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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.

 

Channel Letters 101: Understanding This Popular Signage Option

Channel Letter Re-Branding Project: Pearle Vision - Austell, GA

Channel Letter Re-Branding Project: Pearle Vision – Austell, GA

Thinking about a new sign for the storefront of your business? Not sure what the options are, or even what the various terminology means? Welcome to Channel Letters 101, where we explain what a Channel Letter is, review the different types of Channel Letters, and explain the various parts of a channel letter sign. Take time to learn the channel letter basics before you buy – – make sure the first sign you buy is the sign you want to keep!

What is a Channel Letter sign?
A channel letter sign is a three-dimensional graphic element with an individual structure and separate illumination. In simpler terms, a channel letter can be any letter, number, or other character that, when combined with other like characters, makes up a sign presentation. Each letter is made using aluminum sheeting, and acrylic. Channel letter signs are highly flexible, and can be made using a wide variety of fonts, colors, and sizes.

How are Channel Letters Fabricated?
Channel letters consist of the following parts;
Face: For a standard or front-lit channel letter, the face is made using 3/16” thick colorfast acrylic sheeting that is typically cut to shape using a CNC or multicam router. The acrylic sheeting is available in a variety of color options, and can be customized to a wider spectrum of available colors through the use of high quality translucent vinyl or perforated vinyl from leading manufacturers including 3M, Avery, and Oracal. The acrylic face of a channel letter is attached to the channel letter “can” through the use of “trim cap”.
Trim Cap: The mechanism for attaching the acrylic channel letter face to the body of the channel letter is a UV-stable, earth-friendly, highly durable plastic that is extruded around aluminum foil. The trim cap attaches to the acrylic channel letter face using a liquid bonding agent that “welds” the trim cap to the channel letter face. The face is then ready to be attached to the body of the channel letter.
Return: The side of a channel letter is known as the “return”. For standard of front-lit channel letters, the depth of the return is typically 3”, 5” or 8”, and may be specified either in the Sign Criteria of your Lease Agreement, or in local city/county ordinances. Returns are shaped to form the appropriate character by the use of computer-driven bending machines. The aluminum sheeting used in the manufacture of channel letters is also available in a variety of standard colors, or can be custom-painted with your choice of PMS or other color-match shades.
Backs: The back of a channel letter is made using router-cut aluminum sheeting, which is available in a variety of thicknesses, including .040, .063, and .090.
Light Source: Channel letters are made both as an illuminated sign option, and as a non-illuminated sign option. Today, nearly all internally-illuminated channel letters are made using LED illumination, resulting in significant energy cost savings over neon illuimination options commonly used in the past.

What Types of Channel Letter Signs Are Available?
Front-Lit Channel Letters: The first and most common type of channel letter is the front-lit or standard channel letter. A front lit channel letter will have an acrylic face, trim cap, aluminum returns, and an aluminum back. Again, the number of options is large – – these signs can be customized in a variety of ways!
Reverse Channel Letters/Back-lit Channel Letters/Halo Channel Letters: For a unique and classy look, consider reverse channel letters! Instead of an acrylic face, reverse channel letters utilize .090 metal faces and .063 aluminum returns, and have clear 1/8” or 3/16” Lexan or poly-carbonate backs. The return of a reverse channel letter is typically smaller, usually about 3.5”. These letters are mounted with a 1.5” standoff so that – – when illuminated – – there is a “halo effect” surrounding the shape of each individual character.
Combination-Lit or Front/Back Lit Channel Letters: Ever thought about doing a sign that has red illuminated faces, and a blue halo effect? Well, then a combination-lit channel letter is for you! These signs use 3/16” acrylic for their faces, mounted with trim cap to the aluminum returns (usually about 5”). Like the reverse channel letter, combination-lit channel letters use clear Lexan backs that have been customized using translucent vinyl graphics to create the desired halo color.

Reverse Channel Letters with Direct Mount, 1.5" standoff.

Reverse Channel Letters with Direct Mount, 1.5″ standoff.

How are Channel Letter Signs Priced?
Every channel letter sign we sell is considered a custom sign due to the large number of variables in the makeup of the sign, from letter height, stroke thickness, font, return depth, return thickness, return color, back thickness, type of mounting, face color, trim cap color, trim cap thickness, and so on. Our process is to quote each approved design on its own, based on the options chosen.

What are the mounting options?
There are a handful of mounting options that anyone considering a channel letter sign needs to be aware of.
Raceway Mount: Many property management companies and landlords will require that any channel letter signs be installed on a raceway, which is a metal “box” that houses the electrical wiring and power supply for the individual letters themselves. The advantage to a raceway mount is that it reduces the number of wall penetrations that are required to complete the installation – – something most landlords appreciate. Raceways are typically painted to match the color of the building façade or sign band.
Direct Mount or Flush Mount: If appearance is key, then chances are you’ll favor a direct mount installation. With a direct mount, the letters are attached directly to the building façade using a pattern, with non-corrosive fasteners. For reverse channel letters, direct mount with standoff spacers is the common option. With direct mount or flush mount channel letters, the power source and electrical wiring connecting one letter to another is housed behind the bulkhead wall or façade.
Backer Mount: Similar to raceway mount, except that instead of a metal box, the channel letters are attached to a metal cabinet or backer panel that is typically larger in height and width than the channel letter configuration. The power supply and wiring can either be housed inside the backer “cabinet”, or behind the bulkhead wall or façade.

Front-Lit Channel Letters with Backer-Mount

What are the Watch-Outs?
1. Before spending any time considering the various types of storefront or business sign options, check what is required – – either in your lease, in a local zoning classification such as an area labeled as a historical zone, or in the local sign ordinance. Consult with the property owner/manager, and read the Sign Criteria in your lease agreement thoroughly!
2. Think long term… Purchase the best sign you can afford. Signs aren’t like print media or direct mail. With a sign, you have a higher up-front cost, but a relatively low cost once the sign has been installed (electrical and maintenance). A $3,500 channel letter sign costs less than $10 per day in advertising. Divide the cost of your sign by the number of days in your lease.
3. It’s less expensive to buy a sign once. In other words, purchase a sign that you will be happy with next year, and three years down the road. Are you sure bright pink is the way you want to go?
4. Don’t cut corners. Using low quality LED’s means your sign won’t be as bright today, and will be even dimmer tomorrow. Using low quality trim cap means the trim cap will crack, and the appearance of the face of your sign will deteriorate. Using low quality acrylic that isn’t Colorfast means the red, blue, green, yellow, purple, or orange face of your channel letter sign will fade sooner than it should.
5. Check before you order… Will your sign be UL approved? In many cases, your lease will require all signage to be UL approved. Confirm all colors, including the raceway color, if applicable.
6. Sweat the details. Don’t just compare price. Compare the thickness of the acrylic used for the face, the thickness of the metal used for the returns. What’s the warranty on the power supply, and what is the hour life of the LED? Remember, it’s less expensive to maintain a quality, well-made sign!

– Big Mouth Signs is a full service custom sign provider in the Metro Atlanta area, serving Gwinnett County, Fulton County, Dekalb County, Forsyth County, Cobb County, Douglas County, Clayton County, Rockdale County, and Cherokee County with quality signs and excellent customer service. Our goal is to provide you with a product that’s better than you expected! If we can be of service to you, or if you have a sign-related question, please give us a call!