Custom Sign Writing: How to Brief Your Designer

Your brand book is ready, your site is ready to launch, and you’ve organised, catered, and invited your entire community to a killer launch event. Knowing that you’re ready to invest in a custom made sign that will stand in as an icon for your organisation, you’ve likely thought—where does that even come from and how do I get one made?

Instead of trolling through the interwebs to find mass production printers, overseas suppliers, or a graphics team that can only get half of the job done, Printerra has outlined a step-by-step guide to find, select, and brief your next custom project sign writer.

Want to get this ball rolling? Read on.

Getting Started: The Easy-to-Follow Custom Sign Making Guide

When you’re in the deep end of business ownership, project management, or event planning, it can seem like there are an unlimited number of decisions, tasks, and deadlines to be met and made. Instead of trying to hack your way through finding, briefing, and working with a new production team, we’ve created this easy-to-follow guide for you to hack below.

  1. Collect and review your vision board, branding needs, and project or event requirements
  2. Review existing or recently launched campaigns, marketing assets, and upcoming needs
  3. Collate all into one document: colour codes, images, deadlines, budget, installation, and expected future uses.
  4. Send!

Short and sweet, right? Let us break down each in a quick run through below.

Putting Pen to Paper: Confirm Plans, Deadlines, and Branding Needs

First things first—get your creative ideas organised. If you’re an existing or soon-to-be launched brand with dedicated colour codes and style guide—chances are you will know exactly what can, and can’t, be considered for your new piece. Among a few key considerations, there are:

  1. Colour codes: Printerra works with PMS codes—or, Pantone Matching System colour codes. Chances are these have been confirmed for your brand or next campaign and need to be listed for the designer’s use.
  2. Font guide: Does your brand have dedicated fonts for all marketing collateral? List these out and send them our way as well.
  3. Vision board: One of the best ways to create a cohesive brand-to-asset look is by creating a vision board. Knock together some images of your existing website, social media, or campaign materials and add in a few inspirational or ideal influences that you want your sign to look like. Already done? Feel free to share this with your designer!
  4. Copyright: Make sure that you own the Intellectual Property (IP) for any quotes, logos, design files, or small graphics you plan to use—better safe than sorry! (Especially if you’re planning to use this sign at a later date in marketing assets, publicity photos, or in advertising.)

Next up: get your facts straight. This includes:

  1. Required deadline: All project team members need to know exactly when all assets (including signs) need to be delivered and on-site ready to go.
  2. Consider shipping time: Sending from the maker’s studio to your location may come with longer than expected delivery times if your event or office is in a remote location.
  3. Budget: This is a big one. All of the great ideas in the world can only move so far forward if your budget can’t meet the final scope. Consider your event or marketing budget ahead of time and how much is allocated for sign creation. Also—consider long-term per-use cost. These investment items can absolutely be used time and again in promotional shoots, on social media, and in product photography.

Cohesive Brand Design: Review Campaigns, Websites, and Collateral

You’ve done it! You’ve gotten your facts straight, money in order, and creative vision on point. This last one is a big one—if you want to get a long life out of your next business investment (read: your custom made piece) you want to make sure it aligns with your existing collateral enough to not be a one-off event. 

To do this, we recommend:

  1. Looking at all existing public-facing assets including your website, social media, publicity or advertising campaigns, and product or service provider photography.
  2. Considering upcoming campaigns—better yet, if you’ve mapped out several months to a years’ worth of events, launches, or promos. You can easily incorporate an iconic piece into photo shoots, video shoots, media, and social media to create a visual anchor for your brand.
  3. Reviewing cost per use: Once you can map out several events or locations for sign use, you can break down the cost of the investment over several projects. How’s that for cost management!

Custom Sign Writing: The Final Brief

You’ve made it—you figured out the hard facts, stats, dollars, and deadlines needed to bring your vision and event to life, and considered its ongoing use for your marketing, brand awareness, and potential campaigns.

While we like to think we’re a humble crowd, we also think that’s a pretty good business analysis and marketing overview for one straightforward project!

To cap things off, contacting a sign writer and maker who can show you examples of previously completed work will be your second to last step. Request product images, a portfolio, or look at ready-made pieces to ensure their design and production capabilities can match what you’re looking for. (And don’t forget to talk about costs. Never forget your budget!)

Once you’ve found the right team for you, organise and list out the above details in a streamlined, easy to follow brief, including:

  1. Event date, deadlines, and shipping requirements
  2. Budget
  3. Creative vision—or share your vision board
  4. Required branding: colour codes, graphics, logos, confirmation of IP

And that’s that. Once your likely candidate has a chance to review your project needs, chances are they’ll get the ball rolling with any needed information, details, or design files.

Like we said—we’re humble people. But how’s that for taking a potentially overwhelming task and making it simple?

(Need a custom sign writer and production team in Sydney? Feel free to reach out to the Printerra Customer Happiness team today.)

January 27, 2022