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Are sign professionals just giving up?

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by neato, May 14, 2018.

  1. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    I love Peachtree... I don't think I've ever used one of their "standard" models though. They have done some pretty high-end work for us when the budget didn't allow for real stone or metal letters. And they are definitely our partner when it comes to retro-fitting existing bases. Personally, I would highly recommend them.
     
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  2. DougWestwood

    DougWestwood Member

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    I hear this, or somethnig similar, constantly.

    "Pffffft!!! Pay for design?!? My kid got Photoshop on his computer for XMas. They can do it!"
     
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  3. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    Is it really out of spite by the competing vendor, or isn't it at least mostly on the client for focusing on economics too much?

    Unless we know that the client is sharing our layouts and pricing with other signmakers, the competing vendor is just responding to an inquiry and bid opportunity. The fact that their imagination and creativity is so limited as to come up with just that for a monument structure that cost many thousands to build is a testament to the limited capabilities of many in our craft.
     
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  4. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

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    My experience is: most properties shoot the budget up on amenities, then cheap out on signage - now I would do the same thing in their shoes. Like I said, I have done quite a few Peachtree signs - some stock, most custom, I don't think they should be the standard for monument signage - quite a few shops with no fabrication skills or facilities use them. In my experience, properties get short-sighted on their low end properties - so they cheap out. I see the attraction, one of my clients adds 5X on the price. I design it, send it off, maybe go back and forth 2 times, the sign is delivered and up in less than half a day, efficient and profitable, yes, but High End, it is not....
     
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  5. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    If you know people charging 5x's the cost, they are flat ripping off their customers. For 5xs the price of a Foamcraft sign, we could do real stone and metal lettering - and have. We've also used Peachtree accents along with the masonry bases and real stone... so yes... I stand by my "high-end" comment. It's all in how you use what the vendor can provide. And they have been an awesome partner for us.
     
  6. GaSouthpaw

    GaSouthpaw Active Member

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    I was so busy noticing how the letters weren't aligned that I completely missed that. Now I can't see anything else!
     
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  7. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    Now that's some real avant garde design work happening on that thing.
     
  8. neato

    neato Very Active Member

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    Thanks Rick. I think I have absolutely fallen into the trap you've mentioned. I am stuck in Sign Shop mode, which isn't a bad thing necessarily, but I've found I'm not confident about charging enough for my work with "normal" clients. I have a hard time breaking out of it this mold I've forced myself into.

    Funny you brought up Chatterbox. I was just thinking I'm going to go through that book again. Yes, it was a very unpolished final product but a missed opportunity indeed! Still a lot of good info in there.
     
  9. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

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    About 2 months ago, my designer friends were posting this book on Facebook.
    I'm patiently waiting for it.. by the way, she was a consultant for a design firm I once worked at and I was impressed.

    This is pretty much a universal truth - most designers do not make good business people. Including myself...

    On our part of the business, for years - on this and other forums - I have been pushing people to design better... once you know the skill of design - you can always design like cr@p - have you ever seen a crappy designer design good?

    with that said... learn architectural sign design, learn themed environments, learn experiential graphic design.... you can always do your sign shop design, it's the meat and potatoes of my business - banner here, foam sign there, channel letters up the wazoo... but people hire me because I can do way more than that, and when the opportunity comes, I have no problem doing it...

    I started highlighting the Inside Sign Design book - just the references to "SIGN DESIGN IS NOT GRAPHIC DESIGN" - it's 20% of the book - that 20% could have been used for a beginners guide to basic structural detail...
     
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  10. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    Well Neato, you received a lot of advice on here. Advice is always given and the secret about it is using and interpreting for your use. But on the other hand, you have to consider the source. The video that Rick posted about the person who is brutally honest is good advice, but a lot of people don't want to hear that so figuring out how to please your customer and yourself with the least amount of time and make a profit seems to be your goal. You seem to be a smart guy, it will work out.
    Someone gave me advice when I was young and it has always stayed with me. "Work is to pray and prayer is to work". So I have no problem working on Sunday.
     
  11. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Ecclesiastes 9:10
    Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. (NIV)

    Ecclesiastes 3:22
    So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them? (NIV)
     
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  12. KMC

    KMC Graphic Artist

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    Then ‘tis made manifest,
    if of runes thou questionest him,
    those to the high ones known,
    which the great powers invented,
    and the great talker painted,
    that he had best hold silence.

    Stanzas: 80

    knowing when to speak up with a client and when not to about their design or how to sneak in a 'this may be better' suggestion is an art all on its own
     
  13. Colin

    Colin Major Contributor

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    This thread was suggested to me (in an automated way) as I was posting a font inquiry this morning (thanks again Tiki). I've read all the posts, and it's interesting that what can sometimes seem to be only happening to "me" (or you) in isolation, it's obviously widespread. I've been in the sign trade for 28 years, and began hand-lettering, learning the importance of sound layout & design, and then watching that discipline in the trade go down the drain over the years, largely thanks to computers, franchises, and the opening of the floodgates of people with zero experience or design skills opening up sign shops, stepping on the gas peddle in the race to the bottom on prices.

    It has eroded my enjoyment of the business, I'm burned out; but added to what has already been outlined in the OP, is the growing disloyalty of customers, and I'm sure you've all experienced that too. I've had numerous customers who I had treated & served like royalty, only to have them drop me like a hot potato for some other sign shop, no doubt to save $8.00 on a $200.00 sign.

    If I could retire tomorrow I would, as my faith in humanity is at an all-time low, but unfortunately it'll be another 5-10 years of arm wrestling with customers over design and price.
     
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  14. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

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    Hey Neato (and other frustrated designers) I saw this a few weeks ago and should have posted this here...

    This is not totally new information (for me) but if you want to design certain work, start doing it now and attract the clients you are looking for.... increase your potential for new work...
     
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  15. neato

    neato Very Active Member

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    Thanks Rick! Will take a look at that
     
  16. clarizeyale

    clarizeyale Member

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    This is pretty much what creatives my age or younger is doing right now. Passion projects aka side hustle. lol
    Pretty much what I'm working towards while the sign shop provides steady income for me at the moment.
     
  17. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

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    I think passion projects are just as important to us old designers too. I Just looked back at a job I did 18 year ago and compared it to a job I just did... I realized that it's the same stuff. I started with hand lettering, punk/gig posters and surf/action wear and now I design to pay the bills. I'm just as passionate, just not as "talented" or hooked up.as I was when I was a kid. As far as side hustle, I have 1000's of unused logo designs, 1000's of templates, artwork, graphics and projects I can use to make a passive income and I'm in the middle of gathering all that to see where it goes. I already have hand lettering and mural skills, I still have my skills of traditional print. I even make music. I give a lot of work away but only if it what I want to do.
    I guess my point is, I need to make the almighty dollar so I can design what I want... I would love to get rid of the few crap clients I have, but some of them are funding my dreams.
     
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  18. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    In all honesty, try doing HIS work. The satisfaction of doing God's work is much greater then finding it with your client's signs.
     
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  19. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    Does HIS work pay the Almighty dollar?
     
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