The History of Signage

historical sign

Signs have been around far longer than you might imagine, just not in quite the way you might be thinking.  According to Wikipedia signage is defined as “the design or use of signs and symbols to communicate a message to a specific group…Signs are any kind of visual graphics created to display information to a particular audience.”  Using this definition the first “signs” were cave drawings such as those done by the Egyptians and others to pass information on to future generations.  These signs were a way of keeping track of history, but also providing useful information about potential danger as well as opportunities for food in the area.

Fast forward a few hundred years and other types of signs emerge.  Religious groups began to use signs, such as the cross or the moon, to indicate religious affiliations. The first commercial signs are found in about this same time period with examples having been recovered from the Greek and Roman peoples.  They used stone to create signboards to put on shop fronts as well as for officials to announce public events.  In addition there have been examples recovered from the outside of shops where there were white areas which would then have symbols painted on them to indicate what type of building it was.  Some of the earliest still exist today such as the red and white pole for the barber’s shop and the three balls which indicate a pawnbroker.

english pub sign

In the 14th century King Richard II of England made signage a law.  He required shops to put up signs on their property with his legislations that stated “whosoever shall brew ale in the town with intention of selling it must hang out a sign, otherwise he shall forfeit his ale.”  Given that no one wanted to forfeit their ale, signs became common.  As time went on and more and more shops went up, the shop owners had to get more elaborate in their signage to differentiate themselves, thus we move in to the more modern versions of signs.

Many shop owners thought the answer was bigger signs, this became a hazard to the public as well as an eye sore, which is when government began to get involved with legislating the size and location for sign placement.  In the 19th century painting of signboards became so popular that local artists were able to support themselves just from this type of work. In addition, some inventions came along that really helped the industry – gas lighting, the industrial printing press, and electricity.

neon sign

The next major sign developments came in the early 1900’s.  Lights began to be added to signs, initially just for businesses that operated after dark but eventually to nearly all signs.  In the 1920’s came the invention of the neon sign.  This provided signage that could be easily customized and highly visible. For many years neon signs became the standard.  In addition, the creation and widespread adoption of the automobile led to the need for street signs and street safety signs at about this same time.  From here plastics were introduced which allowed for large scale production of signs with the flexibility to make changes easily.

From there it was a quick jump to the sign industry of today which is estimated to be just over a $50 billion dollar a year industry.  Now signs are available in any color, size, material, or shape you can imagine and can be displayed in hundreds of manners.   Infinity Signs NW is a proud part of the history of the sign industry with our team’s creative energy helping to further advance signage and move it towards future development.

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Times Change, So Do Signs

occupancy sign.jpg

People and businesses are constantly changing – the average time people stay in a home = 7 years; the average time someone stays at a job = 5 years. With the only constant being that things are constantly changing, why would you want signage that never changes?  Many people think of changeable letter signs or electronic signs as the only option for something that’s easy and affordable to update, but there are many different options within printed signs as well.  Especially if you have a message that doesn’t change daily or weekly but annually or bi-annually you’ll still need the ability for a quick change.  There are a number of other reasons for purchasing changeable signs, but here are a few examples to help you see the vision for your company.

Directional – maybe you’re trying to direct customers to a specific location, or you need people to find your booth at a tradeshow, or you need interior directional signs to guide people to the correct location in a large building.  In any of these scenarios you need signage to get people to the right destination, but what if that destination changes?  Many times people change from one office to another within the same building, or the women’s clothing department relocates within a store. Being able to quickly and easily change the signs to point to the new location can be extremely helpful.

Directory – in many buildings there are multiple occupants which can change pretty frequently.  That will require regular sign changes to list the current tenants and their location.   Even within one company there may be changes necessary as services get added or dropped. In any case, having an affordable way to keep directories accurate is important.

There are several options for changeable signs.  Many A-Frame signs offer panels that can easily slide in and out, which can be very useful as directional signs.  A plastic sign channel can be useful for occupancy directories.  For a sign channel a new employee or business name is simply printed out and inserted.  Another option for directory signs that are more resilient are the plastic options.  Text can be printed on a plastic strip which can snap in or out of the directory as needed.

No matter what your budget or timeframe Infinity Signs NW has an option for an easily changeable sign that will get the job done. We’ve printed countless signs for businesses in the Boise area and continue to be their trusted supplier every time their sign needs change.

The Power of the A-Frame

A-frame sign

An A-Frame sign may just be the most powerful and effective way to promote your company.  These sidewalk and yard signs allow you to convey critical information in a concise way, direct people to a specific location, and grab the attention of the impulse buyer.  It’s pretty amazing that you can get all of that from one of the most affordable and portable sign options on the market.  There is truly an A-Frame sign for every budget.

There are countless uses for the A-Frame sign.  Is your business difficult to find or located inside another building?  Use an A-Frame to make sure people know you’re there and how to find you.  Do you have specials or discounts on products you need to move fast?  An A-Frame sign will stand out to any bargain hunting buyer.  A strategically placed sign is impossible to miss.  It’s right at ground level where people will be walking or driving.

Looking to further capitalize on the affordability of the A-Frame sign?  Consider that you’re really getting two signs in one.  You have two different sides to work with and market from.  In addition many have two panels (a front and a back) which are both reversible.  Now you’ve got 4 different sign options!  They also fold flat for easy storage and are light weight for portability.

What should you put on your sign?  The key to an effective A-Frame sign is to keep it simple.  Use bold letters and colors with a clear, simple message.  When possible substitute an image for text. For example if you’re an ice cream shop put an image of an ice cream cone rather than the wording for that on your sign.  Other items to be sure you include on your sign are your company name, logo, phone number and website.

The best sign is the one that fits your specific need.  An A-Frame sign can definitely deliver your message and attract buyers but working with an expert sign designer will make sure that happens. Infinity Signs NW will work with you, and within your budget, to design the perfect A-Frame sign.

Backlit Signage

When it comes to indoor signage, there are many options for customizing a space. One of those options is backlit signs. These signs are seen often in malls, office lobbies, and other locations. Generally lit from behind with LEDs, these signs stand out and make a memorable first impression.

While great for indoor use, backlit signs can be utilized outdoors as well. They are used most often on the front of business buildings. These signs stand out far better than the once popular fluorescent signage.

Here are some of the benefits of backlit signage:

  • Versatility

As stated above, these signs can be installed either indoors or outdoors. Backlit signs can promote products for short-term or long-term displays, making them a flexible sign option.

  • Visibility

The LED lighting behind the sign makes it easier to be seen from farther away. This helps the sign to be more readable, and attracts attention with the vibrant colors.

  • Customizable Materials

Backlit signs are made custom so they match a company’s brand and personality. They can be made from many different materials with different finishes to produce a one-of-a-kind look.

  • Cost-Effective

When compared to other lighted alternatives, such as incandescent lighting or compact fluorescent, an LED backlit sign might cost more initially, but it will last longer and uses significantly less energy. This can help save money offer time.

  • Color Options

There’s a wide range of colors that LEDs can produce. Just the whites can range from warm and soft to cool and bright, which has a huge impact on the feel of the sign. Some LEDs can even cycle through a pattern of multiple colors. This gives a business some options when choosing the perfect color for the backlit sign.

These benefits make a backlit sign a great investment for any business. Talk to the team at Infinity Signs NW about designing and creating a new backlit LED sign for your business today.

ADA Sign Specifications

When people think of business signs, the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) signs might not be the first thought, but they are important for every business when dealing with the public. ADA signs are building signs specifically designed to provide people with disabilities access to and functionality in business facilities. Without these signs, a business could not only be putting themselves in danger of fines or a lawsuit but people with disabilities will have a difficult, if not impossible, time utilizing the services of the company.

For businesses to be in compliance with the federal law regarding this type of signage, the signs posted in or around the building need to meet the following specifications:

  1. Location of Signs
  • ADA signs that identify rooms must be located adjacent to the door they identify
  • Permanent room signs must be mounted so that the characters are between 48 and 60 inches from the ground
  1. Braille on Signs
  • All ADA signs mist have tactile lettering to assist those with vision impairment
  • Braille must be lowercase except for proper nouns
  • The Braille must but rounded or domed
  1. Fonts/Characters/Backgrounds of Signs
  • The font on ADA signage needs to be a san serif typestyle
  • There must be a minimum of 1/8 inch between adjoining characters
  • The backgrounds and characters on ADA can’t emit a glare
  • Signage with visual characters must have a high light-dark contrast between the characters and the background

This is not a complete list of the ADA signage requirements but is a great place to begin reviewing the existing business signage. Being in compliance with ADA guidelines regarding signage will help businesses avoid government fines or litigation. If the signs are incorrect, a violation could also cause lasting damage to a business’s reputation with the public.

Whether an already existing business needs correct signs or a new business needs to install signs, they should contact Infinity Signs.  The experts at Infinity Signs are aware of the guidelines regarding ADA signage and have experience creating these signs for businesses. For more information on ADA signage for business, contact Infinity Signs.

What Business Owners Need To Know About ADA Signage

ADA-signage

There are many rules and guidelines business owners must follow from IRS filings to employment laws. At times it can be difficult to keep up with all the regulations. One area often overlooked by small business owners is ADA compliant signage. ADA stands for the American with Disabilities Act and was put in place in the 1990’s to protect the rights of disabled people. It covers things like building accessibility and employment accommodations. Also included are specifics on required ADA signage.

Many business owners are unclear on the specific requirements for ADA signage. For example, people often believe that every sign in the business building must be ADA compliant. This however, is not accurate. There are actually many business signs that are exempt such as temporary signs which are only in place for 7 days or less, signs not in public use areas, company names, logos and business addresses, and parking signs except accessible parking space signs.

On the opposite side, all permanent rooms and spaces are required to have an ADA compliant sign to identify spaces. Signs related to safety such as those identifying exit doors and stairwells are required to be ADA compliant and must include raised characters and Braille copy. Signs that are overhead, are flag-or wall-mounted signs to provide direction or identify a space also need to follow ADA guidelines but are not required to use tactile copy.

In addition to where and when ADA signage must be used, there are specific requirements as to font type and size for lettering and coloring of the signs. ADA signage cannot use italics or script. It must not be highly decorative and the characters must be upper case. Recommended fonts include Arial and Sans Serif. The height and spacing of the letters is also restricted. The minimum height is 5/8” and the maximum is 2”. The spacing between individual raised characters shall be 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) minimum and 4 times the raised character stroke width maximum.

If all of this seems overwhelming, contact Infinity Signs. We can help with all your ADA compliant signage both interior and exterior.