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.
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.
You can’t go to a tradeshow without a professional tradeshow display. Eye-catching signage is crucial to attracting visitors to these events. You want to get their attention and keep it if you’re going to sell your product or service or generate leads.
A single sign can speak volumes about your brand. You want to let your audience know who you are, what you’re about, and what you can offer them. But that’s why it’s so important to choose the ideal sign.
Types of tradeshow displays
First, we’ll look at the basics. There isn’t just one type of tradeshow display. Sign-making companies offer a whole host of products that you can use at exhibits. Each of these comes at a different cost and with unique features.
So here are the main options you should choose between for a tradeshow sign.
All in all, this sign is a tradeshow favorite. It’s a great way to dress up your booth, advertise your business, and can be very practical too.
Typically, these are back walls that are made up of a frame with custom printed graphics that you can wrap around. We recommend that you buy one that you can easily assemble and disassemble at the event. They are even better when they come with some kind of carrying case.
Banners are a mainstay of tradeshow marketing.
Generally, these signs are cost-effective and versatile. Their vertical orientation can help you save on floor space while still giving you plenty of space for content. There are a few types, but most businesses prefer freestanding banners, which you can mount on a frame.
Another of the best products for tradeshow displays are table covers. This is a highly-effective way to dress up your booth while also promoting your business and your brand.
The design for these displays is typically straightforward and neat. You can use a black or white background with contrasting text for your companies name.
One highly customizable product for a tradeshow display is panel signs. Here you will have lots of options to work with. You can choose between materials like acrylic, wood, and aluminum, among others. On top of this, you can completely adapt the size and dimensions.
In some cases, you can even ask your sign-making company to attach a few panels together. You can place them on your tabletop, use them as a back wall, or hang them from your booth.
Instead of a table, you can also use an island as a surface for your stall. You can hire a sign company to construct one from scratch. Or you can jazz up an old stand. For example, you can buy graphics to wrap around it.
A well-designed island can make a fantastic centerpiece for your booth.
Put your message in the spotlight by hanging it from the ceiling or top of your booth. If you’ve ever been to a tradeshow, you know that every inch of the space is valuable real estate. This is a great way to catch the eye.
Sign companies have products that they created specifically for this. But you could also take any other type of sign as a banner or panel and hang them.
The above are undoubtedly some of the most popular signs for tradeshow displays. However, the list isn’t exhaustive. The following are more great options:
- Graphic tents and canopies
- Hybrid displays
- Modular exhibits
Guide to choosing the best tradeshow display
To help you pick the ideal display, we’ve looked at questions you need to ask about the event and your business.
Does it fit your budget?
Let’s get one of the most important aspects out of the way first. And that is what your signage budget is. You need to go into this process knowing how much you can afford and how much you want to spend.
As we’ve said, signage is usually an essential aspect of your booth or stall. But you still don’t want to blow the bank. The key is to figure out how to get the most value for your money.
Will it be more impactful to get one high-quality sign or several budget-friendly signs?
On average, businesses prefer to use one to three boards for their display. One thing that you need to keep in mind is that you can usually use tradeshow signs again and again. As long as there isn’t content that is specific to that event, you can reuse them.
Therefore, if you frequently go to tradeshows, it’s best to think of this as a long-term investment. In that case, you can probably spend more now to avoid spending later.
At Signarama, we’ve made exhibition signs for all kinds of budgets from $100 to $2000. But most displays are in the $300 range.
You can decrease or increase the costs through your choice of content, material, finishes, mounting, dimensions, and clearly the type of sign.
What are your signage goals?
Another critical question you need to ask is what are your signage goals. Signs can be pretty versatile. Yet there is only so much content you can effectively fit on one display. So you have to focus on one central message or purpose.
Overall, here are the most vital signage goals you can choose from:
- Promote your business
- Build brand recognition
- Sell specific products or services
- Educate your audience
- Grab attention
- Give directions or instructions
- Decorate the space
The sign you pick in the end needs to help you reach these goals. For example, if you want to educate your audience, a table cover probably won’t cut it, but it can work well for brand recognition.
How long will it take?
In an ideal world, you would be able to start planning several months to a year before an event. But the reality isn’t always that straightforward. Occasionally you will only have a few weeks to get your stand ready for an exhibit.
In these cases, you might not have much time to have your displays made.
Creating quality signage takes time since the process has several steps. Usually, you would start by asking for quotes, designing the content, creating and approving proofs, and then printing.
Therefore, you must ask your sign making company how long their different signage products will take.
Some products might be done and dusted in as little as a week. However, others can take a month or longer.
If the margin of error is too small, pick another display. Miracles do happen, but sometimes it’s not worth the risk. You don’t send a newsletter without any content. Similarly, you don’t go to a tradeshow without any signage.
Nobody wants to be in the situation where they rush around last minute to pick up a display.
How much space do you have?
Hopefully, you will plenty of space to work with for your booth. But that’s not always up to you. The organizers will often allocate a specific area for each exhibitor, or you might get the opportunity to choose the size for a price.
Unfortunately, this means that you might get a spot that seems way too small. This is where you have to get creative. You need to find space where you didn’t know there was any. It can be handy to consult the experts about this as well.
Luckily, there are a variety of signs that can help you maximize the use of space. Here are a few of them:
- Table throws
- Panel signs
- And table tops
On the other hand, if the stall is large, your challenge would be to make sure it doesn’t look too empty. If it does, you risk looking unprepared, and your exhibit will probably be unimpressive and possibly dull.
In this case, you need to use several types of signs. For example, in a wide booth, you can use a series of freestanding banners as well as a pop-up display.
B2B or B2C?
Whenever you’re making ads or signs, you need to consider your audience or target market. The secret to great marketing is always designing for your viewers and not for yourself. To do that, you need to know who you are talking to.
Therefore, your signs need to be different depending on whether the tradeshow is for B2C or B2B. In other words, are you trying to sell to a consumer or to another business?
For example, a tradeshow for B2B might be one where different software developers for project management tools are promoting their products to interested companies.
Of course, your audiences might overlap at times. However, it can usually be pretty clear cut at these types of events.
Generally, a common mistake people make is to design their promotions in the exact same way for both. But that’s not the best way to maximize their impact. Instead, you need to choose your tradeshow display with the express purpose of meeting their unique needs and desires.
In the case of B2B, you want to focus on the following:
- These customers are looking to you to educate them. They want and need to make informed decisions that they can justify to their superiors. So this should be a key aspect of your displays.
- Unlike consumer marketing, you shouldn’t be shy about the details. This is your opportunity to go in-depth about your product or services and answer many of the questions they might have. You want to show them you’re the real deal.
- You need to have patience with B2B customers. Their buying cycle is longer, and there is usually a longer chain of command to deal with. So instead of including a call of action to encourage the audience, for example, to buy a product now, you can tell them how they can get more information.
- Above all, these customers are serious about returns on investment (ROI). There is no beating around the bush. They want to know what they are going to get from the deal. You want to give them concrete examples of information on what you can do for them.
That’s why you want to choose a sign type that allows you to fit in as much content as possible. Banners are typically your best option.
For example, take a look at the sign we made for Test Equipment Distributors. The height of the banners allowed them to use space efficiently to fit in as much info as possible without the display looking overcrowded.
If you want to, you can use more than one banner to convey additional details and make your stall look fuller and more complete.
On the other hand, for B2C marketing, you want to focus on the following:
- Consumers tend to rely more on emotions to make purchasing decisions instead of pure reason and logic. So you need to connect with them on an emotional level. Don’t talk about ROI’s. Tell them that the product can make them happier or boost their confidence.
- B2C customers don’t want to be overloaded with details. In this case, less is more. You will lose their attention if you can’t get the main point of the sign in a matter of seconds.
- You want to add some fun to your sign. Most of the time, consumers don’t want to look at a sign that reads like a user manual. So sprinkle it with a few exciting elements like photos and graphics.
Generally, you can also use banners for B2C tradeshow displays. But this isn’t necessarily the most efficient option for you. You can also choose signs like table throws, coroplast boards, routed signs, and so on.
Just take a look at the board we made for Mazda. The sign contains far fewer words, so they did not need as much space. And the colorful photo helps to make the sign stand out.
Take your event signage to the next level
Events can be a big deal for your business. It’s a high-impact method to attract new customers and keep your existing ones excited about your company. However, they usually require a significant investment in terms of time and money. That’s why you need to make the best of it.
You want your business to put its best foot forward all the time and everywhere. But some situations may offer a more targeted chance to represent to others who you are and what you do. And one of those situations is a tradeshow—a perfect opportunity to represent your brand to the watching world. That’s why today we’re going to dive into some tips for crafting tradeshow displays you can be confident standing behind (or perhaps standing in front of).
Select stellar graphics
If you’re a regular blog reader, you’ll know that we touch on this topic frequently. Good graphics lay a solid foundation for your signage. Choosing the right colors, images, fonts, and sizes is an important part of your signage creation.
Here’s a tip for a striking display—give your signage some depth. This could take different forms, depending on how much space you have available and on what your budget is for the project. Here are two options we like. Check out this one where the signage is curved instead of simply being a flat surface.
And this display (photos 2 and 3) looks like a walk-in experience. Try using something like this to enhance the viewer experience. Instead of simply interacting with the text or visuals they can see behind your tradeshow table, this display offers a chance to be immersed in your company’s promotional materials.
Let the lighting pull its weight
Another thing to keep in might with your tradeshow displays is that they can actually be affected by external factors. So while the sign’s own design is vitally important, it’s not the only thing you’ll want to think about. You may also need to give some thought to the lighting that will help your sign be visible.
First, there may be lighting on the tradeshow floor to take into account. And you might be doing yourself a favor by thinking about this in advance and learning what to expect when you actually set up your display. This way, you’ll have done your best to be prepared for the lighting that’s available.
Second, your display may involve lighting that you provide. For instance, if you have a walk-in display, like the one we noted above, lighting might be a huge part of the experience.
The right kind of lighting can make your exhibit a showstopper for sure. But we know those types of eye-catching displays don’t happen without planning and preparation. That’s why you’ll want to know whether your display calls for you to provide some of the illumination. And if it does, make a solid plan to provide it so that you can shed light on your setup beautifully.
Look at the location
Just as we said with lighting, there’s another external factor to take into account in the planning phase. And that is your tradeshow display’s location. What kind of space will you be working with? How many square feet will you have to call your own? Will you be in a corner, a center area, or with your back to the wall?
Take some time to discover these things in advance if possible so that you can work with your sign company to optimize your signage. Determine what tradeshow signage will fit best and look most appealing in your particular location.
Put yourself in your viewers’ shoes
Here’s our very best advice to underly your entire process of choosing and crafting tradeshow displays. Try to put yourself in the shoes of your viewers and imagine what the signage will look like from their perspective.
This is actually where you may want to pull together a team of people within your company—allowing everyone’s different strengths and experiences to inform the project. Have some company employees been to this tradeshow before? If so, you don’t want to miss out on their perspective.
You may have masterminded what you think is a winning display only to be informed by a “regular” who’s attended the show years running that your sign has far too much information to be absorbed. And that regular may well know the rate at which people are going to be passing by your display. He or she has likely noticed what displays piqued their own interest in prior years, too.
Plus, don’t forget to tap into any in-house graphic design or marketing team your company has. They may be able to offer insights into viewer preferences and behaviors. And while it may sometimes be hard to hear their honest suggestions, put the interests of the company first and ask for constructive critique.
Learn all you can about signage
Information that is specific to tradeshow signage is a great idea of course. But you should also be able to pick up helpful nuggets from general signage tips, tricks, and how-tos. Check out our Sign Terminology: Negative Space, Optimal Distance, Typography & More to start learning. Or read up on fonts with our 10 Professional Sign Fonts + The Meanings Behind Them.
So what’s the deal with point-of-purchase signs?
As a business owner, you’ve probably picked up on all the hype. These displays are all the rage and for good reasons. You and your company will undoubtedly get your money worth with these products.
If you are interested in what point-of-purchase signs have to offer, stay put. In this article, we will breakdown all the advantages of these displays and the reasons behind them. By the end, you’ll know how to use them for your storefront best.
The essentials of point-of-purchase signs
To really understand these displays and how they can serve you, you need to understand them from top to bottom. So let’s first start by looking at what these signs are.
You definitely encounter a whole host of these boards each time you go shopping. Remember that poster in the checkout lane informing you about a 2-for-1 special on your favorite candy bar? Or that display that convinced you to join the store’s loyalty program?
These are just a few examples of point-of-purchase signs. But there are countless more.
In some cases, marketers or sign companies might also refer to them as POP displays or even point-of-sale signs. The point-of-purchase is pretty similar to the point-of-sale.
But the latter only refers to where the actual transaction is made. And the former refers to a much larger area.
You will usually place these wherever customers will be making a purchasing decision. For example, some of the most common spots and forms are:
- Checkout counter
- Ceiling hanging signs
- Checkout queues
- Endcap displays
- Shelving signs
- Dump bins
- Floor graphics
Their primary purpose is to influence purchasing decisions. You could, for instance, encourage your clients to make unplanned purchases. But significantly, like all types of signs, they represent your business and can help you build up your identity and brand awareness.
Generally, these signs are highly customizable. They aren’t one-size-fits-all types of products. Instead, you can create these displays in a variety of shapes, sizes, using various different materials. The key is, therefore, to design one that perfectly suits your business.
What makes point-of-purchase signs effective?
Now we are getting to the real gist of point-of-purchase signs and how they can help your brand grow and thrive. The following are some of the crucial reasons why this type of signage is effective:
Successful at influencing shopping behavior
Did you know that 70% of consumers’ purchase decisions are still made in-store?
This statistic means that the experience your customer has at your physical location can make or break the sale. There is serious money to be made in encouraging unplanned purchases. That’s why it’s important that you use signage to convince your visitors to make a purchase.
No wonder these signs are proven to increase sales, specifically impulse purchases.
A good way to target paying customers
First, POP displays are incredibly effective at increasing your sales because you can narrow in on paying customers. These are customers who are already planning on spending money on your business, but you can potentially influence exactly how much they want to spend.
Whenever you are designing an ad or sign, a critical factor is to make sure you reach your target audience.
Make empty space work for you
Another reason why POP displays are so effective is that you are using space that you already have. You don’t have to go buy or rent a location for an ad. This means you can save both time and effort. You are simply using what you have more intelligently.
Therefore, in terms of return on investment, these products compare favorably to other types of signage.
Keep customers engaged
Overall, POP displays are brilliant at catching visitors and customer’s eyes. Research on eye-tracking has shown that 13% of eye fixations in-store are related to point-of-purchase signs — this a significant amount of visual real estate.
That’s why they can be an ideal method to keep buyers focused on the experience. The longer you keep their attention, the more likely they are to actively engage with your business and the products and services you offer.
You can keep your customers excited and interested, and that way, everybody wins.
In today’s retail world, having high-quality products and services isn’t enough. There are multiple competitors with similar offers, who are all vying for people’s attention. Not to mention that brick and mortar stores now have to contend with online shops.
So what can you do to stand out?
You can create a unique experience that will repeatedly get your customers away from their screens and into your store. They can be very effective at helping you provide a suitable ending for each of your customers’ journeys. These signs will be perfectly positioned for this.
How to use your point-of-purchase signs?
So let’s recap. The main strength of point-of-purchase signs is that you can use them to impact a customer’s shopping behavior. This can potentially be a very powerful marketing tool. Your greatest challenge is in designing them and using them in the most effective ways possible.
In the previous section, we’ve touched on the reasons why point-of-purchase displays are effective and how they can benefit you. From this, you can probably already see that they can be suitable for several purposes.
So we will look at the best uses of these signs as well as the best ways to use them.
Influence purchasing decisions
Overall, one of the best features of point-of-purchase signs is that they can encourage purchases.
Significantly, there are some product categories whose sales largely depend on an impulse buy. Examples of this are magazines, candy, and gum. People rarely go into a store with the intention of buying one of these.
Aside from this, these displays can also be particularly useful to increase sales of higher-priced items like electronics. Customers want to feel informed and sure about these purchases. So giving them more information can help them feel more confident.
For example, you will typically see information boards on the counters where stores display their laptops. These boards will outline details like the specifications and the price.
Customer expectations and consumer demand
All in all, one of the smartest ways to use point-of-purchase displays is to help fulfill your customer’s expectations and demands. Generally, it’s a good idea to use point-of-purchase signs to help fulfill both of these.
Hopefully, your branding is consistent and clear and gives the people the right idea of what to expect. But these signs can be a fantastic addition and supplement.
First, you need to do some research on what their demands and expectations are. For example, perhaps your target audience comes to your store for your sales and promotions. In this case, you can advertise some sales at the point of purchase.
For example, think of a grocery store that is popular because they want to encourage their customers to cook high-quality, delicious meals. So for one of their POP displays, they have a digital sign that shows you how to cook specific dishes.
In the end, this is a brilliant way to round off their experience and increases the chances that they leave satisfied.
Draw attention to products and services
Typically, businesses in every industry face the problem of how to keep customers updated. You need to let them know about new products or services. And you need to keep them informed of your business’ updates like a newly launched app or website.
POP displays are ideal for this. You can use them strategically to draw attention to products and keep them informed.
Create an interactive experience
As we’ve said, it is crucial that you keep your customers’ demands and expectations in mind. But you need to realize that these are changing all the time. People now expect completely different things than they did ten or even five years ago.
One of these new features involves interactive components.
Customers want an experience that feels more personal. And like always, building a relationship is key to making any sale. Interaction can facilitate both these things.
Luckily, you can easily and cost-effectively incorporate this into your POP displays.
On the lower end of the scale, you can incorporate a QR code into the design. It can serve as a link to your website or app. Or you can, for example, create a promotion where customers get a reward for taking a selfie with the sign.
While on the higher end of the scale, you could use digital displays for your point-of-purchase signs. In this case, you can use a touch screen with which users interact to find products, claim rewards, or find more information.
Point-of-purchase displays that pop
Unfortunately, it can be quite tricky to get your point-of-purchase signs to stand out. Think of the average brick and mortar store. Typically, they will stock a vast range of different products, often from different brands.
This means there’s likely a kaleidoscope of colors, images, and patterns in your storefront.
If you are mainly stocking products from other brands or suppliers, you can make your POP displays stand out by using your branding. It should be clearly recognizable. Your customers will know that these are boards that they should pay attention too.
On the other hand, if you are only selling products from your own brand, you need to look for an alternative. In this case, you should pick one or two defining visual features that will make the sign stand out like a bold border or a different color background.
Location, location, location
Customers won’t know which products and services you provide unless you show them off. Likewise, you won’t benefit from point-of-displays if you don’t make them highly visible.
Your customers aren’t going to go looking and searching for your signs. People should be able to notice them at a glance.
Here are a few tips you can try to make your POP displays more visible:
- Use empty space where they will stand out
- Put them at eye level
- Hang them on the ceiling
- Install them on shelves or counters where customers will already look
On top of this, you can help to make it more visible by making sure that it is big enough. The average person should be able to read and make out the contents on the board if you want it to be successful.
Easy-to-understand calls to action
To successfully use a POP display, you need to include a call-to-action (CTA) that is unambiguous and easy-to-understand. In marketing terms, that is the part of the sign that encourages the viewer or reader to take some sort of action.
The relevant act might be to buy a product, hire a service, ask a question, go to a website, download an application, and so on.
To create an impactful CTA, you must make it:
Essentially, it means giving intelligible instructions.
Doing this can greatly improve the conversion rate, or in other words, the number of views the sign receives that turn into a sale. So this might be the percentage of people who saw your POP display and decided to grab the 2-for-1 candy bars.
Let’s say you want to increase membership to your loyalty program. To do this, you want to promote the benefits but also give them clear instructions on how to do this. Therefore a suitable call-to-action would be “Sign up today at the info desk.”
Take a look at these brilliant examples of call-to-actions.
Target your clients where it matters
Outdoor signage often catches all the shine. They are usually big, bold, and eye-catching. However, that’s not always what you need. You need to tailor your advertising strategies to the specific audience you want to reach and for what purpose.
When you’re looking to gain exposure and reach new potential clients, you should focus on your external signs like channel letters and billboards.
But if you want to keep your customers coming back and secure more of your business, you should put emphasis on your indoor signage, for example, your point-of-purchase displays. If this is your goal, learn more about how to incorporate signs into your business’ interior design and everything you didn’t know about indoor directional signs.
As a business owner, you know that you need signage to share your message with the world. Or at least with your customers and clients. Signage can take any number of forms and be placed in an exciting array of locations. But today let’s zero in on one specific type of signage your business can use—point-of-purchase (POP) signs.
POP signs can be placed beside the products they’re advertising. For instance, if you’re a convenience store, you might place your energy drinks on a pre-constructed cardboard stand-up display. The display both advertises the drinks and offers a convenient surface for them to sit on.
Naturally, you can learn a lot from others who have done well with their point-of-purchase signage. Let’s examine some tips for POP signs first. Then, we’ll explore some unique examples to help you gather visual inspiration.
Use a big number
One way to make an impression with your point-of-sale signs is to splash a big number across the space. And when we say big, what we mean is that the visual image of your number should be large. Printed large, your number can function to get the attention of passersby. And if your deal is a financially sound one, your customers should be surprised and/attracted by what they see.
For instance, this method could work if you want to advertise a selection of candy bars and snacks that you sell at your customer service desk. Craft a sign that lets customers know that food is available. And if your snacks cost customers $2.00 apiece, try letting that dollar figure shine. A giant “$2” featured prominently on your sign could snag the attention of hungry (and thrifty) potential customers.
Make it easy to take in
Obviously, “easy to take in” is a bit of a relative term. And how easy information is to absorb depends on the location where one is absorbing it and the amount of time they have to do so. Thus, the principle here may actually be to simply fit your information to the space you’re in. And to make it match well with the amount of time you expect your prospect to have.
For instance, a point-of-purchase sign posted near the checkout aisle of a grocery store may need to be short and sweet. Especially if your store usually gets people through the checkout line quite quickly. However, a POP sign placed near an airline customer service desk may be able to dig more deeply into your subject matter. Especially if your airline customer service queue is usually quite long at any given time.
Feature an intrinsically interesting design
Maybe this point should go without saying. But as we always advise, your signage is only as good as the graphics you use. Strong visuals make for strong signage. And in the case of a POP sign, that still holds true.
As an example, if you’re selling a particular drink, consider featuring a cutout of your drink in your signage. Or find other creative ways to directly relate your signage to the product you’re offering.
Go big or go home
As you’ll see in the examples below, sometimes your product itself can form a showstopping point-of-purchase sign. Simply size it up. An oversized version of the product you’re peddling might be just the thing to catch customers’ eyes and get their attention.
Visuals to inspire your signage plans
Take a look at these options to get your wheels turning. Then head out and create your own eye-catching signage.
1 – Enormous coffee creamer signs
Check out these oversized coffee creamer and dairy alternative signs. Imagine the delight of adults and children alike when they encounter signs this large near your checkout or customer service desk.
2 – Chiquita – Minions go bananas signs
Sometimes appealing to cultural figures can help out your signage. Take a look at this Chiquita display (photo 1 of 10) where Despicable Me’s iconic minions take center stage—dressed in festive fruit headdresses.
3 – A POP display that really pops (and is made of pop)
You know what it feels like to open the pull tab on a carbonated beverage and take that first sip. It definitely leaves your mouth feeling energized—thanks to all of those bubbles. Here’s some unique signage that radiates energy and an upbeat mood. And it’s constructed out of the product itself. What better way to advertise your product than by creating a work of art with your product?
Plus, check out this pop display that’s slightly more subdued and respectful, but no less eye-catching.
All the signs you need
Once your point-of-purchase signage is well planned and executed, take a moment to think about what other signage your company could use. Check out A Glossary Of Sign Definitions & The Distinctive Features Of Each to learn more about your signage options. Or try The Small Business Owner’s Guide To Creating Your Own Unique Signage to learn how to create signage that uniquely reflects your company.
Creating the perfect event registration signage is a critical step in putting on a successful event. You know it needs to be visually appealing, but it also needs to be informative and have easy-to-follow instructions on where to go and what steps guests will need to take to properly register. On a practical level, if guests can’t find the registration desk, well, they won’t be able to attend the event!
Creating the perfect event registration signage
First, let’s address the all-important (and often confusing) subject of creating the right signs to steer people in the right direction – toward the registration desk.
Outdoor signs for event registration
Especially if your venue is large, you’ll need plenty of signs to hail your guests even before they park their cars. Setting up A-frame sidewalk signs on the curb outside and on the street corners will help direct your guests to the right building.
Next to the door you should set up another sign to assure people they are at the right place. This sign can and should be tall and imposing, with the basic and essential information about your event.
Indoor signs for event registration
Indoor signage – a lot of it – is important if the venue is large or the registration desk is down the hall or in an entirely different part of the building. Put a sign at every corner with arrows showing which direction to go. But first, when people walk in there should be a sign giving them a little more information and pointing them to the registration desk.
Finally, set up the perfect event registration signage near the desk itself! If you’re expecting large crowds, putting up signs that will direct guests to line up in an orderly fashion can be a huge help. Next to the door you can put up a tall sign that provides even further information on the event. And above, you might consider hanging banners that confirm that this is indeed the registration area.
To the best of your ability, barring any personal mistakes the guests make, you’ll need to make sure that their registration experience is smooth and easy to understand. Having the proper signage can take a lot of the weight of the responsibility off of you and your staff.
Designing the perfect event registration signage
Now let’s take a look at some examples of event registration signage to get you inspired.
Go bold or go home
Big, bold colors go a long way when designing event signage. Large signs that have bright, clean colors will help draw the guest’s eyes. It’s also best to go minimalist. You want your signs to provide guests with the info they need, but too many words or (worse) tiny print will slow people down. This could only lead to more confusion if they decide to skip reading the information altogether. Words need to be easily seen from a few feet away.
Minimalism is key
See how this convention sign is wonderfully minimalist, while still being eye-catching? People can clearly read the text, follow the arrows, and the bright, almost cinema vibe makes it hard to miss.
Creating a minimalist infographic feel for your signage can also be helpful. However, remember that minimalism is important, and don’t stuff your sign full of information. Keep it clean and sharp. Also, remember to use modern fonts that make your brand look as professional as possible.
Represent your brand
Let your event registration signage represent your brand. This advice is helpful whether your event is a business conference, a school conference, or anything in between. If people know your logo and they see it on your signs, they’ll immediately make the connection. Even simple things like certain color combinations help define your brand. If you’ve created a hashtag on social media for your event, make sure to include that on your registration signs so people will know to use it when they post on social media.
Create an event to be remembered
Pull off your event registration with efficiency and great visual appeal and guests will remember your event with pleasure. And if your event is annual, they’ll want to come back next year! Step out of the box, design something really special for your event, and make it unique and practical. But don’t forget the basic principles of creating and designing compelling event registration signage that will guide and help guests along the way!
If you want to read more, check out unique designs for every kind of sign with tips to get the look and the best tips on how to mix and match colors on signs.
Are you looking for a cost-effective sign that you can customize to your heart’s content?
In this case, we recommend that you consider routed signs. These boards are incredibly useful. You can get them in a variety of shapes, sizes, and sign types.
To help you make your choice and streamline the process, we’ve written the ultimate guide to routed signs. You can find out everything you need to know from start to finish.
What are routed signs?
The best place to start is by figuring out what exactly you’re dealing with.
In the industry, there are many popular methods for creating signage. Each of these is better suited for specific materials and end results.
One of the most popular types is routed signs. Fabricators make these products with a specialized type of router table. The ones that are typically used by sign companies are made specifically with this in mind.
The equipment is used to cut and carve shapes out of the material being used. Aside from this, people often use the equipment to engrave the surface.
You can create the entire sign using this method. However, in some cases, people prefer to cut letters, numbers, or other graphics out of one material and mount it on another board.
All in all, routed signs are one of the most varied signage types. One crucial dimension on which they differ is the material for the sign.
Among the materials you can choose from, you’ll typically find:
Experts use a computer to create the design. They will then upload the file into CNC software, which cuts the images out of the material. Thanks to this, the equipment engraves the signs with precision, which results in a sleek and elegant aesthetic.
Another reason they are so varied is the fact that you can create almost any kind of sign using this method.
Different types of routed signs
Depending on the material and the finish, routed signs are usually pretty durable and weatherproof. This means that you can use them both indoors and outdoors.
Some top uses for routed signage are:
- Lobby signs
- Monument signs
- Business name boards
- Walls of fame
- Donor recognition walls
- Wayfinding signs
Routing can be a convenient method if you’re looking for any of these options.
Consult your sign company about the options that are available to you.
How much do routed signs cost?
The question of money is always a crucial one. Any business owner needs to work with a budget to make sure the project stays within reason.
Mostly, you can calculate a financial plan based on the amount of money you have available, your goals, and the average cost of the product.
But estimating the costs of your routed signs beforehand can be a bit tricky.
There are a few reasons for this. First, as we’ve said, many sign-making companies offer a range of materials from which they could construct these signs.
Second, the dimensions of the products can vary from minuscule to enormous. Router tables come in many different sizes, resulting in a range of sign sizes. For example, our equipment allows us to route boards of up to 53.5″ x 101″.
Third, much of the price will depend on how you choose to customize the sign. For example, your specifications will influence the amount and type of material needed. As you might expect, these options are available at widely different costs.
Significantly, the more complicated the structure and aesthetic, the more challenging it would be to create. In the end, this means that the sign makers will need to spend far longer on each piece. Therefore aspects like labor costs will need to be taken into account.
At Signarama, we’ve made a variety of routed signs to suit different project requirements as well as budgets. Overall, most of them fall into the range of $300 to $4000.
Examples of sign budgets:
Here are some examples of what you can get for different budgets:
Constar commissioned the nameplates above for $300. We created these routed signs from a 3mm DiBond substrate with colored graphics over a brushed silver surface. There is velcro on the back to stick them to cloth cubicles.
On the other hand, the sign above was commissioned for $4000. We created this sign to be incredibly durable. It is made of High-Density-Urethane or HDU. In the industry, people often use this material as an alternative for wood.
Aside from this, we painted the sign in a variety of colors and mounted it on two sturdy posts.
Guide to designing routed signs
Design can be intimidating for anyone. But even more so if you don’t have much experience. The key is not to overcomplicate things and not to bite off more than you can chew.
In this section, we will look at some of the basics of designing routed signs. Start at one end and work your way through, and before you know it, you’ll have a design.
Remember that in the end, you can always ask for an expert’s help or even consult the practiced eye of your sign maker.
Size and dimensions
Your sign company should be able to create routed signs of almost any sign type and dimension. This will only be limited by the specifications of the router table or other equipment that they use.
Generally, deciding on a size is a crucial part of the design.
Your decision needs to be informed by several criteria, including:
- The amount of content that you want to print or, in this case, carved onto the surface. You don’t want your sign to look cramped.
- Your measurements of the space available to hang or mount the sign.
- From how far away the content needs to be visible or has to be read.
- Any local or building regulations restricting the size of signs.
Besides this, you have to consider the total weight of the product. Materials like wood will undoubtedly be heavier than others like acrylic. So if the structure won’t be able to handle the weight, you don’t have to compromise on size. Instead, you can swap out the material.
Likewise, you should be able to customize the shape of the sign to a significant degree. Industrial router tables should be able to cut almost any pattern.
Doing this can be a fantastic way to make your signage, and as a result, your business will stand out from the rest.
Standard signs come in a rectangle or square shape. Overall, this can be a very neat look and can make it easier to design the content for the sign and make it easier to produce. But you can try something different as well.
One great design tip is to carve the sign or part of the sign into the shape of your logo. For example, a garden store can commission a sign that is shaped like a flower or a tree.
Or take a look at the example of the sign for the Clawson Historical Museum. In this case, the specialized shape helps to create a rustic and antique feel.
Next, one of the critical choices you need to make is the color palette of the sign.
One of your main concerns should be to find a scheme that is consistent with your branding and message.
You also don’t want to choose too many colors. Instead, pick a handful of colors that complement each other and are easy on the eyes. Color wheels can be nifty tools to help you assemble a palette.
Another unique aspect of routed signs is the way many designs include natural textures. If you choose to use wood, you could paint over it. Or you could go all out and show off the natural appearance and grain of the wood.
You could also combine this with painted graphics or text.
Another possibility to keep in mind is that routed signs give you the chance to play around with 3D elements. This can be the perfect way to add something unique to your board and help it catch the eye.
It can be as simple as deeply carving out the letters, numbers, borders, or graphics and adding some curves. Or you could cut out a shape and fix it to the face of the sign.
A sign with depth will typically look far more interesting than one with a completely flat surface.
All in all, this is one of the most significant benefits of routed signs.
Graphics are optional on many types of signs. Typically, the words are more important for conveying the message. However, well-chosen and designed images can undoubtedly boost the effectiveness of a sign.
For the most part, people tend to prefer to use simple graphics for routed signs like logos. Once again, you can have fun with carving out shapes from different materials and in different colors to highlight parts of the content.
Last but not least, you need to pay attention to the formatting of the text on the sign. The copy is an essential part of conveying your message to the audience.
Generally, the formatting includes the following:
- The style of the text, for example, is it bold or italic
- Font size
There are three factors that you need to consider when making a decision.
First is the visibility of the text. You don’t want to choose a format that is too small to see.
Second, is the readability of the text. Some fonts are more challenging to read, specifically if they are ornamental or script. Generally, sans serif is also better for signs than serif.
Third, is the appearance of the copy. The formatting should be appealing and should suit your brand’s identity. For example, a law firm should use a font that is neat and formal, like Helvetica or Gothic.
The “where” and “how” of installing routed signs
As you can see from the top sign types, there are a variety of options when it comes to routed signs. This means you can install them almost anywhere, both outside and inside. But there are a few spots where signs are more common.
Routed sign boards are more prevalent in lobbies and reception areas, the front face of a building, or on the sidewalk or yard in front of a building. Aside from this, businesses favor them as nameplates inside the office.
Here are some key features to consider when choosing the location:
- Once again, research local and building regulations about signage. Different states and municipalities have their own policies. For example, there is a guidebook available for the regulation of signs in Michigan.
- Check whether there is anything that can obstruct the view of the sign like trees.
- You need to consider what the optimal spot would be, which would be where the maximum number of people would be able to see it.
- Make sure that the structure can support the weight of the sign.
There are just as many ways to install routed signs as there are ways to design them. Installation might feel like the last step in the creation process. However, we recommend that you keep this in mind from the start to make sure everything goes smoothly.
You need to pick an installation method that will suit the location, weight and shape of the sign, as well as the type of weather conditions you need to contend with.
Among others, you can install the routed signs using the following methods:
- Secure them with screws
- Attach them to posts or poles
- Stick smaller ones with velcro
- Mounting them on a monument sign base
Put quality first
Routed signs stand out for their versatility and flexibility. Thankfully, the construction process allows you much freedom to create the perfect signs for your business’ needs. On top of this, they are typically very budget-friendly.
But no matter what sign you get, remember that quality always comes before quantity. Generally, this is what your clients and audience will be looking for. Consult with the experts to make sure that you get the most out of your signage.
Several different aspects can contribute to their impact and effect. For more information, you can read ten professional sign fonts + the meanings behind them and a guide on where & how to install signs around your business.
We often think of business signs as plaques, posters, letters, and panels that appear on the outside of buildings. And it’s true that those are often prime examples of business signage. But businesses don’t have to be constrained to showcasing their brand on the exterior of their location. In fact, signs are perfect candidates to become part of a building’s interior design, too.
Tailor to your building
Of course, not all buildings are created equal—on the outside or the inside. So it makes sense that different buildings will require different types of interior signs.
Some buildings have an unfinished, industrial appearance on the inside. Think of manufacturing plants, for instance. Others are high-tech and high-fashion. Like a Silicon Valley startup, perhaps.
That’s why we suggest that your interior signage journey should begin with taking stock of your building’s interior design and of its particular offerings. There could even be unique architectural features that would suit your building perfectly for a certain type of sign.
Certainly, a natural starting point is thinking through the issue from all sides. A lot of this can be done from your chair, walking around your building, or even while driving your daily commute. Gather ideas from other companies’ interior signage. You’ll also want to take stock of your strategic aims for the sign—identifying things like your target audience and your intended message. At this stage, getting an idea of your budget parameters should also be helpful.
Talk it out
After you think through some ideas on your own, it’s a great time to get your sign specialist involved. And don’t think that you have to come to them with a fully formed idea at the ready. Instead, you can actually have them help you with designing your sign in addition to manufacturing it.
If your building has pillars, they can become a natural signage asset. Square or round pillars can be enveloped in signage. Use them to promote an ongoing initiative, support key concepts, or even advertise an upcoming event.
Once your customer or client finds your building, they may still need to make it to your office suite within the building. And you want it to make a good impression once they do. That’s why you want to mastermind a lobby sign that projects a positive company image. And you also want the sign to blend well with the design of its surroundings. Check out our Arslanian Law Firm sign to see what we mean—some signs need to exude classy professionalism.
What better use of an open wall than to display something relevant about your business? Check out wall murals if you need signage that lends an air of permanence and commitment to your space. And, if you’re like Thunderbird Lanes, you can even use a mural to promote connection with your customers. Who wouldn’t want to see their own name take a place of honor on your business’s wall?
Wall banners are another possibility when it comes to interior signage. Not only can they promote who you are and what you do, but they can also function as wayfinding signs. Like this sign for Pizza Peddlers, they can help point customers in the right direction.
There is so much to love about floor graphics. Not only do they put an easily underused space to great work, but they’re also fun in their own right. If you’re an ice cream parlor, why not place an ice cream cone icon right on the floor and surround it with comfy chairs in corresponding colors? Fascinatingly, the floor can also provide you with a canvas to promote your core values. That way your tangible foundation actually reflects your company’s intangible foundation.
With wall space available, there’s no limit to the messaging you can share. Routed signs like this one for Midpoint Construction are a perfect way to radiate quality while getting your message across. Even channel letters can take their place on your interior wall—adding depth and color.
Here’s another wall fixture that can be personalized for your company needs—a clock. To see what we mean, check out this custom wall clock for TI Automotive. What time is it? It’s TI Automotive time!
How to incorporate signs into interior design
When it comes to the general question of how to integrate signs inside your business, here’s another thing to keep in mind. You are not limited to your logo. While a logo is often a natural subject of a sign, it is not the only appropriate subject of a sign—not by a long shot.
As we mentioned earlier, you can use your signage to promote your values—either explicitly or implicitly. For instance, a doctor’s office could use an open wall to feature core values like “compassion,” “knowledge,” and “time.” Or a gym could spread an inspirational quote across an open wall with a wall wrap.
Take your time to select the sign that’s just right for the inside of your building. Check out A Guide On Where & How To Install Signs Around Your Business to learn more about the signs that your company might need. And if you’re curious about wall wraps and what you can do with them, take a look at Creative Uses For Interior Wall Wraps With Design Examples.