According to SignForce, ‘cheaper’ is not always better, and this is certainly no exception in the world of signage. Aside from costing aspects, there is the question of reputation to consider as well. 

Shortcuts can include using different (read as cheaper) materials that generally have a shorter life span, or manufacturing techniques that are time-saving, but often at the trade off of longevity of the sign.

An example is a sign that SignForce recently inspected where the returns (the sides or part of the sign or letter that creates depth) of the letters had ‘popped’ so that the curves (around the ‘O’ and ‘a’) had returned to their natural state and became straight. This means that over time, the face of the 3D letter will fall off, which is what is happening with this sign.

Generally, the returns of fabricated 3D letters are heated and bent. They are then ‘chemically welded’ so that they retain the new shape. Saving time by not heating the returns can save money and get the job done faster. Using less chemicals may also result in some, almost insignificant, cost savings. Both will almost certainly also substantially reduce the life expectancy of the 3D sign.

While making the cheap initial purchase could possibly still be a worthwhile purchase, the adage ‘let the buyer beware’ is certainly worth remembering as in the long run (over five to ten years) the cost to replace broken or lost letters tends to be significantly higher than the cost to have it done properly up front. And that cost excludes the potential for negative press if, for example, an element of a sign breaks and hits someone or something.

This article was originally published by SignForce.

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