We are so proud to begin our 9th year in the sign business! In the last 9 years, we have met so many people needing all kinds of different signage. In our business, we refer to all our signs as custom – every sign or project is different. When we start a new job, we get lots of questions. Since every job is unique, answers to questions will be different depending on the project. So, we sat down with the different members of our staff – graphic designer, estimator, manufacturer, and installer – to get some of your questions about signage answered.
When is My Sign Going to be Completed?
Answer: It depends. A simple order of yard signs or decals usually takes about 3-5 days after the design proof is approved. Vehicle wraps are 3-7 days (it depends on the wrap coverage) and need to be scheduled days in advance. The timeframe for a set of big illuminated channel letters will take at least 3 – 6 weeks (or longer) with all of the factors that we (the sign company) cannot control. Large building signs must be permitted and approved by the local municipalities where the sign is to be installed. In large, busy cities (like Los Angeles) the permitting process takes much longer than in a place like Fort Collins, CO. Also some materials must be outsourced and there is not a lot we can do if there’s a shortage of raw materials.
How Much Will My Sign Cost?
For most simple signs, substrates and material costs are affordable. The bulk of the costs with signs comes from the time spent finalizing the design of the sign and the installation (if it’s needed). Graphic design work is generally $100/hour. Installation is generally around $80-$100/hour (travel time will be included within the installation cost). Vehicle wrap material is based on a square footage rate that is $12-$15/sq. ft. which does include the installation, but graphic design service is additional.
What Type of Artwork File Should I Send?
In the world of large-format printing and sign-making, vector-based artwork is preferred across the board. Vector artwork must be generated with special programs like Adobe Illustrator. The file names of vector artwork end in .svg, .ai, .eps, and .pdf. Besides a .pdf, you probably won’t be able to open the vector artwork on your computer unless you have special programs installed. Images that you view online and are shared across social media are not ideal to use for large-format printing. High-resolution files are the way to go if your sign does feature photographic images. High-resolution files will be too large to send over via email, so we recommend online file-sharing services like Dropbox to get them to us. If you are creating the artwork for your signs, here’s a blog all about sign design!
Can You Wrap This?
Yep! That’s usually the answer we give, but it’s best to ask in person and even better to bring the thing you want to be wrapped so our installer can look at the condition of the surface to give you a solid answer. The ideal wrappable surface needs to be smooth and even (or a high-energy surface). Here’s a list of surfaces that are NOT ideal for adhesive vinyl films:
- Raw wood (uneven and unsealed)
- Plastic body panels (vehicles)
- fake chrome
- Old wrap vinyl
- uncured paint
What Materials Work Best for Signs?
Here at Connecting Signs, we create signs from many different types of materials. We’ll work with you to determine what will work best for your needs. This list of materials (or substrates) are the most popular types of sign materials, but you can always drop us a line or send us an email with any questions!
- Composite aluminum (also called: max metal) – lightweight, durable, and affordable. We can print directly to this surface or apply printed adhesive vinyl to it.
- Acrylic – Versatile plastic, clear or transparent, lightweight, and a great alternative to glass!
- Coroplast – Corrugated plastic is widely used as the material for temporary signs.
- Foamboard – Paper-faced high-density foam and ideal for indoor signage.
- Wood – Flatbed print directly to the surface, but the print area MUST be smooth and completely flat (not bowed).
- Vinyl (banners) – Inexpensive and great for temporary signs
Get Your Signs Ordered Today!
All jobs may have issues that change the answer to some of the questions – from a simple yard sign to a full vehicle wrap every sign is different. That’s where we will work with you whatever that issue is – we want you to be 100% satisfied with the finished result. We are so blessed to have met many people that have been a part of this journey; mostly our customers! Thank you and we hope you stick with us in this adventure! Call us for your next project – simple or complex – doesn’t matter!