Extreme Makeover: Business Signage Edition
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Extreme Makeover: Business Signage Edition

Fastsigns International, Inc. chose 4 different businesses to receive a signage makeover. The four businesses chosen for the makeovers pondered many of the same things when they learned that they were selected for this free signage makeover. Would it draw in new customers? Would it boost sales? Would anyone even notice? The results speak for themselves.

By Johnny Duncan & Fastsigns

One of the most prevalent trends today in the mainstream media is the makeover concept. Every time you turn on the television there is a new show making someone or something over.

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  • From physical appearance makeovers, home makeovers, career makeovers to family makeovers, and even car makeovers!

    Many makeovers prove to be successful and change the lives of those who are involved. Fastsigns International, Inc., a sign and graphic franchisor with 500 locations worldwide, decided to join in on the trend and see what a sign makeover could do for four different businesses.

    While every business is unique, sign industry research indicates that the return on investment for signs is good across the board whether a business is large or small. "Signage is one of the best uses of a company's advertising dollars and allows for even the smallest business to gain attention," said Larry Lane, president of Fastsigns. "A sign makeover is a cost-effective way to give a business a fresh, new and updated image which can potentially increase the customer base, and most importantly, sales."

    Fastsigns International, Inc. chose 4 different businesses to receive a signage makeover. The four businesses chosen for the makeovers pondered many of the same things when they learned that they were selected for this free signage makeover. Would it draw in new customers? Would it boost sales? Would anyone even notice? The results speak for themselves.

    Business is blooming
    All Occasions Florist in Dallas, Texas, received a coordinated sign makeover of its exterior sign, window graphics and vehicle graphics. As part of the makeover, vibrant full color photographs of flowers were installed on the florist's previously plain delivery van. The store's windows were covered in similar graphics, and the exterior sign for the business displayed the name against a flowered backdrop.

    The following items were implemented in the coordinated sign makeover program for the florist:

    1. Exterior Illuminated Sign
    ­ A new exterior sign draws attention to the location both day and night.

    2. Window Graphics
    - Full color graphics were installed on the shop’s windows. The business noticed increased traffic, sales and product awareness once the new graphics were installed.

    3. Vehicle graphics
    - Full color graphics also were installed on the florist’s delivery van, which builds awareness for the business with every mile the vehicle travels.

    Sales increased 15 percent from the third quarter, before the makeover, to the post-makeover second quarter. The owner of All Occasions Florist says the new signs are the best salesmen he's ever had.

    Wrapping up sales
    The Wrap Shack opened in Windsor, Ontario, Canada in 1999, offering healthy fast food. After several successful years, the restaurant began experiencing sluggish sales in 2004, when Windsor became home to many corporate chain restaurants. The previous two-color logo was redesigned and put on a green background with yellow and green design marks, which reproduced well on something as small as a menu and as large as the new huge illuminated box sign that could be seen right off the expressway. The graphics on the restaurant's truck and window-filled façade featured the new logo as well as words describing the food offerings.

    Sales went up 24 percent during the first nine months after the new graphics were applied, versus the same nine months of the prior year. Owner Gary Stitt said that the new look has enhanced their image and clearly tells customers what his establishment offers.

    “As a small business, we recognize that advertising and public awareness are the keys to our success,” said Gary Stitt. “We unfortunately didn’t have the advertising budget the big guys get from corporate chain restaurants. Two months after the new signs were installed in October 2005, monthly sales increased by nine percent. Our new look has enhanced our image and our sales, and it clearly tells people what we offer.”

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    New look, new business
    Established in 1929, San Francisco-based Lutz Plumbing wanted new signs and graphics that reflected the company's history, breadth of services and good reputation. Their makeover included newly designed signs over the Lutz building entrance and garage door, photographic-quality images of contemporary bathroom and kitchen products on the company's garage door, and full color graphics applied to Lutz's vans.

    In the first month after the sign makeover, the plumbing company experienced a nine percent increase in monthly sales. In one example, a new customer came into the showroom after seeing a Lutz Plumbing van with the new vehicle graphics that were done as part of the sign makeover. After visiting the showroom, the customer ordered a $20,000 plumbing job.

    Sales rose 18 percent in the first five months the new graphics were applied, versus the same time period from the prior year. According to the owners, the graphics inspire trust and support their image as a full-service plumbing company.

    The sweet taste of success
    Morkes Chocolates, a chocolate retailer in the Chicago area, transformed their signage program. Their makeover consisted of the production of two 16-foot, full-color vertical banners for the store-front and covered Morkes' van with a full-color montage of Morkes sweet products.

    In 76 years in operation, Morkes has been able to overcome everything in its path ranging from the Great Depression to low-carb diets, but with the opportunity to catch the eye of new customers getting harder each day, the role of visually appealing signs and graphics becomes even more important for any business - whether new or established.

    In early 2006, the Morkes van, previously all white, was wrapped with a full-color montage of Morkes products. Additionally, two 16-foot, full color vertical banners were installed on each side of the store-front.

    As a result of the makeover, Morkes experienced a 16 percent sales increase during the first couple of months the graphics were applied, versus the same time of the previous year. Morkes attributes the greater awareness as a direct result of the new graphics.

    Five months after the sign makeover, Morkes reported a 34 percent increase in sales over the same period in 2004 ­ 2005 before the new signs and graphics had been installed. The new look helped provide a consistent message to the surrounding community while promoting the products they offer.

    “I am so thrilled with the outcome of the banners and the van,” said owner Rhonda Morkes about the makeover. “We have received so many comments about the van looking good enough to eat. Fastsigns made my van look delectable.”

    A majority of businesses base their success on a well-built and hard-earned reputation for quality in the products they sell or the services they provide. Whether a business has just opened or has been a long-time member of the community, there are still ways to revitalize its image and make a lasting impression. Updating a customer’s look with the right sign or graphic could lead to big results. From a simple color change in a logo to a complete re-do, your customer’s business will reap the rewards.

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