What should your sign specialists know – the value of signs only vs marketing value

 

What should your sign specialists know – signs only vs marketing value

SignForce’s USP: Merging Sign Craftsmanship and design with Marketing Brilliance”

At SignForce we recognize that the expertise required for exceptional sign design and creation overlaps far into the marketing sphere, showcasing signs as pivotal brand assets rather than mere informational displays.

The combination of formal marketing qualifications and decades of experience in the design and manufacture of signage places SignForce at the forefront of signage design and implementation of effective ‘investment’ signage. SignForce has a deep understanding that for a sign to be effective and considered as an investment, each crafted sign is a direct reflection of the brand it represents within the specific area or context* of the sign, serving as a dynamic marketing tool that enhances brand visibility and customer connection.

* Context and placement of a sign often make a massive impact on both the impact and effectiveness of a sign. The best way to demonstrate this is the VEGAS strip. Everyone knows that the VEGAS strip is synonymous with FLASHING and SCROLLING large neon signs. Imagine how your new sign on the strip would be seen and perceived if your new sign is ‘smaller’ and does not illuminate, never mind it being neon and scrolling. The chances are your sign would become invisible in that context, even though in almost any other context your sign would be considered as MASSIVE and highly visible. This is where the phrase ‘horses for courses’ is appropriate. Regardless of how recognized and how well known your brand, if your brand is not competing at any specific location, your branding (signs) may be a waste of money.

Elevating Signs with SignForce’s Insight

SignForce’s experienced professionals are adept at transforming signs into strategic marketing vehicles. At SignForce we ensure every project undertaken stands out visually while also aligning perfectly with the client’s marketing objectives. This dual focus on aesthetic appeal and marketing potency underscores the unique value SignForce brings to every signage project we participate in, especially when we are involved with the design and installation of your signs.

Brand Identity and SignForce’s Role

Understanding and reinforcing your brand’s identity through signage is the cornerstone of SignForce’s approach. Our SignForce team meticulously crafts signs that echo your brand’s core message and values with the intention of creating a cohesive and impactful brand experience. SignForce’s commitment to this principle elevates our signage solutions, making them an indispensable investment tool in our clients’ marketing arsenals.

Maximizing Impact with SignForce Strategies

SignForce’s expertise goes beyond the limit’s of design and craftsmanship; our expertise encompasses a thorough understanding of marketing dynamics, including customer behavior, color psychology, and also strategic sign placement. At SignForce we leverage this comprehensive knowledge to create signs that attract attention while actively engaging customers, driving brand loyalty and business growth for your business.

SignForce – Where Signage Meets Marketing

At SignForce, we believe in the powerful synergy between exceptional sign making and insightful marketing strategy. SignForce’s holistic approach ensures that every sign we produce is more than simply a testament to high-quality craftsmanship but also a key player in our clients’ marketing strategies.

Through this blend of creativity, innovation, and strategic insight, SignForce continually sets new standards in the signage industry, helping brands shine brighter in an ever more crowded marketplace.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413 to take advantage of SignForce’s experience and to get your brand out there so it benefits from SignForce’s input for greater visibility.

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

The 5 steps to make signs visible

The 5 steps to make signs visible

The 5 main factors that make signs visible are color, contrast, size, distance and noise

Color

Color refers to both the color of the TEXT as well as the color of the backing of the sign – and also includes other possible ‘noise’ that can distract one’s eye balls from the main intended message of the sign – generally YOUR BUSINESSES NAME ad / or what your business does.

Contrast

Contrast refers to the difference between the color of the LOGO or TEXT of the sign as well as the color of the backing behind the sign. It is great to see subtle logo’s, for example a black on black logo with the backing being matt and the logo or text being gloss, or the other way around – when looking at paper or anything at close range. The low contrast does not always work as expected when the logo to text need to be expanded from a small logo on paper to a much larger sign – not necessarily even a massive sign.

For signage, the greater the contrast, the more visible the sign tends to be, especially from a distance, with the greatest visibility being black on yellow.

Size

The further away from the sign one wants the viewer to be able to read the sign, the larger the logo and text – and hence the sign – need to be.

See the previous blog on the SignForce blog (https://signforce.co.za/blog/big-must-sign/) which give an indication of how large your text or logo should be to be clearly visible from different distances.

The general rule is that the larger the sign the easier it is to read from a distance. That said, it is also possible for a sign to be too large for the available space, or for the sign to be too large for it to be easy legible from the available distance or for the sign to be spaced so far off a backing that it looks gaudy.

Distance

As stated above, the further away from the sign the viewers will be that one needs to read the sign, the larger the sign needs to be.

This is amplified when a sign is going to be installed at height.

The higher the sign the larger it needs to be as height tends to be a double whammy when it comes to visibility. It is quite simple to understand that the higher the sign the further it is from the viewer, (think of Pythagoras’s theory), the not so simple part is that the same sign at the same distance that looks large always looks smaller when the sign is installed at height. This writer has no explanation for this phenomena.

Noise

Noise or visual pollution or visual distraction all refer to anything that can challenge a viewer’s attention, distracting the viewer’s eye balls from the intended message – ‘polluting’ their attention. Noise can refer to a complex design that distracts from the intended message or it can mean the font is too sophisticated or too artistic to be read at a glance, or a number of other distractions from the intended message.

At SignForce we focus on getting your message across to your intended audience in a way that will add income to your bottom line – in other words making your sign an investment.

Contact SignForce now to get your signs that work. SignForce is available at info@signforce.co.za or you can call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or you can WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

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


How can you assure your investment in signage is money well spent – or is Signage a grudge purchase?

How can you assure your investment in signage is money well spent – alternatively, is Signage a grudge purchase?

Signage Fails

When signs do not work as planned

Over the past week this writer has been called to two different sites to quote on repairing existing signage. There is little unusual about this.

What is unusual is that both the signs at sites have suffered ‘failures’ due to what we at SignForce would considered reject signs. Poor workmanship, poor quality finishes and thus failing once installed.

In both cases the signs are apparently less than 30 months old.

Now I am aware that at SignForce we make signs that are value for money. This does not mean cheap, and we are seldom going to be the lowest quote. This is something I have been grappling with for many years, especially as I see other companies coming in at prices that we could NEVER compete with. One such example is a quote we gave where the client showed us that he got the sign for less than OUR MATERIAL cost.

So it looks like the client is getting a bargain! That is until one compares what we are providing with what they, based on what this writer has seen this week, may be getting for their spend.

The first sign was poorly finished. When the prospect’s contact showed me the signs he pointed out that the 3D letters were ‘peeling’ – something similar to your skin peeling after you have been sun burned – and it is a great comparison as the sign is in the sun all day, and the ‘skin’ that was peeling was in fact the plastic protective cover that should have been removed BEFORE the sign was installed. It looked like the sign was made with Perspex – a great qualitty acrylic with a 10year outdoor warranty – but not removing the protective cover cheapens the sign while possibly also drastically reducing the life of the material. At SignForce we tend to remove the protective plastic BEFORE the sign leaves the factory, and if the cover is left on, it will be removed before we ask the client is asked to sign off as this devalues the sign in many ways – both practically and aesthetically.

Many of the joints on the 3D elements were visible – something that we at SignForce work to avoid as the joints are generally the weakest part of the fabrication, and also they tend t o have dark spots. Being mindful of where the sign is to be viewed from we at SignForce try keep the joints out of view. This helps extend the life of the sign and makes it more aesthetically appealing.

One of the signs had the electrical cord running over the top of the sign. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however the wire that was found was exposed to the African sun. Anyone who knows anything about the African sun knows it is TRECHEROUS! The wire not being encased in a protective pipe or UV resistant sleeve means that the insulation coating will soon crack which will (it is only a matter of time) lead to fraying and eventually is likely to cause a short – especially if the positive and negative wires touch. This can blow all the LED’s rendering them useless, as well as potentially damaging the transformer, which will result in costly maintenance or possibly even having to re-wire the entire sign.

The prospect pointed out that birds had made a nest behind the sign – this is dangerous for the birds and can easily result in the sign getting damaged. It is also possible that the birds can accidently pull the wires so that some or all illuminated elements in the sign stop working. The sides of the sign should have been closed off before the sign was signed off.

The wiring behind the one sign was visible and was exceptionally untidy. Untidy wiring gives the impression of laziness, and as my one mentor, Tony De Gouveia pounded into my head, How yu do anything is how you do EVERYTHING – in other words if the person wiring the sign and the person inspection the sign allowed for shoddy workmanship, the chances are the fabrication will be shoddy and the fixings will be shoddy so the sign’s working capabilities are likely to also be shoddy.

The second sight had a single sign with 3D fabricated letters attached to the face. One letter had moved and SignForce was asked to assist to straighten the letter.

As a side note, we, as human’s, all tend to get caught up in a very particular pattern of thinking. I do believe this is one of the traits of being human and it allows for different people to think differently. I mention this as, as the primary designer for SignForce, this writer sees the fabrication of signs in a particular way. It is (in SignForce’s view) the best way, but is certainly not the only way to make certain signs. That said, when faces with a photo of a failed sign, our first thought is that the sign would have been made according to industry best practice, so the repair would entail certain steps.

In this case because the skew letter was on a backing board spaced off the wall it was assumed that the invisible fixings located at the rear of the letters have come loose and moved. This can happen. It is not common and it can be costly to repair as to repair properly it is recommended that the entire sign be taken down, all fixings be checked and secured and the sign be replaced. When the sign is at height – as this sign is – the costs include lifting equipment – scaffolding or cherry picker or ladders (not always allowed) or rope access – which all (except long ladders) sound almost as costly as they are.

In fact we got a new lesson in signage – well not quite new and definitely not a lesson we would need to learn or would copy – but we did soon find out WHY the sign failed. A little technical background may be helpful here. In years gone by in order to keep costs down some larger fabricated signs would be fixed to the backing board with what we in the industry refer to as L brackets. The bracket is fastened to the backing – wall or whatever – and the fabricated element is fixed to the opposite side of the L. Industry accepted fixings would mean that the sides of the 3D element would be SCREWED to the L bracket. This sign was ONLY attached with double sided tape. While this in itself may not have been an issue, if the business are in such a rush to get the sign out that they are not prepared to coat screws, drill and countersink the acrylic, the chances are they are also not using double sided tape that is made for purpose. That aside, double sided tape can be extremely strong when used for the correct application, however, when mixing materials – acrylic and Aluminium – and placing the sign in direct north east sun in Africa, the chances are that the expansion and contraction of the double sided tape on a regular basis will result in the double sided tape failing, which will result in the 3D element becoming loose, and possibly even falling off the sign. This would not only make the sign look aesthetically unappealing, it would most certainly damage the 3D elements (this one was over 6 meters above the ground) and could possibly damage vehicles or people driving or walking under the sign when it chose to fall.

Back to topic, How can you assure your investment in signage is money well spent – alternatively, is Signage a grudge purchase.

The latter question is more rhetorical as most business’s understand the need for signage, yet many see it as an after thought and are SHOCKED at the cost when they eventually get around to requesting quotes. While we at SignForce view signage as an essential tool in a business’s marketing strategy – we believe a business without a sign is a sign of no business – we can understand that there are business’s and people who feel that signage is not worth the cost. This may be for a number of reasons, some of which may be the high cost of an effective sign, a bad experience with previous signage, not knowing where to go to get signs or not getting signs that do what the client intended the sign to do. This can often be overcome by simply stating what the sign is for when asking for quotes. Also any decent signage sales person will ask this question when interviewing the prospect, as it is dangerous to assume you as the sales person KNOW WHY the prospect wants a sign.

The former question – How can you assure your investment in signage is money well spent – is a little more complex and difficult to answer.

I suppose the short answer is to do one’s homework BEFORE placing the order. This may include talking to past and present clients, looking at the prospective sign companies’ track record – although this may be unfair to excellent new start up’s.

One could also use standard accounting practice of getting at least three quotes. Notice this is standard ACCOUNTING practice which comes with a MASSIVE BUT when referring to signage or any custom designed products. When looking at 3 quotes it must be assumed that ALL companies are using the same material and the same production processes – think of a tin of your favorite canned beans It does not matter which outlet you buy the beans from, you are buying X brand and you trust the brand, so supporting the cheapest outlet saves you money. Because signs are custom made, and material prices vary insanely, it could well be that the lowest cost supplier is using lower cost material. Sadly the opposite is also possible – that the lowest cost supplier is in fact using the highest quality material but has forgotten to include costs of labour or other costs in the quote, or the highest cost supplier may be using the poorest quality materials and making a killing. It is near impossible for the purchaser to know, no matter how astute you are. I guess signage – like many other purchases – require a high level of faith and trust.

One could ask to see sample materials, but once again this is pretty useless if one does not know the technical specifications of materials. If you visit the SignForce factory you will find one or two rolls of ‘cheap’ vinyl. These are for specific client’s and are appropriately marked. Not because we enjoy the process but because we are VERY aware that it is extremely simple to make an error and use the incorrect material when making signs.

If you are in the market for signage that IS an investment, SignForce have been a supplier in the South African (and global) market for over four decades. We take pride in our work and believe our prices are fair so that your investment in signage IS an investment!

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

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

SignForce belief in the Value of Mentoring and Training

A SignForce Insight into the Value of Mentoring in the Signage Industry

At SignForce, our belief in the transformative power of mentoring within the signage industry is unwavering. For SignForce, mentoring transcends mere knowledge transfer – it’s about nurturing growth, fostering innovation, and cultivating a supportive community with the ultimate objective being that is or when the current management leave or die, all team members have the necessary skill and training to take over the running of the business – in other words, sustainability – or for all team members to be in a position AT ANY TIME to go on their own and open their own signage business in order to compete with SignForce and take care of their respective families.

With a legacy spanning over two decades, SignForce has seamlessly integrated mentoring into the fabric of our operations, underpinning our sustained success and prominence in the market, and we believe is one of the reasons we have a loyal team with all of whom have been in long service with SignForce.

Empowering Innovation and Creativity at SignForce

Mentoring at SignForce extends far beyond the fundamentals of sign design and installation. Mentoring at SignForce represents a commitment to inspire our team members to exceed the conventional boundaries of creativity and technical prowess, instilling a sense of LETS TRY as this is the only way we could innovate and come up with possible method changing prospects. Leveraging SignForce’s rich reservoir of knowledge, we encourage industry novices to devise innovative solutions, ensuring every project not only mirrors our client’s aspirations but also showcases the abilities of our team members – past and current.

Cultivating a Cohesive Professional Network with SignForce

The essence of mentoring and training at SignForce is fundamental to our role of fostering a closely-knit network. At SignForce we champion the potency of caring and robust relationships – spanning all team members, both mentors and mentees, and our esteemed clients. These relationships are essential in bolstering collaboration, equipping SignForce to navigate complex projects with unparalleled confidence and dexterity – both essential to survive in the South African and signage market in general.

Upholding Excellence and Uniformity at SignForce

Excellence and consistency are the cornerstones of SignForce’s established reputation. SignForce’s dedication to mentoring and consistent training is at the foundation in cascading SignForce’s core values across generations of signage makers and users within our ranks. This unwavering dedication upholds SignForce’s high standards and also magnifies our commitment to delivering the most extraordinary customer experiences we can. Through mentoring and constant training SignForce ensures that every sign we create, from its initial concept to the final installation, serves as a testament to unmatched quality, embodying SignForce’s legacy of excellence. At SignForce we take pride of our work as there are very few experiences that in-still pride like the feeling that comes from driving past a sign that has withstood and successfully passed the test of time.

The Indelible Impact of Mentoring at SignForce

In essence, the significance of mentoring and training is core to SignForce’s ethos and values. Mentoring and training are a critical component of SignForce’s blueprint for success, nurturing a culture of growth, innovation, our unwavering sense of unity and our drive to ensure sustainability.

When you are looking to have your brand stand out, contact SignForce immediately 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 http://www.signforce.co.za

Why is My Sign So Expensive?

Printed Sandblast Effect Vinyl

Impressive Printed Sandblast Entrance Sign

The Value Behind Your SignForce Investment

When evaluating the cost of a sign, it’s natural to wonder about the pricing, and even if a sign is an essential business assets. At SignForce, we’re committed to revealing the true value behind every sign we create. More than a mere sign, it represents your brand, serving as a long-term investment in your business’s visibility and reputation.

Quality Materials: The Foundation of Excellence

The durability and impact of a sign depend on the quality of materials used. At SignForce we pride ourselves on selecting materials not just for their appearance but for their longevity and resilience. From weather-resistant materials to vibrant, fade-resistant original Roland inks, and energy-efficient LED lighting, our choices ensure your sign withstands the elements, even in the extreme South African sun. This focus on high-quality materials often leads to a higher upfront cost but results in fewer replacements and repairs, saving money over time, making the up front investment a better, more cost effective long term investment.

Custom Design: Tailored to Your Unique Brand

Your business’s unique identity deserves to be reflected in your signage. Custom design is a significant factor in the cost of your sign. SignForce’s team collaborates with you to craft a sign that encapsulates your brand and also distinguishes your sign in the market. This process, involving meticulous planning, creative design, and precise execution, demands time and expertise, which we at SignForce believe we are worth being compensated for.

Skilled Craftsmanship: The Essence of Your Sign

Each SignForce sign is a product of skilled craftsmanship. Our artisans, experienced in their craft, blend traditional skills with modern techniques to create visually compelling and robust signs that make your BRAND stand out and draw potential clients to your business. This human touch in sign-making ensures each sign embodies quality and character, making it a symbol of your brand’s identity.

Long-Term Value: An Investment in Your Business

A sign from SignForce is an investment in your business’s future. Beyond the initial cost, a well-crafted sign draws customers, enhances your brand identity, and signals your commitment to style and quality. The long-term benefits in brand visibility and customer engagement far outweigh the cost, especially compared to standard signs that do not elevate your brand and are not likely to last long.

Conclusion: A Partnership in Your Brand’s Success

At SignForce, we view our role as your partner in success. We focus on delivering signs that add value both aesthetically and also as effective business growth tools as your brand becomes recognized. Choosing SignForce means investing in a quality, durable, custom sign that supports your business for years to come.

Your sign often creates the first impression of your business, and with SignForce, it’s an enduring one. SignForce ensure your sign investment enhances brand recognition and customer engagement, affirming the lasting impact of your choice.

Contact SignForce now 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 http://www.signforce.co.za

What are you ‘buying’ when you choose a sign company?

What are you ‘buying into’ when you choose a sign company?

SignForce 'invisible' sign

Partially Invisible Sign  – do you notice how the top left seems unattached?

It seems the standard method used to purchase a sign (and many other high ticket items) is to decide what you want, or at least have a rough idea of what you want or are looking for, or what you want to achieve. This applies to signs as much as it does to purchasing appliances, cars or televisions, all considered high ticket purchases.

Well that is only partly true. While cars and the other listed purchases (especially in South Africa) are definitely almost always seen as high ticket items – even for entry level models, signs and SIGNAGE are very often seen as a cheap after thought – that is, until quotes are received.

But I am digressing so back to the standard method of purchase.

  1. Have an idea of what you are looking for

  2. Hopefully have an idea of what you want your purchase to achieve (I know this sounds obvious, as you purchase a fridge to keep your food fresher for longer, DUH, but not everyone knows or understands WHY they purchase a sign.)

  3. Look on Google for a possible keyword – lets use signage or pylons or cut out letter signs.

  4. Wait – generally less than 1 second – for Google to give you a list of suppliers you can contact. ** This is where the fun begins and will require it’s own paragraph

  5. Call, WhatsApp or email the suppliers listed on Google to give them an idea of what you are looking for and ask for a price.

  6. Copy and paste the same message to all the possible suppliers listed on the first page *** of Google. Not sure where to mention this but are you aware that the top and bottom (of every page) few sites listed or ‘recommended’ by Google are paid sites – what Google refers to as sponsored – also known as paid adverts. This is only a FYI comment but is worth noting as there are possible additional benefits and costs linked to businesses that do and do not use sponsored adverts.

  7. Wait for feedback from the potential suppliers you emailed or called, or follow up the email with a call to make the potential sign supplier aware that there is an incoming email.

  8. Get quotes from the potential suppliers who respond to your request for a quote

  9. Assess the cost from each supplier making the assumption that ALL quotes are for the same ‘thing’ ****, especially as you sent the same request to all potential suppliers.

  10. Choose a supplier based on cost and possibly on a picture they have provided. *****

  11. Delete all correspondence from the alternative suppliers

** When you get the list of possible, potential suppliers, you are doing a wide range, generic search. Your search has no specifics and doesn’t necessarily tell you much about the businesses you are approaching. A cursory search of the proposed supplier’s website should give you a little more information, but please always remember that we live in a world of INFORMATION, and not all information is necessarily true, so a general rule is to do a little more digging (formally known as due diligence), make a call and see what response and ‘feel’ you get.

*** How often do you search beyond page 1 of any Google search? How often do you look at the number of responses Google provides – and the time it took to get the list. For example, a simple search of cut out letters took 0.6 seconds – well under 1 second – to provide a list of 2,120,000,000 web sites that MAY provide a good match for the simple search. This is an overwhelming number and is why almost every business strives and pushes to be on page 1 of the world’s largest business directory – Google!

The challenge comes in that for this specific search only 2 of the listings on the front page MAY fulfil my requirements. As such I tweek the search to CUT OUT LETTER SIGNS. This search took 0.4 seconds and provided a list of 925,000,000 possible sites. A great reduction of over 1 billion sites, The refined search has made it simpler to find what I am looking for and thus made it very simple to find at least one supplier on page 1 that should meet my requirements, so why go to page 2? The reason is due to the limited retail territoryavailable on page 1. Only a limited number of potential suppliers can be listed on page 1 (or every page) so there is a high likelihood that good suppliers may also be found on pages that are past page 1.

**** making the assumption that ALL quotes are for the same ‘thing’”

When you contact multiple potential suppliers you will most likely assume that because they are listed on Google that they are capable of doing the job. What you have no idea of is if there is any additional service or benefit you can get from any of the suppliers. In order to find out if the suppliers can provide any additional ‘services’, a number of questions need to be asked. History shows asking these questions while TALKING to a person tends to give great benefit.

***** If you are making the decision of which supplier to use based purely on PRICE (and a possible picture) you may be doing yourself a great disservice, as you may be expecting to get the same quality and same sign from all the potential suppliers, but you would be shocked to learn how many different possible interpretations there can be for the same sign brief, and as such you may not be getting the full benefit of any or all the suppliers.

A case in point is a recent request by one of SignForce’s longest standing and largest clients. The request seemed a little strange at the outset, but made sense later on when all the elements fell together. The request was for photo’s of premises, information about staff, a list of machines on the premises and a few other VERY PERTINENT questions. It turns out our client’s client was requesting the information, possibly as a means of doing part of a due diligence. The other points that may be lost when only looking at cost is quality and cost of material to be used, expected lifespan of the signage, type and quality of paint and if the sign that you have requested is in fact the BEST sign to achieve your intended outcome. At SignForce we have the benefit of a number of years of experience (as well as the formal qualifications) to provide input regarding your marketing strategy and what signs would best suite your needs. This information is not charged for, although our signs may sometimes ‘cost’ more than a competitor, but the added value is definitely there to be taken advantage of.

Which brings us back to the question of what you are buying when you choose a sign company.

It goes without saying you expect the company to produce a sign. You may expect them to design and install the sign as well. It is possible that you know exactly what you need and how it should be made in order to get the most beneficial results from your signage, but it is highly unlikely that you would know as much about signs, their benefits and cots and the best placement to maximize your investment, as the sign producer, especially one who has years of experience, and possibly some formal qualifications in the field.

Trusting your signage manufacturer means you believe they have some knowledge you don’t have. In addition you are not only looking for a sign, but if the signage business is a decent one, they will make sure that your purchase is an investment so that your sign helps to generate more income than it costs. In order for this to happen it means that you also value the experience of your supplier, you value the expertise of your supplier and you are quite right to expect a level of after sales service. The question from the sign suppliers perspective is what is the commercial value of these additional – add on – benefits, and what, if anything, Is my client prepared to pay for these benefits.

At SignForce the senior management have a depth of knowledge and experience in signage – as can be expected after more than 20 years in signage – but also have a depth of knowledge in marketing, visibility, design and project management, which means that when you use SignForce you are investing in a team that will gladly take on and supervise your signage project with the intention of making you look good, ensuring you signs work and your deadlines are met.

Contact SignForce now on info@sgnforce.co.za or call 27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413 for all your signage requirements as well as for advice on signage and what signage will work best for your unique business.

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

Signs and Technology

 

Happy Fathers Day to all the Fathers out there

One positive aspect (and sometimes negative) of the modern world is how fast information can be shared.

This can be positive as, for example, when a message on one of the writers groups went out in the early hours of this morning asking for help as it sounded like someone was in their property and needed assistance, within minutes not only were the first responders on site, but helpful, potentially life saving tips were shared almost instantly.

The possible negative of the speed with which information is shared (mostly negative for politicians) is that, except for the most draconian or dictatorial regimes, information is on tap for people to know what is going on around them. If modern world politicians had a collective brain cell they would KNOW that the truth WILL OUT far quicker than they like to believe – even though FAKE news is said to spread something like ten times faster than truth – as the saying goes, when what you see makes you react INSTANTLY – ASK IF IT IS TRUE!

Technology has certainly helped speed up communication. Unfortunately this has brought with it a number of ailments linked to not keeping up, the fear of missing out, the lack of ability to THINK enough to ensure what is being seen and heard and spread is TRUE, and a number of anxiety related conditions because, especially among the the younger generations, people have forgotten that they are in charge of their devices and thus are too afraid to turn them off, resulting in energy being drained.

One of the advantages of traditional signage is that it is timeless. The signs that one often sees are simple fabricated items that while eye catching and sometimes very technical, do not drain the viewers energy, even while inviting feet into one’s physical premises.

If you are opening physical premises and you want signs that WORK, consider partnering with SignForce.

SignForce has been in the market for over two decades, and have built our reputation on giving the best possible advice and producing quality signs.

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

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

Will SIGNAGE survive the current AI revolution

3D sign

White, Illuminated 3D sign

Will SIGNAGE survive the current AI revolution

If you are alive and online – which we can assume you are if you are seeing and reading this post – you MUST have heard of AI (artificial intelligence) and how it is likely to reshape the workplace and employment in the future – both foreseeable and long term.

When asked if Signage will survive the current AI revolution, ChatGPT answered as follows: “Absolutely! While artificial intelligence is revolutionizing many aspects of business and technology, signage serves a different purpose entirely. Signage is a tangible and physical way for businesses to communicate their brand, products, and services to customers. Signs can be seen, touched, and experienced in a way that AI cannot replicate. Additionally, many signs are designed to be aesthetically pleasing, which is not a task that AI has yet mastered. So, rest assured that signage will continue to be a vital part of businesses for many years to come, even in the age of AI.

This writer tends to agree with ChatGPT, but not necessarily for the same reasons.

While there are AI programs and Apps available that can CREATE wonderful pictures, logo’s and pieces of art, all of which can be incorporated into modern signage, it is the physical creation (or manufacturing) that has yet to be repalced by a machine.

Yes, there are computer based tools such as 3D printers and benders that can help create a 3D sign, but at this time – and for the foreseeable future, it does not look likely that sign makers will be replaced by robots. Good news for sign makers, not necessarily such good news for customers as when items are not made by machines they tend to be more costly.

This is definitely the case when it comes to signage, especially since the vast majority of signs are custom – custom look, custom design, custom feel and custom size – there is very little chance of an affordable robot taking over the physical work that is necessary when making most, especially 3D, signs.

One can ask if signs will be required in the future, especially as the world moves to digital which can do so much and is fast becoming more and more affordable. This writer believes that digital signs will be used more and more to sell – lifestyles, products, services and time – BUT for the foreseeable future BUSINESSES will still be physical – people want to touch and smell and feel – which cannot be created online, and as long as people want to touch they will want to go to physical stores (or physical destinations) which will most likely continue to want signs to make customers, prospective customers and suppliers aware of where you are. People want to SEE your business.

To find out how SignForce can assist your business to make itself visible contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413 or call +27 (0)11 440 7525

http://www.signforce.co.za

Why would any entrepreneur want to get into the signage industry

Why would any entrepreneur want to get into the signage industry

There are a number of positive reasons to get into the signage business.

In the modern world where AI is starting to impact a large number of opportunities, signage included, the manufacture and installation of signage is still very labour intensive. Design of signage is definitely being threatened by AI, and this could well have an impact on sign businesses, but from the writers experience AI generated signs are not yet very practical to manufactured, so for the foreseeable future humans will still be required to manufacture signage.

Another advantage of the signage industry is there are advances being made which include digital boards that are becoming more and more popular.

Some factors potential entrepreneurs should be aware of when planning on opening a sign business include location, equipment and machinery, licensing, regulations and compliance administration, advertising, networking, staffing and administration.:

Location: While location is currently less concerning than it has been in the past, with the move to buying local there is a good chance that in the future location will once again become a large factor in costing and people’s requirements for signage. When considering location a potential signage entrepreneur should consider the location of their sign business and the proximity to their target customers as it may become increasingly important to find a location that is convenient to customers who will likely use their services, especially if they are relying on customers to come in off the street.

Equipment: Having the right equipment, machines and sign making tools is essential for a sign business. Potential entrepreneurs should decide what type of signage they will offer and then research the cost and availability of the necessary tools and machines. Depending on the business model and type of signage the sign business intends to market and manufacture, the sign making tools required may vary.

Licensing, Regulation and Administration: Depending on the location of the sign shop, there may be specific licensing and regulation requirements for sign businesses. Potential entrepreneurs should research the specific requirements for their area – be it country or state – and prepare to meet any applicable regulations. This is increasingly important when one wants top be compliant in a country such as South Africa where, unless the correct hands are greased, government and large business contracts will only be issued to businesses that are compliant with a huge number of laws and regulations. In current day South Africa an entrepreneur who intends to remain compliant needs to plan and budget for sufficient compliance staff to remain compliant.

Advertising: Advertising is an important part of running any business, with a sign business being no exception. Potential signage entrepreneurs should consider how they will advertise their services and reach potential customers – see also your intended market. Advertising may vary from networking to online PPC to printed or digital media to name a small number of options.

Networking: Networking with other sign businesses, suppliers, and potential customers can help a sign business grow. Potential signage entrepreneurs should research local networking opportunities and take advantage of them. Sign entrepreneurs should also look at networking with other signage businesses, especially if located in countries like south Africa with shrinking economies or if located in outlying area’s where networking can help the sign business with materials, techniques and other sign industry related updates that may not get to outlying sign businesses.

People. It is believed that every business, sign businesses included, require three main components – like legs of a tripod. Marketing, Finance and People. Marketing covers all types of selling, finance includes ensuring you have sufficient capital to carry the business through the first months of operation – including understanding that not all clients will be paying on time – and employing the correct staff or contractors. If the right people are employed the business can thrive. Likewise, poor recruiting decisions can be extremely costly to the point of closing down a sign business.

Administration – also called accounting or finance – is ensuring that there is a constant flow of cash. Most businesses that die die as a result of poor cash flow. It is as important for the sign business to sell at a profit – important part of administration and sales – as it is to collect the money, as in the modern world it is increasingly common for payments to be delayed, and delayed payments can cost the sign business both in terms of relationships and lack of cash flow.

If you are looking to enter the signage industry SignForce, with almost 40 years experience, are willing to talk.

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

the SignForce website at http://www.signforce.co.za

WHO designs your business signage?

Who DESIGNS your businesses Signage

I know this question sounds rhetorical, but it is actually a serious question.

In our experience, depending on the size of your business and your budget, the DESIGNER will range from the business owner to an upmarket outsourced design team. This may involve a LOT of different people, but how many of these people are actually SIGNAGE specialists?

The reason I am asking is that in our experience, especially for businesses with a smaller budget, the sign is designed on PAPER.

This may seem obvious, but what does it actually mean. Let me take you through a process to explain.

You, the needer of the sign, either have a great idea yourself or get an DESIGNER to come up with your CI – Corporate Identity – such as your logo, your business cards, your letter heads and the like. Your SIGNAGE is generally an AFTER THOUGHT and as such will simply be a physical representation of said CI.

Most times this is not only acceptable, it is also practical and sensible. The issue may come when you, the purchaser of the sign, now approach THREE (we will use best practice) sign businesses to make the sign or signs for you.

Standard process is to get three quotes and possibly ask each sign manufacturer for a visual representation of what they are selling you.

This is where the aforementioned PAPER design comes in.

What is most likely to happen is that each of the three sign businesses with trace your logo – unless you supply them all with vector format artwork – and superimpose said copied drawing onto a picture showing an artist impression of what the finished product will look like.

As a buyer you will assess the pictures to make sure that YOU are happy they look like what you are looking for, and then assess the quotes on PRICE. This is pretty much standard practice.

The difference in PRICE will most likely be attributed to the three competitors making different profits, as our standard assumption is that ALL sign businesses will use the SAME material and they will ALL make the sign the same way.

This is where things tend to get VERY MURKY.

You see, a sign is not a sign is not a sign. What do I mean. Well on paper the signs ALL look the same or extremely similar. This is paper design. HOWEVER, a sign can be MADE from many different materials, some of which even some sign manufacturers are not aware of. (This may be a topic for another, separate, article.)

So while you the buyer THINK (or ASSUME) that all the signs are made from the same material and will be made the same way, this is not necessarily true.

So what would we as a sign manufacturer recommend?

  1. Make sure you get a breakdown of MATERIALS that will be used when you get the quote. If the quote is too vague, ASK for detailed descriptions. This may seem obvious but is not. Also this is because even some of the same generically named materials – think of KLEENEX when referring to a facial tissue – can have HUGE variances in pricing, because some are meant for internal use only and others are made for long term outdoor use and carry appropriate guarantees, BUT ALSO COME AT substantially HIGHER PRICES.

  2. Try partner with a signage company that can design – preferably one that has experience – to create a CI together with manufacturing specifications. This is what most large businesses do. This has the benefit that when asking for a quote they rightfully EXPECT that they are comparing apples with apples, by not leaving the design to the manufacturer who may operate in a different market and may be so focused on value for money – as in being cheap – that they do not see the LONG TERM cost of the materials they use.

    A simple story best illustrates this. The writer had some plumbing done at his home. When the plumber took the writer to purchase the material the plumber advised what to buy, which is what happened. A few years later there was a problem with the water pressure. A different plumber was called in and the writer was advised that the pipes that were used were to thin and should have been the next size up. The saving at the time was in the region of USD1. The repair cost thousands.

  3. Educate yourself enough to know what different materials do, their expected life and the different costs involved. This can take a long time, but it does not need to. When getting the three quotes, ASK questions. This will generally make the sales people more honest, especially if they know you will be asking their competitors the SAME questions. It will also make the sales people aware that they may need to advise on different materials as this will display THEIR knowledge, making you, the buyer more comfortable and building trust.

If you are in the market for business signs, SignForce is available to assist. We have an experienced design team that are capable of designing made for purpose and made to fit signs.

Contact SignForce now on http://www.signforce.co.za or email info@signforce.co.za or WhatsApp +27 (0)28 558 6413 or call +27 (0)11 440 7525