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Time to Replace Your Signs

Time to Replace Your Business Signs?

How to Tell When You Need to Upgrade Your Signage

Your business signage may feel like part of the furnishings--easily going unnoticed during the activity of day-to-day operations. Although it may be easy to overlook the current condition of your interior and exterior signs, your business signage often creates your customers’ first impression of your organization and services. Since your signs are advertising for your brand day and night, it is vital to know what image they are presenting. Regularly assessing the condition of your interior and exterior signs will help ensure that your signage is representing your brand in the best possible light--literally.

How do you know when it is time to replace your signs? If any of the following conditions apply to your business or your signage, then your current business signs may be doing more harm than good.

Your Signs Are Damaged or Faded

Have UV rays washed out your signage? Is your exterior signage faded, cracked or peeling? Is your sign’s illumination malfunctioning or failing to shine at its intended brightness and color? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then it’s time to contact a sign provider.

Your Business Information Has Changed

If there have been any updates to your name, ownership, open hours, products, address, social media accounts, tagline, slogan, number of locations, or legal requirements applicable to your industry, then it may be time to reevaluate your business signage--both interior and exterior.

 You've Decided to Rebrand

Rebranding brings exciting new opportunities, and your signage should reflect and promote the refreshed face and focus of your business. Updating your signage at the start of your rebranding will unveil your new image, help to market the change, and ensure that customers are aware of the shift.

You Need to Get Ahead of Your Competition

Well-designed, custom business signs improve brand awareness and increase traffic. If your competitors are creeping ahead of you, updating your business signs can give you the edge that you need to boost growth.

Your Sign's Visibility Has Changed

If your business signage is responsible for attracting traffic from a nearby road or pedestrian walkway, then your signs must be attractive and highly visible. Changes in roads, development, landscaping, and competing signage in your area may affect your signs’ visibility. If your sign is too small to attract attention or its visibility is obscured, then it’s time to make changes.

Your Signage Is Non-Illuminated and You're Ready to Upgrade

 Illuminated signs advertise your business round-the-clock. While some building districts may place limitations on the sizes and styles of illuminated signs, Illuminated signs dramatically increase your brand’s exposure, making it worthwhile to have a sign design company help you maximize the business signage that is allowed.

You'd Like to Add an Electronic Message Board to Your Signage

Businesses, churches, community organizations, restaurants, retail stores, and athletic facilities can benefit greatly from adding an electronic message board to their signage. Electronic message boards give you the power to display up-to-the-minute details on events, specials, incentives, products, and more. Contact us to see if this option is a possibility for your location.

Your Sign is Illuminated and You’re Ready for an LED Upgrade

If your existing business signs use fluorescent bulbs or neon as the illumination source, switching to LED replaces high voltage wiring with low voltage, lowering the risk of fire. An LED retrofit, refurbish, or upgrade can increase your energy-efficiency and cost-savings, minimize your maintenance, and make you eligible for energy and tax rebates. LED upgrades are particularly beneficial for organizations with multiple locations.

You’re Expanding or Managing Multiple Locations

If you own or manage facilities for a business with multiple locations, updating or upgrading your signage can make a tremendous difference in how customers view your business franchise. For chains, each new location is an opportunity to build your brand’s power and presence through consistent brand standards. Your branding is strengthened when your signage follows standards in design, logo use, rendering, and even in the size and placement on and within the building.

What’s the best reason to replace your business signs?

If business is good and you're ready to upgrade your signage to reflect your success!

Ready to replace or upgrade your business signs? Contact SMI Sign Systems! 


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Ecoglo Luminous Path MarkingsSMI Sign Systems Partners with Ecoglo 

SMI Sign Systems, Inc. and Ecoglo have partnered to provide world-class UL certified photoluminescent safety products throughout the United States

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 The purpose of photoluminescent exit sign requirements is to create a safe environment for people of all abilities, especially during times when power outages may make exit paths even more dangerous. Self-luminous exit signs and egress markings reduce a business's liability exposure while ensuring code compliance and customer safety. Photoluminescent exit signs and egress markings are a safety upgrade for accessibility routes and infrastructure projects. Self-luminous signs and exit markings reduce the potential for trips and falls.

Self Luminous Exit Signs and Path Marking Systems

Ecoglo®  is a leading global innovator of UL certified photoluminescent egress markings, luminous exit signs and luminous emergency signage that exceeds worldwide code requirements. Ecoglohas a reputation for innovative, durable safety products that are designed to work in real-world environments. Ecoglo's photoluminescent path marking systems are manufactured using a patented process that is only used by Ecoglo. The technology produces fast-charging and long-lasting photoluminescent performance that is UV stable and highly durable. With a manufacturing facility in Buffalo, NY and also in Christchurch, New Zealand, Ecoglo has been supplying products for major international venues for over 15 years. 

Certified Installation for Photoluminescent Safety Signs

SMI Sign Systems, Inc. has been supplying signage and informational signs for over thirty years and has two manufacturing plants in the Greater Washington D.C. area.  SMI Sign Systems, Inc. provides full turnkey engineering, design, project management, manufacturing, and installation services. SMI Sign Systems, Inc. is an Ecoglo distributor and certified installer of all systems.

Our consultative approach working with municipalities, facility owners, architects, engineers, and general contractors has allowed us not only to develop a best in class product offering but also code expertise that supports these groups from the design stage through to occupancy. It’s this type of partnership approach that continues to reinforce customer confidence and exposes needs that drive new product development.  

For more information on our capabilities, contact Mark Ludwig at 865.407.8047 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Metal Sign Fabrication

Custom Aluminum Metal Signs and Fabrication

How are traffic signs manufactured?

From traffic street signs to large-scale pylon signs, custom metal sign fabrication varies from basic sign techniques to elaborate custom sign manufacturing. Sign-making skills and equipment are essential to manufacturing basic traffic control signs and simple flat-panel signage. However, monument signs, architectural feature signs, and pylon signs require a high level of experience and talent from design, engineering, fabrication, and installation.

Sign Material

Basic flat-panel aluminum signs can be fabricated using pre-finished aluminum which can be sprayed with an assortment of paint finishes and films. Typical street signs used for traffic control may be manufactured from .080 or .125 aluminum sheet. They are often coated with a reflective film for maximum visibility at night.

Traffic signs must follow federal guidelines as dictated by the Federal Highway Administration. These design details are found in the Manual on Uniform Control Devices, also known as “MUTCD.” Sign installers must also ensure that all jurisdictional codes are met for the state, county or city. It is not uncommon for specifications required to meet local jurisdictional code for Accessible Parking signs and Fire Lane signs.

What applications require sheet metal fabrication?

Sign manufacturing projects that involve large-scale monument signs, directional signs, pylon signs, or architectural features all require sheet metal fabrication. Building-mounted signs including aluminum channel letters also require metal fabrication, and many of these sign design projects include options such as acrylic faces, aluminum returns, and backs, and they are often internally illuminated with LEDs or neon. Backlit or halo light letters have metal faces and returns with internal LED lights that create a glow of light around the letter at night.

The Sign Making Process

Once a sign design concept is created, structural engineering is used to ensure the integrity, safety, and longevity of the signage. Often an engineer’s stamp or seal is required for permitting and the stamped drawings then become the blueprint for all fabrication and installation. Metal fabricators should be called Metal Artisans since they use talent and engineering to create a sign's unique shapes and designs, converting metal into art.

Bringing a sign design from paper to reality requires a highly skilled and imaginative craftsman and a wide range of custom manufacturing equipment. Metal fabrication includes routing, bending, shaping, drilling, and altering raw material to form both structural and decorative pieces. Sign fabrication can be performed through traditional hands-on methods or by modern methods.

After analyzing the design, the pieces are then cut to the proper size using techniques that could include cutting with a hydraulic shear, forming with a computerized brake, CNC routing, waterjet cutting and more.

If structural items need to be fastened together, holes may be drilled for bolts or rivets to be introduced later. Depending on the shape of the pattern, a roller, automated brake machine or other functions might be used to make curves in the metal. After the shapes are created, welding is often used to fuse shapes together for both structural and decorative applications.

Completing the Process

Once the structure is complete, it is sanded smooth to fill any irregular surfaces. Then a final primer and architectural-grade urethane coating are applied. Any defects in the metalwork will be obvious if this finish work is not performed meticulously. 

Illuminated Signs - LED lights, acrylic, wiring, and power supplies must be integrated into illuminated signs to create the letters and logos. The signage may also require final design elements or embellishments.

Non-Illuminated Signs - For signs without illumination, sign manufacturers may use a wide variety of methods to create the final letters, logos, and decoration, including cut and applied vinyl film, dimensional acrylic, and dimensional aluminum.

Once a quality control inspection of all aspects and components of the sign system is complete, the sign is ready to be installed. Following specifications from the drawings, the signs are mounted or installed. The field services team utilizes everything from basic hand tools to cranes to ensure that the sign is in place precisely according to plan.

Need a custom sign or signage system created for your business? Contact SMI Sign Systems to get started!