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Attention all newbies

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by SignManiac, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. ICeMAnAbk

    ICeMAnAbk Member

    Jun 11, 2012
    Ugh, honestly, I wish I kept with it. I did what you were thinking, enlisted, and now I'm doing signs and military. I really should of stuck with the sign shop. starting over from square one after 7yrs in. The design wasn't the hard part for me, mainly it's always been the age factor. People see a guy that's 20 and don't take me serious. The other guy down the road was 40, did eye sore work. I've seen lime green outlines around yellow/orange faded lettering... Impact font.... The horror....

    To piggie back, When I started, I was use to messing around with adobe photoshop a long time ago, so the crazy lettering was my thing when I started at 17. When I hit the books and started reading sign builder, sign craft, ordered some design books and just took a look at all the different designs others had made, the simplistic but clean cut and nice "flow" they had was what inspired me to stop with the crazy crap and go for the classier looks.

    few key things I kept in the back of my mind....

    Font spacing
    only ONE style of script on a sign if using script
    There is more then Red Blue & Green on the rack
    Less is more
    Uniformity (for businesses)

    Not everyone's style is the same. I've seen amazing cartoonish designs, and very sharp looking straight lettering with a small zing to it. Has to fit the customer's needs as well.
  2. MikeD

    MikeD Active Member

    Oct 25, 2011
    I agree with what Fred said above:
    "...While I was developing though, I would read all the trade magazines from cover to cover and I would bore my friends by constantly studying existing signs ... What do I like about this one? What do I not like about that one? How was that one made and how was it installed?..."
    That is another very effective way to learn; by observation.

    Taking criticism in the business world should not be an emotional experience either.

    Making fine art for your own enjoyment is a different story, but I don't think people post here about fine art, we post in hopes of finding the best way to make profit. Having said that, I have seen lots of pictures here that look like fine art!
  3. Sign Up Graphics

    Sign Up Graphics Very Active Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Sign Up Graphics

    Great post! :thumb:
  4. mezalick

    mezalick Member

    Jan 6, 2011
    Thanks for the very good info, but,, no real "formal" place to learn?
    And before anyone comments,,,, no, I not talking about wearing a Tux....LOL
  5. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

    Mar 25, 2006
    Mars Florida
    Try attending as many Letterhead meets as possible. That will open your eyes up to a whole new world. Just do a google search for upcoming meets.
  6. Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay?

    Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay? Very Active Member

    I wouldn't be where I am after 2 years without the help I receive here on this forum and I will never make excuses for the criticism I receive on the forum, whether I agree or not. Opinions are opinions. If people can't handle opinions, they simply should refrain from asking for them and leave them for those who do respectfully take any criticism handed to them. Thank you Signs 101 for all your help and for helping to make me a better sign maker.

    Fantastic thread, by the way! I'm so busy lately I hardly have time to come here and comment on threads, but this one is worth commenting on.

    I second making this a sticky thread.
  7. Mr Vinyl

    Mr Vinyl New Member

    Jul 3, 2013

    Read every single word and agree. Im in it to win it and am willing to learn. Thanks for the heads up.
  8. jen.reelez

    jen.reelez Member

    Jan 1, 2014
    Inspiring Post=)

    Like the post, esp. this line "Good design isn't just a tool, its the key to your financial success as well" :thumb:
  9. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

    Apr 17, 2003
    Valle Vista
    I should have added this... I mentioned this on Letterville once.
    A very long time ago, I had a few books of letters and doodles
    I made through high school. I always showed family members.
    My mom and dad would always tell me they looked great, my
    brother couldn't draw a straight line so who cares what he thought.
    I started painting car club graphics on car windows and there was
    a sign painter who lived close by. Never trusting my parents praise
    I went to this sign professional and showed him my stuff. He
    rummaged through one doodle book that had a few pics and grumbled
    "What do you want me to say, you're good" I was devastated...
    I really wanted some criticism or tips. Si Allen was the neighbor, and
    he must have been in his mid to late 30's at the time... Never bugged
    him again... but secretly I wanted to grunt for him at the time.

    I got a few tips from other sign painters in the area at the time and
    when a sign painter who worked at a theme park started going to my church,
    I jumped on the chance, worked as a grunt and basic signs. But paying
    attention to how they obsessed over layout was the biggest thing that stuck
    to me... and a few for their love for the art of letter form or the reproducing
    of it. At the same time, I was learning tradition print design.

    I have only received harsh criticism a few times, but usually from
    people I had no respect for or had no clue as to what good design was.
    The ones I did respect, I paid close attention. I always asked people
    better than me or people who will not hold back. I occasionally ask a muggle
    (non-design folk) simply if it's effective or attractive. I did go to school for
    a little bit, but my education was mostly through apprenticeship/mentoring.

    What's great about this site is you get it unfiltered. You may not like the
    delivery but quite a few of us really care about good design and layout.

    To me, newbies come and go, they don't bug me all that much because
    why care too much about a newbies idea of what good design is if they spew
    out the same poor layouts I have seen for 15 years on sign/design forums.
    It's the designers and sign people doing this for 5+ years who still design
    (and price) like a newbie that tick me off. Some of this work should never
    be on a website portfolio. Been looking at the local competition and quite a bit
    of the work is basic sign shop to really poor examples of a good layout, or the
    new thing is "brand intergration". Overly worded websites with very bad examples
    of graphic design and branding. I live in the sticks and I halfway expected this,
    but most of these places have been around for years. I never thought of them
    as competition before, but now that we are going after local work, they
    suddenly are. It will be interesting to see how I adjust to criticism from
    a small business owner... guess I'll have to read Dan Antonelli's new book again.
  10. Kaiser

    Kaiser Member

    Oct 25, 2012
    Nice post.

    A little on the harsh side but then again. Ive always been a little soft at heart, nonetheless, well said.

    I have had similar experiences as a photographer.
    Once I started working with one of the best, I had to forget everything I knew and start from scratch all over again. 3 years of thinking I was a big shot and BAM. Right in the kisser.

    It all boils down to visual education IMHO. I still have a VERY long way to go before I can fill my mentors shoes, but then again, by the time I get there, he will be far more advanced. You see, this is the kind of chap who was practically born with a camera and hasnt stopped researching even in his 40s. My analogy on all this: today we look at the number 10 and we want it but by the time we get there, we see number 20 and we still feel like sh!t, we want that too. There will always be someone better than us. Might as well take advantage of that and learn from them.
  11. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

    Apr 17, 2003
    Valle Vista
  12. Chuck Solid

    Chuck Solid New Member

    Apr 26, 2016
    Good design

    Dear Sign Maniac (and others).
    I've just joined this Forum and the first post I read was about the quality of work performed and criticism of your work. It must be said that "Constructive" criticism, whether from others or yourself, is the only way your work will improve.
    "Destructive" critcism on the other hand usually comes from people who are either jealous, or feel threatened by you!
    I had worked in metal fabrication since my teens and got into signage later in my career. I bought a Roland PNC100, some software and a few rolls of vinyl. I then proceeded to churn out signs for friends and family...until one day, I bought a copy of Signcraft magazine. I was astounded at the quality of the work on display and at the same time, embarassed and somewhat ashamed at how amateurish and poorly laid out my stuff looked! I still have one of the first Corflute signs I ever made, and whenever I'm getting a bit carried away with my own "cleverness", I take out the sign... see how bad it is... and come crashing down to earth again!
    Mike Stevens book and Signcraft magazine are of infinite value to aspiring Sign people but we really need to be our own worst Critic! No matter how good our work is, we should all strive to make the next job better than the previous one: and look back at previous jobs to see what could have been done differently.
    If you come to the point where you feel you couldn't improve on your last project, then maybe a career change might be in order. An old guy that I worked with as a teenager once said to me, ..."don't ask me if it's good enough, ask yourself "have I really done my very best?"
    Regards Chuck

  13. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006

    :ROFLMAO: :Big Laugh :banghead: and you think all the millions of hacks in this industry today give two hoots about what you just wrote ?? All the wannabees who can't draw, spell or compose care ?? Not a chance. It's like the gun laws..... they're only written for the people who obey, not the deviates who don't care.

    Knowing the basics and how to execute those elements, matters only to a select few. Honing one's own skills and turning out good, only matters to those who care.
  14. SignCutter

    SignCutter The Sign Cutter

    May 16, 2017
    Understood! It's all part of the learning curve in any endeavor. I'm going through it myself right now and it can sting but once I get past the sting I learn allot.;)
    • Like Like x 1
  15. WrapYourCar

    WrapYourCar Member

    Jun 28, 2012
    Melbourne, Australia
    So who's the best designer in here? I started as a designer before I did any signs.
  16. Jim Rossman

    Jim Rossman ID Promotions

    Jun 22, 2017
    great posts,

    I am extremely new to the sign industry and appreciate all the knowledge. I came from the construction industry over the last 25 years and my body has decided that i have to retire. I am inspired and intimidated to take on this challenge. I look forward to learning from you and all of your critique. This is what I wanted to do for a long time.... But I got stuck in the construction rut.

    of course my first questions are about pricing. Any advice on programs or ideas on where to start? I have had to deal with new people coming into my past profession that cut their pricing to take business and cause the industry to lose ground. I don't want to be that guy!

    Thank You,
    Jim Rossman
    ID Promotions, inc
  17. Bly

    Bly Very Active Member

    Mar 9, 2004
    Find out what your competition charges and see if that makes sense to your business model.
  18. lexsigns

    lexsigns Member

    Dec 24, 2007
    Burlington ma
    Best post I have ever read!! You rock BOB!!!
  19. 2B

    2B Very Active Member

    May 5, 2011
    look both locally and online for pricing,
    graphics are no longer a novelty item and are now more of a commodity, as such the pricing you offer has to find that happy medium
  20. DJr

    DJr Member

    Aug 10, 2016
    Pompano Beach, FL

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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