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  • Writer's pictureBen Nash - Design & Web

Signage, it's more than you think!

Updated: Aug 8, 2022

What a fickle thing signage is! Its always the last thing that a builder thinks of in a commercial style build, yet its the first thing a potential customer sees! Without a brand or an identifier, what draws in the passer by? What makes one business stand out against the next to a passing motorist? And is it worth the money?

Hand Painted Lettering

Attention Me!

Big, Bright, Shiny and Bold?

It's not always the way, nor is it needed...BUT and a massive but, you do need it to make your mark some way. And without a shadow of a doubt, if you're a new business trying to throw out some elbows to get your head above the crowd, some signage is certainly a good way to get it started!

There's a plethora of styles, forms and types of signage. It can be a simple letter on a window or door in a cut vinyl. Bright contrasting colours in a highly visible area will often do just as much as a ten thousand dollar high definition OLED screen as long as it's in the right area with the right materials. That's not something that can be taught either (but we can circle back to that!). To understand signage you need to have a vast knowledge of "what the options" are; the versatility that surround the industry these days is HUGE and those that know their trade are pushing the edge further every second of every day..... after all, that's what keeps them ahead of the crowd and provides the ultimate outcome for the client.

So let's have a look at a few types of signage that the everyday business owner might be interested in.

Spinning the vinyl

Ahhhh vinyl, the old faithful. The industry standard since the true "brushies" were priced out of the market. It's an adhesive backed coloured skin, it lasts for a varying amount of time dependent on the the area it's placed and quality of its composition.

Here's where a good tradesman will know a few things. The direction of the sun for starters. The longevity of a vinyl is heavily affected by its exposure to elements, significantly UV exposure. If you want window graphics applied under an awning that never sees the sun, then that's fine. If you want a GT stripe on the bonnet of your 2003 Suzuki Swift replaced, it's a different story.

Lets look at it like a L shape.. If the sun shines down on a vertical axis there's very little UV effect. The more that axis becomes horizontal the more the exposure.... and the shorter the life span! Typically a manufacturer of the vinyl products will rate their adhesives and skins for about 18 - 24 months under these conditions, that's without additional engine heat!

But back to vinyl ~ another skilled tradesman will know the value in manufactured coloured vinyl! Not all printers are created equal, and some colours just can't be replicated. Also some operators have very little idea, as it's an industry that's getting far too easy to enter.... but we can touch on that topic another time.

Let's look at Coke red, its iconic. Cadbury purple, Facebook blue... they are identity colours, and someone has worked damn hard to make it that way! Throwing a translucent printed vinyl over a lightbox will never achieve the depth or accuracy of a manufactured colour vinyl. That being said, vinyl manufacturers work hard to match them too! So there's a good reason to use them. A true style guide will cover at least the pantone, the paint AND the vinyl colours that need to be used. Consistency in branding is key!

Time and place, it's not always the most cost effective option to print a graphic. Honour boards, name plaques, trading hours and various other small scale graphics often need changing and adjusting, therefore vinyl is the best or only option.

Stop the press

Or at least the hit cancel in the print queue. No need for dramatics.

Digital printing has become the standard for nearly, if not all signage based companies. The versatility of machinery is mind boggling.

From wide format printing (think of your desktop printer on steroids) to UV curing technology and even Latex... for your enjoyment ;)

The industry has it all! The wider print community stretches even further with the high speed offset, litho and gravure.

But in the signage game, wide format is king.

Vinyl decals and prints, banners, window glazings and more. It really is the industry tool that we all lean on to make the wheels turn.

Let's throw up another more in depth post about what we use ours for, but pretty much any colourful image stuck to a surface is done by a fancy wide format printing machine.

It does our hoardings - to cover the shop inside. It does the wall graphics and window images - to makes the shop inside show its branding. It does the big COMING SOON banners that stretch across the shopping centre facade and it also does the pylon sign 10 metres up in the air that you see when you approach the centre.

Then there's the vehicle signage on their new SUV, the name badge on their shirt and the A-Frame you drove over due to all the other dazzling signage.

These wide format printers cover all bases.

Solvent, Latex, UV... they all have their place. But for the average punter, they put the colour on the sticky backed stuff that we throw around.

What's a Diode?

LEDs, like on your Christmas tree... but in your sign, way up there!

The more it gets done, the more it become the norm, or at least that's been our experience. And more so through price availability than customer demand. As a standard rule, signage is viewed from 6am to 9pm... its morning commute to evening commute. It gets a butt-tone more than that, but lets rule a line in the sand somewhere.

The signs that don't illuminate from 6am to 8am and from 5pm to 9pm are just not in the same league, its that simple. Lights = Visibility.

If you're bumper to bumper, blaring So Fresh - hits of the 90s at 7pm, you're not looking across the road to see who the newest Knee Surgeon in town is. Even the new Chinese place is secondary at that stage.... but therein lies the difference.

As dusk sets, illuminated signage come to play. Dr N. Ekap and his flat panel sign gets even more lost against a sea of billboards, letterboxes and pylons. But Mr Wong's new signs.... 3D 20mm Opal Acrylic letters, sprayed in a perfect 2pac finish, seated within a purpose built & fabricated frame, back lit by a strategically placed LED system LIGHTS UP the small viewing window that you have.


That's a memory. Maybe you wont become a customer tonight, but its been seen, it's in the memory bank. And "if" you do call based on that viewing, that a percentage of the cost of the sign paid off...

But it is a business expense. However, what's the point of your business if nobody knows that you're there?

LED based lighting is becoming more and more the norm. Halo back-lighting, internal letter illumination or even neon effect. It's something that we are not only installing but manufacturing more and more, and as such, the price point is becoming more and more competitive.

Rack em' and Stack em'

Build them up and they will come!

If you're in a multi place complex, especially in a commercial space, having your name up by the roadside is a no brainer!

We had the privilege of again working with Centina on the Pimpala Station project which features some architectural genius from local McLaren Vale Anatoli Patrick. We were given the opportunity to not only remove a section of their bitumen but also dig some enormous holes to sink our cage bolting frames into. From there it is just a few crane lifts away! All in a weekend's work. Good thing our lads know their way around a trowel.

Main South road is a main articular road, so maximising the viewing distance and keeping the design concept in the forefront of our mind was never an easy project, but between the team, it always gets done.

Add in some overhead power lines, a dash of drive thru lanes and a pinch of bad weather... and you know what you get?

A sensational pylon sign.

We don't just conceptualise large scale projects ~ we analyse, tackle, cost, plan and execute them.

Other recent projects include the at O'Halloran Hill Medical Centre, the shopping centre at Old Reynella and many more.

Rollin' Billboards

Drive your business further.

Who in their right mind doesn't throw some graphics on their vehicle doors these days?

It's not only the best bang for buck advertisement you can do, but it's the most fun to design!

Our team of designers get all frothy over making a boring off the rank vehicle look like it should be selling motorists a product!

We can also do some tasteful, toned down designs.. after all, we are the McLaren Vale wine regions Go-To when it comes to almost any signage need.

d'Arenberg, Mollydooker, Richard Hamilton Wines, Hardy's Tintara, Paxton, Lloyd Brothers, and many more..

We also service local and large corporate brands including Hillside Wine Haulage, McLaren Vale Hotel, Total Tools, Repco too.

We go alright

We hold our own, there are multiple CBD based companies who do a similar job, but NONE equal to what we provide!

We have a unique approach to every task, quote, site survey, install and every job... as we did the last. Correctly.

That's why we're still going strong after 30 years in business. We stand by what we do.


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