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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.

 

Art and Science of Sign Design

Sign design is a complex process. It may seem quite simple to use the colors, lettering and positioning that appeal to you. However, there is a much broader audience of viewers and target customers to consider. Understanding how science and art blend together to create strong sign designs is, therefore, important. The following table highlights some dos and don’ts of sign design. Each point incorporates relevant elements of art, science, or both. If you follow these guidelines as outlined, you’ll be able to produce signs that generate authentic leads for your business.

Do: Ensure that your sign is visible at the longest possible distance.

Don’t: Never create a sign with a poor combination of lettering and colors that can only be understood upon closer viewing.

Reason: There is a short window of time between when a driver spots a sign and when he or she passes it. This window of time is called the Decision Sign Distance (DSD). A motorist has to have enough time to read the sign, process the information, and react.

 

Do: Pay attention to the environment in which your sign is going to be placed.

Don’t: Never create a sign that is “hidden” in its environment.

Reason: Anyone looking at your sign isn’t just seeing the sign. The sign is being viewed in the context of its environment (structures, landscape and visual sight lines).

 

Do: Use logos, fonts and words on the sign that are easily recognizable.

Don’t: Never use indistinguishable features on your sign.

Reason: Your sign needs to be memorable and easy to understand. The more recognizable it is, the quicker it will be processed by the viewer’s brain. If viewers can clearly identify what you’re offering, and that product or service interests them, they’ll become paying customers.

 

Do: Use the right contrast between your sign’s foreground and background.

Don’t: Never use colors and a background that poorly contrast.

Reason: The right contrast can make a sign stand out. A sign’s exterior contrast is a comparison between the sign’s edge to the background against which it must be viewed.  Interior contrast compares the copy to the background. Both forms of contrast should be in the right proportions to boost visibility.

 

Do: Use the largest possible letters and the most legible font.

Don’t: Use small lettering and fonts that are difficult to read.

Reason: Signs should be at a 40 feet distance per inch of letter height so that they can be easily understood and viewed. The strokes of the letters should be one-fifth the height of each letter. This makes the font more readable.

 

Do: Consider the limitations of the viewer.

Don’t: Neglect to consider people with poor eyesight.

Reason: The Vision Council of America states that about 75% of adults use some form of vision correction. Additionally, most people see poorly in low-light conditions. Vision also declines with age. Therefore, signs should be designed so that they can be seen both at day and at night.

 

Do: Position your sign in the viewer’s cone of vision.

Don’t: A sign shouldn’t be more than 10 degrees outside the viewers cone of vision

Reason: Positioning your sign in the viewer’s cone of vision ensures that the driver can stay focused on the road, but still be able to view your sign.

 

Do: Pay attention to your sign’s luminance. Luminance is the amount of light a color reflects off a surface

Don’t: Use too many colors that have low luminance.

Reason: Signs with a higher percentage luminance show brighter. The percentage luminance for the most commonly used colors is given below.

Black: 0-5%

Red: 10-15%

Brown: 15-30%

Blue: 25-30%

Green: 25-40%

Yellow: 65-70%

White: 75-90%

Luminance is especially important for night visibility. If your sign’s luminance is low, it won’t be seen by people driving at night.

Do: Pay attention to your sign’s luminescence. Luminescence is the light emitted from a light source.

Don’t: Use colors that have a low luminescence.

Reason: Colors with a higher luminescence are more visible, especially at nights.  The luminescent colors arranged from dimmest to brightest are: red, blue, green and yellow.

4 Tips for Creating Custom Metal Indoor Signage for your Business

4 Tips for Creating Custom Metal Indoor Signage for your Business

Emphasis tends to be placed on outdoor metal signage. However, indoor signage can add just the right oomph to your interior design. Indoor signs can be used in your reception area, office space, and general areas where customers frequent. They can range from a replica of your business’ name and logo to etched words and quotes. The possibilities are endless.  This article presents 4 tips for creating impactful custom metal indoor signs for your business.

Be Creative

The indoor space gives you greater opportunity to exercise your creative intellect.  The signs you create should, however, complement the interior décor. They shouldn’t be busy and seemingly out of place. Instead they should meld perfectly with the interior appeal you’re hoping to achieve for your brand.

Use Laser Cut Signs

Laser Cut signs add even greater intrigue to the design of a metal sign.  They are great for room labeling, quotes, and employee appreciation. Couple them with the right backing and you’ll have signs that give your indoor space a consistent professional feel.

Showcase Your Brand’s Personality

Character. This is what customers look for when they enter a professional space.  How are you able to convey the personality of the brand in the space? For instance, if you sell children’s toys your interior décor should be fun and playful. This personality should also be reflected in your indoor metal signage.

It’s NOT a DIY

You may think that you’re Superman’s long lost cousin, but creating custom interior signage is not a DIY project.  Don’t waste countless hours trying to create your own indoor signs. Time lost can never be regained. Hire the professionals at ShieldCo to create custom metal art that is perfect for your interior décor.

 

Design is crucial for a storefront or business office.  Emphasis is often placed on the furniture, layout and colors used in the space. However, the value custom metal art can add to the space should never be neglected. Let the team at ShieldCo create the custom metal signage you need for your indoor space.

3 Ways Custom Metal Signage Works as a Marketing Tool

Advertising has drastically changed over the past 5 years. Traditional advertising is gradually being replaced with digital advertising. The economy is seeing a massive shift from brick and mortar stores to ecommerce sites. All of these changes can make a business owner question how best to spend marketing dollars.  The best marketing strategies for SMEs combine digital strategies with smaller traditional marketing strategies such as custom business signage. At this point you may have your hand on your chin and a quizzical look on your face because you don’t see the connection between marketing and custom business signage.

The connection is a delicate thread that can only be strengthened by coupling an impactful sign with other marketing strategies. However, the custom business signage as a standalone marketing strategy is an idea that should be explored.  

Branding is Everything

There is one thing about marketing that remains constant: branding. All designs associated with your business should be consistent. They should represent what you want the customer to see. A sign is the first thing a customer sees when entering a store or business establishment.  Customers want to see a sign that reinforces the fact that they’re interacting with a strong, reputable brand. A custom metal sign that carries the consistent theme of your branding does just that.

Visibility

Digital marketing efforts are generally ephemeral. Online ads are usually only given a passing glance and tend not to reappear in front of the eyes of a consumer who hasn’t clicked on them. Yes, retargeting does attempt to tackle this challenge. However, the fixed nature of a business’ sign makes it a more consistent marketing tool. It will always be there. If it is well designed and placed, people who pass through the area will see it and be compelled to enter.

Bold Statement

There are signs and then there are metal signs. Custom metal business signage makes a bold statement. Such power helps set your business apart from its competition. Think about it. Wouldn’t you be more enticed to enter a business with a strong metal sign as opposed to one with a busy plastic sign? Always use as many strategies as possible to help your company make a bold statement.

 

Custom metal signage is only one ingredient in the marketing pot. We are in no way suggesting that business signage will solve your marketing woes. However, it does play an important part in long term marketing efforts. It provides consistency, visibility, and impact for your brand. Make the right choice to purchase custom metal signage for your business today.

3 Useful Applications of CNC Machining and Laser Cutting

CNC machining and laser cutting make it possible to create a variety of metal designs. These designs, however, are not limited to custom metal signage. Instead, they can be used to create custom metal art for a variety of purposes. Three of these purposes are outlined below.

Metal Logo Awards

Staff appreciation is important for business success.  Statistics show that “69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were being appreciated.”  Incentive programs are commonly used to show appreciation. Merging awards with these incentive programs can result in an even greater boost in staff morale.  CNC machining and laser cutting facilitate the creation of metal logo awards that are truly unique to your business. The durability of the material means that the awards will last a lifetime and are, therefore, great keepsakes.

Metal Business Cards

Metal business cards are a new trend on the market. They merge the traditional elements of business cards with functionality.  For instance, a metal business card could take the form of a bottle opener. So, it would be something that customers keep. Printed business cards often get thrown out. Functional metal business cards tend to stick around.

Metal business cards also increase the professional look of your brand.  People who see them will think, “Wow! This is amazing!” They then become a conversation piece that remains etched in people’s minds.  Memorability builds interest and ultimately boosts sales.

Metal Art

Metal art is a form of expression. It can take the form of a statement piece that brings new life to a space. Three dimensional metal art creates that wow factor that compels people to stop and take a second look.

 

CNC machining and laser cutting can transform virtually any type of metal into something useful. ShieldCo focuses on using these tools and techniques to create custom business signage. However, there are other applications such as metal logo awards, metal business cards and metal art.  Let metal help you make the right statement.

3 Factors to Consider when Creating Custom Metal Signage

Custom metal signage makes a bold statement. Sharp edges, clean lines, and the right powder coating should be enough to get your business signage seen by potential customers right? It is true that these factors add to the visual appeal of business signage. However, the sign’s design trumps all of these factors. The design must complement the business’ location, backdrop against which the sign will be placed, and the target customer.

The Business’ Location

Signs help people find your business. They should, therefore, be placed in areas where they can easily be seen. Size also matters. The larger the lettering, the easier it is to read. You should also choose a font that can easily be read at a distance. 

Business signage should also complement the vibe of the area in which the business is located. For instance, if your business is located in a trendy commercial district, your sign should reflect this hip, cool vibe. All of this should also be in-line with the area’s business signage zoning restrictions. This doesn’t mean, however, that it should totally go against what your business stands for. Making the best use of your sign, therefore, means strategically positioning it and merging the vibe of your environment with the message of your brand.

The Backdrop

The backdrop should provide the right contrast for your sign.  The backdrop should be a solid color. Placing a bold metal sign against a solid color backdrop actually increases the viewer’s retention of the content.

Additionally, the backdrop should complement the colors of the sign in a meaningful way. It is important to consider colors that are appropriate for the product or service being sold. For instance, if our business is selling male suits, pink and gold wouldn’t be the best colors to use.  The colors you should in essence reflect your brand’s personality and work well together.

The Target Customer

Everything in your business comes right back to the customer. Your business signage must appeal to the customers you are trying to attract. Your logo, typography and overall design must pay homage to your target audience’s likes. Yes, your logo should be relevant and timeless. However, the overall business signage design should incorporate the logo in such a way that it appeals to your target demographic.

 

Pay keen attention to the elements discussed in this article. Your custom metal signage could be gorgeous, but if it isn’t strategically positioned, created at the right size, placed against the right backdrop, and doesn’t appeal to the target audience, the money you spent creating it would be wasted.

A Brief History of Logos

Logos are a part of human expression. From as far back as the 15th century, logos have been used in the form of family crests and religious symbols. They may not have been called logos back then, but they served the same purpose as present-day logos: symbolism. Humans develop perceptions of the world based on relatable signs and symbols. For instance, a tree is generally symbolic of growth and prosperity. This article briefly describes the evolution of logos as the symbolic images we know today.

Early 1700s

Leading up to the early 1700s, families, dynasties and cultures used a variety of representative symbols. The symbols used in family crests and religious emblems were iconic and ubiquitously knows to be associated with particular themes or concepts. Many of the symbols we presently use stem from those used in this era.

The Industrial Revolution (circa 1840)

The Industrial Revolution was the turning point of business evolution. Companies quickly realized that consumers focused more on brands than products as mass production became commonplace. For instance, they no longer just bought milk. Instead, they searched for a particular brand of milk. As a result, brand identity became very important. Marketing began to blossom as a crucial part of a business.  Businesses quickly realized that simple symbols wouldn’t give them a competitive edge in the growing marketplace. Consistent design was another major concern. The logo, therefore, evolved into a more potent symbol that gave a brand its identity.

Modern-Day Logos

Technology has changed the way people interact with brands. Greater emphasis is being placed on establishing a digital presence to keep up with the demands of active social media and internet users. This shift has resulted in the prevalence of brightly colored, 3 dimensional, and shiny logos. Simplicity is also the name of the game. Brands try to ensure that their logos have one or more of the following elements:

·         minimalistic designs that truly catch the eye

·         effective use of negative space

·         hand drawn graphics which add authenticity

·         bold lines

·         vintage inspiration

 

The rise in digital marketing doesn’t negate the fact that logos should be adaptable to print.  Savvy business owners create a logo that can be used in both media.  They also ensure that their logo is included in the custom business signage. Logos are a brand. Ensure that your business has a well-designed logo that can be used in several applications, especially custom metal signage.

How ShieldCo Utilizes Cutting-Edge Technology to Create Stunning Logo-Based Business Signage

Mediocrity is never an option for the team at ShieldCo. Each custom metal sign we produce utilizes CNC machining and powder coating that truly make your sign shine. Our aim is to effectively incorporate your logo into the high quality metal signs we produce so that your brand can get the visibility it needs. This article provides you with a glimpse into the beauty of the products we use.

CNC Machining

Technology was created to simplify business processes. CNC machining allows us to use high-tech computers to control the machines we use to create custom metal signage. This makes the boost precision and enables multiple iterations of the same design to be created.  What truly makes CNC machining unique, however, is the numerical coding associated with the computer software that controls the feed rate, coordination, location, and speeds of the machines we use.

A 3D CAD drawing is created for each custom metal sign we use.   The CAD drawing then creates a numerical code that can be understood by the CNC machine’s program. We then run a test to ensure that there aren’t any glitches. Once no glitches have been identified, we create the metal sing you need. The CNC machine makes it simple for us to create any design, regardless of its complexity.

Laser Cutting

Laser cutting transforms a metal sign into a work of art.  ShieldCo has some of the best laser cutting technology in the industry. The high powered laser enables us to utilize virtually any type of metal to create precisely shaped designs.  Like the CNC machine, the laser is guided by the CAD drawing specifically created for your metal sign.

Powder Coating

Powder coating is the decorative finish we apply to all of our metal signs. It protects the signs from the wear and tear often caused by the environment. Electrostatic spraying is used to apply the charged powder particles to the sign’s surface. A variety of colors are available which, therefore, makes it simple for us to create custom metal signs in any color. You can choose a traditional silver metallic finish or utilize the colors of your brand. Whatever your choice, we’ll make it happen.

 

ShieldCo strives to use the best technology to create custom metal signs that are truly works of art. Our CNC machine, laser cutting techniques, and powder coating ensure that you get a high quality metal sign that helps your business make a bold impression.

5 Powerful Reasons for Including your Business Logo in your Custom Metal Signage

5 Powerful Reasons for Including Your Business’ Logo in Your Custom Metal Signage

Your logo is your brand.  It’s one of the first things people will remember when they think about your business. Savvy entrepreneurs spend time creating logos that truly reflect the message of their brands. Don’t let that time and effort go to waste. Incorporate your business’ logo into your custom metal signage. Doing this will help you portray a bold, professional image and experience the following benefits.

The Beauty of Custom Metal Art

Custom metal signage isn’t dull and lackluster. It’s a beautiful reflection of the character of an organization; a true work of art.  Couple the sharp laser cutting of the letters with the edges of your logo and you have something truly extraordinary.  There are a wide range of finishes and mounting options available that add visual interest to your business signage. Utilizing these options will help your logo and business name stand out.

Adding Memorability

When people pass your storefront they should stop and say, “Wow!” Several elements contribute to that wow factor with custom metal signage being chief among them. A bold metal sign that prominently features your logo compels people to stop and take a second glance. That second glance may just be what lures them in and turns them into paying customers.

Cost-Effective Marketing

Entrepreneurs always look for ways to promote their brands. Custom metal signage is an investment that adds value to your marketing dollar in the long-term. Experts state that it costs less to reach 1000 customers with custom metal signage than it is with other forms of traditional advertising.  When designed correctly, this bold form of signage can really work wonders for your business.

Brand Reinforcement

Brand reinforcement is a form of retargeting. People who have already shown interest in your brand are more likely to become repeat purchasers. Custom metal signage that includes your logo helps these customers find you easily. It also helps new customers who have probably heard about your business find you. More customers equates to business growth.

Flexibility with Colors

Colors help your sign stand out from its competition.  The colors from your business’ logo add visual appeal. Although it is possible to create metal signs without colors, those that do have colors have a competitive edge. Colors can even be added with backlighting from LED lights affixed behind the metal sign. Both possibilities allow you to add colors that will attract the right people.

There are several factors that contribute to the success of your business’ signage.  Logo placement is one of the most important factors to consider. Custom metal signage is already highly impactful. Including a logo creates the perfect marriage between brand identity and beautiful artistry.