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Harford County Signs and Banners Blog

Sign Design

Friday, August 24, 2012

Whether you’re looking for signage for Maryland trade show displays, Maryland boat wraps or any type of custom signs in Maryland, keep in mind the importance of design. It’s easy to think that you can design your own sign. Come up with the message, choose a font, a color and a signage type, and you’re set to go, right? Who needs a designer?

You do! Professional graphics designers are important in the process of creating your signage. Your signs are part of your overall company image. They are prominently displayed and give your business a personality. If you’re signs aren’t doing this, they should be – that’s where graphic design comes into play. The placement of your logo, the complimentary colors, and even the type of ink used on your sign can all make a difference.

Professional graphics designers are trained to make sure your signs have the highest possible impact.  When selecting a sign company, ask about graphic design. The designer should meet with you and help you to create or reinforce your brand through your signs. If you don’t have a logo, the designer can create one. If you already have one, the designer should be able to recommend the best types of signage that will translate your logo effectively.  For example, some logos would not translate well to a 3-D sign or a channel letter sign, but might be better suited for an etched sign. The graphics designer will make clear suggestions for you to consider. He or she will also follow the signage creation process through to the finish, making sure the images are sharp and clean, that the printing is done properly and the design balanced.   

Make sign design a priority. Make sure your sign company offers this service…when people respond to your sign, you’ll be glad you did!

A Green Choice in Dimensional Letters

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Have you ever seen those nice bright and colorful letters and logos that are attached to the front of a company's store or office front? Did you know that Gemini Products offer a green solution for these letters? Gemini started making formed dimensional letters in 1964. The letters are not made as most plastics are by utilizing oil as a component but use a renewable material called Cellulose Acetate Butyrate (CAB). This material is based on fibers from tree and cotton plants which makes it a renewable source of materials. The material is very stable and has UV stabilizers added to the product to assure that they weather well in the sun and maintain their bright professional look throughout their life. Gemini also backs these products with a lifetime warranty and will replace the letters if they do not meet your expectations. Blue Water Signs offers this "green" solution for dimensional signage to our clients through an exclusive arrangement with Gemini Products. For many companies, this is a great, low-cost alternative to lighted channel lettering.

To view the full line of Gemini products click here. You may also watch this video on how the formed letters are manufactured (opens in a new page).

link to Gemini Products website video 

What Material?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Did you ever wonder why a sign you saw looked so bad? Was it rusty or grubby looking? Were there streaks or stains in certain areas? Many times that is the result of poor material selection for either the substrate, the structure or the finish material used. In this post we'll focus a little on the materials used in the substrate and structure - and why some materials are better than others when designing a business sign.

The material used in the structure of a business sign is most often controlled by the size and the cost. For smaller post and panel signs, they are often wood posts, with either wood or aluminum sign panels. We use vinyl components as often as possible because they do not require maintenance and they maintain their good looks for years. Often, if the strength of wood is required, we can use a vinyl post to slide down over the wood post creating a sleeve that will maintain that bright look for years.

But here is where many people make a mistake: Let's assume we used a vinyl post sleeve over wood, and we used an aluminum panel for the sign itself. How do you fasten the panel to the post? The best way is to design the system to interlock and use no fasteners. But when screws are required, you have to choose the right type. Use a standard steel screw that may be coated, and over time you'll watch your sign corrode away. The aluminum - being more reactive than the steel - will become a "sacrificial anode" and it will begin to corrode, protecting the steel screw. For those who might be familiar with boat motors, this is the same principal that applies when outboard engines require a set of "zincs."  These will corrode away, protecting the aluminum engine and lower units.  

The point here is that the choice of materials can have a distinct impact on the appearance of your sign over time - as well as the amount of maintenance required. Choose the wrong materials, and not only will you see deterioration on the sign, but your customers will see that deterioration as an impression of your company.

In upcoming posts, we will cover some other sign materials that can be used or not used in specific environments that will have an impact on your signage.

Blue Water Signs in Forest Hill, Maryland can help you with a wide variety of custom signage. Give us a call at 410-420-2400 or visit us at


Letters - Dimensional Signs

Monday, December 13, 2010

Entrance SignSome of the longest lasting signs available are what are known as "Dimensional Letters or Signs". These may be a company name, its logo, or a combination. These letters are manufactured in a number of different ways and can be made from aluminum, stainless steel, copper alloys, or an assortment of plastics. They can be flat or they can be formed to give a greater perception of depth.

What we will focus on are flat letters or logos that are cut out of metal or plastics. When we look at metal letters that are considered "off the shelf" they can come in at least 6 different metals, and six different thicknesses and over 50 standard finishes. They can be made as small as 1/2" all the way up to 5 ft. With acrylic flat cut letters they can range from 1" to 6 ft and are available in 32 standard pigments. With either metal or acrylic they can be painted to match a PMS color that you require and custom designs can be handled.

When fabricating these letters there are a number of ways that they can be manufactured. The letters can be routed out using a CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) router or mill, they can be cut using a laser, or they can be manufactured using water jet cutting. One nice thing about any of these methods is that all the scrap that is generated is put back into the system and recycled to use later. Modern manufacturing methods have reduced the lead time for these types of letters and also improved their quality.

Aluminum Letters
These letters were water jet cut out of ¼” Al and custom painted to match a required PMS color.

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