Friday, December 2, 2011

Signage for the Budget Minded

We all have clients who are very careful about how money is spent on their signage. We have done everything from large banners and foam core signs to an inexpensive slip-in sign holder. In many cases we have done a combinations of all these options for one client.

If you are looking for an inexpensive way to produce signs for your client try using slip-in sign holders. We use commercially produced sign holders from PC Nametag. These holders are 16X20 inches with a vinyl pocket that holds 8 ½ x 11 inch paper. In addition to having the signs in multiple colors, they also have one that is a large red arrow with the vinyl pocket. The signs are inexpensive and we used our first set almost 10 years. Although we have lost some to shipping, the wind, and even once to a lawn mower, these signs still fill many of our signage needs. We now have a large portfolio case that we use to ship the sign holders to our events and that has increased their survival rate.

The key to making these sign holders look like they belong to the event is the consistency of the message on the insert. The logo and name of the conference needs to be large enough to be recognizable from a distance. Once attendees key into the signs being a part of their event, they know to look for them and the information they convey, either in terms of what is happening in a meeting room, or directions to difficult to find rooms. The vinyl pocket allows room for multiple pieces of paper so, for each session, the old sign can come out and the next page is ready with the new information.

These portable sign holders can be used either landscape or portrait. Sometimes we have arrived on site with our signage produced portrait style to find that the only way an arrow will work is landscape. We have learned to bring some of each style and/or produce new ones on site. We always have the template for our signs with us in case we need to make changes to the information, such a new speaker or a cancellation.

Another cost savings tool we use focuses on the large foam core signs. We set them up to allow for the customization of information by having generic general signage with space to place a smaller sign, attached with Velcro, that makes the sign specific to an event. Our inserts are usually 2-3 inches in height and the width of the sign, though they can be done at any size you need for your functions. The same sign or series of signs can be used to welcome attendees, direct them to a reception or a luncheon, and they can often be moved to off-site events and customized accordingly. We even have had red arrows made for our signs to convert them to directional signs. For local events, the large signs can be reused each year, providing the basic information and design is generic enough.

We find that using these combinations of signs has represented a significant cost savings for our client. The slip-in signs and the inserts for the foam core signs are inexpensive, representing a significant cost savings over custom signs for our clients’ events.

~ Linda Begbie • Executive Director and Meeting Planner, RDL enterprises