Presidents Post | November


From time to time the NZSDA board is asked to act as a mediator in disputes between sign shops and customers. I have noticed after the last couple of these issues a common problem that I thought I might share with you all to assist in avoiding future issues.

It is becoming common these days for some signage design to be completed by graphic designers who are passing the actual signage work to signies. This can and has caused some issues with the final customer receiving a job they weren’t happy with for whatever reason.

Most designers are used to working with 2 dimensional projects, and also in some cases have no or little knowledge of modern signage production techniques and processes. A design completed on a 2 dimensional vehicle template when printed and applied to a 3 dimensional vehicle generally doesn’t work out to well with elements of the design ending up in the “wrong place”. Another common issue is colour management. Most graphic designers are now only working with CMYK colour breakdowns so when they send the completed sometimes un editable print file, they are expecting it to print like a digital laser or offset and when they get completely different colours it causes a big problem and that’s when the blame game begins.

There is one clear easy way to solve this potential dilemma…. Communication.

The most successful team effort signage projects all have the same core element a good strong understanding and management of expectations brought about by the parties having clear and concise communication channels. Talk together. If your approached to work with a designer, be clear of your expectations and processes and above all make sure these are communicated to the  final customer either in a communal meeting or through the designer if they aren’t keen to share.

Supply colour proofs to both customer and designer.

Explain the intricacies of wrapping a 3d object, and that artwork may require editing to give the correct result.

Discuss the thoroughness of the wrap, ie are you wrapping inside door jams, grills and recesses, before you quote with both parties.

These may seem simple and obvious to some but it does happen. Don’t assume a designer understands signage production techniques, don’t assume customers understand the issues of colour and wrap positioning.

Simple communication and transparency in operations will make for a smooth successful joint project.