For any business owner, nothing is more exciting or satisfying as seeing your sign installed. Ready for business, this is your chance to tell the world “We are here come in!”. After numerous discussions with your sign vendor, getting the right file type to them, sending proofs back and forth until your sign is just right, nothing is more discouraging than finding an error on your finished project. Whether it’s a spelling mistake, color that’s not correct, or an element such as a tag line or graphic missing from the sign, nothing is more frustrating and disappointing to see.
Stop the Presses
What went wrong? You gave the sign company all of the specifics, the EPS file, the Pantone colors, the font names? Now you realize that the proof you received contained the error and you signed off? Now what? That mistake or missed error can be costly. If there is an install team with bucket trucks, cranes and manpower sitting around waiting to figure out what happened, or a sales rep who can’t bring the needed graphics to a tradeshow, or vehicle that’s lettered incorrectly you might have to stop things from moving forward, pay for a second trip out by the installers or a Redo of your graphics, and eat the costs.
It goes without saying (although we clearly say it on every proof), that you need to take the time to very carefully review every detail of your proof. Check the materials noted, colors, fonts, alignment, and so on to be sure everything on your sign is as you expect it will look when complete. Call your sign company if you notice any discrepancies or have any questions at all on fabrication methods, hanging methods, etc. Your approval means you are telling us to move forward with your order as is. And we will!
Tips for Proofing
After looking at a project several times, especially something with a lot of text and information such as a menu, detailed banner, or trade show graphics, often times a designer will miss simple typos, misalignments, or color issues. For many designers, proofing there own work is often difficult as you have seen it the project so much that it makes it difficult to notice a simple mistake. This is why we send proofs to our customers. So that you review every detail before you sign off!
Here are some items and methods for checking your sign or banner proof:
Bass-Ackward – Say what! Sometimes the best way to check a proof with a lot of text is to read it backward. This is the best method to catch a spelling mistake or transposition error. Your mind is trained to breeze through information left to right. When you read backwards, you slow down and will likely recognize a spelling error or incorrectly written sentence.
Get Help from Others – Utilize your spouse an assistant, your marketing team or someone who is familiar enough with your business designs, logos and colors or who is in the know about what you are expecting from your sign or vehicle lettering to review the proof. Someone out of the loop may more likely see something you are not seeing as you have seen it before.
Check Your Font – Do they look different, spaced incorrectly, or squeezed into your sign differently than you expected. Sometimes when files are sent as text and not outlines, your sign provider’s software may not have the font and will change it to something else. Be sure to check that your logo or text looks as you expect it to.
Colors – Do your colors look off from your Pantone Colors? Keep in mind that monitors show colors in RGB not CMYK or Pantone (PMS) so colors may look different. At Express Sign & Graphics, Inc. we normally indicate using an arrow showing where Pantone or CMYK colors are placed, on your sign to be sure you understand how the final output will look. If you have a concern about color output on a digital print, it’ definately a good idea to get a smaller print of your job to proof the colors before running a large project. If you’ve selected a Ronan or One Shot paint color, you should be sure we’ve noted it on the proof. If not, contact your designer.
Photos and Other Graphics – Many times our clients will submit photos or other artwork that have been copied and pasted from the web, are the wrong file type for wide format printing, or are a low resolution graphic. Your project designer will do a Zoom check on your graphic and let you know if something is not going to print appropriately. If you have a concern, ask to be sure this is done before printing. Again, it might be worth the extra charge to have a section printed from your file at full size so that you understand how it will look. Another thing to keep in mind is at what distance a graphic will be viewed. If it is something that will be viewed close up, say 2-5 feet away, you want a nice high resolution graphic to ensure that it looks great. If it is something that will be viewed from a distance, you may be able to get away with a lower res file.
Track Your Changes – Keep a copy of the proof and e-mails with notes on changes requested to the designer to be sure the changes are made. When the proof is resent, check to be sure those changes were all made.
Let it be said that in the crazy world we live in everyone is in a hurry to get things done. Too much to do to few too do it seems to be the status quo. This is why we suggest allowing the appropriate time for us to complete each sign project. Regardless, we have the occasional customer who waited too long to order their sign, had permitting difficulties holding up their project, or just simply needs something in a hurry. We certainly love accommodating our customers needs, but hope that everyone takes the time to review their proofs prior to sending them back with approvals.
At Express Sign & Graphics, Inc, we strive to make every customer project a success and every client want to come back again and again! We will do our best to be sure your proof and finished project is perfect, but we need your help too! Take a few minutes to review all of the details of your sign project before signing off. Feel free to call your designer with any questions or changes. Sometimes the phone makes things quicker and clearer than trying to explain what you need in an e-mail.
We look forward to helping you with your next sign project. Give us a call and see why our customers come back again and again.