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The FIX channel letter sign.

Great Business Signs: Why They’re Important, and How to Get One!

You are convinced that you are ready to open your first new business.  You’ve got the product, chosen the location, hired the staff, and… completely neglected to plan for a compelling new business sign.  No big deal, right?  Just call your cousin – – who is taking a graphic design class at the local community college.  Have your cousin work up a cool logo for you, then send the logo out to a handful of sign companies for bids.  Good plan, right?

Probably not.  On second thought… No.  It’s important to start your new small business off with a great sign, and it’s pretty unlikely your lack of planning is going to achieve the result you want.  So, how important is it that you get your new business sign right the first time?  Well, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about half of all small businesses don’t survive more than five years.  It’s best to get it right the first time.

Okay, so signs are a good idea.  How important?  Well, according to a study by FedEx Office, nearly 76% of consumers said they had entered a store they have never visited before, based on its signs.  Moreover, over two-thirds (68%) have made a purchase because a sign caught their eye.  Your small business sign can also lead to referral sales, with nearly three out of four consumers saying they have told someone about a store based simply on its signage.

“Obviously, signs are important, but what if I want to focus more of my advertising dollars on other forms of marketing?”  It’s a good idea to invest in multiple types of marketing.  However, on-premise signage should be a part of your overall advertising plan.  Per the Small Business Administration, the cost-per-thousand impressions rate for signage is much lower than other types of advertising, including radio, television, and print media.  And, your on-premise business sign just keeps working for you, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Now that we’ve established the importance of a great, new business sign, how does a small business owner go about actually getting one?  Here are some key steps that will help guide you through the process, and help prevent mistakes.

 1. Start with a logo.

Many of the small business owners we meet with not only don’t have a working logo, but they also have no idea what they want their logo to look.  It’s relatively hard for a sign company to build a great sign for your new business if you don’t have a logo.  What personality do you want your brand or logo (and therefore your sign) to portray?  Healthy?  Rugged?  Stylish? Need some help?  Talk to a sign company – – most have at least one professional graphic designer on staff.

Note:  Consider also any space limitations.  For example, if you develop a “tall” logo (think Portrait instead of Landscape), how do you build a great new business sign for a sign area measuring 36” tall x 180” wide?  Hint:  It’s a good idea to have a “wide” and a “tall” version of your logo.

 

Aluminum pan sign for The Cupcake People

Aluminum Pan Sign with Dimensional Graphics for Cupcake People – Lawrenceville, GA

 

2. Study the Sign Criteria portion of your Lease document before you sign the lease.

Many lease documents contain provisions that are not current or are rigidly inflexible – – thereby limiting the type of sign you can install.  For example, the sign criteria in many leases contain specifics that are now almost obsolete.  For example, the sign criteria may require “channel letters with 9mm neon tubing,” when nearly all channel letter signs manufactured use LED illumination due to its energy efficiency.  Or, the sign criteria may dictate that all signs are a particular color (such as white), or a specific type (such as front-lit channel letters).  Read and ask questions before you sign.

3. Learn your local sign ordinance.

Nearly every municipality is going to require a sign permit for an exterior business sign.  So, before you start planning the design of your new business sign, educate yourself on the local sign ordinance.  Better to know what you are going to be allowed to do before you start design work, etc.  For example, in the City of Johns Creek, GA, the allowance for a wall sign is 5% of the area of the storefront (height x width).  So, a 20’ tall x 20’ wide building gets a 20 s.f. sign.  [(20’ x 20’) x .05].  In Gwinnett County, GA, the allowance is based on the Gross Building Space.  If your suite is 0-2,500 s.f., then you are allowed 36 s.f. of signage per building elevation.

If you are in the Atlanta area, go to the Resources page at www.bigmouthsigns.com for accurate sign ordinance information for a variety of local municipalities.  If you don’t find what you need there, you can usually find this information on your city or county website.  Look for a document called “Code of Ordinances,” often found in the “Planning and Zoning” section of the site.  Another great resource is Municode, which is a reference library of ordinances (including sign ordinances) for municipalities from around the country.

The FIX channel letter sign.

These combination-lit channel letters stand out in any crowd!

4. Educate yourself on sign types.

There are many different sign types.  Among internally-illuminated building or “wall” signs, there are channel letters (front-lit, reverse-lit, and combination-lit).  There are also light cabinets, which can have flat faces with vinyl graphics, or pan faces (which can have either cut vinyl graphics, or embossed graphics).  There are cabinets with metal faces that have been stencil-cut to allow for either pierce-cut graphics or push-thru graphics.  If you want to illuminate your sign externally, or if you don’t believe an illuminated sign is necessary, dimensional lettering is a popular choice – – either mounted directly to the building/wall or installed to the face of a flat substrate or an aluminum pan.  Regardless, it’s a good idea to spend some time studying your options before committing to a sign you might later regret.

 5. Take your time choosing your logo color. In the study called Impact of Color in Marketing, researchers noted that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products are based on color alone.    In an article in Entrepreneur.com, researchers also observed that it’s easy to make a mistake when it comes to color.  Red is a highly popular color when it comes to business signs.  For example, you want to open a dentistry office, and have chosen a sign with bold, bright red graphics.  Good idea?

According to research posted at Smallbiztrends, red “creates a sense of urgency… encourages appetite… stimulates the body, raising blood pressure and heart rate.”  Oh, and it makes people (who are maybe already a little queasy about going to the dentist) think about blood, which makes them think about… bleeding.  Never a fun thought when going to the dentist.  Ready for another example?  What color do you immediately think of when you think fresh, healthy food, or earth-friendly businesses?  Say, “Green.”  Or, you want to open a salon, and you want your new salon to cater to a more exclusive clientele.  You’ve always liked the color… yellow.

Per The Psychology of Colors in Marketing, yellow is “used to create a sense of anxiety that can draw in impulsive buyers and window shoppers.”  Yellow is commonly used for “Going Out of Business” events.  So, yellow might not be a good match.  What might be a better match?  Try purple, which researcher Joe Hallock claims in Colour Assignments is the second most-popular (23%) color (behind blue at 35%) for women.  Researchers have found that purple is “commonly associated with royalty, wisdom, and respect…”, and that it “stimulates problem-solving and creativity…”, and it is “frequently used to sell beauty and anti-aging products.”  Yellow, by the way, stands as the favorite color of 3% of women.

It’s important to note that color is too dependent on personal experiences to be generalized to the entire population.  Elements such as personal preferences, experiences, and upbringing can affect how an individual perceives color.  So, take the analysis with a grain of salt.  At the same time, don’t entirely ignore it – – there’s a reason Harley Davidson chose black and orange, for example, and there is a reason so many fast food restaurants use red and yellow.  Don’t just choose at random.  Put some thought into it.

That’s five essential tips that will help you get a great new business sign!  For more information on how you can jump-start your new business with a great sign, please give us a call at (770) 381-9300.

About Us

Big Mouth Signs is a full-service provider of all types of commercial business signs and school signs.  Located at 40 Rockbridge Road, Suite 200, in Lilburn, GA, we specialize in building signs, facility signs, lobby signs, and office signs.  Also, we are the #1 provider of electronic message displays for Gwinnett County Schools.  We can be reached by phone at 770-381-9300, or by email at info@bigmouthsigns.com.

  • Written by Big Mouth Signs, Inc.

Channel Letter Sign Re-branding Project in Atlanta, GA for Pearle Vision

Channel Letter Sign Re-Branding Project in Atlanta, GA for Pearle Vision

In September of 2013, after more than fifty years as an icon in the eye care industry, Pearle Vision announced a completely remodeled store design and new brand logo.  The unveiling of the branding plan included significant changes to the brand color palette and a new brand logo.  Parent company Luxottica Retail of Mason, OH unveiled the new branding plan with an announcement at their licensing conference in April of 2013.  As franchise renewal agreements were signed, new remodels were scheduled.  From there, the transition from the old Pearle Vision to the new was on!  Storefront and interior signage would need to be transformed!

Pearle Vision was founded in 1961 by Dr. Stanley Pearle, with a vision to provide “the convenience and expert guidance of an eye care professional right in your neighborhood”.  From that humble beginning in Savannah, GA, Pearle Vision has grown to include more than 610 optical centers, providing on-site prescription eyeglass fulfillment and the “biggest selection of designer frames in town.”  The new brand logo represents a fresh look, while still reflecting on the company’s heritage.

The re-branding process for the Pearle Vision locations in Metro Atlanta began roughly 4-6 months later at the Canton Mill Shopping Center.  When it came time to begin transitioning the Canton location, the local franchisee chose Big Mouth Signs for their help and expertise in storefront signage and interior graphics.  Project specification documents were issued and the site visit process was initiated, followed by the sign permit process and consultation with the property management.  The conversion plans called for front-lit channel letters (direct-mounted to the building façade), with a new eyeglass logo and dimensional lettering “Est. 1961” of flat-cut aluminum for the store exterior.  The store interior would receive new translucent vinyl window and wall graphics, as well as a custom-built aluminum logo sign cabinet.

In addition to the Canton location, we’ve completed projects for the Pearle Vision optical centers in Gainesville, GA, Cartersville, GA, and Austell, GA, with preliminary plans in place for several additional locations.  So why – – with more than 670 sign companies in the Atlanta area – – did Pearle Vision choose  Big Mouth Signs?  We like to think the answer has everything to do with history.  Big Mouth Signs has developed a reputation for excellent customer service.  We conduct site visits to make sure the building dimensions are accurate.  We handle our own permitting, to insure a smooth permit process with minimal delays.  We use only the best materials, and we follow specs to the letter.  If you are old enough, you might remember the TV spots that featured a red-headed, freckle-faced boy, maybe around seven or eight years old, striking out as his father watched from the bleachers?  Dad saved the day by taking his son to Pearle Vision, music playing in the background, with the words, “Nobody cares for eyes more than Pearle”.  We like to think that’s the kind of sign company Pearle Vision was looking for, a company that would treat each optical center like their sign project was the most important one they were working on.  Maybe we are your kind of sign company too…

 

Channel Letters - Pearle Vision - Canton 5

Front-Lit Channel Letters: Pearle Vision – Canton, GA

Channel Letters - Pearle Vision - Cartersville

Front-Lit Channel Letters: Pearle Vision – Cartersville, GA

Post & Panel - Pearle Vision - 2

Post and Panel Sign: Pearle Vision – Canton, GA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Mouth Signs is located in Lilburn, GA and specializes in external storefront signs and building signs, including front-lit and reverse-lit custom channel letters signs.   Our service area includes;

Metro Atlanta

  • Fulton County, including Alpharetta, Milton, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Johns Creek
  • Forsyth County, including Cumming
  • Gwinnett County, including Norcross, Peachtree Corners, Lilburn, Snellville, Lawrenceville, Sugar Hill, Duluth, Buford, Suwanee, Berkeley Lake, Dacula, Grayson, Suwanee, Hamilton Mill
  • Dekalb County, including Atlanta, Decatur, Dunwoody, Chamblee, Doraville, Clarkston, Avondale Estates, Stone Mountain, Pine Lake, Lithonia
  • Rockdale County, including Conyers

We can be reached for a free channel letter sign or business sign consultation by calling 770-381-9300 or clicking here.

 

Value-Added Channel Letters in Atlanta, GA for Benchmark Physical Therapy!

In today’s ultra-competitive business environment, everyone is looking for an edge.  Sometimes that edge can be found in less-obvious places, like storefront signage.

Town Brookhaven is a pedestrian-friendly urban village in Atlanta’s popular Brookhaven area.  Located just off Peachtree Road, residents and visitors can find a wide variety of merchants, ranging from Publix, Marshall’s, and Costco to a variety of trendy bars and restaurants, as well as all types of boutiques and salons.  In effort to create and maintain a consistent, attractive look, the developers of Town Brookhaven mandated a sign criteria that requires each merchant tenant to utilize reverse channel letters for their storefront signage.  One of the newest tenants at Town Brookhaven, Benchmark Physical Therapy turned to Big Mouth Signs for their new clinic at 705 Town Boulevard.  Big Mouth Signs has been a trusted business partner since 2010, and has provided quality signage execution, including site visits, permitting, design, production, and installation services throughout Metro Atlanta and the surrounding area.

Channel Letters - Benchmark - Brookhaven - 1

Reverse channel letter signs are not new, as they’ve long been popular with companies including fashion retailers such as Tommy Hilfiger and Luis Vuitton, as well as restaurants including Maggiano’s Little Italy.  As you might guess, reverse channel letters are manufactured just the opposite of a standard or “front-lit” channel letter.  Instead of an acrylic or polycarbonate face and a metal back, a reverse channel letter utilizes a metal face and a polycarbonate back.  Reverse channel letters are most often installed directly to the storefront façade, but can also be attached to a sign cabinet that is then mounted to the façade.  Once the sign has been installed and powered on, the internal light source illuminates the white painted interior of the letter.  This intense light bounces through the acrylic/polycarbonate back, and creates a visually appealing “halo” effect around the perimeter of each character.

Adding a little personality to your reverse channel letter sign is easy – – starting with your chosen font.  The outer face and sides (aka “returns”) of a reverse channel letter can be painted your choice of custom colors, and can be further enhanced using specialty finishes such as satin aluminum, scratched metal, oxidized metal, etc.  Since most reverse channel letters made today are illuminated using LED, you can also customize the look of the halo effect by choosing from a number of LED color options, including white, yellow, green, blue, and red.

 

For Benchmark Physical Therapy, we produced 3” deep aluminum reverse channel letters with custom color dark red faces and returns.  The letters were mounted directly to the façade with 1.5” spacers and non-corrosive threaded studs.  The finished product provides a premium look, and adds value to the brand.  While a lease requirement is an excellent reason to choose to utilize reverse channel letters – – but it’s not the only reason.  Reverse channel letters will add to the look of your storefront, and can help separate you from the competition.

If you happen to own a retail or storefront business, or are thinking about opening one, then you owe it to yourself to take the time to really investigate the possibilities for your storefront sign.  Big Mouth Signs can help.  We’ll take the time to review options with you, conduct a site visit, provide a layout showing how your new sign will look, followed by a free estimate – – including permitting and installation.  You can reach us at (770) 381-9300.  We look forward to hearing from you soon!