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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.    

7 Top Characteristics of a Sign for a Downtown Business

The downtown district of any state is often filled with much excitement, activity, and an intriguing juxtaposition of buildings. Think Las Vegas strip meets Times Square. It’s easy for your business’ sign to get lost in the midst of all the clutter of the downtown environment.  This article highlights 5 characteristics that are crucial for your business’ sign to stand out in a downtown district. These characteristics, however, aren’t limited to businesses downtown.  They are features that you should look out for in any business sign you’re creating regardless of location.

Characteristic #1: Legibility

A study conducted by the Signage Foundation in 2014 revealed that legibility is deemed the most important signage characteristic by consumers.  It’s pointless to create a sign that people can’t read, especially at a distance. Ensure that you use a legible font and the right contrasting colors.

Characteristic #2: High Quality

Participants in the Signage Foundation’s survey also said that high quality signs made a greater impact. Business signage has to be viewed as an investment. Don’t try to cut corners by purchasing the cheapest sign possible. Invest in a custom metal sign that can stick with your business for a long time.

Characteristic #3: Aesthetically Appealing/Well-Designed

The sign should have some amount of intrigue. The design should cause pedestrians and motorists in the busy downtown area to stop and take a second-glance.  However, don’t confuse aesthetic appeal with something that is ostentatious. You can create a design that has a level of finesse and makes peope want to learn more about your business.

Characteristic # 4: Internal Illumination

Customers who participated in the survey preferred internal illumination over external illumination for signage. Internal illumination gives a sign an iridescent glow that is unmatchable with external lighting. The glow helps the words of the sign stand out better and minimizes any glare.

Characteristic #5: Complementary to the Environment

Although you want to be different, your business’ sign shouldn’t completely contradict the business’ surroundings. Downtown districts tend to have a theme. Pay attention to the theme and try as best as possible to incorporate it into your design. Your aim should always be to maintain the integrity of the community, not go against it.

Characteristic #6:Multiple Approaches on the Same Establishment

Businesses along a busy downtown street often have the distinct advantage of using both parallel and projected signs. Using multiple signage approaches helps your business stand out. The trick is to use the strategies that complement each other well.

Characteristic #7: Architectural Integration

Your business’ sign shouldn’t clash with the architecture of your storefront. For instance, if your storefront has a sleek and modern design, use a sleek and modern sign.

 

Downtown businesses have to try even harder than their counterparts to stand out amongst the clutter. The business signage characteristics outlined in this article can help you create signs that truly make the right impact. Your sign is a subtle, yet powerful, marketing tool. The team at ShieldCo will design and create a custom metal sign that will make your downtown business shine.

Vinyl Printing versus Embedded and Sublimated Digital Graphics: What Works Best for Indoor Signs?

Vinyl printing provides a creative way to spruce the interior décor of your office.  It is one of the most affordable business signage solutions. Traditionally, white adhesive vinyl would be used as the substrate for the printed designs. Developments in the field, however, have resulted in the use of a wider variety of substrates including glass and other large graphic surfaces.

Embedded and sublimated digital graphics facilitate the adherence of ink to a substrate through the use of heat and electrostatic methods.  Sublimation is touted for its ability to quickly and easily produce the final products. However, it is a very limited printing method because the substrate must wither be polyester coated or be made of polyester fabric. However, both vinyl printing and embedded/sublimation digital graphic printing are used for indoor and outdoor signage.

This article seeks to answer the question: should you use vinyl or embedded/sublimated printing for your indoor signs? The discussion begins with an explanation of the benefits of vinyl printing. The benefits of embedded/sublimated printing are also discussed. By the end of the article, you should be able to effectively compare both methods to determine the one that best suits your needs.

Benefits of Vinyl Printing

Highly Durable

A heat applicator can be used to affix highly durable vinyl materials to your substrate of choice. These materials can typically withstand severe weather conditions and other forms of harsh treatment.  This durability means that you can even use creative designs on your store’s floor. Pretty neat isn’t it?

Welcome Complex Designs

Express your creativity freely. Digital printing has made it easier for transferring complex designs to vinyl substrates. If it can be designed on a computer, it can also be transferred to vinyl.

Cover a Larger Surface Area

Vinyl can be purchased in virtually any dimensions.  Therefore, you can create signs that cover as much or as little of your interior wall space as you desire.

Experience Greater Flexibility

Vinyl material is very flexible.  Consequently, it can be manipulated into a variety of shapes and sizes. This flexibility also makes vinyl signs easily adaptable for a variety of locations.

Make a Statement

High quality graphics and images can be featured. The beauty of the graphics and images will stand out against the glossy finish of the vinyl.

Great for Day to Night Transitioning

The opacity of vinyl printing creates an intriguing effect that is further amplified with the use of LED lights. The material can also make certain features of the design become more pronounced in various lighting conditions.

Benefits of Embedded/Sublimated Digital Graphics

Dye sublimation is particularly useful for outdoor fabric substrates such as awnings and banners. High pressure laminate, which is a type of embedded digital graphic, is particularly useful for park and transit signs because of its durability.  Embedded/sublimated graphics can also help you make a statement through the use of bold colors and the ability to maximize on space.

 

Vinyl printing and embedded/sublimated digital graphics printing are good sign printing options. The option you choose depends on your unique needs and style preferences.

UV Curable Inks in the Business Signage Industry

There are so many factors to consider when creating a custom metal business sign. Metal sign manufacturers pay keen attention to the type of printing technology they use to ensure that you get the best product. A variety of printing technology is available for custom metal business signs. Flatbed printing is one such technology and it allows sign masters to print directly on the metal or substrate of choice. It utilizes two main ink applications: solvent inks and UV inks. Metal sign manufacturers that create signs using flatbed printing tend to prefer UV inks. The benefits and recent advancements with UV curable inks are outlined in this article. 

The Benefits

·         Environmentally friendly. UV curable inks are free of toxins because they don’t use solvents.

·         Curing is fast and efficient. More modern graphic presses can also use UV curable inks to print multiple colors consecutively without moving the substrate.

·         No drying of the UV ink on the printing screen. Therefore, there will be no ink clogging the printer’s mesh if printing stops. Sign manufacturers are able to create as many printouts as they need without having to clean the mesh.

·         A variety of color opacities to choose form. The transparency the ink provides allows an extremely clean printout.

Advances in UV Inkjet Printing

·         Although UV curable inks are durable, they aren’t flexible.  HP created a new ink set called the HP HDR250 Scitex to deal with this issue.  This specialized ink works with the HP Scitex “Smart Coat Technology” to produce another layer of ink from the set’s cyan ink supply. The light cyan ink contains a more durable polymer than the other inks in the ink set. It is printed as a set of closely spaced spots that never meet. This spotted printing allows the sign’s substrate to be folded or flexed without the ink cracking and provides a protective layer for the sign.

·         UV curable inks have to be specially made for each substrate. This becomes pretty expensive. The HP Scitex 15500 Corrugated Press addresses this issue through the use of an affordable ink set for corrugated boards. This makes printing on any substrate using the same ink possible.

·         Agfa has discovered a way to improve image quality with UV Inkjet printing without using more ink. They have dubbed this technology “Thin Ink”. A thinner layer of ink is dispersed which enables faster, more even curing.

·         Toyo Ink has developed two series of low-energy UV-curable offset inks: Flash Dry LPC Ex and Flash Dry LED Ex for LED UV curing systems. Both inks provide a product comparable to oil-based inks without compromising on printing efficiency.  These ink sets also provide a wider variety of colors, greater transparency, and a gloss finish.

 

UV curable inks have developed a solid footing in the business signage industry. Shield Co uses UV Curable Inks to produce high quality finishes on our custom metal business signs.  WE always ensure that we use the best sign printing technology to create custom signs for your indoor and outdoor business needs.