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Harford County Signs and Banners Blog

Monumental Strides In Sign Design

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Commercial signage requires a strong, sturdy material that has a long life span. A monument sign is a good option for permanent outdoor signage, but so often the materials take a beating from the weather, the materials are difficult to match with other sign faces, and the brick and stone can take weeks to install, adding to the cost of labor. One manufacturer has mastered an exclusive design that is economical, long-lasting and easy to install – in hours rather than days. Peachtree City Foamcraft’s lightweight foam material is covered with Poly-Armor hard coat, which has proven durable and customizable for our Maryland sign clients.

The standard single-sided foam panel is about four inches thick, and it houses 3/8-inch raised letters. It is sprayed with a 100 percent acrylic finish. The letters can be painted any color. The technology used in the material allows it to expand and contract without cracking, rotting or delaminating as a result of weather or other factors. One Harford County church has tried the sign material with great success. The post and panel sign took less than an hour to install, and it continues to look like new despite already seeing the rain, wind, sleet and sun of Harford County weather.

Peachtree Foamcraft’s monument signs go through a rigorous testing program that is designed to meet current standards imposed by federal and state departments. The material also endures complete environmental testing, and has been certified to withstand winds of up to 180 mph. For more information on PolyArmor signs, visit

Servicing Digital Signage

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Among the ISA Expo seminars was an introduction to the industry standard Digital Signage Certified Experts (DSCE) presented by the Digital Signage Experts Group. The seminar reviewed the seven key elements of digital signage. It argued the merits of “content as king,” the roles of hardware and software, and the objectives of digital signage.

One of the key issues that must be addressed by anyone entering the digital signage market – consumer or sign manufacturer - is service. You can have the best and biggest digital signage display in Harford County. It can be powered by impactful software that changes every hour. But you have the same challenge as the business down the street with a vinyl banner. Who will work on it when it goes down? Who provides the service?

Naturally, you would expect an expert to be available. However, some digital signage companies don’t have on-site repair people. They tell the custom sign manufacturer to send a repair person out to the sign, call a toll-free number, and a technician on the other end of the phone will walk them through the process. They don’t tell you where the technician is located or that he can’t be there immediately to fix the problem.

The best digital signage is backed up by warranties and a strong service program. Established companies like Watchfire and Daktronics offer local customer support with trained technicians. They will be the ones in the field repairing any failed LEDs or hardware issues. They won’t be on the phone with someone in another country. They will be hands-on until the challenge is overcome, putting the customer first – and that means both the sign installer and the end user.

Ask your digital signage provider who their digital signage manufacturer will be. If customer support is not a priority, think twice about investing in digital signage.

Design Me A Sign

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The 2012 International Sign Design Competition had quite an audience this year at the ISA Expo. The winning entries were displayed in eight categories, and they were all very creative. According to ISA, this year had the highest number of entries in the three-year history. The competition is for on-premise sign design, and the winners are chosen by on-line voting prior to the Expo. So, not only do the entries need to be creative, the competitors need to know how to use electronic and social media to market their entries for votes.

One thing we noticed about the winners: simplicity and innovation reigned. Clean lines, functional design and durability were all folded into sleek signage. The overall winner, the San Diego Zoo exit sign, was actually animated, with moving wings on a giant macaw – wing span of 13 feet. Still, clean design was key. The wings moved up and down in unison, and a simple vertical lettering of “Exit” couldn’t be missed. The sign met its goal of showing visitors the way out.

Other winners used acrylic, etched vinyl, digital graphics or LED technology for church signs, building signs, school signs and more. From office signs to banners and electric to non-electric, the designers used a variety of methods and materials to communicate their messages. Some made big statements with little pictures. Some simply created an identity for the client name. But all of the custom sign designers should be applauded for their efforts in both client satisfaction and design innovation.

Chameleon Cars

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The International Sign Association Expo had so many interesting exhibits and industry innovations this year! There were 540 exhibitors and over 75 educational courses. The ISA officials said attendee registration was up 10 percent over last year. We saw lots of new and exciting things, which gave us fodder for blog posts for the coming weeks.

Of particular interest were the new car wraps. According to the exhibiting companies, car wrapping is one of the most popular trends in the car accessory market. Wraps that have been used as traditional advertising signage in Harford County are now in demand by consumers who want to customize their vehicles. As auto enthusiasts break out their cars this Spring, they’ll find themselves contacting local custom sign manufacturers to find out about the options that will distinguish and protect their vehicles.

The newest wraps available to sign makers are solid colors that are placed right over the current paint. They can protect the paint from chips and bug splatter. When the owner is ready to sell the car, he or she can simply remove the wrap and show the original paint in good condition. The wraps can look like carbon fiber or other unique finishes as well as a large selection of colors. These materials are now produced with the UV protection in place so there is no lamination process to be performed at the installer. For advertisers, the new pre-colored wraps allow more flexibility in background colors. Lettering can be applied directly to the colored wrap for custom signage messages.

Some exhibitors at the ISA Expo were showing new materials that were designed specifically for wall applications both indoors and outdoors. These wraps were used on dry wall, concrete and brick. They’re designed to last longer and be more flexible than traditional banner materials. More on other highlights next week.

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