Bill McSpadden, owner of Capitol Awning, Richmond, Va., presented the education session “Graphics for the Small to Medium Fabricator—What I Wish I Knew” on October 15 at IFAI Expo 2018’s Pre-Expo Conference in Dallas, Texas.
Sign permits and allowances are important factors to consider when it comes to graphics. While many businesses may want as big a sign or logo as possible on their business’ awning, there are rules in place to prevent cities and towns from looking like New York’s Times Square. Be sure to check with city ordinances.
When it comes to graphic techniques for shops, McSpadden touched on a few different options and some pros and cons: stencil painting does not require much experience and allows for unlimited color options; vinyl applicators allow for proofing and control of materials but usually require a vinyl inch cutter (30-inch capacity is recommended); print and apply requires the use of a liquid UV protector, and fabricators should be sure to ask the customer if they will be willing to re-cover in four to six years.
McSpadden’s overall key tips for fabricators dealing with graphics include:
- Know what a sign permit is.
- Consider putting a sign on an awning versus making an awning the sign (allows for more flexibility).
- Attract attention with colors and designs.
- Be sure to standardize, test and proof your work.
- Consider purchasing an airbrush, vinyl cutter and software.
- Subcontract what you can’t do.
- Set reasonable customer expectations.