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Category Archives: Design

Sign Maintenance Guidance

“The Sign’s story is a saga of constant and near-fatal brushes with poverty, decay and outright extinction.”

This was posted fifteen years ago on the public information website of the Hollywood Sign Trust, the non-profit organization responsible for the maintenance, preservation, improvement and promotion of the world’s most famous sign, and Hollywood’s most beloved landmark. For over two decades, the Hollywood Sign Trust has actively protected and popularized Hollywood’s premier landmark, to ensure that this once seriously threatened monument survives and thrives. Their role: to physically maintain, repair and secure this 50-foot-high monument perched high above the Hollywood hills, to educate the world about its historical and cultural importance, and to raise the funds necessary to accomplish these long-term projects.

It takes hard work and intelligent planning to build an identity for a company, a building, or even a city. Memorable images, such as the Hollywood sign resting in the hills, are expensive to come by. Yet that important “first impression,” the sign displaying corporate graphics, is taken for granted with little concern given to its appearance after installation.

Every day, each impression made on those viewing it is a negative one when the sign is not operating or looking its best. The expense associated with major repair or replacement can often be avoided with proper care. To borrow an old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” A sign maintenance program can simplify your work life, save time for business owners and purchasers, and save money. Here is an astonishing fact that comes out of a recent nationwide survey of nearly 1000 consumers, conducted by FedEx. Nearly 60% of consumers said that the absence of signs deters them from entering a store or business. Over 50% of survey respondents indicated that poor signage (e.g., poor quality, misspelled words) deters them from entering a place of business. Think about your monthly revenue. Now cut it in half. That is what could happen if your sign becomes cracked, faded, illegible, graffiti-marked, or has misspelled words!

Over 50% of survey respondents indicated that poor signage (e.g., poor quality, misspelled words) deters them from entering a place of business.

The Cost Effective Solution: Gain peace of mind and avoid losing thousands of dollars in business with a Preventative Maintenance program for your on-premise sign. There is a “preventative maintenance” contract to fit virtually any need.  It may not be as involved as the 2005 renovation project undertaken for the Hollywood Sign, but for your business, it is just as important.

Sign Maintenance is part of a complete sign management program, which includes the following:

· Site Inspection and Evaluation

· Design and Visual Presentation

· Planning Applications

· Manufacture

· Installation

· Maintenance

· Project Management

There are three basic methods of sign management that are used as follows:

rusty-sign1. Total Replacement Method

In this method, all signs in a building or section are replaced after a set interval of time, regardless of how long they have been in place. The length of time between replacements is based on the service life of the material.

2. Sign Inspection Method

In this method, a physical sign inspection is conducted periodically, preferably on an annual or bi-annual basis. Those that do not meet the minimums are identified for replacement. Since only those signs that are below acceptable quality are replaced, there is no salvage value (replaced signs cannot be reused).

3. Sign Management Method

In this method, all signs are included in a computerized database that contains detailed information about the sign and the sign installation. The sign management system predicts when a sign should reach the end of its service life. The list of signs needing replacement is then used to order/fabricate the necessary signs and perform the replacement. When this method is utilized, it requires the least number of personnel.

What services might a sign maintenance contract provide for your facilities?

1. All signs will be properly maintained and kept in good condition

2. A copy of all sign design and text should be maintained so as to be legible and complete.

3. The sign structure shall be maintained in a vertical position unless originally permitted otherwise, and shall be maintained in safe condition at all times.

4. All parts and surfaces shall be cleaned, painted or replaced as necessary to maintain the original permitted appearance.

5. Electrical systems shall be in a safe condition at all times.

In addition, signs that are replaced regularly due to excessive exposure to the elements, change of tenant information, or vandalism, are now inventoried by the sign maintenance company for a 72-hour turnaround.

A maintenance contract means a non-deductible, no cost service call anytime your sign needs service or repair. For you, a maintenance contract eliminates costly internal paperwork, approvals for repairs, as well as embarrassing delays for parts and service.

no-excuses-for-sign-neglectWhat sign maintenance services can you undertake for your facilities?

Professional sign companies will use the finest materials and construction methods to insure that your sign lasts as long as possible and requires the least amount of maintenance. There are few things you can do, however, to prolong your sign’s service life and retain it’s appearance. Here is a list of recommended actions to take:


For flex faces and awnings, you will need to pressure wash the vinyl material every six months using a manufacturer-approved cleaning agent. We suggest Cooley Clean tm, available from your local Sign Biz Professional. Most other types of signs do not normally require scheduled cleaning, but may be cleaned with a soft brush and a mild household cleaner on an as-needed basis.

Lighting Problems

If your sign or awning isn’t lighting properly, several things could be wrong:

  • If it isn’t lighting at all, there is probably a problem with the wiring, timer or photocell. In some cases, you can adjust the time and day on the timer or put your hand over the photocell to test those items.
  • If a large portion isn’t lighting or appears dim, there is probably a problem with a ballast (in cabinets and awnings) or transformer (in lighted letters).
  • If a small portion or single letter isn’t lighting or appears dim, there is probably a problem with one or more lamps (in cabinets and awnings) or neon tubes (in lighted letters).

In any of these cases, you will need to place a service call to a qualified sign company to perform the necessary repairs (see below).

Service Calls

If your sign requires repair work, you may call the local member of the Sign Biz International Network. As a member of an international network of sign professionals, local and long distance service calls are usually completed within three working days with the exception of replacement neon which typically takes 1-2 days longer.

Your signs can be covered by a comprehensive program of regularly scheduled preventive maintenance and as needed corrective maintenance. And unlike the famous Hollywood sign, you won’t need a trust fund to underwrite your investment!

To find a sign professional, use the Sign Biz Member Locator service and place your trust in a well-trained sign expert!


Four Exciting Shop Design Trends

If the Fortune 500 can do it, so can you! You may not have thought about an era or design style before embarking on your shop’s vision and culture representations inside and outside of your space, but this approach is certain to add clarity and speed the “de-clutter” or remodel process. By defining your “brand appeal” in terms of well-recognized design influences, you can make your shop tell your story with greater clarity and impact. If the Fortune 500 can do it, why not you? Here are tips and four inspired designs to get you started. Have fun!


3V Signs & Graphics Gives Back

(Torrance, CA)– The L.A. Wolves FC announced today that it has signed a sponsorship deal with 3V Signs & Graphics ( a Sign Biz Network Member located in Hermosa Beach, CA. The L.A. Wolves and 3V Signs & Graphics will work closely together to foster awareness of and interest in local soccer teams. L.A. Wolves FC ™ is a Pro Development Soccer Club based in Torrance, CA. The Wolves are a current member of the UPSL ( and compete in the UPSL Western Conference.


Historic Project Truly Sparkles After Sign Magic

(Tucson, AZ)– Sign Magic partnered with the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation this past summer to bring another one of Tucson’s historic signs back to life. This sign is located at the original Sparkle Cleaners at 16 W. Drachman. Drachman became a hot spot for restored historic signs in March of 2012, when the Historic Preservation Foundation joined forces with Pima Community College.


3V Signs & Graphics Provides Vibrant Visuals for Infant Patient

(Hermosa Beach, CA)– Local business owners, Pat & Stefanie Dacy, of 3V Signs & Graphics, jumped at the opportunity to provide Baby Alex with some vibrant color for his dull situation, creating and installing a bright and playful graphic wrap onto his plastic helmet that he is required to wear 23 hours per day, in order to correct a medical condition called Plagiocepholy.


Building Street Cred With Vehicle Wrap

Featured in Signs of the Times magazine, Sign Biz Members in Monterey, CA have fashioned a moving statement about their brand – literally. Using a Roland VS-640 printer and 3M’s Controltac IJ180-10Cv film, the 160-square-foot wrap was installed in a single piece over the truck bed. On the doors, the installers positioned seams at the base of the window post.  “This was our ugliest truck, so we had to give it a thorough washing,” explains Tom Carr, the owner of SignWorks, which created and installed the graphics.


Elite Sign Gives Texas Tech Stadium Spirit

(Lubbock, TX) Although Lubbock is only the 11th-largest city in the Lone Star State, with roughly 300,000 metro-area residents, it’s known as The Hub City because it’s the largest urban area in the Texas region known as the South Plains. Thus, its economic significance is greater than its sheer size would indicate. It’s the home of the Buddy Holly Center – which honors the Lubbock native and “Father of Rock Roll” – and Texas Tech Univ.; both make tourism an important cog in the local economy.


ArtCraft Sign Studio Gets Fired Up

(Pine Hill, NJ)– Since its opening in 1989 as one of the earliest Sign Biz Member locations, Artcraft Sign Studio has enjoyed tremendous growth – so much so that it purchased its city’s former firehouse because it required a large production and service area for vehicle wraps and other digital graphics. Shop owner Arthur Elkins says window graphics represent roughly 5% of its business.


SignWorks Talent Comes Through to Save the Day

Owned by Tom Carr since 2010, SignWorks is a full service sign company that opened under the Sign Biz program in 1993. The prior owners, Jerry and Esta Holden, had a plan when they brought Carr on board to manage the shop. They planned on selling the business to him. “We just hadn’t told him yet,” says Jerry with a chuckle. But Carr, being talented and astute, was very interested. And so in 2010, he purchased the business and took the reins.


West Mountain Sign Grand Opening is Picture Perfect

(San Jose, CA)– Kelly Yamanishi comes to the sign industry with over 20 years of high-tech marketing experience with a high-profile Silicon Valley corporation. With this experience, she brings an in depth understanding of complex project management, marketing communications, and many types of “corporate speak.” In short, she knows how to help her clients communicate effectively with both business and non-business audiences.


Sign Biz® Trained LobbyPOP® Pro Moves Avis into Dynamic Signage

(Hermosa Beach, CA)– When Robert Gutierrez of Avis Rent-A-Car Operations visited 3V Signs, he was looking for a scrolling LED sign system to use for employee communication at the LAX location. Having worked as a HR professional for over 10 years, Stefanie Dacy (co-owner of 3V Signs) is quite familiar with the challenge of keeping employees informed. She also had formal training by Sign Biz, Inc., a sign industry developer, in signage solutions of all types.


More Accolades for Wrap Hero Elite Signs

(Orlando, FL)– Last month, the Sign Biz organization culminated the country’s only nationwide competition celebrating the accomplishments of the Sign Biz Network’s most successful digital sign designers and installers. This year’s “Everything is Marketing” contest entry form said, “Recognizing the impact of marketing across platforms, from brick, to click. Looking for projects that “went the extra mile” and that provided exposure beyond the sign.”


Toby Stephens of Elite Sign & Design Goes Beyond the Sign

(Lubbock, TX)– Toby Stephens hit the ground running with his new business, Elite Sign & Design, opened in Lubbock, Texas in January of 2010. He quickly moved up the ranks in the Sign Biz Network, achieving proficiency in dimensional signage and vehicle wraps. He shared his insights and actively engaged in the lively message group that connects all members of the Sign Biz network. Late on a Friday, May 6th of 2011, he sent a special message to all 200+ Sign Biz Members around the world: