Posts Tagged ‘Indoor 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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.