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How Can I Attract More Environmental Graphic Design Firms and More of Your Questions for April

Including tips for sub-contracting the installation of channel letters.

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How can I attract additional environmental graphic design firms to become customers?

Look into the Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD, Washington). Several years ago the “E” stood for “Environmental,” so this non-profit professional association has a history with EGD. According to their website, “Experiential graphic design involves the orchestration of typography, color, imagery, form, technology and, especially, content to create environments that communicate. Examples of experiential graphic design include wayfinding systems, architectural graphics, signage and sign programs, exhibit design, retail design, and themed or branded spaces.”

My signshop is planning to sub-contract the installation of channel letters. Any tips for getting started in this area?

Robert “Boo” Olson, a long-time sign pro who owns Boo Doo Signs & Installation (Princeton, MN), emphasizes one thing first: The signshop should talk to the installer when they’re considering the bid, not when a box of signs is in their driveway. A professional installer will offer survey advice and discuss possible problems. They’ll also talk to you about your charges for installation materials — wires, switches, grommets, pass-throughs and more. Olson says to not estimate the job until you have definite agreements — and a price — from your installer. And, if possible, have the installer survey the site because they may see things you don’t. If you’ve done those things at the beginning, you’re off on the right foot.

My signshop only gets a couple customer inquiries a month from our Wix website, while I hear other businesses get dozens. What am I doing wrong?

If your design is strong (which is generally easy with Wix business templates), your words might be the culprit. One common flaw in rhetorical writing from independent businesses like yours is failure to address an audience. In this case, that audience is your present and future sign buyers. Be conversational. Here’s an example: “We design and build first-class, high-quality signs that bring buyers to your door. Call us now – (888) 888-8888 – to start a conversation. Let’s talk about your design ideas, your budget and your timeline. Most importantly, let’s talk about what you want to accomplish with your new sign.” Notice the constant use of “you” and “your”? The sign is about them, your customer, so the personal reference lets them know you’re partnering with them. If you must have a “Click-here” box, label it like this: “In a hurry today? Click here to note some of your ideas and details — and the best time for us to call you.”

Want to see your questions featured in this department? Send your emails to: [email protected]

Signs of the Times has been the world leader in sign information since 1906. Contact Signs of the Times' editors at [email protected].

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