Who says the graphics have to stay inside the border?

By SignCraft Magazine

Posted on Wednesday, July 1st, 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 it’s an easy way to give your work the edge over your competition’s work.

It can be as simple as spending 10 or 15 minutes with the jigsaw to cut the top of the panel to let some of the graphics bump above it, or cut the panel to the shape of the graphics. On a 3-D sign, it may just be a matter of beefing up the size of a graphic or some of the lettering. An otherwise rectangular digital print can be designed to be cut to shape once it is mounted on the substrate, if only on one side.

It’s not only easy to do but it’s easy to sell. You can offer it as a creative upgrade that not only does a better job of capturing the attention of viewers, but also makes the sign look bigger than it is.

How do you sell it? Explain how most signs are rectangle shapes and when our eye comes across a unique shape, we’re naturally drawn to it. It will help your customer’s signage stand out from the visual competition and make it more effective. The small investment can add a lot of extra value. All of a sudden, in a world of white rectangle signs, their sign is unique and much more interesting to look at.

Showing photos of other signs that you’ve used this effect on can help the customer see its value. You may even want to do a drawing that shows how a couple of these signs would have looked as plain rectangle signs.

If your customer had just assumed that their sign would be a plain rectangle, or if another sign shop has already pitched them on a plain rectangular sign, your idea may well clinch the sale for you. It makes what you have to offer more of a custom sign—not the generic rectangular sign that is so common.

Poking the copy or graphics beyond the edge of the panel gives you another opportunity to upsell from a basic sign to one that is a better value. The customer spends a little more, most of which goes right to your bottom line. It adds only minimal labor for you—you’re mostly getting paid for your creative skills and knowing how to put this effect to work on their sign.

These examples of Greg’s work show how well this approach works. You’ll see more of his great-looking work in the July/August 2015 issue of SignCraft. Don’t miss it!