No matter if you are a new start up business, relocating an existing business or just needing a face-lift, Signs are always an afterthought. I have reviewed many architectural or building drawings of for new business developments and guess what they all have in common. No plan or budget allotment for signage.

Most recently was a church in southern Minnesota. They worked for years to raise funding and financing for their new facility, to the tune of over $3.5 million. Budget was very tight, so the general contractor had to follow the project plan to the letter and manage the costs to the penny. Suddenly the city was asking to see their plans for highway signage and parking lot directional signage. suddenly the light came on and not one dollar had been budgeted for signage.

Well the project came to a complete stop. Plans had to cover vehicle traffic in a safe matter. Then there was Handicap Parking Signs, door signs of cut vinyl for hours and emergency contacts. Interior signs included ADA, Rest Rooms, Elevator operation, Floor Plan Maps, so on and so on, the list continued. Suddenly they were over $40,000 and no plan for payment. Major delays on the project to say the least.

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Double sided Pylon Sign

If your potential customers have this view as they pass your business, what do you think will happen?

There are basically two purposes of a sign. 

1 – Attract attention, … or

2 – Deliver a message

If you haven’t planned for signage or the proper signage given your situation, you are doing neither. May not sound like that big of a deal, you can always add signs once you have the money, Right? Maybe not the best choice. Remember this, a sign can increase sales by an average of 35%, over the same business without proper signage.

Starting up, moving or running a business can push your available time and attention beyond your breaking point. Engaging a professional sign company like Pillar Signs can offer a great advantage. Project Schedules and budgets can be met, competitive advantages achieved with a focused professional signage. You might even be able to gain a few hours to focus on running your business.

If this is what your business looks like, maybe you should rethink your strategy. Something to think about, McDonalds actually has all of their signs on order before they even break ground and start building. Why do you think that is? Signs pay!

Image of Store Front

Business Store Front

Don’t make signs an afterthought, is needs to be part of your business plan and we can help you with the planning, design and installation.

Ok, the year is fast coming to an end and I always ask, “Where did it go and how did the business perform?” Businesses are reviewing year end results, where did you revenue come from? What worked and what can you do to make more money next year?

Like myself I review our costs of doing business, everything from wages, material costs, advertising and general marketing activities. What were the costs and more importantly, what revenue was generated by each expense and activity? basically, what was the ROI?

Now lets back up a little and look from a higher level, to review what each of these revenue sources cost you on an annual basis? We commonly lose touch with the real revenue drivers, especially when we look at our annual sales and revenue, then look at monthly costs and expenses to generate those dollars.

What did you spend last year on short and long term signage? Was this part of your Marketing Budget? Basic signs can increase your revenue by 15%, with very common increases of 30% or mare when LED message centers are installed.

Based on a Signtronix Survey, How did customers find the business?
46% Business signs
38% Word of Mouth
7% Newspaper Ads

Part of your Marketing Plan needs to address signage. What about your location and how is your signage working? What can you do to increase your ability to get noticed and increase revenue?

1. Window Graphics – Add neon, LED or graphics to your windows.
2. Sidewalk Signs – “A” Frame signs can attract walking traffic.
3. Banners / Flags – Considered as Temporary Signage for special events or sales.
4. Vehicle Graphics – Add Graphics and park it near the street.
5. Wall Signs – Refocus from Identification to Advertising.
6. Lighted cabinets – Change up the graphics to include images.
7. Pylon or Monument Signs – Install one, Add lights or change the graphics if you have not in the past 3 years.
8 LED Message Center – Increase revenue and lease time as another revenue stream.

You don’t always have to more to a new location with more effective exposure. Visit http://www.pillarsigns.com for more ideas and contact us for a free site assessment.

Pillar Logo

Odd angling can sometimes boost a signs readership, but why and when would this apply?

  • What is the sign setback from the highway or point of view?
  • Is the traffic walking or driving and if so, what speed are the normally traveling?
  • How long will the potential viewer have to read your sign?
  • Is your sign near an intersection or point where traffic could be static at times?

photo, pylon sign, sign repair, lighted sign, flat double sided

There are many considerations, but by researching the angle at which a sign first becomes legible, the “viewing window”, optimum placement angle becomes clearer. This involves viewing the proposed sign installation at whatever angle potential users of will see it. Always angle signs towards their sight lines. With most installations, the difference an odd angled sign would make in view ability is slight, but there are instances where an odd angled sign would catch the sight lines and attention of passersby better than others.The cost of materials and labor will most likely be higher. You’ll need more framing, structural support, foundations, etc, but in most if not all cases, placing a sign at an angle enables them to be seen by more people, for longer periods of time.

Not convinced yet…Try holding an image angled like a sign might be placed if you were driving down the road. now move image you are holding to an angle as a sign flat against a building would be. Next hold it off to the side at a 90-degree angle to the “road” where a regular ground sign would be. Finally, hold it off to the side at a 45-degree angle to the “road”. It might not be as easy to read as if you were right in front of you, but doesn’t it seem to be the best option?

Now that you feel comfortable with this new knowledge, lets add another element with LED Message Centers. LED’s have built in viewing angles, which means they project light and color at preset fixed angles. From straight forward, common angles to each side will be listed in degrees.

When Electronic Message Centers or “EMC’s” as they are referred to, are installed within say 50 to 60 feet from a roadway, no angle is necessary. In other words, perpendicular to the adjacent roadway.

electronic message center, angled installation

Angled Sign Installation

Now lets say your sign is 100 ft. from the roadway and traffic is moving at 55 MPH. With a sign perpendicular to the highway, your potential customers will have 3 to 5 seconds at most to view your message. Put it at an angle as shown in this image? Viewing time could be increased to 7 to 10 seconds. doesn’t sound like much time? With the proper message, that is all you need. Proper message is another subject covered in another blog.

You may want to believe that out dated signs work for you, OK maybe somewhat…BUT, they don’t attract, send the right message about your business, products and or services. In fact dated signs may drive customers away to your competition. You could Just wait longer, “Eventually it will come back into style again” as they say. That maybe true with clothing and hair styles, but will never happen with signage. Old, out dated signs will continue to get older and further disconnected from current trends and technology.

Visually appealing and emotion engaging signage are key to attracting customers. It shows you have pride and confidence in your product or services. A good-looking sign is like dressing up for an interview, focused on making a great first impression. You don’t expect a company to hire a person who comes in all unwashed and dressed in their weekend work clothes or sweats. That is unless you are being hired for yard work.

In these cases you go from seeing run down, over used, non polished logos/signs/etc and get to see them transformed into something almost “shiny” new. To create the “Sign Lift” or a sign makeover, first assess what you are working with.

Vinyl: Simply remove and replace all cut vinyl.

Digital Prints: Remove and replace all digital graphics.

Sign Faces: Once the graphics have been removed, clean with “Ghost Off” to help renew the finish and shadows from the removed graphics and Cut Vinyl. Replace sign-faces if necessary.

Frame / Light Box: Sand and repaint as necessary. Quality Acrylic Latex Sign paint is critical for a lasting new finish. If the surfaces have already been painted, use caution! There is no way to know what kind of paint was used initially. If you use a standard acrylic could or  will wrinkle and peel. To be safe, use a quality Acrylic Latex paint to freshen the metalwork and frame.

Lights: Older backlighted signs are general lighted with fluorescent light bulbs. These are not something you can purchase from a local home improvement or hardware  store. These bulbs are high output, specifically designed for Signs. Do yourself a favor, if the base of any of the bulbs are black in color, replace all of them for a fresh new look. Power up the sign and test to verify all are bulbs are lighting properly. If not, there may be a ballast that has failed or a faulty light socket. In either case, contact a qualified Sign Company to perform ballast and socket replacements.

Here is an example of what an average Pylon Sign can look like. Faded Graphics, peeling paint that does not match the new colors.

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Pylon Sign Before Makeover

Here is an example of some simple graphics updates, cleaning sign-faces and a little fresh paint. The same sign, simple changes in one day. Good for many years to come and thousands of dollars saved.

Pylon sign, Sign repair

Pylon Sign After Photo

 

Change is important if you want to get your business or organization noticed. Don’t send the wrong message, when a simple solution is at hand.

Image  —  Posted: September 20, 2013 in Exterior Signs, Interior Signs, Sign Education
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We all know there are benefits to quality, be it vehicles, clothing and even a good steak. ever hear of someone saying, “That was the best tough steak I have ever had.” Not likely!

The same is true with quality products for signs and graphics. So why should you choose higher quality products or something that will just work or do the job? Surely if you are talking short term signage, something going in field for a few months, lower cost is a key element to sign design, sign manufacturing and installation.

Photo of Vehicle Graphics, Fleet Vehicle

Steal Attention with no City Permit fees

Here are some good reasons to use quality vehicle graphics:

  • Installation of vehicle graphics with the right products takes about half the labor time as lower quality products. Why? The higher quality product was designed and make for the job, where the lower quality materials were produced to lure marketshare on price alone.
  • The vinyl products generally look better, with higher image reproduciton, clarity and move vivid colors for that vehicle wrap or graphics.
  • Consider less bubbling, less ripping, less, less, less. Plus the finished product just looks better. Almost as if it was painted and was there from day one, not at addition.
  • Then there is the removal process. It is very common for vehicle Wrap removal costs to exceed the original application cost, simply because the original installer used poor quality materials.
  • Quality wrap materials result in less chance of paint damage during removal process. Adhesive is easier to work with, should you need to change a phone number or other detail. Plus with little or no residue after removal, you can sell that old vehicle with original paint that looks almost factory fresh.

Even the best materials are worthless, if not properly installed by a skilled technician. Many times people want an older vehicle covered with graphics, to freshen the looks or delay the purchase of a new vehicle or trailer. Loose paint, road grime and even rust are a challenge, especially in some of the colder climates. Graphics need a solid and clean surface to adhere to, for long graphic life and quality performance.

Vehicle Graphics are an incredible advertising and marketing tool. Be sure to look at the total Return On Investment. The lower cost materials and installations are not always the best buy. Do your homework and if you have more questions, please contact one of our team members at Pillar Signs and Graphics.

There is another side of vehicle graphics, not involving any printing or actual graphics. Accent stripes and color wrapping, with all the cool new brushed or graphite looks. Personalize on a budget and drive away with custom one off results.

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Drive Safely!

Almost weekly I have been asked to supply CLEAR Stickers or Decals. The first question I have is How will the stickers or decals be used? What is the color of the item they will be applied to? Generally the color to which they are mounted to has to be a light neutral color, preferably white.

Colors need to be backed up with white or the printed graphics and text colors will bleed out and take on the background colors. Basically with any sign, vehicle graphics or even a banner, has to isolate and/or support the colors intended. All efforts of color matching and color management will be a waste of time and effort on clear medias or substrates.

If you look closely at clear decals or stickers, there will be generally a halo of white around the images printed text. Even though it appears to be clear, additional costs of materials and equipment have been incurred, to apply a detailed layout of white ink first.

So remember, a clear background on a sticker, decal, vehicle graphic or other signage, does not necessarily relate to lower cost. a contour or detailed die cut on a white media may offer the best unit costing long-term.

The Sign Industry has been looking at the ability to use white and metallic inks for many years. Not until recently, has the equipment technology and ink chemistry started to catch up. Offset printing has used white ink for many years, but has not been the focus for the Sign Industry.

The Digital Sign Industry has used white medias or substrates to overcome the inability to print with white ink. White ink allows printing on a colored substrate, which normally will bleed through images and change the final colors. Not a good idea! The cost of white ink can be three times that of the other CMYK colors.

Then there are the Metallic Inks, just starting to surface in the Sign Industry. Metallic ink requires specialized printing equipment and again the cost is very high. Add to this, metallic ink slows the printing process by 85%, reducing output and adding cost.

White and Metallic Inks are now available for the Digital Printing Industry. Are they viable options at this point considering the added cost verses the benefit? The interest is there for some very specific application projects, but the additional costs are difficult to justify for many applications. That will change in the next couple years as technology and demand help reduce costs. Until then, be patient and create with proven alternatives.

Did you know that we can print to specialized metallic vinyl substrates? Faster turn around and more cost effective.