By its nature, the commercial sign-making process does not enjoy a simple timetable. Every sign is different and so are the circumstances that surround its journey from concept to installation.
For a new pylon sign, the complete process from initial consultation to installation should take a minimum of 12 weeks. The process takes longer for more complex projects with more extensive sign needs. For instance, a shopping center project with multiple items, such as monument signs, pylon signs, wayfaring street signs, and directories, could require 20-22 weeks, at least. As you can see, your sign’s development needs to be prioritized so ensure it meets your deadline.
The sign-making process includes distinct stages, and each is critical to creating the sign that you want – and ensuring it’s ready when you need it.
At the outset, your company will meet with designers to discuss the sign or signs that are needed. It is important to attend this first meeting with a clear idea of the objectives, scope and budget range for your project.
The more clearly you are able to articulate the purpose of the sign, the better the designers will be able to serve as valuable consultants at the outset. In addition, clear objectives from the start can help lay the path for a smoother design, permitting, and fabrication and installation experience. Working with a sign-making business such as Ad Vice that offers comprehensive services – able to guide you through every step of the process – can help you avoid costly wrong turns.
From that initial consultation, the sign designers will detail their projected budget and schedule and you can determine if the partnership is a good fit.
The commercial sign market has experienced a watershed shift in the use of one of a sign’s crucial components. Fluorescent bulbs long were the favored technology for giving signs their glow, but LED bulbs have emerged in recent years as a preferred choice for many sign-makers and their customers.
Newly fabricated signs now often are installed with LED bulbs, including most signs designed and fabricated by Ad Vice Studios. In addition, shopping center operators and others increasingly are weighing the value of retrofitting their existing signs with new LED bulbs. Ad Vice, for instance, has seen a surge in retrofit requests.
A LED retrofit comes at an upfront cost. The ballast, trays and electronics must be replaced, along with the bulbs. However, LED bulbs provide an array of key advantages that often make a retrofit an attractive option that is well worth the investment. If you are wondering whether a retrofit is right for you, here are some of the critical benefits to consider.
Do your homework or risk major delays to your sign approval.
When I started in the commercial signage business 27 years ago, we could walk into a city or county permitting office and, 15 minutes later, leave with an approved sign permit.
These days, if you choose to wait, you’ll be sitting in that same office for about five weeks on average.
I love everything about the signage business, but after nearly three decades, the most challenging part remains the permitting process. Regulations have become more challenging, establishing overall height, setbacks from the street and nearby structures, square footage allowances for text, distance between signs, and the number of signs that a property is allowed to have.
Rules and regulations – which vary depending on whether it's a commercial, industrial, or residential zone – are done in the name of keeping a pleasant aesthetic to streetscapes and skylines (although beauty is in the eye of the beholder) and, perhaps more nobly, ensures displays don’t impede right of way and keeps people safe (which we support).
In an otherwise two-party, commercial transaction between sign designer/installer and property, the involvement of government bureaucracy can quickly slow down business. And sometimes, these stringent regulations can kill a project altogether.
Here are eight tips I’ve learned over the years to get through it as fast as possible and keep your project on track.
Ad Vice Studios
David Goodwin is the president of Ad Vice Studios, a Richmond, Va-based marketing services company. David has built his career and his business collaborating with property managers, developers and architects to transform commercial properties into attractive destinations with unique brands and customer experiences.