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Editor's Note

Gettin’ Ugly

Sign pros share thoughts (though not pics) of unattractive signs.




I THOUGHT I was being clever. Our Big Survey supplement in March found 75% of respondents over age 50 and in the industry for decades. So, emulating the infamous Signs of the Times “Ugly Sign Contests” of the 1980’s and ’90s, in a recent survey, I asked our Brain Squad for the ugliest signs they’ve ever seen and photographed — not what they’d made themselves. While the survey in total generated a great many responses, only two, two? ugly signs were submitted. And they weren’t even all that ugly…

Times change, I guess — *sigh* — so I had to come up with something to fill pages, and I realized that funny, weird and yes, ugly signs now reside on the internet, are occasionally posted on our Facebook page and collected in our online photo galleries. The sample dozen should satisfy the ongoing demand for amusing signs … and for filling pages, too : )

But my descent into ugly signs tailspins further. Wondering just how far sign companies might go in actually making ugly signs themselves — at the insistence of their clients, of course — this month’s Real Deal plunges the depths of a sign company churning out endless (though paid) customer revisions… all for the worse. Did any of our respondents who’ve fallen into this pit ever get fed up and bail on a project before the sign became too ugly to want to finish it?

You’ll have to let me know how it ends. I’ve got my eyes closed.

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5 Smart Tips from This Issue

  1. Explore various ways to enter the soft signage and direct-to-graphic (DTG) markets. (Tech Products)
  2. When confronting obstacles, challenge yourself to dream up something even more exceptional. (Go Big or Go Home)
  3. Check out your fellow sign pros’ notable products from April’s ISA Expo. (Product Faves and Raves)
  4. Let fabricators and installers experiment when facing intractable problems. (Eric E. Larsen)
  5. Answer the questions within to determine if you need — and can handle — a business coach. (Maggie Harlow)



Who’s Steering Signs of the Times?

We dive into the history of the sign industry’s oldest trade journal, highlighting some interesting facts about how it all started to where it’s headed. Did you know that Signs of the Times is nearly 120 years old?

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