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  1. #31
    PhD SignManiac's Avatar
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    Amen Fred! Excellent way of stating that...

  2. #32
    PhD
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    great post(s) SignManiac. i really believe that if the noobies new the history of our craft, understood the advancements and the changes that have taken place. they would have a new understanding for the seriousness some of us feel for our trade.

  3. #33
    Bachelor of Arts
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    As for pricing, here is our shop break down:

    -Cost of goods (raw materials): 25%
    -Labor (wages, including yours): 35%
    -Other expenses (rent, taxes, insurance, utilities, shop supplies): 30%
    -Profit: 10%

    Now we can use a simple math to figure price by 4 times the material cost (according to our shop break down) For instance, a simple 18x24 .040 aluminum sign, metal cost $9, vinyl cost $3, $12x4=$48. We should get at least $48 to be profitable. (plus design time if more elaborate).

  4. #34
    Premium Subscriber BobM's Avatar
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    SignManiac, Fred and others: Very well stated. I thought I knew something about layout until I started on Signs 101. Sitting back watching layouts get the once over, and some a lot more, has taught me a great deal. I've bought and read the books recommended, and I keep a couple of them on my desk for "refresher courses".

    I still find it hard to believe that there is such a giving community as Signs 101 where you can get opinions and geniune help from all over the world with a few key strokes.

    Newbies, be thankful for the honest opinions as they come from a great group of dedicated professionals trying to raise the standards of the sign industry
    " A government that robs Peter to Pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul" George Bernard Shaw

  5. #35
    College Senior gnatt66's Avatar
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    Great post. and so true. i'm not even to the point where i feel compelled to throw my designs on here yet, but i DO hold them to what i've learned and seen on here often.

    I listened to Jillbeans, and bought the Mike Stevens book, even bought Dan A.'s first book as well. I reference them all the damn time.

    This place is priceless, imo. As soon as my cutter left the basement for a shop setting and my printer was on order(this spring), i paid for a subscription and spend every extra minute i have reading, learning, and trying stuff.

  6. #36
    PhD SignManiac's Avatar
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    You SHOULD throw some of your work up. Just don't take anything personally and you'll be fine. My guess is generous people like Jill and the others will often show you by example how you could improve on your designs as long as you're willing to post something first as an example. By showing an actual effort on your part.

    It helps everyone when you can see several different approaches to a design problem. And I know that those who decide to contribute benefit just from the exercise.

  7. #37
    PhD jscarl's Avatar
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    Great post. Yes it Should be a sticky!!.

  8. #38
    Merchant Member Fred Weiss's Avatar
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    Good idea Jim. Consider it done.
    Fred Weiss
    Allied Computer Graphics, Inc.
    Lake Worth, Florida

    Expert Gerber Edge printing for the trade.
    Prices Slashed 50% to 80%! Clip art and seamless texture tiles, collections and individual images, lowest prices ever at www.allcompu.com. Come have a look.
    Our Latest Collection! Plotter Art™ Seamless Texture Tiles Volume Three is now available.

    fred@allcompu.com
    www.allcompu.com

    Always Remember ... STICKY SIDE DOWN.

  9. #39
    College Freshman
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    The one thing that disturbs me most is the planetary infliction of visual pollution that has ruined our communities. I'm all for laws that will punish the graphically challenged because it has gotten that bad.
    AGREED! The computer has been a blessing and a curse.

    The other thing goes back to aesthetics. Next time you newbies are driving around your communities, please take a real look at the signs you see and be honest, are you seeing appealing signs, even the basic ones, or are you seeing a ton of mismatched visual pollution? Do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution?
    There is so much garbage out there now, so little nice to look at it becomes the norm. We're doing our best to change it.....

  10. #40
    College Sophomore Tovis's Avatar
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    "The one thing that disturbs me most is the planetary infliction of visual pollution that has ruined our communities. I'm all for laws that will punish the graphically challenged because it has gotten that bad."

    ~Interesting Quote

  11. #41
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    Great post!
    Sign painting used to be a great art form that is being lost thanks to the computer. The knowledge of letter placement too one another, the slant, letter height, capital / lower case. Now times that by the number of type styles a sign painter would use. He would have to envision the sign in his head before starting, that took talent. I'm Not saying the computer sign maker is not talented but that we have a lot of technology helping us with our designs Pick a font - all the spacing and placing in relation to each other is done, pick a different font to see if it's more appealing. Ready to use clip-art, but dose your sign start to look like everyone else that has used that art?
    I admire the talent the hand crafted sign painters possessed and it a talent that is being lost. Ask yourself if power went out and you had to make a sign without your computer, how good would it look?
    Out of admiration and appreciation Keith

  12. #42
    College Sophomore CrazyDazy's Avatar
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    Thank you "old timers" I appreciate you!

  13. #43
    PhD Mosh's Avatar
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    I started out in 1988 doing hand painted signs, wood carved and cut signs, sandblasted stuff. 21 years later the money is in blam blam print, here you go signs. Sorry, been down the sign road, the good money is in print and go stuff. True there is a market for super custom stuff, but spending 12 hours with a customer to design a 4x6 banner is not going to pay the bills. We do the custom stuff on the side, but the blam and print stuff keeps the shop open. If the shop does not at least break even I have other things to spend 10 months of the year doing. Flame me all you want but it is how it is in small town "aMerica"

    That is why you don't see custom sign shops on every corner. Correct me if I am wrong.

  14. #44
    Bachelor of Arts 3dsignco's Avatar
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    For those of you in the business ten years or more and never heard of Mike Stevens book "The art of eye appeal" I suggest you pony of a few bucks and invest in your future.
    Just do it...
    And if things are really that tight then here is some free ones I scanned for this site and not one person has even looked in the download section of this web site to get them.
    I will leave it at that.

    http://www.signs101.com/viewcategory.php?moduleid=75

    I have also acquired some first editions of Atkinson Sign Painting, Le Francs Guide to Signs, Mathews Sign Guide and Strongs Book of designs But not sure on the Copyright law of these as some were done in the early 1900s and others in the 40s. Strongs has been reprinted in the 80s in paperback so I don't think I could leagally scan and post that book.

  15. #45
    Bachelor of Arts 3dsignco's Avatar
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    That is why you don't see custom sign shops on every corner. Correct me if I am wrong.
    That's because everyone is in it for the quick buck and don't give a crap about quality. And personally.. I am very content with that.. Makes my product worth a premium.

  16. #46
    College Senior astro8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3dsignco View Post
    Just do it...
    And if things are really that tight then here is some free ones I scanned for this site and not one person has even looked in the download section of this web site to get them.
    I will leave it at that.
    I downloaded those the moment you put them up and am very appreciative.

  17. #47
    PhD Dave Drane's Avatar
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    This is an extremely good post. I'll try to dig up some of my early efforts at hand painted signs. You guys will get quite a laugh as I do now, but hey we all start somewhere.
    Recently I have put up some before/after pics to see how newbies would approach a certain job senario. Maybe some more of the older guys here should do the same to see how things appear in the eyes of a newbie. It is quite interesting to see how some have a built in talent for design.

  18. #48
    PhD SignManiac's Avatar
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    I have posted several before and after examples in the portfolio forum over the years. In most cases, it's a night and day difference. I even dedicated a before and after page in my gallery on my website.

  19. #49
    Preppie
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    Wow, great post everyone as a newbie myself for about 2months iam trying to learn all that i can about this business. asking tons of questions and so forth. what ive read here is very motvational. i look forward to all the input i can get on how to be better.


    What would be some good reads to learn more about the sign layouts and business?

    thanks,

  20. #50
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    Hi,

    I just joined the forums here and now I have been to Amazon to buy the book! I know there will be a LOT to learn.

    Thanks,

    -James Leonard

  21. #51
    College Sophomore Team Valhalla's Avatar
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    If I were the one that posted the "What do you think of this?" thread, my objection would be to the tone that is used more often than not right out of the gate.

    Many of the responses in these type of threads do not start off with constructive criticism, but with derogatory comments about skill levels and length of time in the business. I often glance at the number of posts that the person asking for imput has and can tell right away how cutting the comments are generally going to be.

    A perfect example is an individual that I've seen post three or four times pertaining to some work that he's done in schools. My observation is that each time this person has posted, they have stated that they've tried to implement suggestions from previous jobs posted and are asking for input on the current job. Each thread has gone down a trail that implies that this person has minimal to no skills.

    When I read the derogatory comments I often think to myself that it would be real interesting to see the work of the ones making the comments. I'm sure what they are producing now is much better than the first job they ever charged someone for. So... how is it that someone else isn't allowed to make mistakes? Or God forbid, get into the sign business. If they're that bad and don't improve, they'll be out of business soon enough.

    Having dealt with people from a managerial perspective for almost 25 years, I've learned a person's tone in asking the question or giving a response determines which way the conversation goes real quick. You don't have to have experience dealing with people to know this... substitute the typical teenager and you'll know what I'm talking about.

    Just my $.02 that's worth much less than that.

    SP

  22. #52
    Preppie
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    Nice Post

    I just joined this site recently and made my first post. I posted some pics of my first hand painted sign that I've ever done. I got a lot of helpful feedback.

    Some of the comments were pretty harsh, and others were encouraging, but it didn't bother me personally. I just tried to take as much as I could from the advice that was being offered, keeping in mind that nobody is perfect and everyone has a different level of experience.

    I've worked as a designer in many other fields, and I am always trying to improve my skills. It will be a lifelong process that does not end. From job to job some visual solutions are better than others. Some flop and some exceed expectations.

    I know my hand painted lettering technique is horrible at this point, but I didn't really expect to blow anyone away on my first shot.

    I was so overwhelmed with everything, like the job estimate, client's communication, what type of wood or material to use, what type of paint, which brushes, how to line up the image with a projector, how to apply the paint, how to care for the brushes, where to find supplies, etc.

    It was a tough thing to tackle on my own for the first time. I appreciate the positive comments which encourage me to try again and the negative comments which remind me that I have a lot of room for improvement on my next attempt.

  23. #53
    PhD SignManiac's Avatar
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    Oliver you will do fine over time. It's obvious you are here to learn. Keep on with your willingness to learn and you will become very good.

  24. #54
    Premium Subscriber Gino's Avatar
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    What he said ollie...............

    In a prefect world Valhalla, maybe everyone could be pleasing and not say anything to hurt another’s feelings, but when you see the same thing day in and day out…. it gets a little old, so cutting to the chase and calling a ‘Spade a Spade’ is what it’s all about. I haven’t a clue when or where you went to school, but I don’t remember hearing teachers in school at the mid terms or end of the year coaxing a student to do better and teach him/her the fundamentals with so much at stake. Sure, start the next school year and you had the summer off to recharge your batteries…. you were kind and gentle the first few weeks, but even that didn’t last very long.

    I never questioned my seniors or teachers. Were they always right ?? I sure as heck hope so, but nonetheless, I did what I was instructed.

    These people are coming here, not to learn the basics or fundamentals of sign making… this is a serious forum about learning the trade at whatever speed one can keep up with. If you can’t take the heat…. Get out of the kitchen. Betcha heard that one. No one here is trying to ruin someone else’s life, but a little studying on one’s own time and familiarizing themselves with some of the jargon or terminology would help. If they don’t know it, they’ll learn quickly and get on the right path to becoming a successful sign shop…. or at least have all the tools for doing so at their finger tips.

    Please remember this Valhalla, whether the information comes in nice and sweet or bellowed out in a stern harsh voice… it’s the information contained in either delivery that the student should be listening to, not the tone.

    As you mentioned… getting off on the right foot is a great tool to measure others by, but when you have several hundred people….. on a forum, in cyberspace… you loose that advantage and need to get things done in an efficient manner to the masses. Feelings count, if you’re purposely trying to hurt someone, but when giving advice or tutoring… the student needs to listen and weigh out if they like what they’ve just taken in or not. Then they can make an educated decision to proceed or just can this place.

    Hope you take this all in the sense and feeling it was intended.


    Everybody should believe in something.... I believe I'll have another drink


    Merchant Member to the Trade



  25. #55
    PhD Stealth Ryder's Avatar
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  26. #56
    College Sophomore Team Valhalla's Avatar
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    Gino,

    No problem. You're words were well taken.

    Right or wrong, when dealing with people I've always believed that management is manipulation. We all have to manage people in our businesses, lives, and families. And I use the the word manipulation not in a negative connotation, but more along the line of careful negotiation to reach a desired end.

    Anyone that has or deals with teenagers knows what I'm referring to. I'm going to get alot farther dealing with 12 Freshmen boys in a youth group setting by trying to incorporate things that happen in their everyday lives verses telling them to be quite and just listen to what an old guy has to say.

    I had to laugh at your analogy of the school teacher. Best teacher I ever had was a 7th grade English teacher that scared me to death! I would be physically ill going into her class if I didn't have an assignment completed. Granted, it was my fault for not giving her the respect she deserved at the beginning of of the year, but once she "manipulated me" with a few shots of the wood and a thump or two on the head, I fell in line in a hurry.

    Don't think for a minute that I don't believe in "absolute manipulation" when the situation deserves it. I once had a supervisor destroy over $15,000 worth of end of arm tooling because he didn't follow procedures. He knew loud and clear that I was not pleased. But after my implosion, we sat down and figured out a way to make sure that it never happened again. That guy continued to work for me for many years after that.

    Basically all I'm saying is that everyone started out at the beginning at some point in time. Calling a "spade a spade" is one thing, but when you go to the point of some of the derogatory comments I've read here, you've lost that opportunity to teach someone something. The person that the comments are directed to has tuned out the person berating them.

    "Just sayin"

    SP

  27. #57
    College Freshman
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    What is the best magazine to read up on this trade?

  28. #58
    PhD SignManiac's Avatar
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    SignCraft magazine hands down!

  29. #59
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    old thread but good start :)
    as signManic said drive around town and look at signs. that keeps the wheels spin (in my head anyway) read a newspaper or magazine. look at the Ads think about how you should have done it and why the one that did the ad did it just the way it is.

    ive never been in to signs before but ive always found it tempting and a good way to reach people with your skills, but i have done several buisness cards for companys and for myself. i like them when they are simple. "less is more"

    also im educated in offset printing in large scale and media layout about 12 years ago

    i find this forum very good for getting power and ideas also tips and hints.

    ive not even published any of my designs here as i for myself dont think they YET ( as for now) dont is that good. 12 years with doing something different then what you dreamed about for your entire youth sure makes you rusty. now i just want to get back being creative again. i miss it.

    again really good thread and good tips on books.. will try find them translated to swedish if not i might get them in english.

  30. #60
    PhD Mosh's Avatar
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    I could not even read this cause
    I am so drunk but if you haev to put this much thought into some web forum ypu might need to think about getting a girlfriend or something!!! seriously!

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