page contents

Aluminum vs Stainless Steel: Which is Better for Your Metal Sign?

Metal signs speak volumes. Their sturdiness, malleability, and sleek finish add a level of finesse to business signs. Making the best decisions about the design of your business’ sign shouldn’t be your sole consideration. The type of metal used also plays a major role in how long it will last in external weather conditions. Aluminum and steel are two of the best metals to use in metal signs. The table below compares both types of metals so that you can make an informed decision about the best metal to use for your sign.

 

Aluminum

Steel

Strength to weight ratio

(Force per unit area divided by density)

Aluminum has a tensile strength of 276 MPa and a density of 2.81gcm-3. Aluminum is, therefore, lighter than steel.

Stainless steel has a tensile strength of 505 MPa and a density of 8 gcm-3. Steel is, therefore, stronger than aluminum.

Corrosion

Aluminum has a passivation layer that helps it resist oxidation and corrosion.

Stainless steel contains chromium which has corrosion resistance properties.

Cost

Aluminum is more expensive than steel.

Steel is less expensive and completely recyclable.

Malleability

Aluminum is more malleable and elastic.

Steel is less malleable and elastic.

Electrical Conductivity

Aluminum conducts electricity well.

Steel is one of the poorest conductors of electricity amongst all the metals.

Welding

Aluminum is more difficult to weld than steel.

Steel is less difficult to weld than aluminum.

 

What does this mean for you?

Aluminum is a better metal to use for outdoor signs because it has better weather resistance than steel. Steel, however, has superior strength. So, if you’re comfortable with rust developing on your sign overtime in favor of something stronger, steel is your best option. Both metals can be used for indoor signs.

Essentially, the choice you make depends on what you’re willing to live with. Both metals will give you the refined look you desire. Their strength and weather resistance are the ultimate decision factors.

 

Colors and Custom Metal Signage

“As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.” ~John Lubbock

Color enhances everything. It helps you tell a story without having to use words. Custom metal signs sometimes need pops of color to send the right message for the intended audience.  However, according to Corky Binggeli and Patricia Greichen, authors of the book Interior Graphic Standards, “Color choices for sign messages, backgrounds, and graphics should be chosen to ensure adequate contrast and legibility.” They further state that signage guidelines dictate “a 70 percent contrast ratio of message to background.”   Therefore, while colors for custom metal signs should complement the space they’re in, they should also use contrasting colors. This article presents some guidelines for choosing the right colors for your metal sign.

Contrasting Colors

The color wheel acts shows the relationship between colors. Contrasting colors are found in different segments of the color wheel.  Yellow, for instance, is in the warm portion of the color wheel while purple is in the cool portion. 

Jacci Howard Bear in an article entitled Contrasting Colors published on thoughtco.com states that “Colors don’t have to be direct opposites or have a set amount of separation to be considered contrasting or complementary. In design, it’s more about perception and feeling.” Therefore, you don’t need to stick to the rule of contrasting colors being on the opposite ends of the color wheel. You can work with colors that you think go well together, but using the color wheel as a guide can be very helpful.

Light Reflectancy

Paul Arthur and Romedi Passini crafted an ingenious method for determining the right colors to use in signs. They documented it in their book Wayfinding: People, Signs and Architecture. They created a table of light reflectancy readings in percentages. These readings are used to calculate the brightness differential.

A brightness differential of 70 percent or more guarantees greater legibility. Color combinations with a brightness differential less than 70 percent shouldn’t be used. The light reflectancy table is shown below.

Colors and Custom Metal Signage.png

(Image Source: designworkplan.com)

Let’s use white and purple as an example.

Therefore, this color combination can be used. In this case, a dark purple would have to be used against the white background so that the words stand out.

 

Choosing the right color combination for your sign can seem like a daunting task. A consistent brand will use the company’s colors in all areas of branding, including signs. The trick is to ensure that you have the right color combinations for your brand from the get-go. The team of sign experts at ShieldCo can create an impactful metal sign in any color combination you choose. Call or email us today to schedule a free consultation.

 

Need a sign? Click the Free Quote button below! 

Using Custom Metal Signs as Wall Décor

Using Custom Metal Signs as Wall Décor

Custom metal signs add character to any space. The malleability of the metal makes it fairly easy to shape it into any desired shape or pattern. Metal signs don’t have to be limited to the conventional words with a little logo attached. They can be taken to new dimensions with the right artistic mind. Some examples are shown below. 

Images from ShieldCo

 

Images from Pinterest

 

Why is wall art important in interior design?

Interior design is more than just choosing the right furniture, fluffing a few pillows, and painting some walls. It should be treated like an art form, worthy of the same type of attention painters give to the most minute details in their work.  

Wall art, believe it or not, is an important part of interior design. The benefits of making wall art a more prominent consideration in your interior design plans are detailed below.

Provides a Color Palette for the Room

Even metal wall art can be used to inspire your color choices for a room.  The pictures above show that it is possible to have wall art that is either purely metallic or has a combination of colors.  If a variety of colors are present, choose the dominant color and shades you can use as accents. These are the colors that you’ll use to decorate the space. Decorating in this way will help you creating a unified design.

Creates a Focal Point

Wall art, when used correctly, creates a focal point around which the entire design is based. It gives visitors a sense of what to expect from the space. Size is, therefore, an important consideration. A metal piece that is too small will look small against the surrounding furniture. Contrastingly, a metal piece that is too big will be too prominent in the room. Take wall measurements to ensure that your metal wall art utilizes the right amount of space.

Adds Texture

Wall art that incorporates a variety of media adds texture to a space. The depth these pieces add will determine the tone of the room. Rough textures add intimacy to a space while smooth textures add sleekness.

 

Metal signs can become works of art. An expert at ShieldCo can help you create a metal sign piece that is perfect for wall art. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Geometrically Intriguing Custom Metal Signs

Geometric patterns are a growing trend in interior design. Their sharp edges and bod shapes add a level of intrigue to a space that other design elements often can’t provide. Custom metal signs provide one of the best opportunities to create geometrically intriguing wall art for interior spaces. You can even put your business’ name and logo against a fun geometric pattern. Reasons for geometric designs being meaningful in interior design are highlighted in this article.

 

(Image from georgiametalart.com)

Visual Interest

Entering a space that only has paint on the walls can be pretty boring. This is especially true when there are no pops of color in the space. Office spaces tend to shy away from using color because businesses don’t want to overwhelm customers. Adding a geometric custom metal sign can add just the right amount of interest to a seemingly dull space.

The Golden Ratio of Proportions

Geometric wall art sometimes forms a part of the golden ratio of proportion in interior design. The most commonly used ratio is: 60 percent neutral colors, 30 percent darkly colored furniture, 5 percent accents in warm colors, 5 percent accents in bright colors. Geometric custom metal signs can be used as accents in a design. A design accent doesn’t play a prominent role in the design, but helps to break up the space.

Patterns and Themes

Shapes of design elements can influence the layout of a space. Custom metal signs used as wall art can inspire a pattern and theme for a room. A designer can choose to use the sign’s pattern as inspiration for the way the furniture in the room is arranged. Another option is to use the sign’s colors to influence the color choices for the space.

Geometry plays an important role in sign design. The geometric patterns that are used in metal signs can inspire the design of the entire space. The team at ShieldCo can help you determine the right geometric shape to use for your business’ interior custom metal sign. Contact us today for a free consultation.

The Value of Investing in Illumination for Your Custom Metal Sign

Metal signs are already stunning on their own. Their vibrant finishes, bold lettering, refined edges, and perfect color blends result in a sign that truly makes an impact. That impact is greatly diminished, however, if the appropriate lighting isn’t used. Illuminated signs have numerous benefits and shouldn’t be overlooked. This article highlights some of the most important benefits.

Increase Visibility

On-premise signs are one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising. A well-built sign may seem like a huge investment initially, but it is an investment that does pay off in the long term. In fact, a study conducted in 2011 revealed that most mobile customers who shop on impulse stopped at fast food restaurants because they saw the restaurant’s sin while driving past.

The marketing impact of a business sign is non-existent if the sign can’t be sign. Your beautiful metal sign is practically invisible at night or in poorly lit conditions. Illumination using LED lights, or other lighting options, solves this problem.  People won’t miss your sign in these conditions if it is well-lit.

Give Your Sign a Dramatic Change

Simplicity works in your favor when creating a business sign. Simple typography and a legible design are crucial. Think about the Crate and Barrel sign. It is literally the words “crate and barrel” running along the building. Lighting enables you to add some extra oomph to such a simple sign design. You can use LED lights to add strong pops of color. You could also use halo lighting to make the sign glow.

Create Optical Illusions

There are some interesting lighting tricks that you can play with LED lights. Angling the lights in various ways to cast shadows in the right places can help you make a dramatic impact. There are other tricks that you can also discuss with lighting experts.

What type of lighting should you choose?

There are 3 types of lighting available for metal signs: neon, fluorescent, and LED. LED is by far the best option for the following reasons:

·         They last longer.

·         They don’t contain harmful gases. Neon lights contain mercury which is harmful to the environment.

·         They are brighter.

·         They use less energy.

·         They don’t need to be replaced regularly.

A well-lit sign adds tremendous marketing prospects to your business. It makes your business easy to find in poorly lit conditions and allows you to add some interesting design elements without changing the entire sign. Speak with a ShieldCo representative today to find out how we can add lighting to your custom metal sign.

 

The 6 Components of an Urban Wayfinding System

Urban wayfinding has several components. Good urban planners pay attention to all of these components and work assiduously to make them work in harmony.   Each component uses the right colors, typography, shapes, logos, materials and nomenclature. If you are an urban planner, ensure that you use the right types of signs for each of these areas so that people who visit your area can navigate easily.

Gateways and Area Identification

City, regional and district gateways are the first places that should have well-built signs. People should know when they are both entering and leaving these major areas.  Both the entry and exit signs should follow the same format and have the same type of look and material. Signs for city gateways can be freestanding or attached to other landmarks including bridges, buildings and parks. District gateways can include cultural districts, commercial districts, or political districts. The point is to make these areas easy to identify.

Vehicular Wayfinding

Vehicular wayfinding signs are along roadways and direct motorists to districts, cities, parks, heritage areas, destinations and parking. Visibility at high speeds is a must. Vehicular wayfinding signs fall into 3 categories: Controlled Access Road Signs, Regional Signs, Large Scale Signs and Downtown and Neighborhood Signs.

Controlled Access Road Signs direct motorists to destinations along highways. They must follow Federal Highway Administration guidelines even though they are administered by individual states. Regional Signs guide motorists to parks, agricultural facilities, institutional and commercial destinations, and heritage areas outside of urban areas. Distance is typically included on these signs and they are administered either by state bodies, counties, or a combination of counties and towns. Large Scale Signs direct motorists to large scale destination and urban districts.  Finally, Downtown and Neighborhood Signs direct motorists to localized destinations and parking. They can also direct motorists back to interstate and state roads.

Pedestrian Wayfinding

Pedestrian wayfinding signs help pedestrians navigate within a district or neighborhood. There are three types of Pedestrian Wayfinding Signs: Pedestrian Directional Signs, Map Signs and Directories. The names are self-explanatory.

Destination Identity

These signs characterize destinations.  There are 5 types of Destination Identity Signs: Institutional Identity, Gateway, Interpretive Identity, On-Premise Commercial Landmarks, and Parking.  Institutional Identity signs clearly identify government, cultural, educational, transportation or health buildings. Gateway signs are often placed at the entrances of educational, corporate, transportation, and healthcare locations. Interpretive identity signs require some form of interpretation. On-Premise Commercial Landmark signs clearly identify commercial or corporate offices and also serve as landmarks. Parking signs identify parking areas within the district.

Urban and Street Identity

These signs include: street signs, regulatory signs, street furniture, public art, civic banner programs, and visitor centers.

Media and Print Support

Media and print support integrates physical elements, websites, mobile media, print maps and directories with tangible urban design elements.

 

ShieldCo designs custom metal signs that would be perfect for your state, county, or urban district signs. Contact one of our representatives today to get a quotation for your specific needs.

The Importance of Wayfinding Systems in Urban Areas

Signs aren’t limited to storefronts and interior retail spaces. They are also important elements in urban landscapes. Busy commercial districts, parks, playgrounds and other urban areas typically have signs that perform various roles. Understanding their importance will probably make you take a second look at these signs that you see every day. This article focuses on 5 reasons for the importance of signs in wayfinding in urban areas.

Defining a Sense of Place

The ability to identify exactly where we are is extremely important. Street signs follow specific guidelines stipulated by state and federal laws and help us identify the specific names of streets . There are other signs, however, that can help us identify locations. Municipal wayfinding systems generally identify destinations within a city and provide useful information about each destination. These types of signs create what Kevin Lynch, a popular urban geographer, calls the “legible city”.

Highlighting Complementary Destinations

GPS is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand it helps us easily find unfamiliar locations. On the other hand, it causes us to easily pass by less popular areas that may be equally interesting. A city’s wayfinding program incorporates signs that clearly showcase the museums, retail districts, historical areas, and landmarks that visitors may overlook.

Supporting the Community

A community is a brand. All landmarks, storefronts, business places, and areas of interest within that community should, therefore, create a cohesive image that fits into the city’s brand. Each major American city has architectural standards that must be upheld, promotes the production and display of high-quality commercial on-premise signs, creates distinguishable monuments, and builds mounted identifications and marquees.  Additionally, on-premise signage plays a role in real-estate value and business success. Both factors contribute to the overall financial success of a community.

Controlling Traffic and Parking

Vehicular traffic is a necessary component of a traveler’s commute through a city. Motorists have to be able to easily identify public and private parking lots, road traffic signs, and directions to popular destinations in the city. The movement of traffic also has to be controlled. Appropriate signage is one way to effectively address both areas of concern.

Creating Consistency

Organization and consistency make urban wayfinding easier. A proliferation of mismatched signs and random posters creates confusion in a passerby’s mind. Questions that run through the person’s mind include:

What should I focus on?

Why do I feel overstimulated?

How can I know where to go when I can barely see that sign in the midst of the clutter? I’m confused!

Cities that create a consistent environment make it easier for a passerby to quickly read and comprehend signs.

 

Urban wayfinding isn’t a job reserved for urban planners. Each person in the community plays a role. Ensure that you research the sign and building regulations of your area before building your space or creating a sign. Make a positive contribution to your community.

Retail Wayfinding Best Practices

Wayfinding signs have become the norm in retail spaces. They combine a variety of visual, tactile and audible elements to attract shoppers to particular areas of a store. As the name suggests, wayfinding signs help customers find the way to what they need. The aisle signs in a supermarket are typical examples of wayfinding signs, but their use isn’t limited to supermarkets and retail spaces. Any office space that needs to provide some type of direction to customers, or highlight a particular area in the space, needs wayfinding signs. Custom metal signage can be used to create wayfinding signs that truly stand out. Well-built and strategically placed wayfinding signs only serve their desired purpose, however, if the best practices outlined in this article are followed.

Do Your Research

Successful stores continuously assess the performance of the signs they use. They also try various approaches to attract customers. One strategy that can be used to determine the effectiveness of your wayfinding signs is to measure the increase in employee productivity. Employees should be spending less time directing customers and more time assisting customers in other ways (or doing other meaningful activities). This ultimately leads to an increased ROI. If you notice no significant change, something is wrong with your signs. Therefore, research is necessary to the profitability of the wayfinding signs you’ve created.  

Utilize Buyer Psychology

Your aim is to persuade buyers to make purchases by directing them to the right places.  Buyers sometimes unconsciously purchase items they never intended to purchase simply based on strategic planning of the store’s layout, display placement and use of signs. Feeding their subconscious with the right messages will compel them to spend more.

Pay Attention to Store Layout

Product displays should always be carefully planned so that they attract attention. Appropriate signage and placement play a major role in this. Think about the last time you walked into a store and saw a nicely dressed display promoting a new product or special promotion. Didn’t the way the display was set up arouse your curiosity? For a few minutes you probably even forgot what you entered the store to do because you were side-tracked by the intrigue of the display. Keep that image in your mind and attempt to replicate it in your own store.

Signs and displays can also have a powerful impact if they’re arranged in a hierarchy.  A hierarchical arrangement visually breaks the store into components that make it easier for customers to navigate.  Easier navigation adds a great boost to the customer experience.

Signs can also help you implement a store-in-store strategy. Think about the last time you walked into Macy’s and saw an entire section dedicated to popular brands such as Lark and Co. The store-in-store strategy allows brands to take over an entire section of a store with their own branding, fixtures and displays. This strategy is ideal for brands that sell well in your store.

Wayfinding signs also help with the consistency of branding in a store’s layout. The signs used in –store should mimic the image portrayed on websites, marketing materials and outdoor signs. Consistency improves a brand’s image in the eyes of consumers.

Legibility is Vital

Creative store planners can expertly place signs in corners without obscuring the intended message. It’s important to utilize as much of your store’s space as possible. The corner approach does this while maintaining the sign’s legibility.

As with outdoor signs, wayfinding signs should use a legible font, an appropriate scale, and the right contrast to their background. Stay away from the cursive scripts. They are gorgeous, but standard fonts such as Helvetica and Serif Fonts are best for signs because of their legibility.

Use High Quality Materials

Quality should be one of the first words that customers associate with your brand. It’s easy to pay little attention to the quality of your signs and focus completely on improving quality elsewhere. However, the best approach is to incorporate high quality signs in your brand’s overall standard of quality.

Consider Modularity

Modularity in this context refers to the ability to match store signs to the same material standards as fixtures. Digital signage is applicable here since these types of signs can be incorporated into entertainment fixtures such as televisions and laptops.

Dimensionality Adds Interest

Dimensionality merges elements of exterior signs with wayfinding signs. These elements include: channel letters, projecting signs and awnings. The idea is to give that area of the store an urban or eclectic vibe.

Illumination Never Gets Stale

There is something about a well-lit sign that just makes it more attractive. LED technology has made it highly possible to create the right glow on interior signs. One of the most recent interior sign lighting trends has been the use of cove and soffit lighting.

Retail Disciplines and Wayfinding Signs

-Signs alone do not create effective wayfinding in retail environments. Successful store navigation requires bringing together architecture and display to create a complete environment that both directs and informs.

 

 

Incorporate Wayfinding Signs in Visual Merchandising

Macro level visual merchandising signs typically identify important sections of a store. They are fixed and not easy to change. Checkout visual merchandising signs, on the other hand, are flexible and can be changed to suit the environment. Effective management of macro level and checkout signs is often used as an indication of wayfinding sign excellence. Top companies expertly allow both types of signs to work seamlessly together.

 

 Several factors affect a customer’s overall in-store experience. Effective use of wayfinding signs is one such factor. Some entrepreneurs may view wayfinding signs as frivolous investments, but play a crucial role in helping customers enjoy the in-store experience. ShieldCo can create custom metal indoor wayfinding signs that add a consistent and high quality feel to your store or office.

3 Reasons a Business Sign is a Good Investment for Your Business

3 Reasons a Business Sign is a Good Investment for Your Business

Aesthetics greatly influence a buyer’s decision. Strong businesses invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in both the interior and exterior aesthetics of their buildings. Entrepreneurs with the right business savvy also understand that business signage adds great value to a business’ exterior.  The money you invest in creating a consistent and appealing look will ultimately produce great long term returns. This article explains 3 reasons for this potentially great return on investment.

Associating Your Brand with Quality

Signs reinforce the quality of a brand. Think about leading companies such as Apple, Crate and Barrel, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Forever 21. Whenever you see their signs you automatically associate what you see with quality.  Their business signs have become an important part of their overall marketing strategy.

Enhances the Customer’s Experience

A business sign in isolation cannot enhance a customer’s overall experience. However, since aesthetics do play a role in how a company is perceived, paying attention to the finer aesthetic details can influence a customer’s experience. A business sign should always be a part of your experience design strategy. Experience design measures all possible elements of the customer experience and incorporates these elements into the design.

Shows Consistency and Cohesion

Business signs are a good opportunity to showcase the consistency of your brand. Buyers love consistency. Using the same sign for each location, while paying attention to the design elements that will make it suitable for the area in which the business is located, helps create consistency.

 

A business sign investment will be unsuccessful, however, without the deliberate planning by management. Companies with effective sign strategies tightly manage design development. They have a team that is mandated to control store development which also includes sign development. Management also collects detailed data about each store’s performance and customer satisfaction. The impact of the sign on these factors is included in these surveys. They also rate signs highly when making ROI calculations.

A business sign should, therefore, be one of your top considerations as an entrepreneur. The little details matter to your customers and a well-developed sign is one such feature.  Your management team needs to care about the design elements of your office just as much as the other areas that make your business work. Well-developed business signs associate your brand with quality, enhance the customer’s experience, and show consistency. A happy customers means more money in the bank.

Factors to Consider for the Legibility of Your Business Sign’s Typography

Legibility is a deal-breaker in the signage industry. Illegible signs are immediately dismissed and give a business a bad first impression. Using the right font is an important consideration in your sign’s legibility. This article, however, highlights some other important considerations.

Negative Space

Negative space is the space surrounding letters, words and images. Legibility is greatly affected by negative space. A general rule of thumb is that there should be as much negative space as possible. Letters and images are easier to distinguish when there is more negative space.

Letter Height

Letter height depends on the location of your sign. If you’re in an area where vehicles typically travel at high speeds, such as a highway, letter heights should be 12 inches are more. On the other hand, letter heights should be at least 4 inches in areas where vehicles travel at slower speeds.

Open Counterforms

Counterform refers to the space within letters. Lighting typically makes counterforms shrink.  Use fonts that have thinner stroke widths and more open contours to address this issue.

Effective Use of both Positive and Negative Space

Contrast is important in signage. Dark letters on a light background are easier to read than light letters on a dark background. Additionally, try as best as possible to paint the wall on which your sign is to be placed a light color. If your sign has a dark typeface, it will pop against the light wall color.

Avoid Cursive Fonts

This tip depends on the situation. It is generally believed that the best fonts to use for signage are Serif and Sans Serif. It is recommended, however, that cursive and idiosyncratic fonts not be used.

Lighting

Backlighting, rather than exterior lighting, is often preferred for signs. Signs with backlighting should have wider letter spacing and very simple fonts.

Be Consistent

It’s important to use the same typography and type of sign for all branches of your business. Consistency makes your signs easier to recognize. Recognition is crucial because motorists will only see your sign for short periods of time. You want them to be able to recognize your sign quickly and make a decision to support your business.

 

Business sign typography encompasses more than just the font you use. You have to pay attention to the negative and positive space you use, the size of the font in relation to lighting, letter height, counterforms, and consistency. When all of these elements work together, you’ll be able to create a sign that attracts potential customers.