Is Seeing STILL Believing?

Should you believe your eyes?

In the modern world (is it modern?) of 2022 can and should one believe your yes – also know as should you believe what you see?

It is difficult for the writer to disassociate from the war that is raging thousands of miles away across the planet in Ukraine – yet already this war has a huge impact here in South Africa. This impact is on many fronts, financially, politically , emotionally and for many physically.

While we would like to think that the world has advanced in the last 80 years since WWII, this war highlights just how habitual, gullible and emotional us humans can be.

While the writer is not sure that the Russians are any more wrong than the Ukrainians in their political and other opinions, from a simple layman’s perspective, it is the Russians who went into Ukraine, and no matter how pre-emptive their action is intended to be, it seems to be seen as wrong by the vast majority of the western world. As an over simplified example, If I break into your house, unless your house is on fire and I am getting you out, the vast majority of the world would say I am a thief and should not be there.

When I look at both sides and the amount of information – and more specifically DISinformation – that is being produced, it is very difficult for me to not think about the second world war where propaganda was the name of the game and the people were intentionally kept ignorant.

Are we, in the 2022 world of instant communication, where everyone with a hand held device is capable of being an ON SITE reporter, any MORE informed than our forefathers from the 1940’s were? Are we any less ignorant? Are we less likely to believe the propaganda – aka disinformation – than our ancestors were?

It is for these reasons I question whether we as a species are capable of learning, capable of change and whether we are simply habitual, stupid and emotional beings, where our habits and lack of emotional intelligence will lead us to BELIEVING what we WANT TO BELIEVE, especially if we have SEEN IT with our own two eyes. As my darling late grandmother used to say, “if someone took the time to write it it MUST be true.”, NOT!!

It is for this reason that I posed the simple question “Should you believe your eyes?”

We want to believe what we see is true. In fact in many ways I do think that we NEED to believe what we see is true. The sad reality is that a LOT of what we see, especially in the ‘modern’ world of instant, emotive, DISinformation, is NOT true. What we see is so easily doctored, altered, edited, ‘Adobied’, ‘Photoshopped’ or however you want to refer to it, to create an image – whether that is a single sill photo or an entire hours long documentary or movie – that will play with and into our emotions, causing us humans to act in an emotive manner so that we play directly into the hands of the developer / poster of the information.

This manipulation technique is used extensively by amongst others, marketers, politicians, charlatans, snake oil salesmen (and woman if you like – in fact, more often, more women than men, but that is not a point to discuss in this article) – in order to get US (the viewers) to do their bidding, whether that is buy their products, vote them into power or whatever.

The manipulation generally follows the line of showing something that is out of alignment with the viewers sense of being. This causes emotions to rise. Then showing a possible SOLUTION to the raised emotions, and then closing the deal.

A large portion of this manipulation – is achieved through visual stimulus – hence being wary of trusting what you see.

We at SignForce have also seen this use of manipulation in the signage business over the years. While SignForce is sadly far from perfect, we do our best to supply our clients with quality work that exceeds our client’s expectations, and when this does not happen, we go back to rectify.

This striving to achieve is not something you will find on the SignForce website (http://www.signforce.co.za) or on our quote sheets. It is (hopefully) evident when talking to the staff of SignForce, but even then, unless you are looking for this ‘unspoken’ information, it is easy to miss.

The above is not to say that we don’t have many excellent competitors that operate with as high levels of integrity and service excellence, it is only to lay the groundwork to understand that while MANY sign businesses strive to do their best for their clients, there are those that strive more to do the best for themselves than they do for their client’s. This is sadly often at a cost – sometimes VERY HIGH – to the client.

While one can argue that Caveat Emptor – let the buyer beware – ALWAYS applies, it is a sad reality in the purchase of signs and signage that we as humans are so programmed to buy standardized, off the shelf products that provide instant relief, that we apply the same logic to the signs we buy – and the visuals we SEE of said signs.

At SignForce we refer to this as BUYING THE PICTURE.

Buying the picture refers to if you see the picture of the proposed signage from supplier one, and you see the picture of the proposed signage from supplier two and you see the picture of the proposed signage from supplier three, and they all look pretty similar, if not identical, it is simple to (incorrectly!) believe that proposed sign one at cost of X is the same as proposed sign two at the cost of 1/2X is the same as proposed sign three at 2X. Using this logic, it is easy to believe that proposed signage one is the median, and thus the most ‘reasonably’ safe purchase – or investment – while proposed signage two may be considered “CHEAP” and proposed signage three is seen as “EXPENSIVE” – while, in reality, proposed signage one may in fact be the worst option and proposed signage three the best option, DEPENDING ON THE MATERIALS USED AND THE METHOD OF CONSTRUCTION and the client service and possible guarantees offered. But HOW do we as buyers know what questions to ask? This will be a topic for a further discussion.

If you are in the market for any signs that make you or your business visible, are prepared to pay fair prices and are looking for peace of mind that a company that has been around for over two decades and is know to ‘make good’ when we mess up, then SignForce could be the signage business you want to partner up with for all your signage – aka custom visual communications.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call SignForce on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp #SignForce on +27 (0)82 558 6413.

Find out more about how SignForce can serve you by visiting the #SignForce website at http://www.signforce.co.za

Is LUCK necessary to make a Business Successful?

What does it take for a business to be a success? (or survive?)

Gary Player, the famous golfer, is also famous for saying something like “being successful requires a measure of luck”, and “the more I practice the luckier I seem to get!”

While this comment was specifically made about Gary Player’s golf career, I was wondering if it applies to every aspect of a successful business as well.

Life has taught me that a LOT of success in business comes from doing the same repetitive, ‘boring” things over and over and over and over and over and over again. This is because it is the “boring”, “repetitive” actions that are needed to keep a business functioning. Things like accounting, marketing, selling and doing the work!

A great man named Dennis Kaplan once said that every person who is successful has to do the work (similar to what Gary Player says as this becomes practice which can lead to ‘luck’), work hard, focus and also needs an element of LUCK.

It is the LUCK part that intrigues me most. In the context of a sport, luck can easily be attributed to hours of practice and training, as this practice and training hones the muscles, hones one’s reflexes and makes one better at the action that is being repeated.

There is also a level of mental focus that is required. If one looks at the top sports people, it is often their mental attitude – and fortitude – that separates number 1 from number 100. This is one reason the field of Sports Psychology dos so well.

So how do these factors apply to business?

Is it LUCK that a particular client finds a specific supplier? If we focus on marketing efforts, then LUCK could possibly be one’s ability to get into the prospect’s line of sight, or keep one’s business front of mind. But is this really luck? If it is luck it could be interpreted that the business with the biggest budget will ALWAYS win as they have the ability to keep one front of mind. BUT is this true for all businesses?

Could it be LUCK that a specific prospect finds your business, contacts your business and then decides to go ahead with your business to do the job? This one is specifically questionable when one does not necessarily have much influence over the decision process.

For an example lets look at a business like SignForce.

We can market all we can, as we have control over this.

Once we have marketed we have no control over the prospect clicking on, calling or emailing SignForce. This step I would put down to luck.

Once the prospect DOES contact SignForce we then have some control over the next step which is seeing the client (if necessary), advising the prospective client and quoting the prospect.

The next step is once again out of SignForce’s hands, as this step depends on the client’s budget, the competitive quotes the prospect received (we always assume every prospect gets the standard three quotes which is considered good governance) and what quality the prospect is prepared to settle for, assuming that (as is standard) all three competing companies have quoted on the SAME sign(s). The last one is a little challenging as history has shown that there are MANY ways to quote on the same signs, but they all have different pro’s and con’s, many of which the prospect would have no clue about, simply because they would need to be sign specialists to know about all sign materials and their pro’s and con’s.

If the prospect does decide to work with SignForce all steps going forward ARE in the hands of SignForce so this is where practice (and hence no longer luck) comes in, as the more we do the work to the client’s approval – this involves quality, life span, delivery as per agreed deadline and many other factors – the more likely SignForce is to get additional work from the client.

Of course one issue with the signage business is that unless the client is expanding, the repeat cycle of business is between five and seven years. This means a sign business needs to continuously market in order to fill the five to seven years, and then some.

At SignForce we know we don’t know it all. We do practice a lot, and we tend to get better the more we practice, which is one reason people could explain why SignForce has been in business under the same management for over 20 years.

If you are in the market for signs – anything that makes you and your business visible – SignForce has been around assisting businesses to be visible for over 20 years, andd we will gladly assist your business as well.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call SignForce on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp SignForce on +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about how SignForce can help make your business visible by visiting our website at http://www.signforce.co.za

Why Sign AKA Are Signs a Worthwhile Investment?

Why Sign?  Why use Signage?  Are signs a worthwhile investment?

Good quality, innovative signage is not cheap. In fact, if truth be told, good quality, effective and innovative signs can be quite expensive.

SignForce recently had a prospective client ask for a quote and artist impression so he could get a rush job done. The rush is all on his side. When we quoted what we believe is a very fair price, the prospect came back to advise SignForce that his previous supplier would do the work for 1/5th of the price.

When the SignForce price was reviewed it was found to be fair and realistic.

Historically and on average – average being VERY IMPORTANT as this is the median on a bell graph where there can be a drastic variance between the most costly and the least costly signs – which means an average can be extremely misleading – the higher the overall cost and selling price of a sign, the lower the contribution from material alone.

On AVERAGE material cost ranges from around 7 to 10% of the TOTAL SELLING price of a sign. This means that if the material cost X, the final cost will be between 10X and 14X. That is 10 to 14 TIMES more than the cost of the material!

This may seem excessive and even irrelevant, however when someone gives – ok lets say provides to be politically correct – your business with a sign for material at say cost or even cost times 2 or 3 or even 5, especially for a small sign, the chances are the supplier is running at a loss.

Lets look at an example.

Lets say the prospect is quoted R350 for a sign where the material realistically costs R141– assuming the material is delivered – and the supplier is effectively charging around 2.5 times the cost of material. One could argue that the material will not be fully used so there is a possibility of some material being added back to stock. HOWEVER this is only a POSSIBILITY. What happens in the event of unexpected or unplanned #loadshedding when the vinyl is almost completely cut and is lost and needs to be recut – these events need to be budgeted for.

What costs are involved in making that R350 sign? I am using this number as this is what the prospect told us he was prepared to pay. The material – bought per running meter – cost R141. This is material that has not been cut. The material has to be cut – this means someone has to program a computer program that then needs to talk to the digital cutter. The vinyl needs to be placed into the cutter, setup and checked. Guess what, all this takes TIME.

Once the vinyl has been cut it needs to be what we in the signage business refer to as WEEDED. Weeding is the removal of the excess vinyl from the cut vinyl – sadly signage has a HUGE amount of waste – and then the vinyl needs to have application tape applied to it. Application tape is tape (paper or vinyl) that allows the vinyl (sign) to be applied to the final destination – be it metal or glass or Aluminium or whatever. Guess what, this is a MANUAL task that, being manual, requires TIME, and as importantly, can easily be result in the sign being ruined, requiring additional material to be cut and weeded.

At this time we are not allocating any COST to the TIME, however at SignForce we firmly believe that salaries need to be fair for EVERYONE because we are all in this business together and thus we all share in any profits. The point here is TIME cost MONEY, and this is not yet been accounted for, and the SignForce staff are paid a fair, living wage.

Once the vinyl has been weeded and application tape has been applied to the weeded vinyl, the vinyl needs to be applied to the final surface. Now in the case of this specific prospect, the final destination of the vinyl would be approximately 15 kilometers away. That is a one way trip. Now a 30 kilometers return trip in terms of current fuel costs works out to approximately R65.

This puts our cost at R141 plus R65 equaling R206. Add to this the cost of parking at R10, we are looking at a cost of R216. This means that selling the sign at R350 means there is, at BEST, a contribution of R144.

R144 may look fantastic if one only compares it to the flat cost of the material. HOWEVER, when one INCLUDES the cost of TIME – and when one considers that this small sign would take approximately 25 minutes for artwork, another 5 – 10 minutes for possible changes and revisions the prospect may require. About 20 – 40 minutes to cut and weed and applying application tape, as well as approximately 30 – 60 minutes to get to site. So we are in for approximately 2 HOURS – at a massive ‘PROFIT’ (PLEASE NOTE – IT IS NOT PROFIT BUT CONTRIBUTION – of R72 per hour.

This R72 per hour needs to pay for lights and water, time for staff, insurance, mess-up’s, coffee, toilet paper, soap, telephone AND all the other little (non existent?) costs that are necessary to run a business.

The point of this blog is that while as a customer you are entitled – in fact almost OBLIGED – to take the BEST COST option for your business. This means that if you believe the cost effective solution would meet your needs almost as much as the most expensive solution, (ALMOST as you do expect some variance if one is six times more costly than the other), YOU WOULD (of necessity) go for the most cost effective solution.

Of course this makes the supplier that is awarded the work very happy as they now have some income. What they are not necessarily aware of is that THEY are in fact PAYING for YOUR SIGN. This means that they are losing money. It may be a little at a time, but as soon as the supplier gets a LOT of orders, they will lose a LOT, possibly even too much money.

Time for another example.

Lets say the signage company makes a loss of US$1 per sign sold. That is not necessarily a lot when one sells one sign a day. But what happens if they sell 1,000 signs in a week. Suddenly they have lost US$1,000 that week. It adds up and gets very costly.

What the small loss means is that when something goes wrong, or when you want to get a second sign, you, as the buyer, are either put out when the supplier has to more than double their price – a natural reaction because you have a base price and suddenly that is lost in the wind – OR the supplier simply never comes back. The supplier is happier to weather the bad PR than to come back because they simply don’t have the funds to come back.

The reality is WELL MADE, QUALITY SIGNS can be COSTLY, but COSTLY is RELATIVE.

Relative is simple. If you get a quote for X and a second quote for 100X, 100X is expensive relative to X.

On the other hand, if the 100X sign lasts 5 times longer and brings in five time the feet that result in turnover of 1,000X, is the sign still relatively expensive?

Or, from a different point of view, if the 100X sign saves you TIME and cost on marketing, is the sign relatively expensive?

A short survey revealed that MANY small to medium businesses STRUGGLE with marketing. They struggle with the time marketing takes. They STRUGGLE as much with finding relevant content to market with.

EFFECTIVE signs and signage are the most COST EFFECTIVE marketing tool I know of.

Why is effective signage the most cost effective tool? Very simple.

An effective sign needs a once off payment – you can change your sign as often as you like or as often as your budget allows, but – that once off payment will get you a sign that will last for approximately three to seven years, with NO EFFORT on your part and no additional cost after the first payment.

Effective signs are wonderful marketing tools because they TELL or SHOW prospective CLIENTS WHAT you do and HOW you do it? What would the cost be to get a PERSON to do this same work, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for over 500 weeks?

Effective signs are then best marketing tools because they never complain. They never let you down and they are ALWAYS ready to work. Please tell if this can apply to ANY of the people you employ – even if you are a one man show and you only employ yourself. We humans NEED to sleep!

Effective signs allow prospective clients, prospective patients and anyone who VIEWS the SIGN to know where the business is located – well at least in most cases.

Is it fair to expect a business to sell you a sign at a loss. No!

Are you wrong to buy the cheapest sign you can – No, BUT this depends on a number of factors such as quality, lifespan, pleasure – or otherwise – of dealing with the supplier, and what, IF ANY, other benefits there are to dealing with a specific supplier. BENEFITS can include advice, QUARANTEES, proximity, ability to come back to fix errors and possibly a number of other benefits.

If you are in the market for quality signs from a reputable sign business that charges a FAIR price for the signs they produce and will come back when necessary, contact SignForce and lets see if we have enough common ground to forge a mutually beneficial business relationship – in other words, let SignForce advise and quote your business on the effective signs you want.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call SignForce on 27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp SignForce on +27 (0)82 558 6413.

Find out more about SignForce by visiting the SignForce website at http://www.signforce.co.za

Handling Business Cycles – especially in the signage Industry

How do small businesses handle the cycles of business All businesses and most industries have some sort of cycle.

Some cycles are more easily identified than others because they are related to weather seasons which are clearly defined.

Some business cycles related to the product, for example more ice cream is sold in summer. Some business cycles are less define, nor being clearly related to any specific or identifiable trend. Signage seems to fall into the last category.

Now this comment may be a lot off center as it us being written by a South African during the rule of the anc. This means that the comments may be country or political policy specific, as the anc have proven to be firm communists, anti business, anti progress and 1,000% corrupt. Apparently South Africa is one of the most difficult countries to trade in due to extremely excessive red tape and inconsistent supply of electricity. All these factors make the (current) work environment in South Africa exceptionally challenging, which may mean that our business cycles are being influenced by politics and foolish, corrupt politicians more than business cycles.

The above disclaimer aside, signage in South Africa seems to be impacted by cycles related to the festive season, public holidays, sometimes weather and a lot due to the public mood related to the economy.

When cycles are predictable it is sometimes easier to plan for the upcoming surge or drop in anticipated business. When the cycles are unpredictable it is much more challenging to plan correctly.

At SignForce we have focused on being abreast of the latest technology, providing quality signs at fair prices and keeping our overhead costs as low as possible. While we have been in business for over 20 years, whether this is a good or poor strategy will surely only become evident in time.

If you are looking for signs that work and can be seen as as investment, contact SignForce.

You can contact SignForce by emailing info@signforce.co.za or call SignForce on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp SignForce on +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce by visiting our website at http//www.signforce.co.za

The importance of WHITE SPACE for Signage

Wayfinding sign, wayfinding signs, directory sign, directory signs, modular sign systems,

Way Finding

Howimportantis WHITE SPACEfor Signs?

To make this a little easier to read: How important is WHOTE SPACE for signs?

What is  WHITE SPACE? And why is it important when designing LEGIBLE signs?

It is said that music is less about the notes and more about the space between the notes as this is where the sound we hear resides.

The same thing about white space can be said with regards to legible signage.

Signs are simple. Good signs that are legible and do their intended WORK WELL may be a little less simple.

Good signage needs to deliver on the signs intended purpose. A signs purpose can vary from getting feet into a store to informing people of positions or offers to directing people to a specific location or in a specific direction.

One common factor in all signs if they are to WORK is that they NEED to be EASILY LEGIBLE.

The more ‘visual noise, the less the sign is EASILY LEGIBLE, and in some circumstances, the sign is not legible at all. Visual noise is the equivalent of NOOPENSPACE (or NO OPEN SPACE) around the intended message.

Visual noise can make text or the pictures bleed into each other, making a sign difficult or even impossible to read. Just like a paragraph that is too long (like this one?) a sign that is difficult to read will most likely not achieve its objective.

If you are in the market for SIGNS that WORK at fair prices (read that as not the cheapest, but good value with guaranteed work), then SignForce is here to assist you.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call SignForce on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp SignForce on +27 (0)82 558 6413.

Find out more about SignForce by visiting our website at http://www.signforce.co.za

Is it possible to always swim UPSTREAM?

Is it possible to survive while bucking a trend.

Conversely, is it possible to survive by following popular opinion?

Having a discussion with a fellow contractor it seems that the popular view on signage is for many people to go for the cheapest option.

This is VERY understandable, as money currently seems to be tight for almost EVERYONE.

The difficulty with accepting the cheapest quote is you may land up getting exactly what you pay for – as in you may find that the sign that you get at a bargain price in fact doesn’t last very long which will mean that you may land up paying twice for the cheap signs to last as long as the guaranteed signs. But enough of a ramble, this is not the intention of this blog.

The current trend is POPULAR. Do what the masses ask for – or demand.

The difficulty with following the popular trend is that the prices are often set by what the BUYER believes is reasonable. This subjective opinion is based on the buyers FEELINGS, but has absolutely nothing to do with COSTS.

Now for longevity or sustainability of a business, one cannot sell below cost, as if one does, you are only going to go broke at the pace of your loss – the smaller the loss, the longer it will take to go bust.

General practice for costing generally entails calculating the COST of all inputs – material, labour and whatever INPUT costs there are, add your mark-up and you get your selling price. There are obviously cost variations depending on one’s personal circumstances.

If a sign business is not quoting this way they are not covering all costs, and if all costs are not covered, how do they survive in the long term?

So what is a business to do? Follow the trend and slowly drown and go out of business, or feel as though you are always swimming against the stream and get the tit bits that come through by sticking to time tested quoting methods and marketing like mad?

If you are in the market for signs that will make your business visible, are prepared to pair fair value and want the security of knowing the business you deal with has been around for a while (over 20 years) and is intending to be around for many more, contact SignForce on info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0) 82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce by visiting our website at http://www.signforce.co.za

Why sign when you can use social media

Surviving a Black Swan Event

SignForce 'invisible' sign

Partially Invisible Sign

How does your business survive and thrive a Black Swan Event?

Ever heard of a Black Swan?

Ever seen a black Swan?

Do you understand the concepr of a Black Swan Event?

For more on Bl;ack Swan Theory visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_swan_theory

In short, bl;ack swans do exist, but are more rare than white swans, and their arrival always seems to be a surprise. It is not a planned event.

Covid arriving in 2020 is one such event almost EVERY business in the world has had to deal with. For some it was a death knell, for others a Godsend.

From my research there doesn’t seem to be a common thread that has made one business succeed and another fail during these interesting times, in that some businesses do the same thing yet some have gone up while others have gone down.

Traditionally times like this call for a boost in one’s marketing. The greater one’s visibility in these times, the higher the likelihood of success and thriving. The more markets one can reach, the greater the chances of surviving and thriving. And from SignForce’s experience, the more one can collaborate, the higher the chances of success.

SignForce has always worked with our competitors in order for us all to do better. SignForce’s philosophy is that a cent earned from someone else’s work is a good cent. The theory behind this is that if you are a doctor, you almost always have to be at work to earn a good living. In industry, this is not necessarily the case. One can earn while being remote. This has been emphasized and highlighted in the modern work from home environment where unless one HAS to be face to face with your client’s, one can provide services from a distance.

At SignForce we believe in upliftment. Yes, we strive to be a profitable and sustainable business, so we believe in making sure the TEAM is always taken care of. Sure there are differences in take home pay but before anyone makes a profit the TEAM must be taken care of. SignForce operate on the premise that if you are hungry you will not give of your best, so we provide food. We have to cook it, but the food is there, and all our cooking skills are tested, and hopefully improving.

SignForce also believe in keeping the team happy. Yes, there are disagreements and people are not always happy, but we strive to make sure people are happy as much as possible. This leads to a work environment where people can strive, thrive and improve themselves – both financially and from a skills perspective. We believe in up-skilling, because we are never sure when a crucial cog in our tightly run machine will break down, be removed or stop performing. As such we believe EVERY PERSON should be able to do EVERY JOB.

This is not always easy, and often people resist being trained because it is beyond their comfort level, but we continue with training ALL THE TIME, as an insurance policy in order to maintain sustainability.

If you are looking to thrive in these interesting times, maybe some of the idea’s mentioned above will be of assistance. We hope so, and when you are expanding, allow SignForce to assist you with making your brand VISIBLE.

For an obligation free quote contact SignForce not on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413 or email info@signforce.co.za

What type of sign does my business need?

What kind of sign does my business need?

One of the most important decisions that you can make about your business signs is ‘What  kind of sign’ is going to be best for your business taking into account:

(a) what the sign is intended to achieve,

(b) your businesses location and

(c) your budget.

While it may seem ‘obvious’ that as your sign supplier I want you to spend as much as possible on your sign, it is important for me to remember that it is not about me, but rather what is best for your business and from SignForce’s perspective, our future relationship as your business grows and prospers.

I find it is ALWAYS best to start with knowing and understanding what your sign needs to achieve.

If, for example, your sign is intended solely to make a statement that YOU as a business “HAVE ARRIVED”, then an excessively large sign may work and do well to get your desired message across. If, on the other hand you want people to see your sign as an invitation to visit and come into your premises, then the said large sign may result in you spending more than was necessary, and may be costing you business by dissuading potential customers from entering your premises because the sign is not the correct type of sign for your intended target market.

Generally signs will be used to invite, inform, direct and persuade potential readers.

An example of a sign that ‘invites‘ could be a store front sign that is intended to ‘invite’ the reader into your store. Because the sign is intended to invite the reader into your store, the sign needs to be able to stand out from the surrounding signs and environment. For example, if your store sells fast food in the fast food area of a shopping mall, and your competitors all have beautifully decorated illuminated signs, unless your sign is equally beautiful and illuminated, possibly with an additional dimension like flashing lights or a lifestyle picture showing someone enjoying one of your meals, the chances are that your potential clients will overlook your sign and your business, thus potentially costing you money. While ‘invitational’ signs can be decorated Chromadek (treated metal), this is often not allowed by shopping centers, and may not achieve your desired effect. Often fabricated,3D signs are used for invitational signs.

 An example of a sign intended to ‘inform‘ is a street sign or a warning sign. These signs are intended to ‘inform ‘ drivers of impending dangers or of changes in road conditions or of upcoming situations, such as a guarded intersection, an unguarded intersection, a traffic light or hidden access to the road. Information signs are usually large and generally made from the most cost effective material that will achieve the objective of getting the desired message across while at the same time having the desired life span, which depends a lot on the climatic conditions where the sign is to be installed.

 Signs that are intended to ‘direct‘ include motorway and highway signs – such as directing readers to keep in the right lane to go to Timbuktu and keep left to go to Cape Town. Directional signs, like directory signs, also assist readers to get to where they are looking to go. Like information signs, Directional signs are usually made from the most cost effective material that will achieve the objective of getting the desired message across while at the same time having the desired life span, which depends a lot on the climatic conditions where the sign is to be installed. Directional signs, especially those that are indoors, also offer the opportunity for designers to integrate the signs into the aesthetics of the building and office environment, so the range of possible materials is large and could include wood, plastics, metal or glass, or a combination of all of these.

Directional and directory signs can begin doing their intended work when entering a premises – with say a sign reading RECEPTION with an arrow directing people to the reception, followed by a directory board in the reception – with the directory board informing the reader which wing, floor and room the reader is intending to visit.

Lastly an example of a sign intended to ‘persuade‘ could be a in-store poster or a billboard sign showing a product, such as a sign showing how a specific brand of washing powder will wash whiter and brighter than a competing brand. The message is intended to persuade the reader to buy and try the advertised product.

All of the above must take into consideration your budget as well as what return is expected – measured in terms of any of the following: number of feet, increase sales, decreased complaints, decreased incidents and accidents, or a combination of all of these. The most common upmarket signs that are used to persuade tend to have a metal (aluminum) frame with the printed message printed onto a gloss paper or vinyl. The material used would depend on the look and feel of the store as well as the intended target market.

By now I am sure you understand that while there may be a standard, off the shelf solution to your question as to “what type of sign does my business need”, there are many variations, answers and opinions to the answer the question. For this reason, as well as all the reasons given above, or if you are unsure of what sign you are looking for, or which sign would best achieve your intended objective, calling a SignForce sign consultant to get an expert opinion can reduce your stress and help you make an informed decision.

If you are in the market for professional looking signs at “FAIR VALUE”, and would like advice on how best to project your business’s image while considering any funds you spend on marketing and signs as an investment, please contact the writer at arnold@signforce.co.za or david@signforce.co.za and use the subject line: ADVICE PLEASE and we will gladly assist and advise you.

How to make your way finding signs more effective

 

Wayfinding sign, wayfinding signs, directory sign, directory signs, modular sign systems,Way Finding Signs

Way Finding Architecture signs are finally being integrated into more the greater communications realm.

A few years back, but not that long ago, when SignForce did the way finding signage for Morningside Medi-Clinic, a large private hospital in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa, we did our best to make sure that all the signs on the premises – from when people drove into the parking area until they reached their desired doctor or other destination – was all integrated and clear, especially as there was a lot of renovations and construction taking place at the time.

I had been working on the project for about five months when I was standing in one of the many foyers, and watched as a number of people evidently searching for something. Being the nosy person I am I asked if I could assist, and all, bar none, were lost – so much for my boards and ego. They had followed our carefully planned signs, yet were didn’t feel like they had been helped at all. The challenge we had failed was leading people through the labyrinth of passages and stairs, without making the hospital look like the proverbial Christmas tree.

Today, with the advent of YouTube and so many other digital aids, this can be made so much easier. I was reading an article on LinkedIn, for a group titled Architectural Signage, and the writer (and subsequent comments) were chatting about what is being done at the Royal Melbourne Hospital where patients are issued with a letter when they book their procedure, and the letter refers to a web based video that can be watched so the patient’s can see where they are going in advance, reducing their stress on arrival. A similar video is also made available to visitors on site at the hospital.

What a brilliant concept. While this will certainly not remove, or even reduce, the need for way finding signs and directory boards, because of it’s integrated nature it is certain to make finding one’s way around any facility a lot simpler. And from the perspective of a sign maker, this is the first time I have come across any idea where technology and way finding and directory signs are integrated. I believe if designed and implemented correctly, the integrated approach can make visitors lives much simpler, possibly for no other reason than what is referred to as using the mind as a magnet – that is being prompted in advance what to look for.

SignForce’s is a full service sign company, and with our understanding of consulting, internet, design and signs, we are well positioned to assist you to integrate your way finding architecture and signs. Contact the writer now for more information.

Arnold N. Pollak – arnold@signforce.co.za

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