|SIGNS - your Silent Salesmen
Maybe you don't need signs.
Signs tell our customers something about us:
Signs can tell a customer more than just a price - they can spell out features, benefits, the value that your store adds and reasons to buy from you They help separate one type of merchandise from another, guiding both you and your customers
Signs can help prevent misunderstandings. Is there a store anywhere that hasn't had a customer hit the roof because his or her 8"x10" enlargement cut off the detail at the ends - or because the 8x12 you made instead didn't fit the frame? It's not our fault that Oscar Barnack chose an 35mm aspect ratio that was different from the glass plates used in the 19th century - but counter personnel have been "paying for that sin" ever since! The sign here was easy to make. We made an 8"x12", trimmed off an inch from each end, and mounted the trimmings next to the 8"x10" which remained.
If the image isn't clear on your monitor, here's what it says:
Traditionally, retailers have used many ways to make signs
But for the small businessperson today, there's really only one way - the computer. Most signmaking programs don't require much in the way of a computer. Even an old DOS machine is capable.
What's really important is a good printer and the right software.
While I've made signs with high-end software like Corel Draw or Adobe PhotoShop or PageMaker, there are many good cheap graphics programs - perfect for signmakers. I once received a copy of Print Shop Deluxe free with an ink cartridge & paper purchase for my Hewlett-Packard ink jet printer. Printmaster Gold usually costs under $30, less when you can find a rebate. Either is an excellent choice.
A good printer is essential. Color ink jets are readily available under $200, and OkiData now has a laser-type page printer in the same range. Ink jets offer the advantage of full color, but per-page cost is high because of the high cost of consumables. Lasers and LED array printers like the Okidata give pure black images of extreme clarity. New ink jet printers from Hewlett Packard (about $400) and Epson (about $800) will make prints up to 11"x17", and handle even bigger paper.
Signs can say why your store is a better place to buy. For example, you may be selling the Yafujikon 377 for $199.99 while the highway stores offer it for $127.88. Your sign should look like this:
Make your signs reflect the personality of your store
Signs from your vendors often include celebrity spokespersons - Canon signs have featured Andre Agassi, Kodak signs featured Bill Cosby, Cybill Shepard, etc.
When your signs feature the staff of your store, it helps make your store look like a bigger, more enduring entity. During an enlargement promotion, I used a poster-sized photo of myself holding some enlargements, with a cartoon-like balloon saying "Blow yourself up - buy 2 enlargements, the 3rd is FREE!"
Step-by-step guide for making a major sign
Return to the Technical Index