Your business is unique which means your signs will need to be custom made. The more you know about the sign making process the easier and more affordable the process will be.
Before you select a commercial sign company identify the goals of the signage project. The list of things you can specify to the custom sign maker includes; location, size, expected duration, viewing distance and the lighting that will be in or focused on the sign. If you inform your sign maker of these factors in advance it will speed the quoting process and focus the sign maker on which options to offer.
Size Is Important
In a majority of cases, a custom sign will be one of the largest surfaces your brand will be presented on. To put in perspective, a normal business card has 3.5 inches x 2 inches dimensions. A lobby sign may be 7’ wide, a commercial real estate sign is typically 8’ x 8’, a fascia sign can be more than 20’ wide, a normal sized billboard is 14’ x 48’, hoarding or custom wall murals can be hundreds of feet wide.
When creating a canvas, the designer must take into account the scale. It is important that the sign can be read and also understood from the designed viewing distance. If the sign is to be read from people in vehicles the speed of traffic needs to be taken into consideration to determine the amount of time these prospective customers have to read it.
The material that is used to print window graphics, wall mural, vehicle wraps, etc is available in a few set widths. These are typically 27”, 54” and 60”. If the graphic is 28” x 28” this would need to be printed on 54” material – which would result in a lot of scrap material. Your sign maker will try to nest all of your prints to best utilize the material.
How Long Will The Sign Be Displayed
Exterior signs may deteriorate due to weather and UV exposure. Interior signs, protected from the elements, can be expected to last longer. External signs lose their sheen mostly due to the sun’s UV light and degradation due to pollutants. The UV light causes the pigments to fade after 3 years. If the sign is intended to be displayed beyond 3 years different materials and laminates should be used to ensure your message doesn’t start to look old and tired.
There are a variety of materials your sign maker can use. Identifying if the planned install is less than 1 year, 1 – 3 years, 3 – 5 years, beyond 5 years will aid in narrowing the material options. This wide range of options results in the possibility for very different prices for a similar sign. If one company quotes with promotional material and the other is quoting with premium cast material the quoted prices will be quite different. This doesn’t mean one company is more expensive than the other, they are just using different assumptions. Skip the assumptions by being specific about your needs.
A well-designed sign leads to an increase in brand recognition. If you have multiple locations that require signs this will impact the price. As the signs are custom made when the printer is set up to run a job the larger the quantity of signs to print in each run will help to spread the set up costs across each item.
Specify The Substrate And The Finish
Your sign needs a working surface. You can specify a range of flexible to rigid options like wood, foam board, plastic, aluminum and other printable substrates. You should also specify the all important finish, which gives a vibrant look to the sign board. There are a number of finishes like gloss, matte and satin.
Specifying The Location Is Important
It is important to tell the sign maker the location of the sign. Even if you do not have the physical address, consider it in the light of primary placement. Consider factors like whether the design will be featured in sky, like a billboard, or on moving vehicles, like a wrap. If the sign will be placed indoor, the design will have to be changed to accommodate it.
The location where the sign will be placed determines a number of factors. Rules may vary according to the kind of messages or words on a sign. Images also play an important role. Inform your sign maker about the regulations in the concerned area as well before the person starts the designing process.
It can be tricky to design for a particular location in case only one design is to be utilized for a number of different environments. Inform your sign maker about the highest and the maximum visible traffic areas. You should also consider a number of versions of similar design.
Graphics and colour are important
It can be an important design decision while specifying a sign making project. Two things should be considered in such a case:
- Identity and branding
- Visibility and contrast
These two factors at times clash with each other. Your sign maker may keep the colour and graphics saturated and bright. Pastels and light colours are generally avoided. Contrasting colours should be selected – particularly between text or images and the background.
Message and typography
Other than the logo of the company, a single typeface should be the way to go. The letters should be sized for the typical viewing distance of your customers. Like typography, the message should be simple too. Ensure to keep lots of “white” space on your sign. If there is too much text it becomes hard to read and most people will just skip you message.
The sign industry is constantly introducing new products. So it is advantageous to develop a relationship with a professional sign company. Once they get to know you they will be able to provide solutions that suit you while keeping you up to date on other options you might want to consider. In the end you will get better service at a competitive price.