You have smart new branding and it’s time for implementation. Everything from invoice headers, business cards, and email signatures, to the little favicon on your website browser bar will need to change. But swapping out the physical signage at your brick-and-mortar locations can prove to be the trickiest aspect of this undertaking! Whether you are set to pull the trigger on a national re-branding program, or you are contemplating re-branding your small business signs, the following considerations, addressed upfront, will help to streamline the process.
1) Do you have a reputable sign company? Assign high importance to finding a strong regional player who can dedicate a single point of contact to manage consistency and quality in the manufacturing, permitting and installation details. Many “sign companies” are really just brokers. Avoid brokers! Tour facilities to verify the signs will be produced by an actual sign company.
2) Do you have a vector version of your new logo? Jpegs, gifs, tifs and other forms of raster art cannot be enlarged to the size of a sign. Those file types go fuzzy and get pixilated when enlarged. You will need a logo in an editable pdf, ai, eps, or cdr format to retain clarity and resolution for large print and cut sizes.
3) What physical signage do you currently have onsite, and what shape is it in? Can you save money by just replacing the faces, or is it time to replace the body of the sign too? If you don’t have detailed records of your existing signs, you may need a professional survey for attachment details, face sizes, retainer sizes, overall height, and photos.
4) Do you want to retrofit the existing lighting to LED? It’s an added expense upfront, but “killing two birds with one stone” while you have the sign laid open may save you money in the long run by lowering your energy and maintenance costs. Ask your sign company for a case-by-case opinion, as LED is not always the best option.
5) What are the local zoning laws concerning new signs for an existing business?
• Like for like, grandfathered in, or touch it and lose it?
• Zoning code is convoluted, and each municipality is different. Rely on professionals!
6) Dig for the documents which will be required for permitting.
• Existing sign drawings, square footage & foundation drawings
• Site Plan with lot frontage and set backs
• Building Elevations with linear frontage and height
• Photos showing each sign close up and from far enough away to see the wall or pole it’s attached to.
• Do you own the property? Landlord approval and/or sign requirements may apply.
7) Creation of a sign book with standard sizes based on common zoning codes, and/or the existing sign types may dramatically streamline the process for national re-branding. Your sign company should be able to help you create this.
8) What materials will best represent your new branding in physical form? Logos in print do not always translate well to illuminated signage. Discuss this with your designer and/or sign company to be sure your brand transfers well from the 2D page to a 3D sign. Get samples!
9) Do you have a deadline? Inquire about lead times for code research, permitting, quotes, production, shipping, and installation, and leave enough breathing room for unforeseen hurdles. Depending on the scope of your re-brand and the local permitting authority’s lead time, you could be looking at 6 weeks to 6 months from initiation to completion of any given location. Talk timelines upfront!
• What is directly under your sign? Stairs, grass/landscaping, trees, parking lots, sidewalks, awnings, parking meters, and hillsides all require different installation and estimating considerations. Understand that some of these can impact the installation timeline as well, so you should certainly discuss site conditions with your sign company.
• Are there power lines above or near your sign? If so, the power company may have to come “sleeve” the lines before your sign can safely be approached in a crane or bucket truck. This too can affect the timeline.
10) Are there any disposal considerations? Do you have a preference whether the installer recycles the old signs, destroys them (with proof), or donates your “classic” to the American Sign Museum? While recycling is the most common and efficient choice, there are different reasons for each of these options and you’ll have to decide which one is right for your business or company.
By: Jennifer Bender
National Accounts Representative
DāNite Sign Company