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.

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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.

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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.    

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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