Archive for June 24, 2014

How Do You Draw Attention To Your Sign

Creative Sign Ideas

Creative Sign Ideas

Frequently business owners are battling with the same problem.  They’ve spent a lot of money on a sign but still aren’t getting the business they expected.

There are many reasons that this can happen.  Unfortunately running a business isn’t as easy as putting up a sign and the customers come flocking in with bills-in-hand.  The first step is you have to get them in the door, but then you have to get them coming back.

Maybe your business had a great grand opening but now business has tapered off.  If that’s the case, it may not be your sign.  Usually your grand opening comes with a lot of flair, specials, unique events and a lot of other advertising (we have a portable gigantic LED full color display that we bring out for our customers’ grand opening to really help them hit the ground running).  So once all of that extra jazz is over with business will naturally taper off.  But is your lack of traffic normal?

First thing you should do is see if there’s something about the way you are running your business that is pushing customers away.  Is the business clean?  Is the parking lot bright (most business owners do not place enough value on this one simple, but effective, point)?  Is your product good?  Is it priced correctly?

Outside of your management issues, look to marketing.  Your best marketing will be your sign, so what can you do to your sign to make it more visible?  One simple solution is to add neon.  Yes, LEDs have taken over the industry but you’ll be surprised how effective good ol’ neon is at pulling in business.  Don’t be alarmed by the “it’s fragile” argument.  It is a time tested lighting element that has been used on every building type from highrises (the famous downtown Dallas green building) to converted houses. It’s wildly effective, inexpensive, and durable.

Second, look at your storefront. Is the sign effective from a marketing standpoint? The City of Fort Worth describes effective signs in their Downtown Design Review Board guidelines. They make the following observations (and these are good ones!):

  • Materials and colors should contribute to legibility and visual appeal
  • Sign colors should complement facade colors (this does not mean the sign should blend in with the background)
  • A sign with a brief, succinct message is attractive and easy to read
  • Sign fonts should be both legible and artistic
  • Contrast between the color of the background and the letters or symbols makes the sign easier to read
  • Symbols and logos on signs, identifying the business, add interest to the street, are quickly read, and are often remembered more easily than words.

These are very good guidelines to keep in mind when you are thinking about your storefront, your sign and your logo. A good sign company should help you create an effective sign. But don’t trust them too much. Many sign company employees are just as inexperienced with signs as you are.

When looking for advice, find a sign company that has been in business several years. See if they have creative ideas, unique products and a pursuit towards cutting edge technology. Every year there are new products out that can help you stay visible to your customers.

Remember, your best marketing will always be your storefront.

James Watson (27 year veteran of sign fabrication and owner of Signs Manufacturing Corporation in Dallas, Texas)

Also visit Sunburst LED Displays for the best full color and monochrome digital LED signage.

Donald Trump and Rahm Emanuel Fight Over Sign As World Now Understands Why Chicago Is In Economic Turmoil

Sign points to Emanuel, Trump faceoff

June 12, 2014|Blair Kamin | Cityscapes
The new Trump sign is nearly complete on the Trump Tower.
The new Trump sign is nearly complete on the Trump Tower. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)

The last letter in the huge “TRUMP” sign that Donald Trump is putting on his Chicago skyscraper has yet to be installed, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel is ready to pass judgment.

Thumbs down.

“The mayor thinks the sign is awful,” Bill McCaffrey, a mayoral spokesman, told the Tribune on Wednesday. “It’s in very poor taste and scars what is otherwise an architecturally accomplished building.”

The city is exploring options that could lead Trump to remove the sign, according to McCaffrey, though he declined to specify what those options are.

Emanuel’s blunt assessment of the sign, which city zoning administrator Patricia Scudiero and Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd, greenlighted last year, sets up a confrontation between two towering figures with no small egos: Emanuel, with a reputation for calculated aggression that runs from Chicago to Washington, and Trump, famous for his “The Apprentice” reality TV show and the slogan “You’re fired!”

An attempt to reach a representative of the 96-story Trump International Hotel & Tower, Chicago’s second-tallest building, for reaction to the mayor’s take on the sign was unsuccessful. Trump will have a chance to respond Thursday during a scheduled appearance on ABC’s “The View.”

Emanuel’s assessment follows my negative review of the sign Friday and national news stories about the controversy.

In one, posted on The Wall Street Journal’s website Tuesday, Trump lambasted the lead architect of his tower, Chicago’s Adrian Smith, for calling the sign tasteless and claimed he had done more to design the building than Smith. And Trump repeated his argument that the sign will become as beloved as the LA’s Hollywood sign.

“It happens to be great for Chicago, because I have the hottest brand in the world,” Trump told the Journal.

Smith had a different view.

“Anything that would happen that would either reduce the size of the sign significantly or take it off would be great,” he said Wednesday night.

To outsiders, the brouhaha stirred by Trump’s sign may seem overblown in a city with many more serious problems, like rampant gun violence. But Chicago takes its architecture and public spaces seriously.

More than 200 feet above ground and backlit at night, the sign and its 20-foot-6-inch-high stainless steel letters loom over a venerable cluster of 1920s skyscrapers, among them the Wrigley Building. The sign, which faces the Chicago River, also threatens to spoil the view from a showcase Emanuel public works project — the ongoing expansion of Chicago’s Riverwalk.

Though McCaffrey said the mayor is not focused on the precedent the sign sets, you don’t need a degree in urban planning to realize that owners of other riverfront buildings could be tempted to follow Trump and plaster their skyscrapers with megasigns. The touristsEmanuel covets already are taking notice.

After a visit to Chicago, Terry Elder, of Toronto, emailed me: “We were overwhelmed with the beautiful buildings when we took the architectural boat cruise on the Chicago River; however, we were totally shocked and dismayed when we saw the sign going up on the Trump building.”

With public outrage over the sign mounting, Ald. Reilly on Friday sought political cover by invoking the memory of the structure that used to occupy the Trump site: the bargelike Chicago Sun-Times Building. It was topped by a large yellow sign spelling out the paper’s name.

“Funny how quickly people forgot the enormous, ugly Chicago Sun-Times sign that once stood in (this) exact location,” Reilly tweeted — as if the absence of the old bad sign rationalized the presence of the new bad sign.

There was no mention of the gargantuan sign when the City Council approved Trump’s skyscraper in 2002. In boilerplate language, the agreement regulating the tower said that “business identification signs” would come under the purview of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development.

In 2009, with the tower already open, the City Council approved a sign of 3,600 square feet, planning department spokesman Peter Strazzabosco said Wednesday in an email.

Last year, after a fresh round of negotiations, the council gave its OK to the present sign, which, when the “P” in “TRUMP” is installed, will cover 2,891 square feet.

In granting approval, zoning administrator Scudiero did not consult with Emanuel or high-level mayoral aides like Deputy Mayor Steve Koch, McCaffrey said.

Questions about the mayor’s involvement in the sign’s approval were raised in light of Illinois State Board of Elections records that show Emanuel’s campaign got a $50,000 contribution from Trump in 2010. The same year, Trump contributed $5,000 to Reilly’s campaign.

Courts have long upheld the right of communities to regulate signs — provided they articulate standards that are specific, not subjective.

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