Sign FAQs

How to Care for Your Magnetic Signs?

6 Easy Steps to Working with Signarama 

How to apply Vinyl Lettering?

How to Care for My Vinyl Banner?

When to use cut vinyl film vs. digital graphics?

Elements of Excellent Sign Design

Window Graphics, What Works Best?

Are A Frames Allowed Outside My Shop?

Are all Vinyls the Same?

What are the Different Types of Digital Print Vinyl?

What is Overlamination?

How to clean your car before coming in to have vehicle graphics applied?

How to wash your car after graphics have been applied?

Why Vehicle Graphics are the most cost effective marketing investment?

Are Vehicle Wraps Worth the Investment?

The Difference Between Neon and LED


How to Care for Your Magnetic Signs

Preparation - The vehicle surface and the brown magnetic side of the sign should be clean, dry, and waxed prior to applying.

Installation - Make contact of one edge of the sign to the vehicle surface in the desired location and then let the adjacent part of the sign contact the vehicle surface until the entire sign is held magnetically to the vehicle. If the sign is not in the desired position, remove the magnetic sign and repeat above. (Do not try to straighten sign by pulling when it is held magnetically to the vehicle. It may stretch the material, especially when hot.)

Avoid placing your sign over chrome trim or surface protrusions of any kind. The temperature of the sign should be above 16 degrees Celsius during installation. (The temperature of the vehicle surface does not matter.)

Caution - Magnetic vehicle signs will NOT adhere to areas on your car where plastic body fillers have been used. Use caution in applying vehicle signs to areas of your car that have been damaged and repaired in order to avoid losing your signs. Make sure the entire magnet is against the metal surface (no air pockets).

Cleaning - Magnetic signs attract foreign material, and as such, require constant cleaning. We recommend a minimum clean of your sign once a week. To clean your sign, please use warm water and a mild detergent and apply gently with a soft cloth to both sides of the sign and the vehicle area the sign is attached.

Storage - To avoid cracking or breaking, do not fold or crease.  Storing your magnetic sign flat is recommended.  If stored in roll form, roll must be a minimum of 75 millimetres in diameter and have the lettering on the outside of the roll to prevent wrinkles.

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6 Easy Steps to Working with Signarama

At Signarama we take pride in being easy to deal with.  By following some simple steps, we can help to make your design, signage, and branding process easy and successful by taking the hassle away from your desk and letting you get on with running your business.

There are a number of very simple expectations upon both parties to see your signage project completed to specification, on budget, and most importantly - on time:

  1. Your Signarama signage consultant will either visit your premises or meet with you in our showroom to discuss your signage project and gain a full understanding of your requirements and objectives. We will then provide recommendations tailored to your business and your budget.  We always endeavour to provide you with a written quotation within 24 hours.
  2. Once you are happy with our offer, sign your acceptance of our written quotation and pay a 50% deposit (or submit a purchase order for account customers).
  3. Our graphic designer will then generate your unique, customised artwork design, complete with photographic overlay (where applicable) so you can see how your sign will look in your environment.. You can ask for changes as required.
  4. Sign off on your approval for your customised artwork.  We allow between 7-10 days from the date of receiving your artwork approval to completion of your job.  Some larger jobs, such as illuminated and neon signage and pylon signage, can take longer. If you have a short deadline, we will work hard to meet it.  We will keep you informed of the progress of your work through our production system.
  5. For non-account customers, the balance of the account is payable upon collection at our counter or on installation of your signage.

Each Signarama store is individually owned and operated and can provide Terms of Trade upon request.

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How to apply Vinyl Lettering

The surface must be clean and free of all waxes, sealers, or oils. The vinyl lettering and the surface should be between 10°C and 29°C. Using methylated spirits clean the surface where the vinyl is to be applied. All waxes, oils, and polish must be removed from the surface to insure that the vinyl lettering will stick properly.

Temporarily place your vinyl lettering in the desired location with two small pieces of masking tape (one on each upper corner of the vinyl), holding the vinyl to the surface. With a tape measure or yardstick, align the vinyl lettering to an existing horizontal/vertical line. Once the vinyl is aligned, stand back and take a look. It should be level with respect to your existing line. Adjust as necessary.

Apply a long piece of masking tape along the top of the vinyl with approximately half of the tape on the vinyl and half on the surface. This will make a large hinged 'flap'. The hinged flap will make installation much easier. For long thin designs, you can cut the vinyl in half (up and down between the lettering) once it has been taped to create two flaps for even easier installation.

Raise the large hinged 'flap' and begin to peel the wax paper backing off the decal (exposing the sticky side of the vinyl letters). Be sure to only expose half of the vinyl. DO NOT ALLOW THE STICKY PART OF THE VINYL LETTERS TO TOUCH THE SURFACE. For multiple hinged 'flaps', repeat this procedure for each. Peeling the backing paper only halfway down will allow you to keep the vinyl lettering away from the vehicle surface until necessary.

With the wax paper backing peeled halfway downward, begin to apply the sticky side of the vinyl lettering to the vehicle surface with the squeegee. Be sure to use even strokes horizontally across the vinyl. ONLY APPLY THE FIRST HALF OF THE DECAL. The application squeegee should have a sharp even edge (a credit card can be used if you don’t have a signage squeegee). The tool should be angled 45 degrees away from the centre of the decal. This will keep bubbles from forming between the vinyl lettering and the surface.

Continue smoothing out the vinyl with long horizontal strokes, starting at the top and working towards the bottom. Continue to remove the backing paper as you squeegee the vinyl to the surface. The sticky side of the vinyl should be covered until installation. This will keep it from getting dirty and sticking to the surface prematurely.

Once the entire sticky side of the vinyl is applied to the surface, go over the vinyl with the application squeegee, with increasingly harder strokes. Then begin peeling the transfer tape covering the vinyl letters. The transfer tape covering is made of paper with a sticky backing. This must be removed after the vinyl lettering is installed. Finish removing the transfer tape covering, peeling from one side to the other. Any small bubbles can be removed using a small razor blade. Take the razor blade and poke a small hole in the vinyl at the source of the bubble. Then with the squeegee, push the remaining air out of the bubble. Most bubbles will dissipate within three weeks of installation due to sunlight.

Your new vinyl lettering is now installed! To keep it looking new, simply wash it with mild soapy water. Do not use anything abrasive. You can apply wax over the vinyl once it is applied. Your new vinyl lettering will give you years of great looks.

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How to Care for My Vinyl Banner

Banners with vinyl lettering - All banners with vinyl lettering should be rolled with the lettering to the outside, preferably rolled onto a sturdy cardboard tube.  Wheel covers should be left flat; do not fold or roll.

Banners sign written with banner paint - All banners made with banner paint should be rolled with the lettering to the inside, preferably rolled onto a sturdy cardboard tube.

Digitally printed banners - These are quite robust and do not need special handling. It is best to roll rather than fold to avoid creases. Be careful not to scratch the surface of the graphic when handling or storing.

Cleaning your banner - Banners should only be cleaned with mild detergent and water if needed.  DO NOT USE SOLVENTS or pressure hoses.

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When to use cut vinyl film vs. digital graphics

Cut Vinyl

Vinyl graphics can be supplied ready to apply., It comprises computer cut self-adhesive lettering or logos, which is pre-spaced according to the design required.

Vinyl comes in a range of different colours, and the colour is the same on both sides so it can be applied to the inside of windows or glass in offices or to the outside of most surfaces.

A simple logo or graphic can be cut out of vinyl. Each colour is a separate layer of vinyl.

Single colour vinyl graphics are fairly easy to self-install on flat surfaces. Many coloured vinyls will retain their colour longer than digitally printed graphics, although this is no longer a big issue with the latest digital technology.

Digital Graphics

Wide format digital printing is the most common form of signage production today. Digital printing allows the use of full colour graphics, including photographs in your signage. It is suitable for most signage, including vehicle graphics, retail signs, banner advertising, and illuminated signage. Any graphic that can be displayed on a computer screen can be digitally printed.

Digital graphics can be produced for short term promotional signage, but digital graphics are printed on long-term media with UV over lamination to protect the surface from fading and aid cleaning and durability.

Digital graphics are used for vehicle wraps. This is where the entire vehicle, or part of the vehicle is wrapped in printed vinyl, to produce a powerful mobile advertising presentation. Digital wrap graphics are a specialised field where the correct materials, techniques, and the latest printing processes are required. Your local Signarama is equipped and trained for vehicle wrap graphics.

Your local Signarama store has the latest digital printing technology and a well-trained staff to give you the best results from digital graphics.

So vinyl or digital? They both have their uses and advantages. – Our suggestion is to pop into a friendly Signarama store and let us recommend the right signage materials and processes for your application. We look forward to seeing you!

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Elements of Excellent Sign Design

You don’t want your customers to pass by your signage and not really notice anything. Signage needs to present your message in a (relatively) small area. The effectiveness of a clear message cannot be underestimated.

The words of the message are not the only place to focus when clearing up your business message. Strong focus needs to also fall on the typeset and the graphic elements of the sign. There are fonts that are easy for the eye to read, even at a distance, and there are fonts that look like a foreign language, even up close. Your signage needs to be created with a typeset or font that is clear at any range and communicates your values.

When the sign does not have the right colours, it may become ineffective and lack the power to attract the right audiences.

There are certain colours that evoke a mental response and businesses are using these colours to their advantage even if the consumer does not see the methodology. In restaurants, for instance, the majority of the colour schemes used will include a variety of deep red shades. Red is supposed to evoke a feeling of hunger when viewed. The knowledge of colours and their effect on the viewer will help gear your signage toward the right viewer.

Colour schemes include reds for hunger, blues and greens for stability, softer pinks and yellows for the female, and brighter neon colours for the younger audience.

Bear in mind though that too much colour can also be a bad idea, as it will look too loud and overpowering for audiences; hence, a sign should have the right balance of all the right elements to get the right kind of people and also create the right kind of impact.

A captivating design, well-planned out elements, structure, size, and background are all important to making a sign effective and well planned.

Depending on your need, what you wish to use it for, and where you wish to place it are all important in order to decide what works best.

Remember, when it comes to getting your message across in signage, LESS IS MORE!

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Window Graphics What Works Best

The aim of window graphics is to draw clients into your business. This can take several forms. Your long-term window graphics should reflect how you want your business to be perceived and reflect your offer. This should include your name/logo, what your business does, phone number, web site, and opening hours. Digitally printed window graphics allows you to include photographic images or complex designs as part of your window graphics.

If you have a need to promote something short-term where bold and bright works best to attract attention, we can offer inexpensive short-term window graphics solutions.

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Are A Frames Allowed Outside My Shop?

Some councils allow without any restrictions, and some allow but you need to pay a licence fee. Other wills allow, but they must be set within the building line, and others don’t allow at all. Your local Signarama should be able to advise the rules governing movable external signage in your area.. A good indication of your council’s laws is to see if other stores in your area have A-Frames.

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Are all Vinyls the Same?

Vinyl used in signage is a highly engineered material, and different types are specifically tailored for different applications. The variations are in the manufacturing process of the vinyl, the additives used, the type of adhesive, and in the various over laminates designed for different applications.

Is it going to be cut into shapes with the colour embedded in the vinyl? Is it white for digital printing or translucent for internally illuminated signs? Vinyl also varies in life expectancy, from cheap short term promotional vinyls to very expensive conformable vehicle wrap vinyls and a wide range in between.

Vinyl can also be chemical, oil, and seawater resistant for boats and equipment. Removable vinyl is ideal for short-term promotional need. Speciality vinyls, such as Frosted Etch vinyl for privacy in offices and reflective vinyl where you need the signage to stand out at night, are also available.

Tells us your needs and we will advise the best vinyl solution.

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What are the Different Types of Digital Print Vinyl

Digital printing is a very technical process which involves expensive machinery and highly trained operators. The vinyls used in digital printing are formulated to cover a wide range of applications.

The main differences are in the production process, either cast or calendared. Cast vinyls are a premium product usually used where the graphic has to conform to a shape, such as with vehicle graphics. Calendered vinyls are the most common type for digital signage. These are used for flat applications and cover a wide range, from high quality long-term vinyls to short-term vinyls which are cheap, but shrink and curl over time.

They all look good when new, but the result can be very different after six months.

This is why the cheapest vinyl is not usually the best option.

We can advise you on best solution for your needs.

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What is Overlamination?

An overlaminate is a clear film that is applied over a digital print. Most overlaminates are designed to protect the graphics from UV radiation and can double the life of a digital print. UV overlaminates are available in gloss or varying degrees of matte finish. Overlaminates are also produced for use as anti-graffiti films.

All overlaminates protect your graphics from scratching.

Your local Signarama store can advise on whether to use overlamination and ensure that the right type is used for your requirements.

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How to clean your car before coming in to have vehicle graphics applied.

  • Don’t wax the car prior to having your graphics applied.
  • Ensure the vehicle is cleaned with soapy water and well-rinsed.
  • Ensure car is dry before coming in, and no watermarks or spots remain on the car.
  • All windows that will have graphics on them need to be clean and dry.
  • Please note, if the above has not been done, either your graphics will not be able to be applied, or additional charges may apply.
  • Good preparation helps us to do a great job on your vehicle graphics.

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How to wash your car after graphics have been applied.

  • Wait at least 48 hours before touching the graphics or washing the vehicle.
  • Never use a high pressure sprayer to clean your car after it has had graphics applied.
  • Use a sponge and soapy water only to clean your car.
  • If you have one-way, or contravision applied to your car windows, when cleaning them, be very careful around the edges. This is a fairly low-tack film. As such, the edges may lift if rubbed.
  • If you have purchased vehicle magnetics from Signarama, special care and attention is required:
    • Remove once per week to ensure the surface that the magnets are fixed to is clean and dry.
    • After cleaning magnetics, ensure the car surface and the magnetics are completely dry before putting back on the vehicle.
    • Take the magnetics off prior to washing your vehicle.
    • After your vehicle has been wet, ensure the surface and the magnetics are returned to a clean and dry condition.

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Why Vehicle Graphics are the most cost effective marketing investment.

  • www.youtube.com/watch? (A rough testimonial video taken by me, but I think customers love this sort of reassurance coming from a third party).
  • See attached Castles R Us Case Study.

Picture in your mind your ideal client. Now, as you are stuck in traffic on the freeway, look left, and look right. The person in the vehicle beside you could be your ideal client trying to find a business like yours to deal with. If your vehicle is unbranded, you could be missing out on an ideal opportunity to make your business known to that customer.

Vehicle graphics are one of the few advertising mediums that you can pay for once, but will continue to pay you back for many years. Car graphics can give your business exposure 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.

You car should be your mobile billboard. Compare vehicle graphics to a static billboard:

  • You pay for car graphics once only. Once you have paid for them, you have no further investment to make.
  • Your car isn’t seen by the same people daily. As you drive in to new areas, your branding is exposed to new people and new markets.
  • Your vehicle can be driven to a particular area if you want to target a particular demographic. For example, if you want to target retail shoppers, you could park it at the front of a large shopping centre.
  • You don’t have to continue paying to keep the advertising going. With billboards, magazines, online advertising, etc, the minute you stop paying for it, you stop receiving the benefit.

Successful companies that take their advertising seriously invest heavily in vehicle graphics. Why? Because they work. Because they provide a very high return on investment. Because they help create brand recognition and recall. Because they are seen by thousands of consumers daily.

Did these companies wait until they were successful before investing in their branding, or are they successful because they invested in their branding and graphics? It is a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario. Invest in your vehicle branding up front, and it will assist you on the path to success.

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Are vehicle wraps worth the investment?

How many times during the 3-5 year lease term of the vehicle will your graphics be viewed? How many clients and potential clients will be generated by your vehicle graphics?

Vehicle wrap graphics are custom made and custom designed – specifically to help you target the correct market very effectively with your budget in mind. Wrap graphics cover your whole vehicle or a large area of the vehicle to add impact to your presentation by controlling the background of your sign and integrating all the graphic elements.

With vehicle wraps, it is more important to consider value, design, quality, and expertise than with most other signage mediums.

With regard to value, the quoted dollar value is one of the smallest considerations that you should have when choosing the company to complete your work – value for money is the key consideration. The quotation below sums this up.

Signarama is an expert in the field of vehicle graphics application. The job you get done will be great value for money. It is an investment that will pay you back many times over.

Design

A great and eye-catching design is important to reflect your company in a positive light in the market place. The expert designers at Signaramaregularly design graphics for vehicles. This is important.

The design work required for a vehicle graphic is far different from the design work required for a flat surface, such as a business card, brochure, or flat building panel. There are many more considerations:

  • The designer is designing for a curved surface and needs to allow for the various curves and lines on the vehicle.
  • All vehicles are different.
  • Allowance needs to be made for windows. Do you need to see through those windows? If so, and you want the design to go over them, then a different film is required.
  • Door handles, plastic strips down the side, latches. These are all elements the designer must take into account. You don’t want your phone number running through a plastic strip so that it can’t be read.
  • Visibility on the road. Vehicle graphics are creating a mobile billboard for your business. Consideration needs to be given to the size and readability of key text that is moving. It is no good having your phone number on your vehicle if no one can read it or take it down.

Quality

Signarama will only use proven premium vehicle graphic specific films for your vehicle graphics. This is a very important point. Two similar vehicle graphics can look the same when they are first completed. If one is done using cheaper films, and the other is completed using premium vehicle graphic specific films, then it is quite likely they will look the same when they leave the showroom. However, this will rapidly change as time passes and they are exposed to the elements.

This can be deceiving for consumers, especially when comparing the dollar value of a quote.

The most telling time to judge a vehicle graphic for value for money is 6-12 months after the vehicle graphics have been applied. Be aware of, and look out for peeling, shrinking, bridging, colour fade, and cracking of the vinyl if you have chosen the cheapest quote using inferior materials.

Economy in choosing a vehicle wrap supplier can be false economy. This is a technical field where correct equipment, materials, processes, and design are critical. If any of these elements are not in place, the effectiveness and life expectancy of your graphic is at risk.

Expertise

Signarama spend a great deal of time, effort, and money in training its staff to advanced levels in vehicle graphic application.

Besides its in-house training and quality assurance programmes, Signarama regularly attends and passes high level 3M and Avery accreditation courses.

Signarama specialist vehicle graphics applicators know how to apply your graphics correctly, so that they look good when you pick the vehicle up, and still look as good many years later.

If there happen to be any warranty issues, Signarama will be there to look after you in the years to come.. Can the same be said for the low-cost operator who gave you a cheap quote?

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The Difference Between Neon and LED

Neon is the traditional way of providing illumination for signage shapes, such as illuminated letters and logos. Neon is used by some as a term to describe any illuminated sign, but this is not correct as neon is only used where its ability to be formed into a shape is required.

If we need to illuminate a box sign, for instance, we normally use fluorescent tubes, which are cheaper to buy and run, and easier to replace.

Neon is an old technology which uses high voltage to illuminate a gas in a sealed glass tube. The tube can be formed into shapes by a skilled technician. Different gasses and coloured glass produce a range of colours. In this way, neon can be used to actually be the sign such as the traditional "Hamburger" sign in a shop window.

Neon tends to fail early (usually due to a gas leak in the tube) or last for a long time, so long as the fragile tubes are well protected. Neon is expensive to run due to high power consumption.

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. These are modern technology and are completely different to neon in all respects except that they are a light source.

LEDs are small point sources of light. The ones used in signage are very bright. They use low voltage, which makes them easier and safer to wire. They are a very efficient light source and cheap to run. They have very long life and do not require special skills to make shapes suitable for illuminating letters and logos.

Most LEDs used for signage are supplied as sets of diodes on a panel approximately 100 mm long. These are attached to the inside of the item to be illuminated and are joined by wires so the panels provide even illumination.

Quality LEDs are very reliable, but there are cheap low duty LEDs which are not suitable for signage. Since illuminated signage is often placed in areas of difficult access, it can be very expensive to replace faulty LEDs (or neon), so this is an area where saving money on a cheap LED can be a false economy.

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