Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sign Time

For the past year and a half I've had SITE I've avoided doing something I knew we desperately needed: a sign. Not only are they costly, but they're the whole visual image people whizzing by see. So many design choices- metal? Plexi? Fabric? About four weeks ago, I took the plunge, bargained hard and teamed up with a local sign and awning company who was also doing the work for The Cafe Job.

I quickly converted my trusty logo (see right) to the proper format for the sign and headed to their shop to talk materials and layout. I knew I wanted to maintain the architectural, simple style that the logo embodies. I went with a light silver gray Sunbrella fabric with my logo painted, in blue and black. The young, 20 something designer worked with me for sometime picking placement, font, text, and size. I was impressed by their in house design software and her apparent command of said program. All was well!

And then this arrived on a sleepy Monday morning while I was THANKFULLY near the shop:

And perhaps, a detail shot?

Thankfully my years as project manager kicked in and I was able to stop them from installing that monstrosity above my store. Where are the pretty fine lines that contrast so well with the thick hatched walls that form the SITE?? Attention to detail, anyone? And, what's up with the solid blocks (again, note logo at right), jumpy lettering, and varying font sizes in the same word?! See the paint smears? Or the giant paint blobs coming from around each letter? I could not believe that any decent designer (and let's face it- signmakers are absolutely designers) would let that product out of the door.

Many, many, let's call them 'heated discussions' later with the store owner, a conversation with another professional sign maker, and a graphic designer later, and I came to one simple conclusion: my signmaking team, they be idiots.

After the crazy terrible sign came, I had no faith in the signmakers. They would insist my graphics were wrong, had poor line weights, etc...I insisted that I paid a graphic designer WHO IS A PROFESSIONAL SIGN MAKER IN DALLAS to make the logo just for this specific sign after their first sign was delivered. They insisted that the only way to make me the sign with my logo the way I like it- with my architectural ornament as fine lines, was to upgrade to a metal sign with vinyl lettering, a choice that while aesthetically appealing, was three times the cost of the agreed upon fabric and paint sign.

For days I fretted over this- ad in the end decided that I would have to compromise my logo to get a quality sign out of a largely inept designer.

In the end, I feel super let down. What could have been a stunning custom created sign, is just a design compromise. Do I hate it? No. But in the end, I know why I waited so long to get one, and maybe should have waited just a bit longer.

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