The 4.5 Secrets of a Successful sign

The 4.5 Secrets of a Successful sign

Almost any sign is better than no sign – but not always.”

A successful sign needs to follow some basic rules, the most important being:

Legibility, Contrast, Size, Color and Competition.

1. Legibility:

Regardless of the color used, the size and the beauty of your sign, if your sign is not legible, it is not likely to achieve it’s objective of attracting viewers and potential customers. Legibility is determined by a combination of factors including the TEXT SIZE, FONT, TEXT COLOR and CONTRAST.

If the text is too small or too large, it can make the sign difficult or impossible to read. Either way people will most likely not take the time to read or try understand the message, and the sign will not attract the necessary attention, and will fail in it’s objective of attracting prospective customers.

The font you use can have a massive impact the legibility and understanding of your sign and it’s message. The writer remembers a sign that he always believed was for a beer company as the legible part of the sign read BREW. Turns out when the signage was replaced it was a design company. Their sign was almost totally illegible, had too much ‘noise‘ and the font was exceptionally difficult to read, especially in the short time one had to read the sign while driving.

The color of the text relates to both the text itself and the contrast between the text and it’s surrounds.

2. Contrast:

If your sign has little contrast it may look fantastic ion paper and also be classy on small items – badges, folders and the like. The lack of contrast tends to become more of an issue when the sign is large, the time to read is limited and the contrast is so limited that it is not easy to IMMEDIATELY differentiate between the text and the background.

Successful signs need CONTRAST. The greatest contrast is between BLACK and YELLOW. It may not always be practical or possible to use black and yellow – for example if your logo is green or blue or red or a combination – but if your logo is red and you use the same or a slightly different shade of red for the backing, the chances are that if you placed that sign on a billboard, your message would be lost.

3. Size:

In signage, the general rule is BIGGER IS BETTER! While BIGGER IS BETTER is true in the vast majority of cases, it is not always so. The larger the sign the further away the reader can be. That is simple. The larger the sign the larger the text, hence it is more legible from a larger distance. However, if the text is TOO LARGE for signs that need to be read from close up, then size of the sign can distract from the intended message, and at worst end up with the sign looking gaudy and unprofessional – something which could negatively reflect on your brand.

The question of SIZE also impacts the distance the sign may be spaced off a wall or backing board.

Free Floating signage is great in that it enhances a 3D look, makes the sign look modern and professional and helps attract attention while making the business look GOOD. This positive effect can be reversed when a sign is spaced too far off a backing board. If for example, your text is 100 mm high, and you have it spaced 100 mm off the backing board, not only are all the fixings visible – which can look very untidy and unprofessional – the fixings being the same size as the sign (in this example) often makes it look like the owner skimped on the signage, which could have a negative impact on the brand.

4. Color

As already stated color (colour) and contrast are essential for successful signs and signage. It is the writers view that the color you use in your signage should be as close as possible to the colour you use in your other promotional material. A little secret – most people will never see your letterhead close enough to your sign to do an accurate comparison. That said, our subconscious mind is an extremely powerful tool, and will pick up even slight variations that may look incorrect. If your subconscious sees or believes that a sign is incorrect, it is not uncommon for people to rather walk away and try an unknown brand than to use a brand that they know, they recognize and they trust, BUT not the fong kong LOOKING replica. This phenomena has been demonstrated to this writer on a number of occasions. (For more information on this phenomena you are welcome to contact the writer).

siBold colors work well in signs, especially when they contrast with the back ground. Because bold color works well with signage it is always recommended to remember that signs, like music, are not only about what one sees and hears, but about the SPACE around what one sees and the space between the musical notes.

4.5. Competition

Competition is not it’s own number as it may seem a little strange to think about when designing one’s signage, however, like most things in life, signage is SLEDOM seen in isolation.

If you are the only sign on a long road, with nothing else around for miles (kilometres for those on the metric measuring system), you can most likely get sway with almost ANY sign. A hand written board that is too small to generally get noticed could attract attention on a long open road as it is simply not the same as it’s surroundings, and could thus stand out enough to be seen. [Please remember that being seen does not necessarily equal being read or legible].

On the other hand, if you are looking to install a sign in an area that is almost overpopulated with a variety of signs that create sufficient visual pollution to give prospective viewers a head ache, if the sign does not have any ‘special features’ that make the sign stand out from the competition, the sign may not get seen at all.

Competition is a seldom considered factor in signage that has the potential to make a HUGE impact on the success of your sign.

For advise on signs that work contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call and ask for Arnold on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp Arnold on +27 (0)82 558 6413.

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

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

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

Why sign when you can use social media

SignForce – Solution Finders For Your Custom Signs

 

 

 

 

Illuminated Signs

Custom, old fashioned, illuminated signs

SignForce has been around for over two decades.

We at SignForce have been told one of the reasons we have managed to survive all the ups and downs of the South African economy is our ability to morph, recreating ourselves as and when necessary.

SignForce’s ability to adapt points to the mindset of the SignForce management – a mindset of problem solving.

This problem solving is one of SignForce’s competitive edges, as any challenge is seen as that, a challenge to overcome! This is especially true when our clients need custom signs and custom designs.

An example of SignForce’s problem solving thinking is the manufacturing of the sign for Corona Beer – part of which is shown above.

The sign is ‘simple’ in that this type of sign has been around since the beginning of time – ok, not so long, but definitely since the early 1930’s. So, it should be a simple issue to make the sign which has an old style and look.

But, because the sign SHOULD be SIMPLE to make, does not mean it IS SIMPLE to make. One reason the sign is not simple to make is because when these signs were first made in the 1930’s, the globe holders were a standard product that could be secured to the face of the sign with no visible wiring, but these holders no longer exist.

Today globes and globe holders are more of a specialist product, NOT made to be secured to the front of the sign.

SignForce designed special holders that could incorporate the current technology using mostly scrap material that would normally go to land fill. The ecologically friendly solution is one example of the solution finding way SignForce staff think.

Do you have a challenge that SignForce could help solve to make your business more visible?

If you have a signage challenge that requires a solution contact SignForce now on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or info@signforce.co.za or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

http://www.signforce.co.za3D

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

Signs Make Your Businees Successful

Signs Make Your Business Successful

OK, apologies up front for the click baiting, as we all know (WE referring to intelligent business folk) this statement is not entirely true, as there are MANY factors that make a business successful.

In general, from what this writer has observed, success in business is more often than not a result of doing the slog work, doing the same correct (that is imperative) behavior over and over and over and over and over – you get the point – beyond the point of boredom, beyond the point of repetition, to the point where one can literally do the task in one’s sleep. This is sometimes referred to as achieving efficiency at the task, and it is said this takes 10,000 HOURS of the same task.

Another part of the success of a business is MARKETING and SELLING. Without sales there is no money for product development, no money to train and pay staff (someone may want to point this out to the current anc leaders who have reportedly managed to bankrupt their 109 year old organization) and no money to grow your business.

Now marketing and sales a re multi faceted and not entirely the focus of this blog, but I would like to focus on #SIGNAGE – the one part of that marketing puzzle that SignForce sells. We do advise on signage in order to ensure your spending on signage is an investment, but we tend to do this for free (not great for our business turnover in the short term, but we never claimed to be great sales people). If anyone wants to take me for a drink I can explain the difference between TECHNICAL SELLERS (SignForce’s sales staff) and GREAT SELLERS (who tend to sell on emotion).

Signs SELL! So does collaboration 🙂

I have known this for many years and have seen many examples from our own billboard on the M1 highway to what happened with STAX (many years ago) when they upgraded their signage at a loss making store that was being prepped for closure, but I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when one of our clients informed the writer that he spotted SignForce when he passed out pylon.

The point of this ramble is that if you want your business to succeed, especially if you are a business that has physical products or a physical premises, you should certainly consider SIGNAGE as an integral – and initial – step in promoting your business.

SignForce LOVES assisting new and small businesses. This does not mean we are going to give you your signs for free, but we will do what we can to make your business visible in a manner that can help your business grow – both to pay us AND to help you grow.

For more information on how SignForce can assist your business contact us now on info@signforce.co.za or call +27(0)11 440 7525

Find out more about #SignForce at http://www.signforce.co.za

SignForce’s invisible sign – well almost

SignForce’s Magic, Invisible (almost) Promotional Sign

SignForce 'invisible' sign

Partially Invisible Sign

Partially Invisible Sign

The header may be a little misleading, as it isn’t the entire sign that is invisible, only the one section, the section that allows the comma to the top right to seem as though it is suspended in mid air.

X – the 24th letter in the English alphabet.

On it’s own an X says nothing, but it can also say much.

The symbol X (also known as a cross from your association with an X in school) has many connotations, from the X in the alphabet to the cross at school to the depicted X which is the associated marketing symbol for The Mix Waterfall (https://themixwaterfall.co.za)

For the SignForce team this X that is displayed facing north on the west of the roof of the Mall Of Africa shopping center in Midrand, Gauteng is a great showcase of our experience, talent, technical skill and ability to put into practice the ‘magic‘ we so often tell our clients and prospects we are capable of creating.

What is the first thing you see when you look at the X in the picture?

From what we are told the first thing most viewers see when they see the X in the photo is the visual illusion of the ‘suspended’ comma on the top right of the red X sign.

Visual open space or unattached elements on a logo or graphic is simple to create and reproduce when looking at a piece of paper. The ‘open space’ helps enhance the graphic and add impact to the visual.

For signage – something that is physical, something that can be touched, this is not always easy to create.

Have you ever heard of a SKY HOOK?, something that helps one suspended something, anything, from the sky?

This may be simple when one looks at a helium balloon or something similar, however the game seems to change when the ‘suspended’ element consists of painted steel which is over 1,000 millimeters wide. How does one ‘hang’ a piece of steel from the sky?

The photo above is testament to the illusion SignForce successfully created for our client, and we know SignForce can do the same for your business and your promotional campaigns.

If you or anyone you know are a looking for signs that may require special effects, SignForce is available to assist.

Contact SignForce on +27(0)11 440 7525 or info@signforce.co.za

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

Is there a limit on the sign job that SignForce will take on?

High Rise Large Format Banner Removal

High Rise Large Format Banner Removal by SignForce

The quick answer to the question “Is there a limit on the sign job that SignForce will take on?” is YES, and NO.

Being in the custom sign business, #SignForce is in the business of taking on some really small and drastically LARGE sign work. So in reality, YES, there are some limits to the work that SignForce will take on – you can read that ‘some’ as very few :-), and NO, we will not limit our creativity and will generally take on any PAYING job if the sign will achieve the client’s objectives and there is money to be made.

These photo’s are intended to show the size of sign as well as height work that SignForce will gladly take on.

One fascinating thing about signage is that the visual on a sign gets smaller and smaller (to the naked eye) the higher it is installed. Put simply, the higher the sign the larger it needs to be in order to be legible, and more so to be legible from a DISTANCE.  It is for this reason that even though a sign looks MASSIVE when one stands close, the same MASSIVE sign will almost look small when it is installed AT HEIGHT, and needs to be viewed from a distance.

With our years of experience SignForce is well placed to help you make sure your investment in your sign pays off, in that it can be VIEWED and READ from a distance.

Contact SignForce now to assist with your signage. We are available at +27 (0)11 440 7525 or you can email SignForce at info@signforce.co.za

You can find out more about SignForce at http://www.signforce.co.za