November '22

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 2 • G R A P H I C S P R O 2 5 they�ve spent $349,812 with you to date. Sadly, they tell you, "Anoint, Texas ISD must take the lowest bid. And one company came in under you by $34.00." You ask about the competitor (Nitwit Sign and Banner on the bid tab) and the GC's experience with that firm. "I've never used them or even heard of them," they say. As you get up off the floor and shriek with the phone muted, you compose yourself and, in a high voice, say, "Too bad. at's a bummer. If you get in a bind, let me know if I can help." ey tell you, "I didn't really want to give it to someone I don't have a track record with." You hang up, kick your car tire or trash can, consider several adult beverages for your supper, and move on. Can this really happen, you wonder? Yes, it did, except I changed the names to protect the parties involved. Conversely, several months after losing a large bid project we wanted to win, a GC called to award the project to us after a low bidder could not perform halfway through the project. We got to charge more than our bid in the original submission. It was a sweet victory. You will win some, and you will lose some. Sometimes "rejec- tion is protection," as my wise wife Nita would say. She still says that. She is right so often it is obnoxious. But I was lucky to have her as my sign partner and majority company owner. Her innate abilities at operations and financial control saved us many times. I still get to work with her every day. I hope you have a Nita in your life. THE FUTURE During my career, I've sold sophisticated touchscreen interior wayfinding signs that use proprietary software, high-end archi- tectural ADA room signs that cost $485 each, LCD interior signs for room planning and wayfinding, and everything in between. Where are small-format signs going? What does the future look like? In 2022, Federal ADA sign requirements apply to everything from bathroom and restroom signs to accessible elevator signs and room signage. We seem to be heading to more regulations rather than less. Expect more gender-neutral restroom signs and pictograms. Wayfinding will become more critical because people have less time and want plain navigation solutions. Digital content should continue to take a larger role in small-format signs. ink Blade Runner and dramatic small signs with versatile changing content that becomes tailored to the viewer, as well as the massive super graphics to fortify a com- pany's brand by taking up your visual horizon. It looks like we'll have more touchscreens in the near future, followed by signs that use the same geo-fencing technology of your cell phone. at small wall sign will recognize you and all your buying habits stored in the cloud by you simply standing before it. Creepy but interesting. ere is also 3 D interactive mapping that can project signage on a wall or hologram that could provide navigation routes, digi- tal content, tutorials, advertising, etc. A lot of bang for the buck. en there is XR (extended reality) and other technologies like AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality). ese processes gamify user experience and allow the transfer of all navigation signs into virtual space. One sign can include customer loyalty programs and an improved customer experience by walking into an area where these are located. If we take this deeper into the future, small-format signs (or any sign for that matter) may become a thing of the past as new technologies and design change our perception of what signage is or does. But I think not; signs are rooted in a fundamental human need for stability and normalcy. We need signs. We have songs about signs. ey are everywhere. I think signs are part of our DNA. Consider the oldest cave painting known in Spain, a red hand stencil dated over 64,000 years ago. Maybe the first sign ever. I've been told I'm a visionary, but deep down, I'm old school. But I do like this quote by Laura Lynne Jackson: "A sign is a mes- sage sent to you by the universe." GP Paul Ingle started selling signs in 1985 and has worked with regional, national, and international accounts with custom, architectural, and production manufacturing firms. He has held various positions in sales, sales management, and marketing since 1973. From 2006 to 2017, he and his wife Nita owned Design Center Signs in Tyler, Texas (A Comet Signs Company.) DCS provided a diverse offering of branding solutions. Paul is a past president of the Texas Sign Association and its regional chapter the Greater DFW Sign Association. Contact him at Image courtesy Ark Ramos Image courtesy Rowmark

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