Posts Tagged ‘exterior signs’

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.

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

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.

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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.

photo, pylon sign, sign repair, lighted sign

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.

When I have that question presented to me, my first response I hate to say is, “That depends”. That statement is not intended to be an easy way out, but really an accurate statement.

If the repairs or improvements are cosmetic, we can estimate costs very accurately. Logo creation, graphics, materials including signfaces, paint and Digital Graphics are fairly straight forward to cost estimate.  But when it comes to the mechanical and electrical sign repairs, “That Depends”. Everyone wants to know what is this going to cost me before the fact and we don’t want any surprises.

Mechanical and Electrical Sign Repairs are impossible to accurately estimate. You need to get into the sign or light cabinet, to first perform a visual assessment. Even a simple rebulbing, where you replace 100% of all the bulbs since the sign will be opened, is not always the final solution. There could be damaged or broken wires, light-sockets needing to be replaced or even ballasts and power supplies. Some of these unforseen repairs, can add several hundred dollars to the cost of the project.

So the best way to generate a Sign repair estimate? Foe exterior graphic updates and repairs, a fair dollar estimate is not a problem. Interior repairs such as electrical? Best to present a maximum dollar amount, if we had to replace all interior electrical components. Generally you would come in under the estimate. In a rare case where the costs would exceed the estimate, a call is in order for approval before moving forward.

No one can predict with 100% accuracy, how long any vinyl graphics install/removal will take. There are many factors that go along with these processes. Assessment of the existing sign is probably the first step in gaining proper information to correctly price out a job. What materials have been used? What condition are the existing sign faces in? Can we re-use them? Where are the sign faces locate? Is there a need for a ladder, drilling, an electric lift, etc.?

We recently had a job that consisted of printed vinyl adhered to 3 outdoor sign faces and 3 interior signs. The original or old vinyl that was installed, was low quality and took about 4 hours with 4 people to to remove the old graphics from the sign faces. Point is, quality products lessen removal labor hands down, EVERY time. Had quality materials been used on this sign originally, the cost of removal labor could have been reduced by an easy 50%.

It is not uncommon for removal costs of vehicle graphics and general vinyl signage, to exceed the original installation cost. This is why many sign companies charge hourly for removal.

So when your sign company recommends a higher quality material, that generally comes with a higher cost, there is a good reason. Ask them to qualify the additional material cost and justify that cost. If they are a reputable company, this can be easily detailed in a dollars and cents answer besides, “It’s easier for us to install”. We all know that time is money when it comes to labor. Higher quality material comes at a higher cost, saving time during the installation and removal down the road someday.

Sometimes the lowest cost material is the best choice, especially for disposable signage. Match the signs to the application, to maximize results and manage ROI.

Yes, it needs to be said. Banners are wonderful. Easy to make, easy to put up, easy to take down, easy, easy, easy. However, they are far from permanent. If a company has a quality product and they have a ratty banner as their store front, how does that affect the customers urge to buy from that company? To be honest it takes a good sign for me to enter and receive services from an establishment that has bad signage.

Banners are made from a material that can withstand the elements for a short amount of time, they can fade, crack, rip, bend, etc. Some companies will put wind slits in the banner to help with the wind force, but that isn’t a save all. You are cutting into a material and sometimes the wind slits will rip the banner even more. Same method used to make paper tear, with small cuts called perforations. The banner will tear in those locations.

In windy locations, use a mesh type material that will allow 36% of the air to pass through the banner. It will increase the banner life in windy locations, while presenting a good image detail. Something to consider, before allowing your sign company to cut banner wind-slots in your perfectly new banner.

Best thing? Keep the banner for advertising short-term sales, events, etc. Make your statement about your business with a high quality sign that you can be proud of for years to come. There is a sign for every purpose and a reputable sign company can help you with those decisions.

The reality of it all in the sign world is, that there are two different kinds of signs. Indoor and Out-Door. There are big differences in each and each in their own can be broken down into sub categories to which application is the best fit.

As a rule, indoor signage can last a lot longer than outdoor. Mainly do to the fact that indoor signs don’t have the elements to contend with. Outdoor signs have to be built, designed, and produced to withstand many different types of environments. Rain, wind, snow, sleet, sun…some types of signs won’t last very long outdoors even if you do everything properly.

Indoor signs last a lot longer if the traffic and amount of contact from public are held to a minimum. If an indoor sign is constantly being bumped, hit, skimmed, etc it’s not going to last as long. Don’t get me wrong, there are preventative measures to assure longer life to those high traffic areas.

However, nothing lasts forever and your signs need should be evaluated on an “as needed” basis.