August '19

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8 THE SHOP AUGUST 2019 to let potential customers know what the shop is all about, where it is and how to get to it. ROADWAY SIGNS Most specialty car shops are not going to spring for a modern LED sign with a $25,000-plus price tag or purchase an offi- cial state highway sign like those that tell you there's a McDonald's or a Walmart at a certain exit. However, hobby businesses can still use traditional signs on their own property that bring customers in off a highway. Various federal, state and local regula- tions govern the use of highway signs. The rules may dictate how large a sign can be and how far it must be set back from the road. You will most likely need a building permit to erect a sign and there may also be laws governing the type of construction you can use. Putting up a business sign is not as simple as making a roadside sign for your kid's lemonade stand or your annual garage sale, but if you follow the rules, a sign can really pay off in terms of attracting new customers. In planning your sign, consider how long it takes to read one. The time that drivers need to read a sign depends on what's on it. Write out what you want the sign to say and read it out loud. If it takes longer than three seconds to read, edit it down to three seconds. At 55 mph, a car is traveling 80 feet per second. So, a typical sign placed ahead of an exit has to be read in three seconds. Of course, this depends on how far the sign is off the highway and how good the driver's eyes are. Many people interested in specialty car work—especially restora- tion—are over 50 years old and have some vision problems. Also, use a font that's simple and easy to read. The Federal Highway Adminis- tration's standard E-Modified font works well, but any wide block letters will fit the bill. You want a font where the letter M is as wide as it is tall and the stroke width is "Doc" Hopkins gets customers in the shop and museum by teasing their tummies. "Pat Doll Automotive" and phone number is all that's really needed here. Toys For Trucks' Green Bay, Wisconsin store uses the logo and company name on its sign. Note that the "Muscle Up" name is larger than the other lettering, as it should be.

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