Business Marketing

How Do I Order A Sign For My Business?

We offer a lot of sign options so I thought I'd write a post to help .  I'll explain what we do first, then how to place an order. 

Feel free to jump to the sections that interest you:

What You'll Receive

We make all of our signs from wood and either finish them in colour or etch them.  This gives them a unique vintage feel.   Your sign will have the appearance of a 1950's shop sign.  Wood signs have a slightly rustic feel.  Please keep this in mind if you're ordering for a corporate environment. 

The signs below are for indoor use only.  We do offer outdoor signage.  If you're looking for outdoor visit this link for the rundown of options.

What Are The Options?

We offer three sign types: Cut Letter Signs, Dimensional SignsEtched Wood Signs.  

Cut Letter Signs

  • Arrive as many separate pieces.

  • Can be finished in any colour including bare birch, solid & metallics.

  • You must lay them out on the wall. (Optional Layout templates are available for purchase)

  • You must attach them to the wall yourself. (We include instructions on how to do this)

  • Are best for permanent installation.

  • Can be up to 8ft wide.

Dimensional Signs

  • Arrives as one piece.

  • Can be finished in any colour including bare birch, solid & metallics.

  • Come with hanging loops at the back.

  • Great for permanent installation OR trade show use. Easy to move around.

  • Can be up to 45" wide.

Etched Wood Signs

Custom Indoor Sign
  • Arrives as one piece.

  • Available in ONE colour only: wood background with dark brown etching.

  • Arrives unmounted so it can be framed or set on a shelf.

  • Can be upgraded to include loops at the back.

  • Can be up to 32" wide.

Which One Should I Choose?

The choice comes down to how you'd like to use your sign.  It can also be affected by size.

If you'd like to use it for a trade show choose a Dimensional Sign or Etched Wood Sign.  Dimensional and Etched Wood Signs are ready to display and easy to move because they come as one unified piece.

If you're using your sign in an office space where it won't be moved, all three options work.  Remember, Cut Lettering can be made in larger sizes.  Dimensional and Etched Wood Signs come in smaller sizes.

How Do I Determine Sizing?

The Dimensional Wood Sign has more info under "Additional Info".  Click there then scroll to the bottom of the page for photos of each size, to scale, inside common trade show booths.  This should give you a good idea of how your sign will look when it's inside your booth. 

For Cut Lettering I suggest measuring your visible wall space.  That is any space you plan to include the signage in, minus any countertops that may be blocking the view:

How To Measure My Office For A Sign

Once you've measured leave a buffer of at least 1 foot all the way around.  From there, it's up to you how you'd like it to be laid out.  Some clients want to use the whole space, while others want their logo to take up a smaller footprint. 

Etched Wood Signs have a smaller footprint than the above two styles.  Estimate using a ruler or piece of cardboard held up to the area you'd like to use it in to gauge scale.

How Will My Sign Be Sized?

When you're buying a sign on our website you're buying a footprintA footprint is the total area available for your sign.  It's not the actual dimensions of your sign. 

Most logos/artwork will not match the exact proportions of the sign footprint.  When maxed out in the footprint, your artwork will be either shorter or less wide than the footprint.  The picture below shows a visual.  We will not stretch or squish your logo out of its original proportion.  That request will make the artwork looks distorted:

Maintaining Image Proportions

In sign making you can have length OR width, not both.  Your sign will either match the width measurement of the footprint, or the height.  You can't pick which one.  It's determined by how your logo naturally fills the space.  When we make your sign we'll expand your logo until it touches either the top or the sides of the footprint - whichever touches first. 

Please select a footprint that roughly matches the proportion of your logo.  For example, if your logo is sort of square, choose a square footprint.  If your logo is a skinny rectangle, choose a footprint that is long and skinny.  In this way you can maximize the use of space and spend as little as possible on your sign.

If you're looking for specific dimensions please send us an email and tell us the exact size you'd like.  Size can be specified in width only.  We do not work with letter height because it can change the size quite a bit.

How Do I Place An Order?

Though each sign is completely custom, almost all signs are covered under one of the three sign listings. 

Choose the style you'd like (Dimensional, Cut Lettering or Etched Wood), pick a size, a mounting option if needed, then add to cart:

How To Order A Sign

As soon as you place the item in your cart a pop-up box will ask you detailed questions about what you'd like:

How To Order A Custom Sign

If there's anything else you'd like to add please send us an email.  We match all email requests to their order as soon as the order comes in.  

What Else Do You Need From Me?

As soon as you've placed your order please email us your logo file. 

Vector files are the best for sign making.  These files end in .ai, .eps. or .pdf.  If you're not a graphic designer but your designer has sent you files, it's often the file that won't open on your computer.  Please send this file.  It's the one we need.  

If you didn't have a designer create your logo or you're not able to request a vector file from your original designer we can work with .jpg, .png and .tiff files.  Please send the largest file you have.  If you have more than one to choose from pick the logo that appears largest on screen and has high KBs under "file size".

Can You Make Me A Logo?  Make Changes To My Logo?  Lay My Sign Out Differently?

Absolutely!  We do all types of graphic design.  However, this service comes at an additional cost and isn't included in the sign price.  We'll cover small design jobs like converting .jpg files to vector files or adding a circular shape around your sign free of charge.  If your request involves more than that please email us your request and we'll send you a quote. 

Note: Designing a logo is a big undertaking.  If you need a logo designed you should have a separate budget set aside for this job alone.  

What Happens Next?

When an order comes we'll look over the details, check your file and confirm the order is ready to go.  If we see issues or have a question we'll contact you before moving your order forward.  

We don't provide sign proofs because your sign will look identical to your logo file.

Once your order is confirmed you won't hear from us for a little while.  Signs take 2-3 weeks to finish.  As soon as your sign is finished you'll get an email with a tracking number telling you it's been shipped.

If you've shared a deadline date with us we'll make note of it and ensure your sign arrives on time.  Your sign will ship on time to arrive by your deadline date.  If we can't meet your deadline we'll flag this right away.

What About Rush Orders?  

Please contact us at least 4 weeks before you need your sign.  Rush orders are occasionally possible but signs must have curing time.  That's a stage that can't be rushed.  If you email us we can let you know what's possible, but please understand the time estimates we give you are not negotiable because signs takes time to make.  

What did you think of this post?  Was it helpful?  Let us know in the comments!

Laser Cutting Services

How To Get The Best Price On Laser Cutting

If you're like most product designers you're looking for a laser cutting service that is affordable.  Designers & product developers need manufacturing services that are priced low enough to be able to wholesale, then retail the finished product once it's complete.  Keep reading below...

I work with a range of product developers, each with different needs and areas of specialization.  The prices I quote can vary from client to client.  The source of this discrepancy is the number of hours the studio needs to spend getting the order ready to print.  The more production-ready you are, the fewer hours we need to spend getting it ready. 

I thought I would break all this down to clarify.  This will give you an idea of what services the studio is providing to you in your quote (hint - it's not strictly cutting).  It's also a way for me to share what goes into the job of product development.  If you're new to creative and technical design you may be surprised to find out how much work it takes to take and idea and make it into a real product.  If you're an experienced designer it might show areas where you can better streamline your order to save money.  No matter where you are, I'll give you some tips on how to save money on laser cutting.  

Let's start with a fully trained product developer who specializes in vector files:

 

Graphic Artists, Industrial Designers, Product Developers

What Your Order Looks Like: Vector File, Outlined, Set Up In Correct Artboard Size, Cutting Lines Labelled Red, Duplicate Lines Removed, All Parts Are Located In the Same File, Appearance Attributes Removed, Clipping Masks & Compound Paths Removed, Fills Have Been Removed, All Raster Elements Have Been Vectorized, Type Size Has Been Tested For Legibility, Thicknesses Have Been Verified For Durability In Chosen Material, Interlocking Parts Have Been Set To The Material Thickness Used in This Studio, Patchy Vector Lines Have Been Repaired To Form Continuous Cutting Lines,  Unlinked Type Has Been Linked Or Bridged, You Have A Clear Understanding Of Materials & Their Attributes, You've Chosen A Suitable Material Without Advice, You Will Be Handling ALL Finishing Processes (sanding, painting, assembly, etc.)

What You Pay For: Set Up Fee & Cutting

Who You Are Hiring: Straight Laser is a Piece Goods Manufacturer to you.

How To Save Money: Make the best use of your set up fee, material panels and shipping costs by ordering in quantity.  As with any manufacturing process, once the set up is done and changes minimized, your costs will drop significantly.  Order repeats through the same service provider to save money.

 

PRODUCT Businesses EMPLOYING A Professional Graphic Artist 

What Your Order Looks Like:  You Have Your Logo In A Vector Format, You May Have Vector Files For The Product You Want To Cut, Your Understand Product Development Even If It May Not Be In The Graphic Design Industry (Examples: Skincare Company, Clothing Designer, Pet Accessories Company...), You Can Provide Specs And Have A Good Handle On Estimating Size, You Can Provide Comprehensive Detail On What You Want, You Have A Basic Handle On Materials And Have Preferences, You Have A Clear Design Direction

What You Pay For: Some Consulting On The Best Materials For Your Project, Some Size and Construction Spec Work, Graphic Design Time To Develop Your Digital File, Graphic Design Time To Make Your File Production Ready, Test Cuts, Set Up Fee & Cutting, Sometimes Finishing 

Who You Are Hiring: Straight Laser is your Product Developer & Finished Goods Manufacturer.

How To Save Money: If you're partial to your internal graphic designer, hire them to fully complete the product you'd like to create.  Otherwise we can help do the design work to complete the product you'd like to have created.  Graphic design needs to happen either in your business or in this studio (you can't skip it).  Get clear on the exact sizing you need and read the list of materials we stock in the studio to know what's available.  The more you can have these things decided on before you contact us the less time it will take and the less it will cost overall.  If you're seeking post-cutting finishes but the price isn't a fit, consider ordering raw parts and doing the finishing yourself.

 

Service Businesses, Retailers, Resellers, Businesses That Don't Employ A Graphic Designer, Artists Working In HAND DRAWN Formats

What Your Order Looks Like: You Are Coming To Me With An Idea, A Problem To Be Solved, Or A Request (Maybe for a sign or printing), You Created Your Logo Yourself Or Through An Online Generator, You Have A Raster Version of Your Logo & Don't Have Access to The Vector File, Your Business Doesn't Use A Style Guide, You're Requesting Atypical Materials or Custom Sourced Products, Your Request Is A One-Off Item To Solve A Specific Problem, You Would Like To Create A Product But Are Not In The Business Of Design or Product Development

What You Pay For: Sometimes Logo Creation & Branding, Converting Raster Logos To Vector Format,  File Clean Up & Repair, Product Costing, Design Direction To Ensure Product Aligns With Business Branding, Custom Materials Sourcing, Material Selection & Testing, Consulting On Proportions, Size, Fit & Finish, Design Direction For The Product Being Created, Consulting on Specs & Construction Methods, Product File Creation, Making File Production Ready, Test Cuts, Set Up Fee & Cutting, Finishing

Who You Are Hiring: Straight Laser is your Designer, Product Developer & Finished Goods Manufacturer.

How To Save Money: Hire a professional graphic artist for your logo and branding.  We provide this service in the studio.  Please ask us for a quote or hire another designer.  Doing so will save money over the long term as you develop your business.  Determine exactly what you need the finished product to do with as much detail as possible (Example: it has to fit on a shelf that is 7" tall...).  Provide lots of photos: either inspiration pics, or pics from inside the office where the item will be used/placed.  Read the list of materials we can process and try to align your project with a material we stock.  If you'd like custom materials sourced, order in enough quantity that it lowers the cost of bringing it in.  If your idea is out there in the market or can be solved with a ready-made item it is almost always cheaper to go that route.  Consider product development when your idea is custom, branded or it just isn't out there in the marketplace.

 

Summary

There are a lot of steps in product development that may be invisible if you're encountering it for the first time.  Even for seasoned pros, each manufacturing process has its unique needs and set up process.  I hope that by describing the product development job I've shown you a few areas where you can do some prep work to lower your laser cutting costs. 

Thank you for reading.  Was this post helpful?  Questions?  Let me know in the comments! 

 

 

Laser Cutting Services

The Pros and Cons of Using A Laser Cutting Service

Hey there!  If you've found my website chances are you're a designer or business that's taken an interest in manufacturing through a laser cutting service.  Straight Laser provides per-minute laser cutting to exactly your type of business.

I LOVE laser cutting but I spent time in my career in several other areas of manufacturing before I settled on this one.  That gives me an ability to explain how it compares to the other options out there.  Scroll down to read more:

Custom Map Coaster

First let me get to the PROs because I love laser cutting and highly recommend it for any kind of small and medium-sized business.  Using a laser cutting services is great because:

  • Products can be completely custom.
  • It's a process that handles a range of materials.
  • It's ideal for prototyping.
  • It's a great way to produce short-run and small-volume projects.
  • It has a high-end, quality feel.
  • Changes are quick and easy.
  • The end result is textured and tactile.
  • It has a quick turnaround time.
  • It handles detail incredibly well.

A laser cutting service bureau like Straight Laser is ideal for producing small consumer products, components, signage, marketing materials and quality presentations.  We cut flat sheet materials in to shapes and can etch artwork on the surface of those materials.

Now let me touch on the CONs.  That can be important in figuring out where a laser cutting service won't work well.  You may want to choose a different manufacturing process if:

  • You intend to produce tens of thousands of your item.  
  • You're shooting for "pennies-per-unit" cost.
  • Production volume & capacity is more important than quality.
  • You want to create something large (over 3 feet) or heavy (greater than 1/4" thickness).
  • You're looking to specify the depths of 3D relief.

If any of these describe your manufacturing scenario, a laser cutting service may not be the best choice.  If you're running very high volumes, contacting a manufacturer who does die cutting or injection molding may be a better way to go.  A full list of the available manufacturing processes can be found here.

This is a very summary overview of laser cutting services.  There is a lot more to it.  But if you're looking for the basics, I hope this has helped.  As always, feel free to Contact me if you have questions about using Straight Laser's services.  

What did you think of this post?  Did it tell you what you needed to know?  Let me know in the comments!

To order custom laser cutting start HERE.