The Sign-making Process: Nine Steps from Start to Finish
Ninety-five percent of what we sell goes through our very own shop from start to finish. You read right – 95%! Our expert sign team builds nearly everything from scratch. It’s a lot like grandma’s chocolate chip cookies. Our signs are made-to-order, custom-cut, and appetizing to the eyes. We’re quite proud of this fact and you should be too.
At Miracle Sign Co., the success of our thirty-four-year-old family business is simple. Keep it simple. So, we don’t deal with a middle-man, sending off your sign order to a Joe and Jane Schmoe in some remote location. Nor do we keep everything behind closed doors. We want our customers – that’s you – to be a part of the sign-making process every step of the way. It’s important that you know. It’s important that you’re informed. And, this is important for us at Miracle Sign Co. because this is your business, organization, and event we’re talking about.
Yes, we’re in the business of making signs, but we’re also in the business of catering to our customers. Most of our clients are returning customers. Once we get a client, we keep them forever and they end up telling their friends too. Our work gets us work. That’s one of the reasons we’ve got this blog – to keep you informed of what we do at Miracle Sign Co. So, continue reading to learn more about what our nine steps in the sign-making process are from start to finish.
Step 1: Assess
When you email or call about your sign project, we assess your needs. In other words, we do a mini-consultation to find out more about your project. This also helps you find out if we’re the right people for the job. We’ll ask you questions like:
What type of sign do you need, exterior or interior?
What is the purpose of this sign: promotion, long-term, etc.?
What do you want your sign to look like: traditional, contemporary, futuristic?
What type of materials are you interested in: wood, banner, vinyl, etc..?
What is your sign budget?
What size do you want the sign to be, approximately?
When are you looking to replace your sign?
Do you already have digital graphics, logos, and designs for this sign?
Questions like these help us, help you get your sign project started. Keep in mind that your initial answers to these questions can change during the sign-making process. Often times they do once we get to Step 2.
Step 2: Brainstorm
After we’ve talked or emailed, you get to relax and we get to brainstorm. We take your preliminary information and sit down with it. Literally. We take some time, sit down, and think about how to produce the best signage based on your project needs. Here are some things we think about:
Sign dimensions & widths
Pre-made logos & graphics
Step 2 is also the best time for us to vectorize logos for customers who do not have graphics saved as a high resolution file. Simply put, we take whatever files or drawings you have, convert them for graphics and sign use, burn them onto a CD, and give you the CD with the correct file.
Miracle Sign Co. does have an in-house art specialist for this very thing – we told you we start from scratch and provide everything that the customer needs. The cost is fifty-dollars and we highly recommend it, you know how everything’s on computer these days. Once you have that CD, you can use it again and again and not have to worry about having the right resolutions, file sizes, and formats.
Step 3: Options
After we brainstorm, we put together a packet of options for you. What does this entail? Well, some more sitting down and a lot of figuring out. Our team comes up with two or three options that best fit your needs, wants, and budget. Miracle Sign Co. prides itself on catering to the customer – that’s you! So, we email scale PDF files based on that mini-consultation we had in Step 1.
You might be wondering what we base our options on? That’s easy, it’s a range: High-end, middle-end, and low-end. Our customers appreciate a range of options, so that’s how we do it. We’re happy to snail-mail hard copies of options to you. And, for the bigger jobs, we can always come meet you and go over the options and specifics in person.
Step 4: Revisions
A project isn’t a project without revisions. No matter how big or small, we work with you on anything that you’re not sure about or want changed. Remember, we cater to you; so, we’re happy when you’re happy. That’s why Step 4 is an important step on your part. Be sure to let us know what option – high, middle, low – you’re opting for and any revisions you’d like to have done before Step 5.
Step 5: Bid
After you choose the best option for your project and decide what details need to be revised, you then confirm that you’d like to go ahead with the project itself. From here, we write a bid. We’re happy to write additional bids on any of the other options we provided to you – just ask.
Step 6: Contract
When you get the bid for your project, you review it. This is a great time to ask us any questions about the bid before signing off on it. If you need anything clarified or are unsure about material types, uses, or costs, we are happy to go over that with you – we’re easy to work with.
The bid is also the contract. When you sign off on it and send it back to us, that gives us the OK to get started on your project.
Step 7: Pre-production
We like to get things right the first time around at Miracle Sign Co. This saves us and you time, money, and one of those ever-lasting headaches – Ugh! And the truth is that we do get things right the first time around. Our reputation is based on getting things right and that’s why our customers keep coming back.
However, we do offer to take an extra step to make sure everything in your sign project is to your liking, especially for our new customers. So, we call this step Pre-production. We show you all of the sample prints, color swatches, and sample materials that will be used to custom make your signage before we start production.
Think of Step 7 as free insurance. It’s there if you want it, for peace of mind. But, you won’t need it.
Step 8: Production
Step 8 is a lot like Steps 2 and 3. You get to relax while we do all of the work. In production, our expert sign-design-making team orders your project’s materials. Once all the materials are delivered to either our Forest Grove or Portland production shops, we double check the materials for order consistency. If you’ve read our Sign Types and Materials posts, you already know we use the best materials in the business, such as 3M, Bantex, Oracal, Dibond, Sintra PVC, and redwood, to name a few.
Remember grandma’s chocolate chip cookies? We thought you would because while you’re thinking about your new signage, we’re custom-designing, routing, painting, and well… customizing everything in your project.
Remember the middle-man? We hope not, because we don’t have one. Miracle Sign Co., makes everything from scratch. 95% of everything we sell goes through our shop, from start to finish. So, you’re guaranteed that your order is truly made-to-order and will be delivered to you “hot” off our production rack – the only thing we don’t have is the milk.
Step 9: Post-production
Our turn-around-time really depends on your project. Custom-work takes time, so we set up a time line for you. Keep in mind, your sign turn-around-time depends on the size of your project, the time of year, and the sign’s final destination. Miracle Sign Co., averages about two weeks for larger projects.
We also take care of shipping and installation on your behalf. If you’re in Oregon, we’ll deliver your signage in person – we like road trips and Eugene, Sandy, the Coast, and Vancouver are some of our popular nearby destinations.
For local and nearby installations, we work with a certified, licensed, and reliable team of contractors. We’ve been working with the same professional team of contractors for many years now; they take care of the hard-to-reach and heftier installations. If there’s electrical involved, they take care of that too.
We also ship nationally and internationally. Again, just let us know and we’ll take care of the delivery.
So, there you have it. Miracle Sign Co.’s nine steps to the sign-making process from start to finish. We hope we’ve made starting your new sign project a whole lot easier by explaining exactly what we do when we work with you to create a custom-designed sign for your commercial, organizational, and residential needs.