April '23

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7 4 G R A P H I C S P R O • A P R I L 2 0 2 3 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S I G N D E S I G N | M A T T C H A R B O N E A U Matt Charboneau started his career in the sign industry in 1985 as Charboneau Signs, later changing it to Storm Mountain Signs. In 2017, he published the Pre-Sale Sign Survey Field Guide, and he also provides sign design training at his site: Learn- Contact him at matt@stormmountainsigns. com;; or 970-481-4151. Do We Still Need Tenant Panel Signs? Thanks to map apps, the roadside sign doesn't hold as much value S ome industries have been forced down paths they never intended as a result of changes in technology and in how we oper- ate our businesses and our personal lives. Some of the industries/individuals affected include: • Travel agents • Beta/VHS/Blue-ray developers • Paper envelope and stationary makers • Book publishing (in some areas) • Newsprint industry Yet, some old-school categories and services are actually blossoming within this new age, such as: • e cardboard industry • Packaging engineers • Foam peanut and plastic bag manufacturing • Clear acrylic manufacturing Let's look at a subject I bet you have never really looked at, or even considered. Take this ride with me as I put on my Nostradamus cowboy hat and take a serious look at the old way and the new way we find an address, a building, a store, or a location. We don't do it like we did 10 years ago or 20 years ago, yet we are still making and deploy- ing signs in the same way we did before our smartphones existed. It may be time to evaluate how the map/ phone process affects the signs that businesses purchase: their size, their location, and basi- cally their all-around purpose for existing. Is there still the need for a huge structure with a smaller tenant sign that provides as much advertising awareness as a kid on the corner with a spinner sign? In reality, tenant panels provide that tenant about three of four square feet of visual communication and awareness — at a distance that is typi- cally never given much consideration by the average sign shop, or landlord. In all my years in the industry, I have always struggled with the real value of a tenant panel. e tenant panel has always seemed to me like a bone thrown to the other businesses by the anchor store. e term anchor means it's the beacon for all of the tenants to use so that their businesses can be found. Tenant signs feel like a little, "Here you go, you can put this cute little bumper sticker on the provided sign box that's dwarfed by the gigantic SEARS sign that dominates the structure ... enjoy!" It is what it is, and municipal sign codes have already put the handcuffs on tenant sig- nage — as we all know so well — so really, the whole idea of the traditional tenant-panel cabinet sign is probably not what a land- lord (nor a sign shop) should be offering its tenants. To further beat my point into the ground, let me toss you a hypothetical situation: Suppose it's 1985-ish, and you are given the directive to meet someone at a job site. Back then, if you can remember that far back, the conversation might have gone something like this: "... Um, one more thing. Tom said to meet him at the new job site, not the old one ... It's out south at 3474 Sunburn Boulevard. Write that down! Take your map; use one of the newer maps Tom got from AAA, and don't forget to bring some change for the payphone, just in case you need it. "Tom said it's between the car dealership and the Toot-N-Moo — so look for the dirt mounds! Use the construction traffic entrance and follow the signs, but don't go to the right; S I G N A G E & P R I N T I N G

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