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Why Are Signs from Canva so Overloaded and Similar?

Also, where to get training and when to purchase signmaking equipment.




Do you think design programs like Canva are creating the same look in signmaking? Are signs becoming too busy?

Ah, Canva… their own website says it best if not grammatically correctly: “From yard signs to banners, Canva got you covered for any custom signage needs.” Let’s start by considering the people using Canva to design signs. These are not professional sign designers and a portion of them likely has little to no graphic design experience either. Many Canva users are probably relying on the site’s templates, which could contribute to designs — especially those coming from Canva — looking the same. Regarding signs becoming too busy, here again let’s roll tape on nonprofessionals not knowing the basics of sign design: the placement of main and secondary copy, limiting the amount of copy and most of all, the importance and use of white or negative space. Amateurs, probably thinking they’re being clever, may want to jam and “max out” the available space with info, making those signs too busy. That’s our best guess.

Is it beneficial to have our own channel letter machine and router, or is subbing out that work better?

We take it you don’t have a channel letter bender or CNC router in house and are currently subbing out for those services — that’s how most shops get into this work. Presumably your sales of signs involving channel letters or routing have been increasing to raise this question, and you expect them to continue to grow to justify an equipment purchase. Perhaps you can even start wholesaling some of these services you used to sub out. You can and should run the numbers as well as take other factors into consideration. You know your subcontracting costs. Calculate new equipment costs per job (or however) to create a comparison. Hopefully, your gross profit so far will improve with purchase. However, can someone at your shop run the equipment, get training, etc., without disrupting the work they had been doing before? Would you need to hire someone (a ‘whole nother’ set of costs)? Can you physically fit the equipment in your work space? More considerations need to be taken into account, such as equipment safety. Try to talk to a shop that’s been through this to help you know all the details to investigate.

How can we get training for our team?

Organized third-party training exists for segments of signwork. Alas, as there are no “sign schools,” the best you can do is patch together sources, depending on the type of work for which you’re seeking training. The International Sign Asso-ciation (ISA) offers training through online courses, webinars and also at the annual Inter-national Sign Expo, where, for example, they offer “bootcamps” and other training programs. Many vinyl manufacturers, such as 3M, Avery Dennison and others, offer training and certification.

A good deal of equipment manufacturers also support the sales of their products with training. The same is true of sign company management software, as some companies will come to your shop to show you how to get the most out of what they have to offer.

So, you’ll likely have to go to a number of sources to find some training for your team, but it’s out there!

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