Category Archives: Uncategorized

Looking back and looking forward

What does 2019 look like for your shop?

According to Sign Media 2018 was another growth year for the sign industry but that looking forward, ” A slight concern on the horizon is a slowdown in the world economy after roughly 10 years of steady growth.” What is your sign shop doing to maintain the momentum in 2019? 

Editing and quality control

What?! How did that get through quality control?

How carefully does your shop edit sign or billboard text? Here are some examples of billboard “typos” that probably cost the print shops each a repeat customer . . .

  • Not eveything needs to be done in a New York Minute.
  • ABC Chilren’s Academy
  • Be a Biomedical Technincian
  • Alway’s there, when you need us.
  • A tasty contraditcion

Spot them all at first glance? Could something like this slip through your shop?


Better signs

You know how there’s this ongoing discussion about the best fonts to use for maximum impact on signs? Well, according to, for easy application and readability you should try Helva Demi Bold or Impact in upper case letters. Might be worth giving it a try.


Do you realize that posters are as popular as they’ve ever been? The good news for you though is that instead of having to turn them out on a cumbersome lithographic press such as when posters first became popular, you can now churn them out on your Roland. If you’re looking for another revenue stream for your shop, posters might be worth investigating.

Roland at the SGIA Expo


Did you visit the Roland booth at the SGIA? Roland reports an increased buzz around their booth with a new company mantra, “Built to Build Your Business.” If you didn’t go to the show or visit the Roland booth you missed out on a series “How I built My Business” presented by influential Roland users. This is the kind of stuff that provides ideas and stimulation for advancing your shop. Time to make plans to attend next year?

Beyond fierce sign shop competition


Ever wondered what you can do to work around the fierce competition in the sign industry? Acryl design of Winnipeg diversified to where signs are now just about 20 percent of their business. They escaped what is known as a red ocean and headed for a blue ocean. Want to know what that means? Check out Blue Ocean Strategy by Kim and Mauborgne. It will start you thinking about heading for a blue ocean too.

Training sign shop staff

Trained and ready to print!


Have you heard of the sign design program at W.J. Mouat Secondary School in Abbotsford? It provides a certificate for its students—apparently the first to do so in Canada. This means that the graduates have a document to take along to job applications that speaks to their training and ability. A good place for you to know about when you’re looking for qualified staff?

Go ahead and be nuts

Go ahead, be nuts!

Are you aware of the message that  Larry Ellison (Oracle) had for innovators in business—businesses like a sign shop looking for an innovation to differentiate it from all the other sign shops? “When you innovate, you’ve got to be prepared for people telling you that you are nuts.” In other words, don’t stop innovating because of the opinions of others that you may be nuts.

Employee recognition

Have you ever heard what Rosabeth Moss Kanter had to say about employee recognition? “Recognition is so easy to do and so inexpensive to distribute that there is simply no excuse for not doing it.” What do you do in your sign shop to recognize an employees’ contributions? Money isn’t everything.

Small team; big things

Small team. Big things.


Do you know that the vast majority of sign shops in Canada are typically small businesses with small teams? However, as Jason Fried of Basecamp said: “There’s nothing wrong with staying small. You can do big things with a small team.” This can be particularly true of sign shops. How high does your small sign shop team aim?

Sign installation truck consideration

You need the right installation truck.


Do you know that Jeff Stutt writing for Sign Media Canada points out the importance of the chassis of a truck intended to be turned into a boom truck for installing signs? He says that most truck dealers have little or no experience building a boom truck specific to a sign installer’s needs. Before settling on a chassis, consult with an industry professional.

Vehicle wrap care


Do you know that if you’re in the vehicle-wrapping business there tips you can give your customers about protection of their wraps? For instance: they should keep out of the sun as much as possible; use distillate-free wax for polishing after every wash; and use UV protective sprays even after waxing, especially in the heat of summer.



Do you know that Signmedia and the Sign Association of Canada’s “Best of Canada’s Sign Industry Awards” (BOCSIes) have been announced? And do you remember this site encouraging you to enter as a way of gaining recognition and coverage for your shop? Well, it works. Look up Imagination Corporation. They won three prizes—two seconds and a third. What’s the bet they’re going to see an uptick in their business? Check out their website, it might get your creativity going.

Small but fast

When you’re small you have to be faster . . .


Do you know that according to Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry who wrote The Method Method: “When you’re small, being faster than your competitors is your biggest and sometimes only advantage.”? Is your shop faster than than your bigger competitors while still matching them for quality? Growth could depend upon it.

Weeding film on fabrics

Do you know that there’s a clever but simple solution to the difficulty of weeding film on fabrics when the film proves to be too tacky? Just put it on a warm press plate for a few seconds to warm the film and then it will be a whole lot easier to weed.

Quality vs quantity

Do you know that that many people noted for the high quality of their companies’ products, and hence their success, have repeatedly emphasized quality? Steve Jobs was one of those people: “Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.” What’s your print shop known for, home runs or doubles? And how’s that working out for you?

Book with screen printing industry roots for small business owners


Do you know that your blog editor has published a book partially based on his twenty-three years of experience as a distributor to the screen printing industry? One reviewer had this to say: “There is such an incredible wealth of wisdom in this book—and it’s possible to dip into a chapter (character) at a time. I loved the conversational, story-telling style, which is often funny and so very true.” It’s available from the author’s website: and online from Chapters-Indigo, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.


Do you know that industry-targeted scams are on the increase? Our industry is a target too. Let’s hope nobody in the sign industry would be stupid enough to fall for something like this recent email . . .

” With  regards to your Company.This is Tim Small with Lager Ltd and i am sending these email Regards to order some Banners and i will need the Qty 50 with the size of 30 by 60 inches l want you to Print On the Banners ( KEEP THE CITY CLEAN!!! ) and i want printing to be in Blue colour  and the Background Colour to be White .I want you to go ahead and quote me the total pick up prices  plus tax without shipping so that i will go ahead also do you accept credit card payment ?..”

Sustainability luncheon at SGIA

Do you know that Marci Kinter, Vice President of Government and Business Information has just posted this on LinkedIn?:
“Heading to the SGIA EXPO? Join me for SGIA’s second Brands Talking Sustainability Luncheon on Thursday, October 18th at 12 noon. Where else near the convention center can you find great conversation and a nice lunch!! Looking forward to the conversations.”

Clean magnetic signs

Do you know that there’s a tip you can give your customers when their magnetic signs on their vehicles get dirty? When you produce magnetic vehicle signs your customers might appreciate being reminded that when they wash their vehicles (as they will undoubtedly do during our Canadian winters) they may wash the magnetic signs in a gentle cleaning solution (such as dish washing detergent in water). Then when they put them back on a clean vehicle, they’ll look as good as new.

Is your shop a janitor-free zone?

Do you know that Tom Peters once said that if he flips down the tray on an aircraft and they haven’t bothered to wipe away the coffee and food stains, he wonders how much they care about the maintenance of the rest of the aircraft. What is the impression prospective customers get when they come through your shop’s front door? Does it make them wonder about the quality of your work?

SGIA Expo 2018

Do you know that we reminded you in July that the SGIA Expo is coming up on the 18th to 20th of October? Well, it’s the show for the sign and graphics industry so we’re reminding you again. It’s not too late to participate this important event—unless you have no interest in keeping your shop on the cutting edge of the industry.

Sign clutter

Do you know that a consistent theme with sign print advisors is that clutter on a sign is a bad thing? The key to effectively getting the message across to a hurried reader is simplicity and space, in other words, avoid clutter.

Laminator rollers

Do you know that the rollers on your laminator should be inspected and adjusted regularly? If they’re not maintained in smooth and parallel condition you run the risk of uneven pressure and trapped air bubbles.

Roland and VersaWorks colour swatch booklet.

Do you know that a printer pointed out on SIGNINDUSTRY.COM that if you use VersaWorks you can print out the Roland colour system library and turn it into a swatch booklet. Because it comes straight from your printer, he claims that it’s much more accurate than matching Pantone® or cmyk swatches.

Baby powder snap line

Go ahead, use baby powder if you must . . . Just don’t touch mine!


Do you know that a printer found by accident that baby powder can be used instead of chalk on your snap line? He was on an installation and didn’t have any chalk. He bought baby powder from a nearby drugstore and has been using it ever since. Something to keep in mind.

Sign Expo Canada


Do you know that Sign Expo Canada is on the 21st and 22nd of September at the International Centre, Mississauga? Shouldn’t you be planning to attend? Keeping in touch with the latest in the industry is one way to stay ahead of the competition.

Profit and fun

Do you know what Robert Townsend wrote almost 50 years ago that is as wise now as it was then? He wrote: “If you can’t do it excellently , don’t do it at all. Because if it’s not excellent it won’t be profitable or fun, and if you’re not in business for fun or profit, what the hell are you doing here?”

Effective colour combinations


Do you know that certain colour combinations increase the effectiveness of signs and billboards? You want to achieve contrast and the top contrasting combinations are: black on yellow; white on black; yellow on black; black on white; and blue on white.