson, The High Street Deli

“Be a bit cheeky! Use wit & humour if possible linked to your brand or product. People know you’re trying to sell so being a bit cheeky about it can make them laugh.” – Lesley Bambridge, We Mean Business

More chalkboard tips

If you’ve got any tips for chalkboarding, or want to share some of your favourites, let us know in the comments below!

Fancy making your own chalkboard? Check out our range of chalkboard signs for your business.