Signs of the Times - May 2017 - 46
channel letter maker and shipper. Also, you'll want a clear
agreement with your installer, because if they move the
sign and it isn't specifically insured as cargo, any accidental damage that occurs while in transit won't be covered.
If your subcontractor claims to be insured, ask for a copy
of the covering policy, see that it is recently dated and then
call that insurance company to ensure the policy is in effect.
Of course, other legal entanglements can exist, but two
are etched in stone: The buyer won't pay for an undelivered
sign and the sign seller is the contract-bound provider
required to provide and install an undamaged, workable
sign within the agreed delivery time, even if they (the seller)
must rebuild it at their own expense. Any pre-install, accidentcaused damage is the responsibility of the sign seller and
is unrelated to the sign buyer.
OTHER ELECTRIC SIGNS
If your shop produces vinyl letters and print graphics
and the staff is highly skilled with software and produces
excellent design work, then adding an industrial element
to the shop may be inharmonious with the company character. This doesn't mean you shouldn't get into electric
signage, but you might look at creating a separate division
and hiring someone with sign fabrication and installation
experience to run it. Oppositely, if you're a person who
enjoys mechanics and electrical processes are second
nature, working with electric signs would be much easier
than for someone who, for example, excels at design.
However, this isn't the plank's end.
As with any major change within a signshop, taking on
new types of work requires more than just figuring out
SIGNS OF THE TIMES
PHOTOS BY DAREK JOHNSON
how to do it because even more central is the nature of the
manager or owner and if they have the personality, trust,
interest - and an ability to understand and enjoy the new
work. Thus, channel letters may not float your boat, but
other electric signs might. Flat-screen signage, for example,
is advertised under too many names to remember but may
be best identified as electronic digital signage (EDS). It's a
direction to explore if your shop has no electronics experience; you're essentially selling television screens that, artlessly
put, can be hung from a nail. The simplest content programming is like assembling a PowerPoint presentation.
You can find starter EDS kits online, ones that include
simple software for producing content. From this foundation, you can explore the design and sales of touchscreen
systems, wayfinding systems, video walls and large-scale,
LED video displays. Planar (Alexandria, VA), for example,
provides consultation and products for LCD, LED and rearprojection systems, as well as large-format EDS systems
with the necessary processors and control stations. It
also offers a content developer program. Many other such
firms are listed on the Internet.
I'll close by saying the flat-screen (EDS) sign market
is much easier to enter and has less need for fabrication,
construction and installation expertise, thus a fitting
expansion sphere for small signshops.