Blogs

Who says the graphics have to stay inside the border?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

“I hate to see a plain white rectangle,” says Greg Scott, GSWorx, New Philadelphia, Ohio. “It just seems that there’s so much else you can do. I like to use a shape for the background, and I like to break that shape somehow—to poke something out of it here or there. Sometimes I like to have something going on in the background, too.”

Letting a graphic or lettering extend beyond the edge of a panel is an easy trick that is seldom used. Most 

sign makers overlook how easy it is to get out of the rectangle rut. That means ...

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Beyond the routine magnetic sign

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Magnetic signs, like any vehicle lettering, can be powerful advertising for a small business. Likewise, they can also be generic identification that lets a small business miss out on that advertising value. If not well done, they can even work against the business by creating a negative image.

They’re also the ideal solution for many clients. When permanent graphics aren’t an option, magnetics can deliver great advertising that can be installed or removed in seconds.

Bob Stephens, Skywatch Signs, Zephyrhills, Florida, upsells his clients to magnetic signs that are positive

advertising whenever he can. He doesn’t recommend that a business opt ...

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More great image-driven websites

Thursday, May 28, 2015

About a week ago I featured the websites of three sign companies, each of which was loaded with photos and kept the copy to a minimum. I heard from quite a few readers who enjoyed seeing these image-driven sites and commented on their effectiveness.

This approach keeps the focus on the work that the company produces and lets the photos do the selling. Ours is a visual business, and this is a very visual approach that shows rather than tells potential customers what you can do. Website visitors tend to look first and read second, so giving them a lot ...

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Websites that let the photos do the talking

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Writing good copy for your website can be a real challenge. There’s so much you want to say and so many different ways to say it. Sometimes the task is enough to keep you from even updating your site.

Just as with sign copy, it can be easy to go overboard and say too much. Visitors to your site are probably just as busy as you are, and may not take time to read it all. And just as with sign copy, if there’s way too much, they may not read any.

The opposite approach is to say very little ...

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Will they give you the job or not?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

You have only a few minutes to influence a prospect’s decision to let you do their sign work. Very often this decision is made by the impression the prospect gets rather than what you say. Showing before-and-after examples of your work is one way to create the right impression.

The visual impact of before-and-after examples can be more effective than a slick sales pitch. Customers 

Gary Anderson, Bloomington Design, Bloomington, Indiana

can’t always connect with what you’re telling them about your skills or the importance of an effective sign. But most of the time they can see it when you ...

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This handout prevents hassles about deposits, copyright and more

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A sign shop or a t-shirt printer from across town calls to have you “send over the files” from one of your customers so that they can use them for work they’re doing for that customer. A customer tells you he wants a Disney character used on his sign. Asking a customer for a deposit leaves them looking stunned.

The longer you’re in the sign business the more familiar these scenarios become. And the more tired you get with dealing with them.

Chris Bromlow, Cutting Edge Signs, El Reno, Oklahoma, recently sent me a form he put together to help ...

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Sell signs that advertise rather than just identify

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Very often a customer sees a sign just as identification—overlooking the advertising power of a sign. Sometimes a basic sign for identification is all they need or all their budget will allow. But there are real benefits to developing the design skills that let you create signs that deliver real advertising value. Here’s why:

1. The customer gets a much more powerful sign that will bring them more sales at a lower cost than almost any other advertising. That keeps them coming back to you, and leads to referrals, too.

2. You can charge more for your work, even though ...

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Develop layout skills that you can sell

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What do you have to sell? Quick turnaround and low prices are popular approaches. The problem with selling those features, though, is that there’s often someone willing to do the sign a little faster and a little cheaper. That can create a downward spiral that shrinks or eliminates profits.

But many a sign business has developed a profitable niche selling designs that are more effective and more appealing. Why? Because then you’re selling something unique that your customers may not be able to get elsewhere.

In his book, Mastering Layout, the late Mike Stevens explained how to use the ...

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Watch that punctuation!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

It can happen to the best of us. We’re so concerned with layout and production, and so busy, that we don’t check the copy carefully. Even if we check the spelling, we may not give the punctuation a second thought. 

Since many customers can’t accurately punctuate (or spell!), it’s important to do that for them if you want to avoid doing the sign over or making a correction on site. As we all know, making a sign again for free is no fun. Unless you marry or hire an English major, you’ll need a quick way to check punctuation. Fortunately,


No ...
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9 easy places to throw away profits

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Like most sign shops, Larry Elliott handles a wide variety of work at Elliott Designs [www.elliottdesignpro.com]. When you have to price a plaque one minute and a monument sign the next, it's easy to overlook something.

“For custom signs,” says Larry, “most projects include many techniques. It’s not cookie-cutter production. It is very easy to overlook a few simple steps, and this time loss can cut deeply into profits.

“Learning how to accurately estimate labor costs is the hardest part of making signs. For years I based my time estimates on previous jobs and trying to remember where I lost ...

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