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Various Sign Making Questions

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by Melissam2505, May 28, 2010.

  1. Melissam2505

    Melissam2505 Member

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    My name is Melissa and I live in Idaho. I am branching into the sign business and have a few questions.

    First I will say why I decided to dive into signs. I own a Roland Cutter that I have been using to do vinyl lettering, along with a partner who has some experience in sign making. I am now wanting to more with the sign portion of the business to help ends meet. A lot of overhead is shared with my photography business ( I am a portrait photographer with a retail space.) and I already know a lot with the software aspect. Requests for signs have picked up through word of mouth and I am basically trying to learn more so I can offer more services.

    My questions:

    1)I see some signs mounted to exterior walls with no visible hardware or fasteners showing. How is this accomplished?

    2)Im looking for the best places to outsource some printing. I have found a few companies through searching the forums, but would appreciate any suggestions.

    Outsourcing for :
    Sandblasted signs
    Printed Banners ( I read Creative Banner seems to be popular)
    Printed Vinyl
    Routed Signs and Letters

    3) Painting MDO board... I have read conflicting reports on what types of paint and primers to use. Any advice on this?

    I appreciate the help!
     
    Tags:
  2. jiarby

    jiarby Major Contributor

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    oy vey....

    I have been a sign guy but thinking of branching out...
    I got a Nikon D40 for Christmas and have been taking some cool photos. I uploaded them and word is getting around and now I want to branch out into portraits and wedding photos.

    I have a few questions though.

    1. To make prints, is Eckards or Walmart better?
    2. How can I get that little crying ******* to shut up and smile?
    3. I have seen pictures where people seem to be in the picture twice, one is a side view looking up to the heavens, and the other is a regular shot. How do I do that?
    4. Sometimes I get picture and the subject has red eyes like the devil himself. How can I fix that?
    5. Photoshop? Cheating, or valid photography tool? Can I get it cheap on eBay?

    I might need some things too... where should I get cheap:
    Backdrops, Lights, Props, etc??

    Thx for your help!!

    PS... Welcome to S101 from AZ
     
  3. Melissam2505

    Melissam2505 Member

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    Actually I get those questions on a daily basis.

    1. I use a professional lab when I do not do my own printing. I personally like to control the quality of what leaves my studio and print my own work.
    2. Patience.
    3. You don't. Its hideous.
    4. Stop photographing the devil.
    5. Both. Yes. Ebay is the heaven those people in the awful photos look up to.

    You can buy cheap stuff anywhere.

    I am not asking you where to get easy cheap products. Im asking for some help. I have all my licenses, business insurance, equipment. I'm not asking for shortcuts. I am getting the business requests and want to provide it.

    I knew I was going to get a sarcastic reply.
    I have worked hard on what I have done so far and I have been studying, if you want to help great. All industries have new people coming in, including mine.
     
  4. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

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    Melissa if you spend the weekend reading through this entire site you will find most of your answers are here already. The search button will find most everything. It's a long arduous journey to learn this business. A lifetime isn't even enough. Good luck though.
     
  5. Sign_Boy

    Sign_Boy Major Contributor

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    Hi & Welcome!!

    http://tinyurl.com/mv5slz

    But for real - I'd do some searching then come back with questions people here will probably be more willing to help out then.

    Oh I've been wanting to use that site for a while - just messing around ....
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2010
  6. Melissam2505

    Melissam2505 Member

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    OK Ill go back to searching...

    But Oh I have searched!!!! You should see all the questions I DIDNT ask. :)
    Some of the ones I mentioned above I wasn't satisfied with what I found.

    I'm aware of how forums work. I own one. And I always defend people when they get on the case of you "should have searched". Sometimes a new discussion brings new answers. While I agree that it is irritating to see the same questions asked over and over, I don't feel my three questions are that out there, with the exception of the vendors. Im sure its been hashed out many times.

    So scratch my vendor question, scratch my paint question even though.. in my searching I see a ton of different answers that contradict one another. But the hardware question I have searched and I can not FIND IT.
     
  7. Just Another Sign Guy

    Just Another Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    apparently you totally missed the underlying intent of the comment you received or just don't care...either way..whatever. most of us spent MANY years to learn the skills that we utilize to make our livings. many of us completed formal apprenticeship programs, some completed specialized educations...most did not jump headfirst into a business in which they did not have the knowledge to perform the tasks of which they would be asked to perform. could you imagine what you would think of someone masquerading as a professional photographer who did not have the skills? or wait i am certain you see it all the time...so you can understand our frustration with these types of questions.

    most of us our willing to help but have a hard time helping those who are not willing to help themselves. as pointed out the majority of the questions you have asked...no all of the questions you have asked have been answered many times. this is very frustrating for us because it shows that you are not even willing to invest the minimal amount of time to search out the answers. i am much more inclined to help those who have searched out the answers and then post a question such as...

    "hey i'm new to signmaking i used the search function to learn how to finish mdo and while practicing this new process (and it is a process) i am experiencing lots of tiny bubbles, what can i do to solve this problem" at least we know the person is trying and not just looking for the easy way..because there is no easy way.

    there is no one answer for your hardware question. we utilize many techniques and types of fasteners depending on the project at hand. for instance if we need blind mounting on a flat wall we might utilize a french cleat. sometimes we throughbolt and then countersink and mask the heads..sometimes we use standoffs..there is no one size fits all answer.
     
  8. Sign_Boy

    Sign_Boy Major Contributor

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    Mounting Exterior Wall Signs:
    It all depends on the type of sign

    Outsourcing:
    See Little grey box to the left (Merchant Members)

    Recent Thread on paint -
    It may not answer all of your questions but it's a start:
    http://www.signs101.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66532&highlight=spray+paint

    My advice keep searching here and you will find what you are looking for - it'll be there this place probably covers just about anything and everything.
     
  9. wes70

    wes70 Very Active Member

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    That is beautiful Dan!
    Seriously, that should be the welcoming message to all (or most) newbies or atleast copy and paste when needed.
     
  10. Melissam2505

    Melissam2505 Member

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    Victor, ID
    Thank you DanStriker. And yes, I do understand that. Im not trying to be defensive.
    Let me also say, I have not taken any of these jobs. Just as in photography I dislike when people charge for a service they do not know how to provide. I am going to apprentice at a sign shop in NY this July. These are just things I am trying to learn and get clarification on, I do not have any pending jobs and need quick answers.

    I will just search old threads and not ask anything until I have very specific questions.
     
  11. jiarby

    jiarby Major Contributor

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    just busting your chops a little, now you are in the club!!

    There are a bunch of great merchant members here... but think about making friends with a couple local shops, especially for big stuff like digital 4x8 MDO's.
     
  12. Fitch

    Fitch Member

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    Welcome.

    I suggest you "sit tight" for a while and just read.

    I suggest you visit your town this weekend and look at nothing but signs for 8 hrs per day. Break down their construction and determine a good and bad one.

    Visit a local sign shop, most likely the "old guy" who is willing to share probably 50 years of kmowledge and experience.

    Don't just ask how to do it. It is twice as important to ask " HOW NOT TO DO IT"

    Buy as many "Signcraft" magazines backdated for 20 years http://www.signcraft.com/home.aspx

    Learn who the top 20 signmakers are around the world, and see their style and what has given them longevity (and money) throughout their careers.

    Accept that you cannot get onto a forum and ask "how to make signs". I have been doing this for 15 years and still learn every day. Those that are any good will admit that they are still learning.

    Not putting you off entering the industry, but those that have worked DAMN hard have knowledge that they are willing to share but the knowledge they have would take many many many hours to relate to the task. The way something is done in 30% humidity is not necessarily the same way in 75% humidity. Imagine that!!!

    Good luck anyway.
     
  13. CentralSigns

    CentralSigns Very Active Member

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    I think that there are enough sign companies that just outsource everything. In the last bit been a lot of talk about outsourcing, mostly the evils of big companies playing wholesaler and retailer. From your intro sounds like you are planning to not really make anything, but sort of have it done for you and make good a mark-up. Sort of make a buck from outsourcing something you don't even know how to do.

    How do you expect to make a buck outsourcing everything when many established sign business are hurting since the downturn. In the last 5 months I think at least 8 companies that are on this site have given up and thrown in the towel. You need knowledge to understand to products your outsourcing. If lots of businesses are asking for your services are you charging close to market price. A lot of times businesses will feed of your products if they are far too cheap. Do you know the going prices for sign products. Probably you should wait till you sign apprentice in June over the summer holidays. Thats were you will learn if thats true
    .
    In the intro you are making signs and then further on are not making then. What's up there. Never thought about it but because I have a lot of the equipment maybe I should try the photo art business. Sure there must be a huge profit in that stuff. All I need is a good camera.
     
  14. night eagle

    night eagle Active Member

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    here we go again...bash the newbie. mellisa, the real reason they bash you is they are afraid you or someone like you will compete with them...

    i think you should spend some $$$ and hire an experienced tutor to help you get into this business. it will be a good investment and prob save you money in the long run. this site is good and there is lots of info here. there is also a lot of butthead attitude here. i see bullying for what it is and get what i want or need here anyway despite it.

    mark galoob:Welcome:
     
  15. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

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    Mars Florida
    The best advice I can recommend to you, find and buy up as many back issues of SignCraft magazine that you can get your hands on. Nearly everything you will need to know is covered there.

    It shows some of the best work being done today and will inspire you to do the same.
     
  16. stickermonkey

    stickermonkey Member

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    Welcome Melissa....there are SOOO many ways to answer your questions. The best learning will come with "doing". There are a lot or resources on here in the threads...but also all over the internet. If you are doing an apprentiship this summer, that will be great for you. Still...it takes many years of working hard and late nights and mistakes to learn this craft. Just having the equipment is not the start of the business. Having a strong desire to learn how to make great signs & decals and having a good sense of design & layout will be where you need to start. If you are a photographer, you surely know what makes a good composition, so I'm sure you're already creative enough to handle the task of a good sign / decal design. Practice...or have someone show you what to do...there are no crash courses in sign making. So welcome to the biz...wish you all the best!

    ;) Cheers
    Kyla
     
  17. Just Another Sign Guy

    Just Another Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    no Mark our industry has been overrun by yahoos that have no clue as to what they are doing...we have gone from being a skilled industry that was once respected to being viewed as an industry full of people who are not capable of doing what is required of us as professionals.

    i am regularly contacted by city government officials from across the nation to guide them in how to write their sign codes because of all of the problems they are facing because of poor workmanship. many cities would like a designation between sign shop and sign installation or worse REQUIRE all installations be handled by a construction contractor...and do not be surprised if we start to see more of this, where sign companies are REQUIRED to obtain construction licenses (it is required in some municipalities already) because there are SO many bafoons out there masquerading as professionals with zero training who for some bizarre reason think that they have what it takes to be a sign professional? are you one of these people? your comments make me wonder.

    in the last year i have been contacted 3 times by various organizations that put on trade shows for the photo industry (for photographers, photo labs, etc) to come and speak to their attendees about the great profits, the great opportunities there are for them in the sign industry because they have come up with the conclusion that all you need to do is push the magic print button and they too can be a sign company, i have declined every one of them because they have all been greatly misleading to the audience in my opinion...i really could care less about the corrugated plastic signs and the like, but it wont take long until one of them is asked by a customer to install their 4X8 sign, to install that digitally printed backlit sign face, etc etc. and to be blunt they won't have the skillset to do it, they won't have the insurance, they won't have the licenses, etc and they have no business doing the work..just as many in our industry have no business doing many of the projects that they do. look at all of the poor installations (not the mention the unsafe and illegal), look at all of the poorly designed, look at all of the poorly constructed, look at all of the people in this industry who have NO experience, those who have never worked in the trade, those who go out buy the equipment and then want all of us who have been through the school of hard knocks to teach them on the internet..

    i know many people who have entered the sign business simply as a business investment, they have no illusions that they are going to learn this by reading a book or asking some questions on the internet. they hire people to run their shops and they focus on sales, marketing or management. you can not learn all that is required of a competent sign person on the internet.
     
  18. ddubia

    ddubia Member

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    Dan, two epic posts in one thread. These should be required reading for everyone.
     
  19. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

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    Dan, very well stated!
     
  20. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

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    Thanks for that :) One of the funniest things I've seen on here in a while :)

    Great come back!
     
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