John Deaton, Deaton Designs, Ages Brookside, Kentucky 4x10 ACM sheet: $100 4x10 digital print: $200 Design and production (labor): $900 Total cost: $1200
Brian Schofield, Lines and Letters, Bridgewater, New Jersey Logo design: $300 Direct digital print on ACM with overlaminate: $710 Total: $1010
Brian Schofield, Lines and Letters, Bridgewater, New Jersey Logo design: $300 Direct digital print on ACM with overlaminate: $710 Total: $1010
Don Edwards, Knightworks Design Ltd., Newmarket, Ontario, Canada Design/layout: $300 Print, laminate and apply graphics: $950 Installation: $250 Total: $1500 CDN or about $1200 US
Don Edwards, Knightworks Design Ltd., Newmarket, Ontario, Canada Design/layout: $300 Print, laminate and apply graphics: $950 Installation: $250 Total: $1500 CDN or about $1200 US
Don Edwards, Knightworks Design Ltd., Newmarket, Ontario, Canada Design/layout: $300 Print, laminate and apply graphics: $950 Installation: $250 Total: $1500 CDN or about $1200 US

What would you get for this 4×10 ACM sign?

By SignCraft Magazine

Posted on Monday, January 27th, 2020

Jot down your price for this project: The owner of a towing company whose trucks you letter is opening a speed shop. He needs a 4-by-10-ft. sign on aluminum composite material for the front of his building that says “Crazy Mike’s Speed Shop”. He says he wants the sign to be “really bold and maybe kinda wild.”

That was the scenario we gave three top sign designers for SignCraft’s latest Design & Price feature. All three have decades of experience in the sign business and have had successful sign shops for years. Here’s a sampling of their comments on the job, and you’ll find their estimates are in the captions above:

John Deaton, Deaton Designs: “Mike likes hot rod cartoons, so I thought I would use one to sell this job. A ’55 Chevy with a big engine, done in funky green colors to make it stand out, seems to fit this sign well. Rather than use a one-color panel, I put some stripes at the top and bottom and accented those with a smaller stripe to give it a little more separation. I used one of the greens from the car for Crazy Mike’s and put that on an oval with a shadow to make it bolder.”

Brian Schofield, Lines and Letters: “We presented two concepts to Mike. One layout is a subtle background, where the words and icon ‘pop.’ The other layout has a loud background concept. We charge for logo design and upon logo approval we proceed with sign layout. It is better to charge for the logo design up front, to avoid the awkward moment after the sign is complete when your customer says he now wants the layout you used to make his sign so he may use it for other aspects of his business.

“Most customers seem to understand the value of having a logo designed first. Upon approval of the layout, we request 50% deposit of the sign cost to begin production with the full balance due upon completion of the sign.”

Don Edwards, Knightworks Design Ltd.: “I would break the copy down in order of importance—which might not be from top to bottom. In this case I want you to read Speed Shop first, then Crazy Mike’s, followed by Born to Race. This is important for two reasons. First, often the whole sign can’t be read from a passing car. So I prioritize the message in case there is not enough time to read it all. Secondly, being a new company, the name Crazy Mike’s does not describe the business, so it has less importance (for now).

“When someone is opening a new business, we usually stress the importance of first impressions. We also offer layouts for related items like shop truck graphics or wrap, printed T-shirts, business cards and dye-sub printed crew shirts. It may not happen all at once, but it’s good for them to know the options so that they can budget for them.”

You’ll find the complete article with in-depth comments by all three designers on SignCraft.com and in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue of SignCraft. Don’t miss it!