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A blog dedicated to custom commercial signage, vehicle wraps and graphics, and business signs of all kinds!

Signage 101: 3 bad signage practices to avoid

Posted on February 09, 2012 | Posted by Rich Novia

Here at 12-Point Signworks we pride ourselves on our product quality, excellent customer service, honesty, and we preach about the positives of signage all the time.  Just like every industry though, there are some corners that can be cut to save money and time, and we want to share some cautionary information so you don’t find yourself on the receiving end of bad signage practices.  If you’re paying top dollar for marketing signage, vehicle wraps, dimensional logo signs, etc, you want to make sure you’re getting the best product money can buy.  Below is a guideline of 3 quick facts about bad signage practices to keep in mind when inquiring about your signage needs.

 Not using laminates/protective coatings:  This is probably the most prevalent corner cut in the signage industry.  When approaching your signage and printing needs, you need to think about where the graphics will be displayed. Who will be interacting with them?  Will they be indoor or outdoor graphics, heavy traffic areas, do they need to be matte instead of gloss to lower glare? So many options are available, yet not many are offered to clients.  Granted, not every application requires a protective laminate, but it's important to understand under which conditions you should be sure your signage includes laminate.  Laminates and protective coatings offer protection against both abrasion and UV exposure that causes colors to fade.  It's likely that you'll be able to find cheap sources for your signs, but what they don’t tell you is that they aren’t laminating the prints or putting a protective coating on them.  Sure, you got cheap signs, but you might end up needing to replace them after only a few months because the colors have faded. Why not do it right the first time, and have a set that lasts a few years?

Delamination, vehicle graphics, vehicle wraps, 12-point signworks

 Outdoor digitally printed signage should always be laminated with some kind of laminate unless the application itself is for a short-term situation. The lamination film protects the prints from the elements and offers UV resistance to significantly slow down the color fading.  Remember to protect your investment - and for a few extra bucks, you'll get protection that will help your signs last much, much longer.  If a sign company is recommending laminating your prints, it’s probably because they understand the application and want to make sure you get a top notch, quality product. 

 Using an inferior material for your application: With so many printable substrates available, we recommend that you talk with your sign company to educate yourself on which materials are best suited for your application.  We have received graphics from companies to install that were made entirely from the wrong kind of material, making installation incredibly difficult.  Companies again will use their cheapest vinyl when they can, if they feel it will increase profit margins. For example, using a "cut vinyl" product as a wrap material is something we have seen before.  There are cast and calendared vinyls; cast vinyl with air-release adhesive properties makes for a better install and has a much longer lifespan on tough applications such as vehicle wraps. Simple vehicle or window lettering only requires a calendared vinyl, as it isn’t receiving any ink printed on it, and it comes in a variety of ready to apply colors.  Knowing you’re receiving the proper materials on your project will save you money in the long run.  Make sure the product specs match your application. If you’re in need of an aggressive adhesive vinyl for decals, make sure you don’t receive intermediate adhesive materials at the premium pricing. Ask your sign company for the materials they offer, from low end to high end.  Find your budget, and stick with the material that fits. Remember, cutting costs can affect the lifespan of your project.

12 point signworks, print vinyl, lamination film, quality signs

 Improper installation techniques:  Check with your sign company to make sure they have experience with your type of project.  Have them show you examples of similar projects they have worked on to completion.  Nothing is worse than having your project be the maiden voyage, and finding it went terribly wrong.  Having a vehicle wrap done?  Ask to see examples of the company's work.  Just because a company has a wide format printer and can print the graphics, doesn’t mean they can get it on your car properly.  Ordering a logo sign for installation? Make sure the company knows their way around various wall materials and the challenges of mounting these types of signs with the right hardware, and tools.  There are plenty of experienced companies out there who will service your signage needs honestly and with quality.  Make sure you pick the right one, and ask the right questions.  Feel free to call us here at 12-Point SignWorks for a quote on your next custom commercial sign, vehicle wrap, logo sign, or digital print project.  And don’t forget to check out our website for our own portfolio of capabilities; I think you’ll find our projects speak for our quality and experience.

Improper Installation, dimensional lettering

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