Thursday, February 9, 2017

Time To Get In Shape!

With A New Sign..That Is

I don't know about you but I always love a good Before & After Story. I can hardly resist looking at a before and after comparison, no matter what the subject of that make-over is. Signs are no different. It is especially fun for us as sign fabricators, to make a new sign for a customer and then see the dramatic difference it makes.

We recently had an opportunity to make a new sign for a customer. Now please understand, we would never wish to hurt a customer's feelings by insulting their existing sign.'s a different story when the customer recognizes the need for a new sign and comes to us for help. We enjoy seeing the transformation, especially when that sign translates into increased business for the customer.

St. Clair Fitness Center, a well-established fitness center in Upper St.Clair, PA. came to us with a great, new sign design in-hand. The existing sign that the new owner inherited, while very colorful, was busy with a great deal of text/images and was an older light box that had seen better days. 

The fitness center is located in a beige brick building. Beige seems like the perfect backdrop for most any color sign, but will obviously work better for some designs, and not as well for others. 

One of the sign design concepts that can be a challenge for some businesses to grasp is incorporating the flavor of the business into the sign design. That is, clearly you want the sign to "fit" the type of business on which the sign is being placed.


St. Clair Fitness brought Vital Signs a sign design from their designer, Kenneth Logsdon. The design of the new sign is a great mix of modern edgy and simplicity. The red, black and silver colors are the perfect mix with the dimensional raised letters of the sign. Also, the corners of the sign feature what appear to be raised metal bolts, a nice industrial-look which complements the entire design. Though the number of services offered on both signs is similar, the new sign is clearly much easier to read without the added icons and cramped space of the "before" sign. Simplicity is important on signs, particularly when your viewers are driving by and only have a brief number of seconds to view your sign.


The Intangible

Impressions impressions..yes, your sign gives an impression to viewers. An important aspect to branding your business, is how you introduce your business to the world, both online and at your brick and mortar location. There is an "unconscious" process that happens by people who view your business. As they drive by, if they see an old, worn sign, there is an instantaneous impression that is left with the viewer. The same can be said if the viewer sees a brand, new modern sign. For example, if you had two of the same type businesses side by side, and one business has a new, modern updated sign but the other has a worn sign in disrepair, which business would you be drawn to? Yes, the design and condition of your sign branding is extremely important.

The New Sign


In addition to the new sleek design of the St. Clair Fitness Sign, the business owner added some indirect goose-neck lighting. The sign and additional lighting has truly transformed the look of the business. The sign sends the inviting message that the fitness center offers current and popular fitness options inside.

Our thanks to St. Clair Fitness Center for choosing Vital Signs to help play a part in updating your signage! You can check out all of the many fitness offerings at St. Clair Fitness Center below:

St. Clair Fitness Center

1341 McLaughlin Run Road
Upper St. Clair, PA. 15241
(412) 257-8788

Does your sign need a beauty make-over? Please call VITAL SIGNS today. The Vital Signs team is waiting for your call!

(412) 494-3308

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Here's My Business Card, Can You Use That Picture?

The Answer Is NO!

What am I talking about? I would like to address art files and what types of files Vital Signs uses to produce signage. We can tell you that we consistently have customers who come to us for a sign(s) and want us to create the sign by using a tiny picture that has been printed on their business card. 

We get are not in the business of creating art or signage as it were, so you have no clue you about the kind of art file we need to use for the process. That's okay..hopefully these guidelines will help.

First Things First

The kind of art files that we need to produce your sign(s) or graphics applications will not come from any printed item that you bring to us (Business Card, Brochure, Poster). Why? Because we need a digital file type that we are able to manipulate (increase in size, crop, etc.), when designing your sign or custom graphics application. 

The other issue we see is: Customer: Here's my design, I sketched it (or my good artist friend drew it) for my new business and this will be my new logo. As cool and creative as that is, it still creates a problem for our designers, because it is not in the correct image format. Sometimes we are able to scan a drawn image or sketch to re-create it into the type of vector image we need, but it is very dependent upon the image we receive and not all images can be made into usable file format. Not only that, it can be very time consuming and expensive to try to re-create a design. Without delving too deeply into the intricacies of art design, I will try to explain this simply.

Basically, there are two main types of image files, rastor and vector. Rastor images are more common in general, such as: jpg, gif, png and are used widely on the web. Vector graphics are common for images that will be applied to a physical product. A raster image has a specific number of pixels. When you enlarge the image file without changing the number of pixels, the image will look blurry. This happens because the math formulas stay the same rendering the same visual graphic no matter the size.

Vector Images are mathematical calculations from one point to another that form lines and shapes. If you zoom into a vector graphic it will always look the same.Vector graphics can be scaled to any size without losing quality. Vector files are the types of files we need to work with. Vital Signs accepts the following art file types: EPS, PNG, PDF and  high resolution JPEG files.

The chart I found online does a nice job of explaining art files.

When In Doubt..

Just call us. The Vital Signs Design Team is ready for your call. Whether you need some design help or just need to know what type of art files we need from you, we are happy to help! We want to make sure that your sign is pixel perfect!

Call Vital Signs For All Of Your Signage Needs!

(412) 494-3308