So you decide that your business could use some new signage, be it exterior logo signs, wayfinding signage, or an advertising vehicle wrap, but you don't know how you want it to look or what materials you need to use! We understand, it can be overwhelming to try and decide what your company should do for the signage that your customers will see everytime they visit your space. Your sign company should be able to recommend materials and give suggestions on types of signage you should get for your company, but it is very helpful to them and will speed up the process of making your sign if you come in with at least a loose outline of what you would like.
This information provided to your sign company is called a design brief and should include the following:
1. A Vector Logo: Unless you want the sign company to create you a new logo from scratch, you should provide them with a high quality vector file of your logo. There are two main types of art files: vector and raster. Vector files adjust to being changed and will not look blurry or grainy no matter how big or small you make them. Some examples of vector files are "eps" files, Adobe Illustrator files, Correll files, or CAD files. These types of files are based on geometric equations that keep your graphics crisp as you change them. Raster files, on the other hand, are made up of pixels. Pixels are the thousands of little dots that make up images. Most photograph or image files like JPEGs or PNGs are made up of pixels. If you start try to make raster files larger the pixels with start to stretch and become warped—which is where the term "pixelated looking" comes from. But providing a high quality logo file you are helping your sign-makers start on your projects as soon as possible instead of having to tweak and fix low-quality files you sent them.
2. Budget: Always approach your sign-makers and printers with a proposed budget. The amount of money you have set aside to spend will help them decide which materials will best fit your budget and the type of signage you can afford. At the very least you should probably expect to spend at least a couple of hundred dollars. With the price of labor and materials, even simple "cheap" custom business signs are going to cost at least that much. You should also expect to be able to pay for any design work they need to do for your signage. If you provide them with the majority of the artwork, then this expense will probably not amount to very much, but if you are having the sign company create a lot of original art for you that will be taken into account in your final invoice.
3. List of Materials to Use: Of course, the materials you'll want to use will depend on your budget, your company's brand image, and what the sign ordinances in your area allow. For example, if you run a prestigious law firm you probably don't want to use a bright red neon sign outside your practice—metal signage would be much more appropriate for your brand. Here's a list we've made of common sign materials and where they land on the spectrum of cost verses quality. If you're not sure what materials will work best for your company, give your sign company a call and ask for suggestions.
4. Where You Want the Sign: It's useful for sign companies to know where you would like the sign to be put. Is it going in the lobby over a receptionist's desk? Outside a brick and mortar store front? Or do you just need a banner to advertise a seasonal sale? All of these will factor into how they make your signage. For example, they will not be able to anchor a very heavy metal sign directly into drywall and a vinyl mural might not be the best choice for a brick wall. Details like how recently you painted the area the sign is going or if it will exposed to a lot of elements like sunlight and moisture are great things to note so your sign company orders the best type of materials that will make your sign last for as long as possible.
5. How Big Do You Want It?: Your sign needs to be big enough to effectively seen from the road or wherever most of your potential customers are coming from, but ultimately how big your sign is is up to you. Let your sign company know the size of the space your sign is going into and approximately how big or small you would like your sign.
All that (and anything else you think might be pertinent information, of course) can go a long way in making your sign the perfect fit for your business!
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