There are different types of signs that a place of business needs, and chief among these are the designation signs and the means of egress signs. They in the interior of every office building and are a big part of your business’ first impression on visitors and making sure the layout of your workplace is clear.
Designation signs are dedicated to identifying permanent rooms and spaces, like conference rooms and reception desks, while means of egress signs direct people to the exits of a building. They both have the same requirements: they have to be inclusive of tactile lettering and braille. To make sure you fulfil the specific requirements, make sure to go with a professional team for ADA sign & engraving in Troy, MI.
They are made in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA, earning them the industry nickname “ADA signage,” and they’re more than what first meets the eye. The tactile lettering portion of the sign, aside from informing people who can read from afar, is also designed for people who may have lost their sight at a later age and might have a hard time reading braille.
Here are a few general guidelines for the alphanumeric portion of the sign:
- People should be able to differentiate between the sign’s surface, lettering, and braille section by touch.
- For lettering to be considered tactile, it needs to be offset from the sign at the minimum of 1/32 of an inch.
- Tactile lettering must be all uppercase and in sans serif, meaning they should have no extruding lines or accents at the edge of its letters similar to fonts like Times New Roman.
- Tactile lettering should not be italic, oblique, or have any highly decorative features.
- The horizontal and vertical spaces between letters are strictly regulated, as well as the proportion of the fonts and their stroke thickness.
For the braille portion of an ADA sign, there is another prevailing set of guidelines. These are enforced to accommodate people with severe visual impairments, including those who totally can’t see:
- The braille should be Grade 2, a system with around 250 letters, numerals, and formatting marks which is considered the space-saving alternative to Grade 1 braille.
- It should be domed or rounded in shape.
- It should be located below all lines of tactile text, especially in multi-lined signs.
- At least 3/8 inches of space is needed between the tactile text and the braille, and between all decorative elements in the sign.
Making an ADA sign for your business will entail strict observance of meticulous laws in addition to your state’s building codes. They have to be made from lightweight material that is easily mounted and transferrable to other parts of your building. This makes plastic the ideal choice for an ADA sign.
Apart from the glare that metallic material is susceptible to from many indoor light sources, plastic is also easier to modify in compliance with proper contrast percentages.
Troy, Michigan, along with the whole state in general, is very accommodating of ADA laws, providing aids and services to people with disabilities so they can participate in state-sponsored activities. For private businesses, they should seek out the best ADA sign & engraving service in Troy, MI, to fully comply with government regulations.
Effective tradeshow banners in “The City of Tomorrow… Today,” can successfully launch your brand, create curiosity from wholesale and retail buyers alike, and give you the right media exposure. They must command the eyes of tradeshow goers and give them a small push to visit your booth and try out your wares. Banners are the main platform where you can get your brand message out and communicate where you are positioned in relation to your competitors.
Setting up a trade booth in the expos of Troy, MI, can entail thousands of dollars in expenses. You will be among many colorful displays and setups from your competitors, small businesses, and national brands alike. Here are some things we learned from experience in creating effective tradeshow banners that can help inform your banner printing in Troy, MI.
1. Find a Good Place to Prominently Display Your Banners
Perhaps the most important thing to consider at tradeshows is where your booth and banners are going to be placed. See if you can work out a deal with the people organizing the event to get yourself a premier placement because this will ultimately decide the number of people who are going to see your material.
2. Know Your Audience
Is your audience primarily young adults, middle-aged people, or seniors? What are they looking for in a brand? Is your tone going to be professional, playful, or sincere?
These are some of the questions you have to answer before hiring a signage company for banner printing in Troy, MI. Troy was named Michigan’s Sportstown by Sports Illustrated and is home to many automotive and financial companies. Those may be good places to start.
3. Come Up with a Design that Clearly Portrays Your Brand
Once you’ve decided on your tone, message, and target audience, you have to come up with a visual design that’s going to communicate your brand. Tradeshows are the visual equivalent of cold calling for clients, and you have to introduce yourself effectively to complete strangers in a glance. A great design will emphasize your business’ identity and holistically complement the products that you’re selling.
Little details such as color choices on a banner, the pictures of your products and models, and whether your banner is lit or a simple tarpaulin, can be deciding factors for customers looking to visit your booth. Use before and after photos if you’re marketing a diet supplement or you’re a remodeling company and include positive quotes if you’ve ever been featured in a publication.
4. Your Banner is Your Calling Card
More than a decorative piece, your banner’s primary purpose is for customers to read and connect to your brand. So here are few tips to make that happen:
- Use solid, contrasting colors.
- Keep the banner from looking too busy.
- Include your phone number, website, and social media information.
To make your banners shine at a tradeshow, professional help is essential. Choose a company specializing in banner printing in Troy, MI that knows how to make your banners pop in a sea of booths. If you’re ready to begin, look to Signarama in Troy, MI for your banner and tradeshow booth needs.
- Protective equipment for workers, like face shields and sneeze guards
- A new full-service COVID-19 online product shop
- Branded, informational safety signage
- Customized floor kits that promote social distance, organized traffic flow
When Bob Chapa heard about a lack of personal protection equipment in COVID-19 units, the Signarama Troy business owner decided to retool his sign-making equipment and make face shields.
It started as “just doing what was right,” says Bob, who’s donated Signarama-made safety gear to medical facilities. But it’s evolved into Signarama Troy fulfilling in demand business safety needs for front-line industries: Healthcare, food service, factories and more.
“My managers and I — four guys — stayed in the shop late, designing and engineering long-lasting, multi-use face shields. We wanted to help the community and get in front of every nurse, doctor, senior living worker, and first-line responder who did not have adequate equipment,” says Bob, who has close friends who provide care for COVID-19-positive patients. To date, Signarama Troy has produced over 20,000 units of personal protective equipment.
Bob anticipates COVID-19 business necessities will shift as our society does. And he wants you to know that Signarama Troy is ready.
New online shop
To connect people with their COVID-19-related business essentials instantly, Signarama Troy created the shop.michigansignshops.com website and has an entire team dedicated to working on those projects.
“The online web page made it easy to browse and share options that could be implemented in-store to make our customers and employees feel safe,” said Jet’s Pizza Marketing Team Lea, Steve Sims, who’s one of Bob’s clients. There’s more about that project below.
There are other ways to reach Signarama Troy too. If you’d like to discuss your needs, email the Signarama Sales Team or call 248-585-6880.
Branded instructional signage
The Signrama Troy crew is assisting companies adapting to governmental “Stay at Home” orders.
For example, they developed branded signage for pizza lovers who think, “Let’s Get Jet’s.” Outside of many Jet’s Pizza restaurant locations, there are Signarama A-frames letting customers know to stay in their cars and to call a listed phone number for a Jet’s Pizza team member to bring the order out.
It’s an important safety measure for both the workers and the customers. And, with a familiar look to employees and clients, customized instructional signage provides an elevated level of assurance that a trusted brand pays attention to detail.
Floor markers for social-distanced spacing and guided traffic flow
Signarama Troy is preparing businesses for the upcoming back-to-work transition too.
Recently, International Autotech Company Veoneer contacted Signarama Troy to design branded safety signage for their Michigan offices in anticipation of re-opening once COVID-19 government mandates are lifted.
After gathering information about the office’s safety needs, the team customized a multi-faceted signage kit that provided attractive floor markers for social-distanced spacing, directions to guide employee traffic flow, and easy-to-read instructions on new safety measures.
“With the help of the team at Signarama Troy, we have prepared our technical center in Southfield for the Safe Return to Work of our employees,” said Larry Walewski. “Their existing designs and collaborative spirit allowed us to quickly bring in the right solutions for our facility. Thank you from the Veoneer team.”
And they can quickly create a customized plan for any industry, organization or business. Let Signarama Troy | Metro Detroit know how they can help with your safety needs.
‘We are fully prepared to help you’
Bob says doing what’s needed for the community is at the core of Signarama Troy | Metro Detroit’s mission. We don’t just print a predetermined graphic; our team listens and creates customized solutions for clients. And with the extra steps needed with COVID-19 concerns, Bob wants businesses to know Signarama Troy is there for the journey.
“We want to help you transform your brand. As we all adjust to whatever the new normal may be, we are fully prepared to help you prepare your business, factory, manufacturing plant, your life — I know what it’s like to have a business — so you can visually change the way your spaces look with essential signage and keep your workers safe. Because, at the end of the day, we all need to look out for each other.”
One of the final missing pieces arrived yesterday! We are proud to announce that we have completely retooled all of our sign equipment to produce face shields for local and national hospitals and first responders. We currently have enough inventory to produce 16,000 units and need your help finding direct contacts who need our face shields! Please share this post, and reach out to us directly if we can help during the COVID pandemic!
As the brains behind your business or organization, you know it’s your job to present a good face for your group. And one of the ways you do that is through signs. Of course, great signage is a good start to sharing your name, mission, and goals. But even the best signage can take unexpected hits—from bad weather, bad actors, or any number of unforeseen events.
While you certainly don’t want your sign to be a victim of damage, you know it is possible at any time. Whether you’re currently facing damaged signage or you just want to be prepared, you’re wondering whether signs that have been injured can possibly be repaired. At what point is your signage no longer salvageable?
Your sign might be salvageable if…
Let’s take a look at a few scenarios in which your signage, though damaged, might not be as far gone as you think. Your sign might be salvageable if…
1 – Soap and water will do the trick
Sounds obvious right? But though the idea is simple, it’s good to keep in mind. While your signage might look like it’s in terrible shape, the reality may not be as bad as the appearance.
Try a bucket of hot soapy water (something simple like a tough-on-grease dish detergent with plain tap water). Just remember to check if your sign came with any special instructions prohibiting the use of certain cleaners or solvents. If so, you obviously want to steer clear of any cleaners that aren’t approved.
2 – It’s just dirt that needs a good scrub
You need to take stock of exactly what has damaged or dirtied your sign. If it’s only caked-on mud, chances are, you can wear it down over time with the proper cleaning tools. If you’ve been able to remove all the physical dirt, yet the dirt has left stains behind, now it’s time to pivot your approach to stain removal.
That’s when you break out a water and bleach solution and carefully spot test in a small area of the sign (preferably on the back or underside where it won’t be noticed). If the solution doesn’t damage the test area, scrub away at the stain with your bleach solution, then rinse with fresh water. Allow to dry, then take stock. If you’ve experienced sweet success at stain removal, take the process to the rest of the sign.
3 – You only need elbow grease with a proper abrasive instrument
Don’t forget that signs with metallic components may rust over time. But you may not need an entirely new sign. First, try removing the rust.
4 – The fix is simpler than it appears
Some sign damage solutions could be deceptively simple. For instance, if you have an illuminated sign cabinet that’s no longer illuminated, replacing the entire sign may not be necessary. If your sign company offers repairs, you may choose to have them come look at it. Perhaps they’ll simply need to replace some of the light bulbs.
No help available from the sign company? Don’t worry. Simply reach out to a qualified electrician and ask if he has any experience working with signage that has electrical components.
Do note that when you’re working with electrical signage, you want to beware of DIYing it unless you truly are qualified. It can be dangerous work, and wisdom often dictates that we leave it to the experts.
5 – Your sign might only need cleaning or disassembling
Another scenario where the fix could be simpler than you assume at first glance is when you have a sign that has simply degraded over time. For instance, signage with plastic parts may become discolored with age. Or, as we’ve all seen at one point or another signage with an empty interior cavity might acquire a curious collection of dead buds and small twigs. And that’s certainly not pleasing to the eye (or professional to your clients).
But the fix for the dead-bug problem could be as simple as disassembling your sign and cleaning it out. And other signs may just need some regular cleaning to give them a fresh face. Don’t overlook these mundane possibilities for refreshing your signs.
6 – Your sign isn’t as broken as it looks
Now, what if your sign has been the victim of some kind of trauma? Maybe a car has crashed into it or a tree limb has fallen on it. While these events can surely wreak havoc on a sign, they may not mean you have to totally replace the sign.
First off, take stock of the damage. Note exactly which parts of the sign are broken. Let’s take an example. In the case of a post and panel sign that’s been hit by a car, if the posts are broken off at the base (where they meet the ground), you may need new posts. But you won’t necessarily need a new sign face.
On the other hand, taking stock may reveal that your signage is too far gone to be replaced. For instance, if a tree limb has fallen on a monument sign and smashed it, you’re not necessarily going to be able to put the pieces back together.
Tailor the solutions to your signs
Please note that you need to choose solutions that are appropriate to the signage you have. And that means that instructions from your sign specialist or simply from the documentation that came with your sign should trump the foregoing ideas. While you can try other options, remember that any time you use methods that haven’t been approved for your sign, you run the risk of damaging it.
Choose signs responsibly
It’s a great idea to think about possible risks to your signs before you even purchase them. For instance, if you’ll be located in an area that has a significant problem with vandalism, taking that into account can help you make a better decision. Select signs that are tailored to the needs of your company or organization and to the needs of the community in which you’re located. Check out A Glossary Of Sign Definitions & The Distinctive Features Of Each to get a feel for your sign options.
Donor recognition walls are an incredibly valuable resource for nonprofit organizations. They can become a core part of your fundraising process and the way you build relationships with your supporters.
But setting up one of these displays from scratch can be overwhelming. There are many moving parts in a project like this.
In this article, we cover everything you need to know about setting up a donor recognition wall. Following our guide closely can help you get all of the benefits with less of the stress.
What are donor recognition walls?
Donor recognition walls are a kind of wall-mounted display that is normally used by nonprofit organizations to honor their donors and those who have helped them to achieve their goals. In a way, this is a celebration of their achievements as well as a show of appreciation.
As such, these boards are especially beneficial for organizations like the following:
- Worship facilities
- Or any other similar organization that might accept donations
The display will essentially be a list of the names of businesses or individuals who have contributed to raising funds. Some organizations also use them to acknowledge people who might have helped in other significant ways, like giving their time and labor.
These boards are the perfect way to thank your donors and recognize their contributions. You can use it to show them that their donation matters and that you will remember it.
In some cases, it can also be an extra incentive for local businesses or individuals to get involved. It can be an effective way to get the word out about themselves and to improve their reputation while doing some good for their community.
It’s a win for everyone involved.
Nowadays, there are countless options to customize the display. The standard donor recognition wall consists of a header with plaques below it, which are all made of engraved brass that you mount on a wood panel.
All in all, this is still an elegant and professional solution. However, as we will discuss, there are many other variations to consider.
In the next section, we will break down how these boards function and how you should approach them.
How do they work?
The value of recognizing and showing appreciation to your supporters is immeasurable. That’s why it’s essential to plan ahead and make sure you get the best out of the display.
If you want to secure long-term support, it’s vital that you build a positive relationship with your donors. Research has shown that increasing donor loyalty by 10% can lead to an increase of 100 to 150% in ROI. As such, creating a donor recognition wall is a way to invest in the financial wellbeing of your organizations.
The process should start by diligently keeping track of any contributions to your organization. You then need to set up a system to decide how exactly you want to recognize the contribution. This will involve looking at the following aspects.
Choosing who to recognize
First, you need to decide who you want to recognize on the wall. Ideally, you would find a way to thank each contributor. However, it’s not always practical to show your appreciation in the same way. Instead, you can set up a threshold that determines who gets a plaque and who does not.
Most nonprofits will receive different kinds of support, for example:
- In-kind donations
- Capital campaigns
- Planned gifts
- Major donors
It’s the last two kinds of contributions that you definitely want to acknowledge in a formal way. However, it all depends on the structure of your specific venture and its general income trend.
Levels of contribution
Now that you’ve established who you want to recognize, you can move on to the next decision. Besides this, you need to decide whether you want to distinguish between different levels of contributions.
In general, organizations find this to be useful and beneficial as donations can vary widely. One donor might give $1,000 while another gives $10,000.
To keep the design coherent and the system manageable, you can work out categories such as one for donations between $1,000- $2,000 and another for $2,000- $3,000 and so on.
Here are three ideas you can implement to distinguish between categories:
- Use different color plaques. For example, there could be a bronze, silver, and gold group.
- Separate the display into sections or have more than one display.
- Vary the size of the plaque according to the size of the donation.
You want to thank your donors properly for their generous contributions. But you should still take care of how much you spend. On average, organizations spend between 8 and 14% of their total annual budget on donor recognition.
This is a good rule of thumb, and it ensures that the amount you spend scales as your organization does.
Another important part of planning for your donor recognition wall is organizing an unveiling. It can be a valuable opportunity to thank your donors while attracting new potential donors and raising awareness.
One idea is to launch the display as the culmination of a specific campaign. It can be a great way to tie off the effort and celebrate the achievement.
Room for growth
Significantly, you should think of the donor recognition wall as a work in progress. In many ways, it’s a reflection of your venture’s journey.
In some cases, organizations might want the display to focus on one specific funding goal, such as to build a hall or something similar.
But keep in mind that if it is part of your business model to accept donations, you will likely receive more contributions in the future. It’s a good business practice to continue to recognize donors and the support they give. This will also help you encourage donations in the future.
Therefore, you need to think ahead. How can the display grow with your organization?
This will play a vital role in your planning, especially when it comes to deciding on the budget, size, layout, and location of the display.
Generally, it works best to formally assign an individual or group to manage the recognition wall. Doing this will help you make sure that the display gets its due attention and that nothing slips through the cracks.
The task will mainly involve arranging for the production and installation of the sign and any future additions.
Remember that the person or persons who are assigned to this task will also need to fact-check the content. Overall, this will be one of the most critical parts of the job.
One more critical feature that you need to figure out in the planning and preparation stage is the precise contents of the display. Space can be a bit of an issue. So you will need to focus on what is essential information to convey.
Besides this, neither you or the donor might want all the details about their contribution to be revealed.
Possible details to include are:
- Amount donated
- Type of donation
- Name of individual or business
- The company’s logo
- Role in the organization
- Length of support
- A milestone which was funded
- Name of the award
However, in most cases, organizations find it sufficient to only include the name of the individual or business and the year in which the support was given.
In addition to this, you should explain the display in some way and make its purpose clear. Your explanation could appear as part of the header or underneath the header of the whole board. Or you could write a brief introduction to each individual plaque.
You want to select the wording for this with care so that it feels like a reward for the donor and can encourage new potential contributors.
Some brilliant examples of possible phrases are:
- “In recognition of…”
- “Donated in honor of…”
- “Dedicated by…”
- “Made possible by…”
Where should you mount your donor recognition wall?
There is no one place to mount a donor recognition wall. However, you should place it somewhere where most visitors will be able to see it.
Consider too, that a well-designed donor recognition wall can add to the aesthetic of your offices. You can even design it to become the centerpiece of a specific room. Serving multiple purposes is an example of signage at its best.
As we’ve said, the display will probably grow over the years. So it’s a good idea to pick a spot with a lot of space.
Here are some of the most popular spots where organizations place donor recognition walls:
- Reception areas
- High traffic hallways
- Back of a hall
- Waiting area
- Eating hall or cafeteria
All of the above needs to be taken into account when you’re ready to start designing the display. If you do this, you will end up with the perfect way for your organization to demonstrate the respect and esteem you have for your supporters.
Let’s look at the key features of the design with some examples.
All in all, the layout of donor recognition walls can be much trickier to figure out than with other types of signage. But on the bright side, it also means that there are more opportunities for creativity and thinking outside the box.
If above all, you are looking for a neat and professional-looking display, it can be a good idea to go for a standard layout. In this case, you would use plaques that are arranged in tidy rows or columns. You can place them next to or underneath each other.
However, that certainly isn’t your only option. Alternatively, you can choose to arrange the names in a way that would be thematically relevant.
For example, if your organization raises funds for environmental awareness or something similar, you could design the display to look like a tree. Then each plaque can be a leaf on the branches of the tree.
Another idea is to print the different names on different colored plaques and then arrange them in a mosaic type layout.
The style is the overall look of the donor recognition wall. What are you trying to achieve with the display? Are you going for a sleek and sophisticated look or something more contemporary?
Once you’ve decided this, it can help guide you through crafting each element of the sign.
For example, take a look at the wall of fame we at Signarama made for Lamphere High School. The board resembles more traditional styles in terms of its layout. But they wanted to mix things up a bit to get a more exciting and modern aesthetic.
So instead of using the standard brass, they opted for routed brushed aluminum in silver and blue to create a style of their own.
There is more than one way that you can put a unique stamp on a donor recognition wall. It all comes down to customizing the details. Besides the layout and style, you can make your display stand out by incorporating elements of your branding.
The display for Warren’s public library is a brilliant example of this. From the text to the use of logos and graphics, they made sure that the board is recognizable. On top of making the display attractive and appealing, it also leaves no doubt about whom the sign belongs to.
Say thank you in style
Thanking your donors isn’t only a nice or ethical thing to do. Instead, it’s also an important business practice that can lead to tangible benefits for your organization. Donor recognition walls are an ideal long-term solution for this.
It can form the central aspect of the way you approach your sponsors, which you can combine effectively with additional measures like event sponsor signage. Overall, signs can be a brilliant way to advertise fundraisers for your school or nonprofit event.
Communication can be the bane of human existence. Well, okay, maybe it’s not the bane of human existence, but it sure can be a struggle. And when it comes to communicating your ideas to a sign expert, it’s no different. Even that can present challenges.
So we thought it would be worthwhile to offer you some ways to communicate and present ideas to your sign specialist—your newest partner in your company’s branding and marketing journey. Let’s explore tips to ease up potential difficulties and make your sign process a walk in the park.
Put it on paper
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when we say “put it on paper” could easily be the idea of formally writing (or typing) things down. And while that’s a great idea that we’ll tackle in just a minute, the idea of “getting things on paper” can actually be broader than the printed word.
In fact, it may not even involve words at all. Sometimes, drawing out your ideas on paper or a nearby whiteboard can be invaluable. What you can easily envision, your specialist may not be able to visualize until you give him an example.
This can be especially true when you’re talking about some of the visual elements of design. Exactly what your logo concept looks like or how you want your text and visuals arranged on a billboard—those are things you may need to map out on paper or a whiteboard.
Don’t underestimate the power of scratching out a rough diagram. And in the modern age, everyone can carry your rapidly-drawn ideas with them by simply pulling out a smartphone and snapping photos of the drawings.
Write it down
Here’s where we actually get to talk about the value of writing or typing things on paper (or on the computer as the case may be). People can easily have an irrational fear of writing out their ideas. They may feel it boxes them in or ties them down. Or they just might be downright scared of writing because they have no idea what they want to say.
As hard as it is, writing ideas down captures them in an invaluable way. It also prompts a thought process that can be very useful to the success of your project. To actually write things down, you may have to think about them a little harder (or perhaps just a little differently) than you otherwise would.
Harness useful terminology (and define it)
Obviously, words are vital for communication. But not all words are equal in terms of importance or value. You might find that some keywords help you communicate better with your sign specialist than others.
For example, when you’re in early stages of sign design and you want to keep all your options open, try using the word, “conceptual” to refer to plans that aren’t set-in-stone. And for good measure, follow up your usage of the word with some helpful clarification about what you mean. In this case, you could just alert the person you’re corresponding with that these plans “may change over time.”
Give them something to go on
If you don’t have any experience in the sign industry (or the design industry), you may feel completely out of your depth. And you may find it challenging to understand what you want, let alone communicate it to others.
That’s why it can be useful to give your sign specialists examples. By pointing out signs, color palettes, and designs that you like, you offer them a window into your mind. Plus, you can take things a step further and articulate why you like what you like.
For instance, maybe you like black and white palettes because you find they communicate “modernity” and “stability.” Well, if you let your specialist know that, they may not only understand your needs better, but they may be able to help you do an even better job of fulfilling them.
Tap into the power of technology to help you out here by using these tools and methods:
- Share a Pinterest board of inspiration
- Take photos of signs you see around town and share them with your specialist
- Send your specialist photos of other companies’ signs you admire
Remember to be both honest and clear when communicating with your sign company. We know it can be tempting to ease the burden of sharing difficult truths or opinions by being evasive or vague. But that tactic could hurt you and your signage partner in the long run.
That doesn’t mean you have to say everything you’re thinking every time. But it is a good reminder to say what needs to be said when it needs to be said—even if it makes you or other people feel a little uncomfortable.
Need examples? When you’re still undecided about a project or an element of a project, don’t string the sign company along by letting them think you’re all in. Communicate to them where you actually are in the decision-making process if you think it would help them make better plans of their own. In fact, it might even help them help you. And it may also prevent them from losing valuable resources like time and money.
When you don’t like something, say so. If it’s your job to sign off on project design, then be open about designs you don’t care for. We’ll venture a guess that most other designers would also prefer to be told “no” sooner rather than later. That way, they don’t waste time on a project element they’ll never ultimately use. And they hear “no” when they still have time to course-correct.
Great company, great communication
Of course, before you can invest in good communication with your sign company, you’ll need to actually find that sign company. Take some time to learn more about selecting a great sign specialist with our What To Look For From A Sign Making Company + Questions To Ask. And if you’re new to the wonderful world of signage, start bringing yourself up to speed with A Glossary Of Sign Definitions & The Distinctive Features Of Each.
Having clients and customers interested and involved in your business or organization is vital. When people attend your events, you’re overjoyed. When they drop by your office, you’re gratified. However, even the best of occurrences sometimes need planning and preparation to ensure that things run smoothly. And that’s why you might find yourself needing traffic control and parking signs—to help you manage all the people who will be in and around your location on a day-to-day basis (or when you’re hosting special events).
Let’s take a look at some examples of custom-designed signs to help you keep people running smoothly through your places. From traffic control to parking, you may need signs to help point people in the right direction or get them situated in the right place.
Custom parking signs
We’ve taken a dive into custom parking signs here. Be sure to let your imagination fill in the gaps when designing parking signs tailored to your own needs. For instance, why not craft a sign that grants a special parking spot to your “Gold-level clients”?
This technique could give you a chance to let your top clients know how much they mean to you. Plus, it allows other clients to have a new goal to aim for—they can shoot to make gold-level status. You can even craft a unique letter, email, or phone call to let your top clients know they were just awarded a special parking space.
Also, be sure that you research relevant rules and regulations that apply to your parking signs. (Your sign specialist may also be able to alert you about relevant requirements). Naturally, you should ensure you’re following the guidelines that apply to you.
Personalize your signs
Choose an image related to what your business or organization does and use it to mark out your designated parking.
1 – Sign with an image and text
Here’s an example of personalizing. Use a sign with a car if your company is an auto repair shop, a car dealership, or even an auto insurance company.
2 – Company logo parking sign
Put up a parking sign with a company logo. It will give useful direction for one thing. But it will also keep your company’s logo in front of potential customers and clients.
3 – Touch of class signage
Whether your sign tells people where to park or directs them which way to turn, consider projecting a classy front for your organization by selecting classy signage.
Make people laugh with your signs
Laughter is a powerful tool. It can uplift spirits and bring smiles to faces. And you can actually tap into the power of laughter to help you solve your parking problems.
It can be frustrating for drivers to encounter reserved parking spots with signage that bars them from pulling right in and shifting into park gear. Obviously, restricted parking throws a roadblock in their way and possibly slows them down. Of course, having to hunt for a new parking space is a less-than-pleasant experience if a driver is in a hurry.
The least your business or organization can do to ease this frustration is to find some humor in the situation. Get the hurried driver to chuckle while they search for a new, non-reserved spot. Seek out reserved parking signs that will make drivers pull away with smiles on their faces.
4 – “Tow those cars!” parking sign
For instance, you could try this parking sign that playfully tallies up cars towed.
5 – Old-fashioned parking sign
Or you could opt for a parking sign with a nod to the olden days.
6 – Blunt parking sign
Then there’s this humorous parking sign that says it like it is.
Traffic control signage
It’s easy to think of stop signs, yield signs, and traffic signals when we hear the words “traffic control signage.” Naturally, those signs are often the responsibility of the state transportation department. But even private entities may need signs to help direct traffic.
7 – Signage for large organizational complexes
A hospital might need to direct patients toward the emergency department entrance or another particular hospital area. Or a large industrial complex may use signs to direct drivers and pedestrians to the specific building they’re looking for.
8 – Post and panel signs for operations
Some businesses need to point drivers to loading docks or pick up zones. Post and panel signs are perfect for this job. Plus, you can place arrows on the sign’s face to help drivers see where they should be headed.
Start with stellar designs
Whenever you get custom designed signs— whether for traffic control, parking, or another important use—you have a great opportunity to personalize the signs. You may have more opportunity to make decisions about a sign’s appearance than you would with prefabricated signs. Make the most of it. For instance, be sure you plan in advance so that you can select the right colors. And choose good images that will leave viewers with a great impression of your company.
Get more from your signs
Once you unveil your new signs, don’t stop there! Instead, harness the creative side of your brain to come up with ways to make your signs work extra hard for you. For instance, you can adapt your signage according to the season. Check out How To Make Your Signage Seasonal Without Spending A Lot Of Money. Or you can take a look at our 8 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Signs & Reuse Them On Social Media.
Making high-quality signage is a process. To get from point A to B, you need to engage in a collaborative effort with your sign making company. The process might differ from company to company, but there are a few steps that are essential to a successful project.
As the client, you need to be informed. You need to know what’s going on to make sure that you get the top product that you paid for. That’s why we are going to talk you through the basics of our sign making process at Signarama.
A step-by-step guide to making signs
Sign making typically isn’t as straightforward as it looks.
Following the process is all about making sure that the end product is of the highest quality possible. And it means working together with your sign making company.
So let’s start at the beginning. Before we get to the actual steps of creating a sign, you need to get some preparations out of the way first.
We recommend that you start by deciding what your signage goals are. This should be pretty straightforward.
In some cases, one sign can serve more than one purpose. But it should still have one defining goal, for example, advertising new products.
Hopefully, then, you can come up with a few ideas of what you want the sign to look like or say. Some companies offer design services to help you create the perfect face for the board. Generally, you don’t want to finalize the design without talking to them first.
There are usually two types of approaches clients have who want to make signs.
First, some clients will enter into the process with very specific ideas of what they want, to the minutest detail. The benefit of this is that the process might go more quickly. But it might work against you if the ideas aren’t practical.
Second, other customers only have the vaguest notions of what they want the sign to look like. In this case, you will rely more heavily on the experts’ advice. The process might take a bit longer with revisions. On the other hand, you’re probably going to get started with a practical solution.
Now you need to find and hire the perfect sign company for you. Before you jump the gun, take a moment to do some research about your options. Ask the different experts what services they offer and at what price. And make sure that you ask to see their portfolio.
Remember to check whether they have all the right licenses and permits to manufacture and install signs in your area.
Once you’ve made a decision, you can reach out to the specific company and start the production process.
As we’ve said, the process might be slightly different depending on the sign company and the specific products involved. But three core steps will usually be more or less the same.
1 – Planning and strategy
The first step in the actual sign commission process is that of planning and strategy. At this stage, you will sit down with your sign manufacturing team to strategize about the project. You will hash out many of the crucial details. This will likely involve discussing the following:
- Your deadline
- Their range of products
- Your signage goals, for example, do you want to create a directional sign, and advertisement, or a building sign
- Prices and quotations
- Products you want
- Design ideas
- Potential site for installation
- Relevant permits and licenses
- The products they have available
- It’s also the ideal time to troubleshoot future issues
If you want to, you can potentially discuss this via phone or email. But it can work well if you meet up in person at least once and chat about your project face-to-face.
A professional sign making company will offer ongoing project management services. This means that they will carefully plan the process from design to manufacturing to make sure that you can get your finished sign on time.
Significantly, signage experts will know that signs are never truly standalone products. Instead, they form part of your business’ more long-term advertising or educational strategies. It’s crucial that the team keeps this in mind.
Consequently, the specific product needs to match the rest of your branding. If you don’t have any branding in place as of yet, you need to discuss this at this step as it will need to form part of the plan.
To streamline the process, take everything you’ve prepared along with relevant information to the meeting.
Once you’ve decided on the details for the project, it’s time to set up an agreement between you and the sign company. And you’re ready to go.
2 – Design and develop
Next, you can move on to the design and development stage. Hopefully, your sign making company will have some designers on board to help you in this process. Otherwise, you can attempt to do this yourself or consult an outside expert.
This is generally the step in the process where you or the designers will take your basic ideas and transform them into a concept for the sign. The design is the plan or specification for the construction of an object.
In terms of signage, this refers to the visual appearance of the sign and its face.
Here are some key elements that you need to incorporate into the design:
- Your business’ logo
- Company branding
- Graphics and images
- Size and dimensions of the sign
- The layout
- Text formattings like the size and font
- The shape of the sign
- Call to action
- The content
These features aren’t standalone. Instead, you and the design team need to find a way to incorporate them into a coherent whole, which will catch your audience’s eye and help you reach your signage goals.
Unfortunately, design usually isn’t a one-off activity. There will most likely be some back and forth between you and the designer to make sure you get the sign just right. Each version might be called a design iteration or prototype.
Because of this, the process might take a bit longer, but it will all be worth it when you finally get to see your high-quality professional sign.
Before you approve the final design, you need to ask for a prototype or proof. This is a preliminary version of a printed product. It gives you the opportunity to check for any mistakes, for example:
- Incorrect grammar
- Issues with the layout
- Clashing colors
- And more
3 – Build and install
Once you’ve signed off on the final design, you can move on to the next, and usually, last step. Your sign making company can now start making your sign, which means that all your hard work is done. This step is where the magic really happens.
You probably started off with a few vague ideas, and now you will get to see those ideas put into action to create a sign that you can touch and see.
During this phase, the sign making company will build the signs by cutting out the boards, printing the face, applying any finishes, etc. The construction process will be different for each type of sign.
For example, to make acrylic channel letters, the experts need to apply colored vinyl to a clear acrylic sheet.
Afterward, they will cut the characters out of the sheet. Then they will place a trim cap around each letter and seal it. The manufacturer will then use specialized equipment to create and attach the side structure of each character. Only then can they run the LED lights through.
Then all that’s left is to install and mount the board. In most areas, you will need to have a license to install certain types of signs, especially if they need a power connection or are very large. So you need to ask your sign making company if they offer installation services too.
Essential questions to ask
So far, we’ve outlined the most important information you need to know about the sign production process. But there’s much more to learn about signage projects. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of the vital questions you need to ask your sign making company.
How long will it take?
Generally, there are two parts to consider when you are thinking about the timeline. Production, which is step 3, will only start once you’ve seen a proof of the sign and approved the final order.
The time it takes to get to here depends on factors like the following:
- The size of the sign
- Number of products
- Type of sign
- Materials used
- The complexity of the design
- Number of iterations
- Finishes and treatments that you choose
- Printing method
- Whether the manufacturing is in-house or not
You might be surprised to learn that it’s usually not the printing and construction stage that takes the longest. It’s often the design phase that can hold up the process. As we’ve said, it can take time to agree and put your vision on paper.
Generally, step 1 can be completed in a week. Stage 2 typically takes one to four weeks. And for most signs, phase 3 takes between two and four weeks.
All in all, the entire process will typically take between one and three months.
Do I get to see a proof?
Most professional and reliable sign-making companies will print you a proof of the signs. Doing this can save both of you time and money as it will increase the chances that the final product will be perfect the first time around.
You need to see the proof before they start production so that you can approve the final design. In some cases, you might need to make some kind of payment first.
Does this process involve applying for permits?
There are many laws and rules which regulate the use and installation of signage. Typically they differ depending on the state and municipality. In rare cases, some types of signs are exempt. For example, in many cities, you don’t need any licensing for window graphics.
But you will need a permit for most types of signs. And the sign making company needs to have the correct licenses to be able to apply. Generally, the best to do this is at the end of step 2, before production begins.
To apply, you will need to do the following:
- Fill in the necessary application forms
- Get consent from the landowner
- Provide zoning certification
On average, the application will take two to four weeks to approve if everything is in order. However, remember that you are in the hands of your local council or authorities. Therefore, there is no guarantee of how long this will take.
Luckily, the signage experts will have gone through this process hundreds of times before and should know all the ins and outs.
You should note that you will need to pay a fee for the permit application as well. But more likely than not, the sign-making company will calculate this into the price.
To find out more about the signage permits in Michigan, you can take a look here.
When do I need to pay?
A crucial part of any business transaction is, of course, the payment. Both parties need to agree on when and how much money will change hands. The sign making company will usually have some kind of payment policy, like paying a portion upfront.
The agreement should outline the answers to the following question:
- Is there a deposit?
- What is the final amount?
- When does the account need to be settled?
- How should the payment be made?
Most sign companies will require that you pay a deposit before they start making the sign or signs. And then you’ll need to pay the rest of the balance once the project’s done.
Don’t try to rush perfection
Like most good things in life, creating high-quality signage takes time. Professional sign-making companies won’t take any shortcuts with your products. Instead, they will advise you on how to work through the different steps with them.
But there are some things you can do to streamline the process. For example, it can be handy to find out more about the different types of signage and how to install them around your business beforehand.