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Operations and Management

The writing’s on the sign

Is your sign sending the right message? Signage technology, especially electronic signage, has come a long way in a few short years.


Signage technology, especially electronic signage has come a long way in a few short years. The first is in the quality of the materials. Signs today can be built from a virtually unbreakable material that is made by Bayer (yes, the aspirin company) called Makrolon. This material is 30 times stronger than the acrylic faces that many companies still use today. On the sign cabinet and support structure the use of powder coat instead of wet paint creates a strength barrier to flying projectiles like rocks fired from a lawn mower.

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Along with that, both the Makrolon faces and the powder coated structures are graffiti resistant. If a mischievous individual "tags" a sign, the sign owner can just wipe the graffiti off with a rag and certain solvent. This is a huge plus for unmanned carwashes.

They’re electric

LED signage has come a long way. Due to this, sign prices have come way down and more and more owners find that they are able to own an electronic message center where just a few years ago they could not.

The next advancement is in the definition and resolution of the LED display itself. This allows for fuller, brighter text, graphics and videos on your new display. The top LED displays also offer a dynamic matrix, which allows adjacent pixels to share LEDs with each other. This doubles the number of rows and columns of pixels in a sign and therefore quadruples the resolution, resulting in a better looking display. All of this for the same or lower cost than a similarly sized display before.


The art of attraction

The very best way to attract people driving by is to utilize the features of your new sign to change your message often. Potential customers want to see new and pertinent information on your sign. The biggest mistake that a sign owner can make is to put a message on the sign and leave that same message on there for an extended period of time.

Most of the time people driving by the sign are "regulars" on that road. They need to see a variety of messages so you need to keep your content fresh. Optimally they should see a new message every morning and every night as they drive to and from work, school or wherever they are going.


Signs can be programmed by easy-to-use software that has a sign scheduling component. You can program sign messages out a year or more in advance and they will display at the exact minute of the day that you programmed them to.

There have been many studies about which colors are better to attract attention, but the very best thing you can do with your sign is to have contrast from your background to your message. A black background with bold color text draws the eyes to the message making it easy and quick to read. This is key as you have about three to five seconds for the audience to read your sign as they drive by.


Avoid these signage mistakes

The biggest mistake that business owners make when buying a sign is not going with a reputable company. Too many consumers think that all signs are equal but they are not. Make sure the company that you are working with has been around for a long time and has built many signs. Unfortunately, there are many options when it comes purchasing a sign and some will use inferior parts that will fail sooner than expected.

The biggest mistake that carwashes make after they get a sign is not updating the content on a regular basis. What this leads to is "sign blindness". If your sign has the same message every single day, drivers will stop looking at it and will no longer notice that you exist. If you regularly update your sign with promotions or community related information, your sign will be something that your audience will read regularly and will remember you when their car needs a wash.


Joshua Wortley is the Business Division Manager at Stewart’s Signs. He can be reached at 800-237-3928.

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