Sign Boards first appeared in Animal Crossing. They are purchasable from Tom Nook for 500 Bells. They can be placed on a free tile and are used to display a design.

Sign boards are not to be confused with Signposts.

In Animal Crossing

Sign boards can be placed by facing the free tile where the sign should appear, opening the inventory screen, selecting the sign board, and then selecting "Erect." The sign board can only be placed in the player's town, and not in any that they are visiting. After the sign board is placed, any player can change a sign board's design (by facing the sign board and pressing A) or uproot and take the sign board (by facing the sign board and pressing the pick up button, B). Even players who did not erect the sign board themselves can change the design or take the sign board to keep, sell, or place elsewhere.

If the design posted on the sign board is changed or deleted from the player's collection (including moving the design from the inventory to save it with the Able Sisters), the sign board too will change or go blank.

Some common uses for sign boards are:

  • Blocking players/directing foot traffic in town: Since players cannot walk over/through sign boards, they can be used to restrict player movement. For example, to protect flowers from being destroyed by players running over them, place sign boards at the ends of a row of flowers, or build a "fence" out of sign boards surrounding them.
  • Guides to landmarks and special areas: As a reminder to players in their own town, or as helpful guides to players visiting from other towns, sign boards are often used to display designs with arrows pointing to Nook's, the Police Station (where visitors can get a town map), or landmarks such as the town's lake or a player-created fruit tree orchard (which won't appear on the map).
  • Vanity signs: sign board often display drawings of a player themselves, of the villagers, or of something important to the player (a logo for a team, a logo or character from other games, a logo for a favorite brand, etc.).
  • Artwork: sign boards are frequently used simply to display a design, and for no other functional purpose.

In Wild World and later games

The function of the Sign Board was replaced by the ability to display designs flat on the ground. This process is free and can be performed as much as the player wants. The most widespread use of this function is to create pathways in a players town, to make it appear more built up, and in City Folk and New Leaf, as a method to stem unnecessary Grass deterioration.

In New Leaf

The Sign Board was brought back in New Leaf as a Public Works Project. However, it cannot be moved freely, takes a day and 40,000 Bells to construct, and only 10 of them can be placed in the town.