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.

Advertisements

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.

Out of Home Advertising

Scoop-Vehicle-Wrap

Out of Home advertising refers to marketing directed at hitting consumers when they’re “on the go”.  This can include billboards, vehicle wraps, transit signs, and anything else that a consumer may come in contact with when away from their home.  As a business owner are you aware of the benefits of out of home advertising?  The numbers put out by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America make a pretty compelling argument for the value of this type of investment.

  • Consumers are traveling record numbers of flight and driving miles which has made out of home advertising the second fastest growing ad medium in the U.S.
  • Consumers spend 70% of their waking hours away from home.
  • Out of Home marketing is especially effective for local businesses with 7 out of 10 ads promoting a local company.
  • For every $1 spent on out of home marketing approximately $5.97 in sales is generated which is better than digital display, print and radio.
  • 83% of consumers believe that the out of home advertising that they consume is informative.
  • There are currently over 7,800 digital billboards in the U.S. which is more than double the number in 2011.

So with all of these great reasons to use out of home advertising why are most businesses spending only an average of 5% of their advertising budget on these mediums?  As the shift has gone to online marketing many companies have lost sight of the value of out of home advertising.  Consider though that it works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week generating revenue; it can’t be blocked or skipped, it often gets viewed multiple times a day by the same consumer, and it can be highly targeted based on location and demographics.

Maybe it’s time to take a look at where your company is spending it’s advertising dollars and what type of ROI you’re really getting for each dollar you spend. You may be surprised how affordable many of these forms of advertising actually are.  Infinity Signs can help select the right medium for your business and help you take full advantage of this powerful tool.

Are Vehicle Wraps for Small Businesses?

Certified-partial

Many people think of advertising on vehicles as something done by large companies with a whole fleet of cars on the road, but a vehicle wrap can be an incredibly effective tool for small businesses as well.  Vehicle wraps are a very affordable way of reaching a large number of people in a relatively small geographic area.  For small businesses this type of targeted marketing is invaluable.

A vehicle wrap has one of the best returns on investment available with an average cost of around 4 cents per thousand impressions.  Compare that with a newspaper ad which costs roughly $19.70 to reach a thousand impressions, and a vehicle wrap is a no brainer.  In addition, most vehicle wraps last 5+ years with no signs of aging.  There are very few marketing options that have that type of long term range.

Have doubts about a vehicle wrap being effective for your small business?  The good news is it’s very easy to track how effective a wrap is for your company.  Try getting a different phone number to put on the wrap so you’ll know exactly where customers saw your information.  Another idea is to advertise a special deal or discount only on the vehicle wrap.  When customers contact you regarding that deal you’ll know they’ve seen the car around town.  Another option is to create a special landing page on your website and put that address on the vehicle wrap.  By tracking the traffic to that page you’ll get an idea of the effectiveness of the vehicle wrap.

Of course it’s critical that your wrap look good to the public, so you’ll want to be sure to use a professional to print and install it.  Infinity Signs NW has been doing vehicle wraps for businesses in the Boise area for years and our team of professionals gets the job done right every time.  A good wrap installer will protect the paint on the vehicle from any potential damage from the wrap as well as potential scratches during installation.

Infinity Signs NW uses only premium vinyl materials designed specifically for vehicle wraps.  We offer vinyl laminates that are formulated to protect printed graphics from both abrasion and UV fading.  In addition, Infinity Signs NW offers a quick turnaround to ensure your vehicles are on the road as soon as possible. Contact Infinity Signs NW today to get more information, tell us about your project and get a quote!

Types of Signs

Have you thought about getting a new sign for your business but felt like you didn’t know the lingo of the sign world enough to even know what to ask for?  Well here is a breakdown of the most common types of signs to help you feel confident in determining what type of signage you’re looking for.

monument sign

Monument Signs – these are permanent signs that are not attached to a wall or building.  They have a base or support structure made from a permanent material such as concrete, wood, or brick.  They are often found at the entrance to a parking lot or building.

Pylon Signs – these are the big, tall signs that you see in front of shopping plazas or along the highway.  Often times they will have the names of all of the businesses in that shopping area. The difference between a pylon sign and a monument sign is height.  Typically, monument signs are no higher than about 5’ in order to be at eye height, while a pylon sign is much taller with the intention to be seen from the street.

Pole Signs – this refers to any sign mounted on a single pole. In most cases they are tall, much like the pylon signs, but advertise only a single business name.  They are permanent, self-supporting, and not attached to any building or wall.

wall sign

Wall Signs – this refers to the signs seen on a building which indicate the name of the business located within.  They are made up of individual letters that are mounted directly to the building.  Many include lighting either from behind, in front or within the letters.  These are permanent signs and one of the most commonly seen types of sign.

sidewalk sign

Sidewalk Signs – These are the signs you see sitting in front of a business as you walk through the front door.  Often they feature information that changes frequently such as upcoming events, daily specials, or current sales.  They generally have a frame and the ability to change out the sign quickly and easily.

window graphics

Window Graphics – these are the signs you see on windows as store front advertising.  They can be decals, stickers or clings depending on the type of adhesive used.  This type of sign is easy to change more frequently as well.

Blade Signs – these are the signs that project out from the side of a building.  They are mounted perpendicular to the building or wall and are most common in a more downtown setting where walking customers are trying to locate a specific business.

Infinity Signs NW can help you with any of these sign choices through a comprehensive offering of material types, professional designers, and qualified installers.

Why Utilize A Professional Sign Designer?

Half-Dental

You probably pass hundreds of signs every day – on your way to work, the gym, the grocery store, to get the kids from school – they’re literally everywhere.  Have you given any thought to the science that goes into signs?  There’s actually a tremendous amount of research that’s been conducted on all of the factors that make up effective, and ineffective, signage.  The United States Sign Council (USSC) has conducted several studies and put together recommendations for creating the ideal sign.

It’s important to partner with a sign company that is going to do more than just take an order for a sign, make it, and install it.  The sign company you work with needs to be willing to take the time to really understand your business.  It’s critical for the sign designer to understand the message you’re trying to communicate as well as the audience you’ll be targeting.  Factors such as letter size, color, and font are only a few of the factors designers will consider.  The USSC has gone well beyond these and put out recommendations based on the speed vehicles will be traveling at, the complexity of the driving situation, the amount of viewer reaction time & distance, as well as the amount of “negative” (unused space) on the sign.  With all these items impacting the effectiveness of your signage, having someone help guide the decision can be critical for the best end results.

Let’s consider just two of the areas that a sign designer will review: size and color of letters.  The size of the letters you select for your sign will vary depending on how close the sign is to the road, is it for foot traffic vs highway traffic vs city traffic, and how much time is your viewing audience going to have to take in the information.  Take a look at this chart that the USSC uses to make recommendations for letter sizing.

 

Viewing Distance – Minimum Letter Height

100’ – 4” letters

250’ – 10” letters

360’ – 16” letters

500’ – 22” letters

750’ – 33” letters

1000’ – 43” letters

1320’ – 57” letters

 

To give you a point of reference 360’ is roughly a city block.  So if you want drivers to see your signage from a block away when they’re stopped at a red light, make your letters 16” high.  Another interesting fact about sizing, that the USSC found through their research, is that letter height should be increased by 15% if the sign will be all capital letters vs a combination of capital and lower case letters, which are easier to discern.

Now let’s move into color selection for your signage. The USSC found in their research that changing the letter color and background color makes a major impact on visibility.  They found that the combination of a green background color with yellow letters was visible from the furthest distance, while the combination of a black background color with white letters had the shortest visibility distance. In both cases these were for external signs only.  Other combinations such as white background with black letters or blue backgrounds with yellow letters fell in between.

With so many things to consider, and so much research having been done, it’s worth the investment to utilize the skills of a professional designer.  Infinity Signs NW has designers who will take the time to get to know your business and make recommendations for all areas of your signage.  We value your business and don’t want to see you waste large sums of money on signs that simply won’t provide any ROI.