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10 Steps to "Magic Wand" a Sign Design

Friday, June 29, 2018

Ever have a client that wants or needs a new sign, and that’s all the information you are provided?

It's hard for a client to communicate what they want, sometimes they are not sure on the budget (or just won’t share it with you), and have limited or no design criteria at the forefront of the discussion. 

These are the times you wish you had a magic wand to come up with something awesome and inspiring. 

We've all been there, it can be hard, but they are coming to you for help because YOU are the expert. 

So, let’s flip this scenario on it’s head. 

What a superb opportunity to take charge of the process and come up with something amazing, right? 

Here’s 10 steps to “magic wand” your way to a quote:

  1. Images. You can learn a lot from having a client either bring images of signs they like (or hate) and showing them images of examples of either previously made signs or signs you feel might be a good design fit. 
  2. Branding. Review the client’s brand guidelines, logos, and content that is to go on the sign. Is there a horizontal and a vertical version? Figure this out fast, it makes a difference in the look, feel, and obviously the orientation of the sign.
  3. Architecture. Is this an interior or exterior sign? Is there significant architectural elements that could be pulled out to create and enhance the design of the sign? Put a little thought into this, the sign design could be standing right in front of you; exterior elevation, railing detail, cornice, building materials/finish, etc.
  4. Sketch. Everyone can draw a box right? Sketch with your client. Take the images and sketch rough concepts with your client expanding on the components that the client liked from one or two of them.   
  5. Head nods. Very important. Don’t force your idea or you’ll go into design and be wasting time. Once you get some head nods from the client on your sketches you’re on the right track. 
  6. Ask. Directly ask your client if they feel comfortable moving forward with design, share your rates, present a quote for design only. Explain your process of moving forward.
  7. Options. Have your designer provide 3-5 options. Review them before presenting to your client, you know the project best so provide feedback. Eliminate the clutter, remove any designs that don’t fit and present only the best designs that fit the project and client. 
  8. Present. In person is always a good idea to get initial feedback and a general “feel” for the concepts. Remember, they are paying for these designs, so show them the value of being present. Bring material samples or additional similar images too, if relevant. Help them see what you and your designer see. 
  9. Ask Again. Directly ask your client “are you ready to receive a quote on a specific design or would you like further revisions?”
  10. Great job! Quote it and close it, I think you can take it from here. 

Need ideas, images, capabilities? We can help. Email us at 

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