Author Archives: Tom Dalton

Teardrop flags and Feather flags… what is the difference?

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The “beachy” teardrop flag shown above is considered a “teardrop flag” and not a “feather flag” by people in the business of making these items.  It has a different shape than a “feather flag”, but that isn’t the only difference.

Here is a picture from SignsDirect.com that shows both styles side by side.

The feather flag has a looser motion in the wind.  The bottom corner that is away from the pole is floppy.  That could be considered good or bad depending on who you ask.  The motion in even the lightest breeze can be seen as grabbing attention as people tend to notice motion.  The down side might be that in high wind it flaps hard making it slightly less readable.

The teardrop flag doesn’t have a “floppy corner”. The teardrop flag is stretched tight from the tip of the pole down to the lowest point on the flag.  Therefore, the message is always pretty much stretched tight and wrinkle free.  The down side might be less motion …especially in the lightest of breezes.

Both do a great job of getting noticed as long as you change them up at least once per summer.  People stop looking at them after they’ve already been noticed repeatedly. I’d suggest having a spring feather flag, a summer feather flag and a fall feather flag.  If you want them to be noticed even more, switch between feather flags and teardrop flags with the changing of the seasons.

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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Green Signicade Deluxe are Green and “Green”

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What makes this sign stand both green and “green”?  After all, plastic isn’t typically considered a “green” .. as in, an eco-friendly product.  We set out to improve upon that with this green colored Signicade Deluxe.

Plastic isn’t a naturally occurring material, but it can be recycled and it lasts for a very long time.  This sign stand could potentially outlast 4 or 5 wood sign stands and harvesting wood for a sign stands could also have a potentially detrimental effect on the environment.  If properly taken care of, one of these sign stands could last for 50+ years.

Secondly, to further offset the use of plastic, Signs Direct took a page from the Paul Newman playbook and they’re donating a portions of the proceeds from the sales of this sign stand to a green initiative.  That’s right, 10% of the profit from the sales of this sign stand will be donated to “the Land Connection“.  They’re an organization that was started here in Central Illinois and their primary objective to help aspiring organic farmers. They teach them how to work, protect, and enhance farmland. They train farmers in resilient, restorative farming techniques and inform the public about the sources of their food and why considering the source should matter.

**One place to order this item is at www.SignsDirect.com

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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Three creative uses for letter boards

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Tabbee Sign in White

– 12″ Letter Board Kit, only $22.99* with letters, emoji, wood easel, and more –

At one time, people only used letter boards in their businesses. Then, they went out of style for a brief time as businesses used printed signs where they might have used a directory. A lot has changed.  Now, letter boards are not only in style … people are using them in their homes for a variety of purposes.  Here are three uses for felt letter boards.

1. Kids seem to love letter boards. It lets children practice their spelling.  My grand daughter just loved playing with this oak letter board.  Older kids could use it creatively as a place to display poetry for a snap-chat pic.

2. It can be used for uplifting messages that you really need to see on a daily basis.  Many self help books suggest making a vision board and posting messages that affirm your goals or state something you want to strengthen your belief in.

3. They can still be used for businesses.  Say hello to your customers in a timely way. Make a statement for the season or let them know about a special you’re running.

It seems weird leaving this list at only three uses.  This barely scratches the surface, but should give you some understanding about how broad letter boards use has become …after all, they were once mostly just used in to corporate lobbies and were never used for fun or for education or as an interior decor item in homes.

*free shipping using code “SHIPFREE”

To see Signs Direct’s “Tabbee Style” felt letter boards, click HERE

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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Blue Signicade Deluxe are now available

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We’ve added a new color of signicade deluxe. The new color is called “Summer Blue” and it is part of our new “Designer Color Series” of signicade deluxe sign stands. This color is only available from Signs Direct.

This color has lots of applications but one obvious use is for signage that has anything to do with aquatic activities. It doesn’t show dirt and scratches as much as the white and looks “more appropriate” than black for many applications. Black and white are pretty harsh being on the extreme ends of the neutral color spectrum.  The white looks just a bit too much like a road barricade.  The black looks like it would be a good fit for a halloween store or a Spencer’s novelty gift store, but maybe not so well suited for aquatic activities where a fun casual aesthetic is preferable.

 

 

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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Custom house number plaques add to curb appeal

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At Signs Direct we’ve added these new custom Arched Marker Address Entry Plaques. These address signs not only help 911 first responders when looking for your house, they also have a stylish “arched top” shape that will accentuate your home’s appearance. These address plaques are made in the USA from cast aluminum providing excellent quality that will never rust. This plaque can be installed to your exterior wall in just minutes with the two screws which are provided with the sign. These are available in four different colors and they measures 12″ x 7.25″ and are a “quick ship” item. And for you husbands out there; at $34.26 each plus shipping …they’re a very affordable home upgrade to impress your wife on Mothers day! To order online, go to www.signsdirect.com

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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“Dove Gray” Signicade Deluxe are now available.

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We’ve added a new color of signicade deluxe. The new color is called “Dove Gray” and it is part of our new “Designer Color Series” of signicade deluxe sign stands. This color is only available from Signs Direct.

This color has lots of applications because like black and white, it is a neutral color …but it doesn’t show dirt and scratches as much as the white.   One initial reaction was that it is “more sophisticated looking” than black or white. Black and white are pretty harsh being on the extreme ends of the grayscale spectrum whereas the gray doesn’t make an overly dominant design statement.  The white looks just a bit like a road barricade.  The black looks like it would be a good fit for a halloween store or a Spencer’s novelty gift store, but maybe not so well suited for a boutique clothing store where a classier appearance is required.

 

 

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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Trouble shooting that problematic window neon sign

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neon-blog-post

So, your neon sign doesn’t appear to be broken, but has started flickering or just won’t come on at all. Don’t panic… try these steps first.

If the sign illuminates but a tube FLICKERs:

Pull the “on/off” pull-chain (on the power supply) …pull quickly on and off two or three times ending with it off …then wait for 1 minute. Turn it on again and the problem should go away within a few minutes (if this fix is going to work at all). Repeat this ON/OFF procedure a couple of times if needed. If it is a new sign and it still flickers after trying this “fix”, then leave the sign ON for approximately one week (24 hours a day). Sometimes it takes time for the internal gases to settle.  Also, it may require up to 48 hours to achieve full brightness from the first time a new sign turned on.

If the sign turns on for only a few seconds then turns off:

The neon glass probably has a small hairline crack somewhere which has lets the neon gas out. The sign will need to be repaired by a neon tube bender.

If the sign has DIM letters within a few days of getting the new sign:

The sign needs a little bit more time to light up. Turn the sign on for 24 hours/day and keep it lit at least a week. This should fix the problem.

If the sign will not come on at all, not even for a split second:

Try to plug it into at a different wall outlet that you know is working. If it still doesn’t light up at all, it may be the power adaptor/transformer.
The adaptor/transformer from most manufacturers is warrantied for 1 year, so contact them for a replacement or to purchase a new transformer is it is out of warranty.

If a one year old sign has DIM areas:

Take the sign down, plug it in and turn it on. Hold the sign up over your head facing you. Be very carful not to touch the neon glass as it breaks very easily. Locate the very tiny mercury balls inside of the glass tubing. After you see them, tilt your sign so the tiny balls move to the area of the tubing that is not lighting up. After redistributing the mercury balls, leave the sign on for 20 minutes. If this was the issue, then it will regain its full brightness in the dim areas. If it is older than a few years, it may also need to be re-pumped with neon gas.

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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Why do red sign graphics fade first?

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FADED-RED

 

This OSHA safety sign isn’t far from our business.  You’ll often see signs like this where the red is almost gone and the other colors aren’t faded too bad.  So, what are the reasons why red fades first?

First, lets define UV light. Ultraviolet (UV) light is an electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength from 400 nm to 100 nm (shorter than that of visible light).  Lets also assume that UV light is what causes fading. UV light has a shorter wavelength than visible light.  Light with a shorter wavelength has more energy than light with a long wavelength.

Short wavelength visible light (like blue) is more toward the UV end of the visible light spectrum (*see spectrum image) so therefore it is a shorter wavelength and has more energy. Longer wavelength visible light (like red) is more toward the the infrared end of the visible spectrum and therefore has less energy. Because of their greater energy, the shorter wavelengths of light cause more “bleaching” of the pigments in the paint and more fading. So, why would light with a very short wavelength effect RED more than Black? The main reason has to do with what light is reflected by each color and what light is absorbed. Red ink or pigment reflects the long wavelength light (like red) and absorbs the more destructive higher energy shorter wavelength light like the blues and greens.  

WAVELENGTH

SilverBlue and white graphics will reflect the short wavelength colors better (and therefore reflect more UV light) so they’ll fade slower.

I’m not an expert on how light affects pigment, but this is what I’ve compiled based on my research and discussions with others. Now you’ve got an answer when a customer asks why his red sign faded quicker than his blue sign.

 

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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Which outdoor sidewalk sign stands are “the best”?

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iPhone-Signicade

Pictured above is the “signicade sidewalk outdoor sign stand”. Is it “the best” stand?

Asking which outdoor sidewalk sign stand is “the best” is a little like asking a carpenter “which tool is the best”. They’d likely say “it depends on what you’re trying to do”.

Other than print size, there are four main considerations when picking an outdoor sign stand.

  1. What kind of print do I want to use?
  2. What is my budget?
  3. Do I need high Wind Resistance?
  4. Do I need a certain aesthetic?

Print Type:

When users ask “what kind of print can this stand hold” they might be saying they want a stand that holds a paper print because that is a limitation of the large format printer that they have available. Prints can be divided into TWO types.  They are either “thin flexible prints” or “rigid prints”.  Typically “thin flexible prints” are either made with laminated paper (card stock) or 030 styrene (plastic paper). The outdoor sign stands that work with thin flexible prints will almost always have a snap-frame to hold the print. The other type of print is a “rigid print” and signs that hold a “rigid print” will have either a slot to slide your panel into or they may just have a flat surface that you screw your rigid panel onto.  The signicade a-frame sign stand (pictured above) is a perfect example of a widely used rigid print sign stand. It is holding a 4mm thick corrugated plastic sign panel. While a person could tape a paper print onto it, that is not its intended use.

Cost:

This is a bit of a loaded question. For example, the signicade is usually about $10 cheaper than the signicade deluxe. So, while the regular signicade looks cheaper at first glance …the regular signicade requires that you come up with a way to attach your sign.  After you buy velcro or “well-nuts” or two sided tape to attach your sign to a regular signicade …you likely could have purchased the signicade deluxe which comes with a quick-change feature to hold your sign panels.  Another example is “snap frame stands”. They can cost two or three times the cost of a signicade, but unlike the signicade ….they hold thin paper prints.  So, if you have the equipment to print on laminated paper real cheap in your print room, then over the long run you’ll pay more for the signicade after you’ve purchased a large number of more expensive rigid prints from a printing company (signicades typically display prints made of 4mm corrugated plastic panels).

Wind Resistance:

The stands that don’t hold water and have no springs and don’t swing will have the least resistance to the wind.  One example would be the poly “Quik Sign” stand. It is light weight and a light performer in the wind.  The fancy systems for fighting the wind (like springs) also tend to add a lot to the cost of the stand.  For example, the “wind master” line of stands performs great in the wind but also comes with a higher price tag than most of our other outdoor stands.  All of them are waterproof.

Aesthetics:

This is a very subjective consideration. In some cases you’ll want a colored sign stand to complement your brand’s colors.  In most cases you’ll want a neutral aesthetic so that you can switch your graphics around without ever clashing with the sign stand.  The black and white signicade a-frames are probably the most neutral in appearance.  The QLA and sidewalk swinger stands have a noticeably modern look.  The wind master line of stands have a certain cold/sterile/utilitarian appeal and look at home in front of industrial complex or corporate looking franchise. If you need something incredibly warm and rustic, I’d recommend crafting an a-frame stand out of well warn barn boards and a few hinges and a bit of chain.  For a country appeal, no plastic product will match that handmade look.

As always, if you still don’t know what sign stand to order, call Signs Direct for advice ..toll free 877-706-4601

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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3 common mistakes made when installing u-channel sign posts

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bad-uchannels

Don’t let your u-channel post installation look like this…

These signs look terrible. So, what happened here? I found three big mistakes when investigating the installation of these u-channel sign posts.  There might have been a fourth mistake as well.  I wasn’t there when they installed these posts, but they could’ve installed them crooked in the first place, but that is unlikely ..but that would be the fourth mistake.  Here are the known mistakes…

Mistake #1 was that they weren’t installed deep enough into the ground. I pulled one out and found they were only about 24 inches deep. In our area, posts should be 36 inches deep to get below the frost line and avoid something called “frost heave”.  The frost line is different in every area of the country. Do a google search for “frost line map” and you’ll find a map showing the depth of the frost line in your area. If you’ve ever squeezed a watermelon seed between your fingers and shot it across the room then you understand the principle behind “frost heave”.  Even in warm climates I’d go 36″ deep and then go even deeper for cold climates to get at least 3 or 4 inches below that area’s frost line.

Mistake #2 was going with a 1.12 lb post. A lot of people use these for signs, but their intended purpose is to hold reflective delineators. I see them used for signs everywhere. I recommend a 2 lb post for parking signs.  A 2 lb post is a post that if cut into a 1 foot long section would weigh 2lbs.  So, with that in mind you’ll see that the 2 lb post uses almost twice the steel of a 1.12 lb u-channel post.  When inspecting the posts pictured above, some were actually bent at the point where the post went into the ground.

Mistake #3 had nothing to do with how crooked these sign posts are.  Mistake #3 was how they installed their signs.  The posts make a “U” shape when viewed from above.  In that “U” shape, the sign would go along the top of the “U” and not the bottom.  When you bolt them against the bottom of the “U” shape they are less stable and can rock back and forth easier than if installed against the top of the “U” shape.

In conclusion, installing u-channel posts isn’t rocket science.  It is super easy if you’re aware of just a few common mistakes. Once you’re aware of the mistakes you’ll see just how common they are.

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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