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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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.

Avoiding 5 Common Signage Mistakes

redcouch-creative

Spring is the perfect time for some new signage and a fresh face for your business, but you’ll want to be sure to avoid common mistakes that can result in your sign being difficult to read or hard to understand.  You want to be certain you’re getting the most out of the money you spend, and you want to stand out to your customers. In order to make that happen, give careful consideration to every aspect of your new sign before moving forward.  The best way to do that is to work with the designers at Infinity Signs NW, they’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly and can provide the best in professional advice.  Here are some general guidelines to help get you started.

  1. Contrast – it’s extremely important that the color you select for your lettering be in contrast to the background that the letters will be placed on.  This can be the single biggest issue preventing your sign from standing out and catching people’s attention. If you select a light color for the font, such as yellow, go with something dark for the background, such as black.
  2. Font – regardless of what type of industry you’re in, choose a font that’s easy to read.  Just because you sell children’s clothes doesn’t mean you should have a sign with a silly unreadable font, remember readability is the #1 priority.
  3. Type of Signage – you may have the best sign in the world but if it isn’t appropriately placed, and in the correct form, it may go completely unnoticed.  For example, a large sign at the street may be ineffective if the majority of your customers come from foot traffic. In this case, proper signage in your storefront would be far more effective.
  4. Sizing – it’s critical that the size of your lettering and overall signage be appropriate for the placement.  This is again where a professional sign team from Infinity Signs NW will be helpful in providing guidance based on your specific need.  Too large of a sign will look ridiculous but something too small will go unnoticed.
  5. Material – the type of material you use for your signage should be both appropriate for the climate as well as fitting for your business type.  In certain scenarios a wooden sign fits but in others brass or plastic are far more appropriate. It’s not necessarily that the most expensive option is best but instead the one that fits the weather conditions as well as the businesses goals.  If your business is in Boise you are likely to need something that can withstand winter weather, as well as significant amounts of direct sunlight.

New signage is something most businesses invest in every few years, so it should be done with care and consideration to ensure it is effective, durable, and visually appealing.  Contact Infinity Signs NW today to discuss your needs and get a beautiful new sign installed this spring.

Placement of Monument Signs

monument signs

Monument signs are eye-catching and enhance visibility for a business. When customers can find the business with ease, it helps drive traffic to the business. These are the reasons many businesses choose to invest in a monument sign.

While there are many factors that work in sync to create an effective monument sign, like size and design, a crucial part of this is its placement on the property. If the monument sign is put in the wrong place, it could lose all effectiveness for the business.

The best place to have a monument sign installed is near the entrance of the business’s parking lot. This guides visitors into the right area, minimizing possible confusion. It also gives them enough time to slow down and turn into the parking lot safely, even if it is on impulse.

Some businesses on large campuses have multiple monument signs posted around the edges of the area. This is common for businesses such as manufacturing plants and hospitals.

If the sign is placed too far away from the parking lot entrance or building, it can create confusion for visitors, making them pull into the wrong area or miss it completely. Monument signs that are placed near the parking lot, but too far back from the road can also cause problems cue to low visibility.

The surrounding landscaping should also be taken into consideration. Bushes, trees, and other elements can end up blocking the sign. They should be planted around the sign, taking in the visibility points from the roadway. Make sure plants are regularly trimmed back enough so they don’t block the sign from view.

The team at Infinity Signs NW draws up the plans, creates, and installs monument signs for many businesses in the Boise area. They know how to take these factors into consideration for the best placement of the sign possible. Call us at 208.473.2913 to talk about creating a monument sign for your business.

5 Ways to Safely Secure Banners

Secure Banners

Banners can be used for many applications both inside and outside of a building.

Here are some of the most common methods for safely securing banners in different environments:

  1. Suction Cups

If the banner needs to be positioned over glass, suction cups are an excellent way to hold it in place without making permanent changes to the building. They are a quick and inexpensive way to suspend lightweight banners. Suction cups are gentle on surfaces and are easy to move if necessary.

  1. Zip Ties

For construction projects with fencing, zip ties allow the banner to attach to the fence securely. Zip ties have a strong hold, which can protect the banner from flying away during windy weather. If the banner is larger, multiple grommets and zip ties might be needed to keep it in place.

  1. Velcro

Often at trade shows a banner needs to attach to a fabric-covered table. Velcro brand hooks and loops can stick to many fabric surfaces and provide a simple solution for this situation.

  1. String

When weather isn’t a concern or the banner will be placed inside, using a heavy-duty string will work just fine. Simply thread the heavy-duty string or thin roping through the grommets and tie it to an appropriate support.

  1. Bungee Cords

In areas with high winds, bungee cords can be used to securely fasten the banner while allowing it the flexibility to move with the wind. Since bungee cords have some give, while banners do not, putting the extra tension on the bungee cord instead of the banner will help prevent the banner from tearing.

No matter how your banner needs to be secured, Infinity Signs NW can accommodate it during the design process. Learn more about applications for banners and see Infinity Signs NW’s previous work on our website or give us a call at 208.473.2913 to get started on your next business banner.

Questions to Ask About Signage

Business Signage

Investing in signage is a crucial step in opening a business. However, before jumping in and buying a custom outdoor business sign, business owners must ask a few questions:

  1. What are the codes and criteria for the space?

When putting up signage, city codes and the landlord’s criteria must be followed. There are likely to be rules about the type of sign, how large it can be, illumination, installation, and more. Knowing these guidelines beforehand will make the entire process easier and can prevent costly corrections later.

  1. What is the time-frame?

Infinity Signs NW can work with businesses to produce a sign within a specified time frame and within the budget. Depending on the type of signage, days or weeks may be required to prepare the sign, so be sure to contact Infinity Signs NW early in your planning process to allow plenty of time. A sign is important in getting customers to notice a new business so you will want the sign in place before the grand opening.

  1. How do I maintain the sign?

Knowing what it takes to keep the sign looking its best can be a factor in the type of sign chosen. After creating and installing the sign, Infinity Signs NW will also clean and service the sign if business owners choose that option. Having professional sign maintenance makes it easier for business owners and they can be confident their sign will stay in good condition.

These are just a few of the questions business owners should ask before and during the sign making process. The team at Infinity Signs NW can guide new business owners through the questions and any other sign concerns.

No matter the budget and criteria, Infinity Signs NW can assist businesses in creating and installing the perfect custom sign to get them noticed in the Boise area business community. Contact Infinity Signs NW today to get started on your business signs.