Wind slit pros and cons

Countering the wind.

It has long been a practice to slit banners as a counter-measure to the pressure of wind on the banner surface. These are usually semi-circular cuts in the substrate.

However, not everyone agrees that this is an effective practice. The chief criticisms are that they detract from the aesthetics of the banner, they weaken the banner material and they don’t do much to lessen the impact of wind pressure. Apparently, slits only reduce the wind pressure by 10 to 15%.

An alternative to slits is a heavier weight banner material and better installation methods. For instance, weave the rope through the grommets and tension and tie the rope to keep the banner taught. A banner that flaps tends to tear. Another method is to secure the banner with bungee cords. It’s said to work well by stretching and preventing the wind from tearing the material.

Vehicle wrap idea falls flat

How am I supposed to get hold of your amazing product if you don’t answer me?

Last month (September 18th) we posted information about an advertisement about a product that appeared to be a great idea—magnets rather than tape to hold wraps in place. It still sounds like a great idea but it’s not the idea that has fallen flat, it’s the really bad customer service behind the product that has fallen flat.

Twice we emailed the advertiser to inquire about the magnets and ask if they’d be willing to supply a sample for testing. We undertook to post the results of a test and give them more coverage. So far there has been no response at all.

Here’s the lesson for us all . . . If you don’t follow up immediately on inquiries it doesn’t matter how amazing your product may be because you’re only going to have limited success getting it out into the market. Additionally, any money you spent on advertising would have been wasted.

Have you considered surge protectors?

Do you have surge protectors for your sensitive production equipment?

Extreme weather conditions are a way of life in Canada. Summer thunder storms, winter blizzards, ice storms, tornadoes and hurricanes, we have them all.

And with these weather events we have power disruptions. And with power disruptions we have power surges. And with power surges we have potential for damage to our sensitive electronic and digital equipment. So it’s not unusual to have surge protectors for computer equipment but what about production equipment like plotters, printers, and engravers?

Plotters, printers, and engravers have sensitive electronic components that can be fried by excess voltage from power surges. Even brief spikes can be damaging.

Is the sensitive production equipment in your shop protected from power surges by surge protectors? If not, right now might be a good time to do something about it.

Patience and the customer

It’s amazing how easily front line staff can become impatient with customers. It’s not hard to see examples a few times a day in stores and other businesses.

Of course customers are going to be annoying from time to time. Who hasn’t had to deal with an angry, venting customer? What about the windbags who take forever to explain the problem? And then there are the ones who’ll damage something and try to blame everyone they can think of except themselves while expecting a full refund or a new replacement?

This calls for patience. Patience is one of the most important attributes front line staff need. Lose patience and you stand to make a bad situation worse and possibly even lose a customer you might not want to lose . Of course if you want to lose the customer that’s a different matter, but even then it can be accomplished without losing patience.

As this anonymous quotation says: “Patience is when you’re supposed to get mad, but you choose to understand.” And as the napkin says: “Patience is power.”

Reminder! Reminder! Reminder! Amazing ink special!

This is amazing! Great ink at a great price!

Remember how Trevor Smith of Calgary said he was amazed at how the Marajet after-market ink just dropped in to replace the Roland cartridges with no fuss and no loss of quality?

Well, you can be amazed too while enjoying a great saving because the cost-saving OCTOBER SPECIAL is still on . . .

For the rest of October, Stanley’s is offering a BUY-4-GET-6 special on Marajet ink cartridges for your Roland. You already save about $68 per cartridge with Marajet so paying for 4 and getting 6 is a BIG deal.

Call any of Stanley’s 4 branches now and take advantage of this special: Edmonton 780-424-4141; Calgary 403-243-7722; Cambridge 519 620 7342; Richmond: 604-873-2451; or call Alfred Gunness directly at 416 832 3162

Hockey rink ads

The 31 teams in the NHL each play 41 home games in a season. A standard NHL rink has almost 510 feet of boards on which there are between 45 and 60 individual rink ads. This means that at any one time during a game there are about 1,400 sq. ft. of ads. And some of the ads are replaced during the game which only adds to the total square footage.

This is a lot of large format printing. Who’s getting it? Is your shop? If not, why not? Have you looked into it? And once more, if not, why not?

Credit: Peter Bourgeois,

Print shop employee personality tests?

A balanced, communicative, efficient staff

Earlier this year Sign Media Canada featured an article on communication strategies that emphasized the importance of communication to a cohesive, efficient workplace, even in small shops.

One point the author raised as necessary to ensuring a communicative, efficient workplace is compatible personalities. This means requiring prospective employees to take a personality test. The purpose is to ensure that the personalities of the owners and employees are compatible and conducive to a communicative workplace.

If you’ve ever managed a staff you’ll appreciate the sense in this concept. If you’re not hiring staff by this method it’s probably time to give it some consideration. A well-balanced, compatible body of employees is key to a well-run business.

Stanley’s popular films

If you look back through this site you’ll find that we featured five popular films under the Stanley’s Print Media brand.

You’ll find that there’s an attractively-priced film for just about every one of your applications:

  • Stanley’s SoFlat Frontlit Non-Curling Scrimless Banner
  • Stanley’s Blow-440 Super Smooth Blockout Banner
  • Stanley’s B02-440 Premium Frontlit banner
  • Stanley’s BLO-610 Premium Blockout banner
  • Stanley’s SAV-140G Print Vinyl

You can find out more about these film and order them from any of these Stanley’s offices: Edmonton 780 424 4141; Calgary 403 243 7722; Richmond 604 873 2451; or by calling Alfred Gunness directly at 416 832 3162.

Printing on soft substrates with the Roland Texart RT-640M

The Roland Texart RT-640M.

Sign shops looking to diversify beyond the traditional sign market can do so with Roland’s Texart RT-640M. We’ve told you once before about this printer from Roland. It’s time to give it some more consideration.

It’s a dye sublimation printer for soft signage, apparel and textiles with some impressive features:

  • ErgoSoft Roland Edition 2 RIP software
  • Advanced 8-channel print heads
  • Adjustable front roller and media take-up

Stanley’s can tell you all you need to know about this machine and the process. Diversifying to offset a competitive market place might just be the shot in the arm that your shop needs.

Take this into account when calculating ROI on LED retrofits

Assess the site and costs properly before recommending retrofitting.

J. Bryan Vincent writing for offers good advice on calculating the return on investment (ROI) on replacing fluorescent with LED in illuminated signs. Changing illuminated signs to LED is easier and more cost effective than ever, but one needs to understand the nature of the site in order to properly advise the customer on costs and ROI.

You should read the article but, in the meantime, here’s what you should take into account when costing a LED retrofit and before recommending it to your customer:

  1. Evaluate the site to determine how difficult it is going to be to service the area.
  2. Research code restrictions.  Some jurisdictions have restrictions applicable to new signage that also apply to retrofits.
  3. Gather maintenance data to determine likely ongoing maintenance costs.

There’s much more in the article. It’s well worth the read.

Ink deal! Buy 4 get 6.

Happy Roland users!

How about this for an OCTOBER SPECIAL?

For the month of October, Stanley’s is offering a buy-4-get-6 special on Marajet ink cartridges for your Roland. You already save about $68 per cartridge with Marajet so paying for 4 and getting 6 is a BIG deal.

And why should you consider Marajet? Well, Trevor Smith of Calgary did and was amazed at how the Marajet just dropped in to replace the Roland cartridges with no fuss and no loss of quality.

Call any of Stanley’s 4 branches now and take advantage of this special: Edmonton 780-424-4141; Calgary 403-243-7722; Cambridge 519 620 7342; Richmond: 604-873-2451; or call Alfred Gunness directly at 416 832 3162


Your competitors are no longer buying equipment on blind faith, nor should you.

Blind faith. No way to buy equipment!

According to one industry equipment supplier, print and sign businesses, more than ever, want to see equipment in action and test its capabilities extensively before deciding to buy. This expert believes that there are 4 reason for this:

  1. Having made purchases before without proper research, printers have learnt from the experience and now want to know much more about the equipment’s capabilities before buying it.
  2. The market has become so competitive that printers want to make sure that the equipment they buy is going to give them a strategic advantage or at least enable them to keep up with their competitors.
  3. There is a growing awareness that a way to increase margins is to reduce the cost of finishing. They need to find out how new equipment can help them do this.
  4. The competitive nature of the industry is making printers look for equipment that can add new revenue streams.

This is just another reason to attend shows, visit equipment manufacturers’ facilities, and work with Stanley’s to be sure that any new equipment purchase is going to meet your needs. Buying blind (or even half blind) has never been a good idea. Your competitors are waking up to this realization, so should you.


Vehicle wrap idea

It’s a great idea!

I saw an advertisement recently that offered an alternative to tape when wrapping a vehicle—magnets.

If you’re still using tape to hold the wrap in place while positioning and installing, you may want to consider trying magnets instead.

The magnets being advertised are strong with a 25lb pull capacity but they have a handy grip so that in spite of their strength, they can be easily positioned and re-positioned.

Worried about scratching? Not a problem! The magnets are encased in polystyrene.

This is one of those ideas that may just work for your shop. You can check it out in more detail by clicking here.   

Reminder . . . Dallas . . . 23 to 25 October 2019

If you haven’t made arrangements to be in Dallas for PRINTINGUNITED, you still have time.

It’s where thousands of digital and graphics industry players will be gathering to discover printing solutions across all segments, see new product launches, see live demonstrations, be exposed to everything going on in the industry now, and attend a vast array of workshops.

See the September 2019 edition of Signmedia or the for all the details.

You don’t want to miss this one.

Show customers what your shop can do

You can do that?

An article by Eva Padula in the September edition of Signmedia includes a point well worth considering seriously.

She writes that once a shop has maximized its efficiency by ensuring that its hardware, software, and workflow are up-to-date, it’s time to show customers what they are capable of. The way to do this is to produce: custom displays with integrated printed graphics; floor, window, and wall applications; soft signage and fabric displays; and window graphics.

What she’s really writing about is a life-size portfolio. Sounds like great advice.


Alfred Gunness joins Stanley’s

Stanley’s recently announced that Alfred Gunness has joined the team. As many Canadian printers will know, he brings a lot of industry experience gained from a combined 38 years serving Nazdar Canada and Saati Canada customers.

Alfred will be based in Ontario but will be available to share his training and experience with Stanley’s customers across the country. He may be contacted though any of the four Stanley’s branches or directly at 416 832 3162.

It’s time

Is it time ?

We, the owners of small businesses such as sign shops, are faced with a dilemma . . . what are the principles that we should be basing our business model on, especially in this age of digital and online emphasis?

Well, Seth Godin in his book This Is Marketing, has some helpful advice under the title, It’s time.

It’s worth grabbing a glass or cup of something, kicking back, and thinking about what he has to say . . .

It’s time

Time to get off the social media merry-go-round that goes faster and faster but never gets anywhere.

Time to stop hustling and interrupting.

Time to stop spamming and pretending you’re welcome.

Time to stop making average stuff for average people while hoping you can charge more than a commodity price.

Time to stop begging people to become your clients, and time to stop feeling bad about charging for your work.

Time to stop looking for shortcuts, and time to start insisting on a long, viable path instead.

What is the similarity between your Roland and a digital camera?

Do you know how to use all its features? And what about your Roland?

Most people have no idea of the extent of the capabilities of their digital cameras. Sure they know how to shoot a picture of the kids and the dog and perhaps a trick or two beyond that, but what about all the amazing things it can do if one just took the trouble to find out what they are?

Well, is your Roland similar to your digital camera? Have you explored everything your Roland can do beyond the basics you use it for day in and day out? Have you read all you can find on your model’s capabilities? Have You considered that there may be tricks and processes to be learned from other Roland owners? Tricks and processes you may be able to use to generate additional income?

Isn’t it worth a little research?

Roland user? Checked out Roland’s website lately?

If you so haven’t checked out Roland’s website lately, you should.

Manufacturers’ websites often offer a lot of useful information and tips about their products. You can find more about the products you already use and get information on new products you may want to have.

If you see something on Roland’s site (or any other manufacturer’s site for that matter) that you want to know more about, give one of Stanley’s four Canadian branches a ring and they’ll be happy to help you.

  1. Click here:
  2. See stuff
  3. Call for more information, pricing etc.:

Edmonton 780 424 4141; Calgary 403 243 7722; Cambridge 519 620 7342; Richmond 604 873 2451.

Magnetic vehicle signs

Here’s some good advice from “Chris” at you can pass on to your customers . . .

Where are you going to put the graphics, small on the door or big on the box?

“Don’t use standard magnetic signs on the sides of vans or box trucks; there is a reason they make vehicle size graphics. A size 12 x 24 magnetic graphic looks ridiculously small on the side of a van because it takes up just a fraction of the available space! The negative space is all wrong. Vehicle graphics, designed large to fill the space on the side of the truck, will attract much more attention than the little magnetic graphics. If you do use a car for dual purposes, such as for business and family use, you might employ small magnetic graphics on the doors.”

PrintingUnited show in Dallas, October 23 – 25

600 exhibitors on 724,000 square feet await you in Dallas on 23rd to 25th October, 2019

Industry shows are where you stay in touch with the latest technology and trends. You can read all the magazines and blogs you like, but it’s this kind of show where you can see and touch the latest all under one roof in a kind of 3-day intense industry immersion. It’s being called the next generation of the SGIA expo.

If a show like this doesn’t get you excited about your industry and send you back to your shop full of ideas, perhaps you should be doing something else for a living.

Seriously, give it some thought. You can find the details here.


Annual salary survey

Which one should it be? Participate in the survey and find out.

The deadline for participating in Sign Media Canada’s 13th annual salary survey is coming up soon on September 3rd.

Why should you participate? Well, for owners, part of attracting and keeping staff is having a good understanding of the industry’s pay scale for different categories of jobs. Pay too little and you run the risk of losing the good hires to your competitors; pay too much and you run the risk of inflating your overheads and putting your shop at a competitive disadvantage.

For industry employees, knowing your worth can help ensure that you’re paid fairly.

However, in addition to any selfish reasons for participating, it just seems to be the right thing to do to participate in an industry-wide salary survey designed to enhance all member’s understanding of their industry.

You have until September 3rd to log on here and complete the survey.      

Sign Expo Canada coming soon!


This is your periodic reminder that attending trade shows is a good idea if you plan to keep your shop on the leading edge of the industry.

This year Sign Expo Canada is on the 20th and 21st of September in Mississauga, Ontario.

You can find out all you need to know at the expo’s website by clicking here.

Plan to attend.

The signs of cannabis.

The sign says . . .

Looking for a new market opportunity? How about cannabis-related signage?

Schools and businesses need signs and decals to let people know whether or or not they may use cannabis in certain areas.

Your shop could target this market. One way might be to approach businesses, institutions etc. who may not yet have given any thought to ordering decals and signs but may do so when prompted.

This could be a bottom line booster.

Keep an eye on competitors, but keep their eyes off your stuff.

Keep an eye on your competitors.

You must keep an eye on your competitors.

You’re in a competitive market. Whether you succeed or fail depends on how well you perform in competition with your competitors. This means knowing at all times what they’re up so that your shop isn’t left behind in the event that they’re offering a new type of product or technology.

This doesn’t mean you have to hire spies or private detectives—there are perfectly legitimate and legal ways to keep an eye on your competitors and you should use them.

The flip side of this though is that you should expect your competitors to keep an eye on you too so be careful to protect proprietary information. A simple way of doing this is shredding all documentation that goes into the trash.

If you think this is a bit over the top, it’s not. I knew a shop owner who dumpster dived behind a competitor’s shop one weekend and came away with all kinds of useful information such as duplicate invoices, customer lists, correspondence, artwork etc.


Election signs!

Time to pursue candidates’ organizations for their election sign business if you haven’t already been doing so. October will soon be here. There were 1,792 candidates in the 2015 federal  election and they all tend to order signs ranging from small lawn signs to billboards. That’s a lot of printing.

The various political parties have been holding their nomination meetings for some time so there are already sign orders to be had but there will be more as more nominations are made. A little work keeping an eye on nominations as they are completed could give you a foot in the door.

Is your shop going to get its share of this work?

An aftermarket ink deal for your Roland!

Stanley’s has a great aftermarket alternative choice ink deal for your Roland!

The ink cartridges are manufactured by Marabu who offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee that their ink matches the OEM inks for quality and colour. There are two types: Marajet DI-LSX for Roland wide-format solvent printers; and Mara Jet DI-SX for Versa EXPRESS, SOLJET and VersaCAMM printers.

If your Roland is older than its 2-year warranty period (aftermarket inks void Roland’s warranty conditions) call Stanley’s for big ink savings for your Roland. In the meantime, here are some features Marajet inks offer:

  • Lower production costs
  • Plug and print
  • High-quality, reliable ink
  • Availability in different sizes
  • High grade pigments

Call Stanley’s about Marabu optional replacement inks for your Roland at Edmonton: 780-424-4141  Calgary: 403-243-7722  or Richmond: 604-873-2451


Keeping signs simple. But how?

Can a design be any simpler and any more effective in conveying its message?

Sign and design experts have for a long time been arguing that for a sign or billboard to  effectively convey its message, the design should be kept simple. As with many of these suggestions and ideas, you’d be justified in asking for a tip or two on how to do it.

Well, how about this from the French writer, poet and journalist known as Saint-Exupéry (1900 – 1944): “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Surely a simple but profound technique applicable to so much in life, including design?

A big small business problem area: emails and voicemails

How long do I have to wait for you to get back with me?

At a recent business presentation about local print advertising in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, the point was again made that the small business community (which includes most Canadian sign and screen printers) is really bad about answering emails and voicemails promptly. In fact, it’s such a commonly-acknowledged and widespread problem that the participants just burst out laughing.

But it’s not a laughing matter and it’s not just a rural Nova Scotia issue; it’s a problem all across the country.

Here’s what we need to realize . . . Customers are impatient. If they’re looking for a product or service and email or call about it, they want an answer right away. If you don’t make a point of responding to inquiries promptly (within minutes if possible, but certainly within a couple of hours) your competition is likely to get the business. This means that the money and time you spent on advertising to get the potential customer to contact you, would have been wasted.

So, the takeaway? If you or an employee are not on the phone or computer responding to inquiries as they occur, commit to check regularly (every hour on the hour?) for email and voicemail inquiries and answer them, even it’s only to reassure the potential customer that you’ll be back with details shortly.

Did you enter The Best of Canada’s Sign Industry awards (BOCSIes)?

Yes, we are nagging and being repetitive but it’s for a good cause—we want to see you promote your shop by winning an award (or at least trying). It’s too late for this year because entries closed in a few days but it’s not too early to target the awards next year.

Imagine the bragging rights and ready-made advertising material if your shop wins a BOCSI award! In addition to that your shop would be mentioned in Sign Media Canada. And even if you don’t win, the process of involving your staff in entering is bound to boost morale and pride in their work. It could drive them onto greater effort with an eye on the awards the next year.

Resolve right now to enter next year and involve your staff right away. It can only be good for your shop and business overall.