Trends in Interior Signage

Each year we discuss broader trends in design and branding that we see coming in the future (or have already begun.) We highlighted this year’s signage and branding trends over at our flagship website This year we also want to discuss broader trends in Interior Signage especially as we’ve really bolstered our interior signage offerings this year with the creation of our new Interior Sign division.

Minimalist Design

One trend we’ve discussed in the past that’s become increasingly popular in branding is minimalist design. This means simpler, cleaner logos, simple color patterns, and clear, concise messaging. This works especially well for interior signs, especially ADA, since that’s already largely what helps these signs be as effective as they can be.

As we cater to more and more clients looking for room signs, bathroom signs, ADA signs, etc. to match their branding, we are increasingly being asked to fabricate signs with such minimalist elements as we described above.


Clients want the ability to customize signage for their needs, and at Ortwein Sign, your one-stop shop for interior and exterior signage, customization is what we do. Increasingly we’re working with clients to be able to provide methods for clients to request customizations online and over the phone, to more quickly and efficiently provide signage for our clients needs.

Digital Signage

Even before Covid changed the way many restaurants and stores interacted with customers, we had already begun to see an increased presence for digital signage in interior spaces. With kiosks, digital menu boards, and digital wayfinding signs, this trend has only increased. We don’t expect it to stop anytime soon.

Interactive Signage

As Digital Signage has increased its presence, so has the use of signage to present interactive experiences. Whether this is a QR code on an airport sign offering flight details, or an ADR (augmented reality) experience, increasingly we’re seeing digital signage in particular used to provide interactive experiences.


One trend we discussed in our 2024 Trends blog over at that is just as true with Interior Signage is the push for sustainable signage. This can be a desire for processes that are more sustainable and economically friendly, but it can also be a push for more sustainable materials. In general, we see a move to reduce our impact on the world by improving our practices from exterior to interior signage.

Mixed Materials

Interior Signage may need to comply with rules, in particular ADA signage; however, there are still ways to get creative with signage and mixed materials is one such way. This can mean using acrylic with glass, metal with bamboo, or a number of other materials.

Future of Interior Signage

Ultimately as with all trends we will have to see what changes in 2024; however, these are all trends we’ve begun to see in 2023 and thus seem more likely to stay the course.

Whether you need custom ADA signs, or wayfinding systems, or any other exterior and interior signage, we at Ortwein Sign are here for you. So reach out to Ortwein Sign today at (423) 867-9208 or visit to see how we can help provide your signage solution!

Understanding The Impact of Promotional Signage on Consumers’ Behavior

In the sign industry, we know that each sign type has their own unique important function to play in the role of a business. Some signs help provide landmarks that people then use to identify where a business or facility is located at. Others help highlight the function of the business and what services and products the business offers. Some signs are more temporary and help illuminate any ongoing sales or changes in hours. Together all of these signs in tandem are meant to help promote a business, to help encourage customers to visit, to encourage sales, and to leave a familiar mark in the mind of the consumers the next time they see the business’s signage.

Anecdotal evidence as to their effectiveness is important of course, and we’ve spoken previously about how to measure such success; however, we also like to delve into research that explores the benefits of signage further. In a paper by assistant professors Ms. Vishakha Joseph and Mr. Atul Parak, they look across an array of existing literature on the subject of promotional signage to better understand the effects on promotional signage on customer behavior.

Visual Merchandising

According to the authors of the study, “Visual merchandising is a key aspect of retail marketing that focuses on the design and presentation of a store’s merchandise and environment to attract and engage customers. Signage plays an essential role in visual merchandising, as it communicates important information to customers, creates a cohesive brand image, and helps guide customers through the store.”

They go on to explain that promotional signage, “can be in the form of posters, banners, or displays” that are placed in front of customers at various positions in or around the store. These signs can also help share information that the business would like the customer to see.

Is Promotional Signage Effective?

The authors pooled the existing research to answer four questions, among them “assess the effectiveness of promotional signage in increasing sales, brand awareness, and consumer engagement.”

Study’s Conclusion

Their conclusion is that, “Promotional signage has a significant positive impact on consumer behavior, including increasing purchase intention and sales. The design and placement of promotional signage are crucial factors that determine its effectiveness.”

Though the authors suggest more research is needed to more fully determine the impact of such signage, and how variability may change its effectiveness, this is already a positive look at the use of promotionals signage in a business and its ability to affect consumers behavior.


Pumpkin Spice, Signs, and Everything Nice: Signage for Cafés and Restaurants

As the leaves begin to turn, and the first snap of the cold begins to make its way in the wind, pumpkin spice and warm coffee is on the mind of many. For us as a sign company this means we’ve spent much of the summer helping coffee shops ensure they are ready for the Fall crowds, by servicing lighting and signs, and also helping provide branding and signage for existing and new coffee shops alike.

In this article, we want to highlight some of the many sign types that are often incorporated into coffee shops, in the hopes that we may provide any present or future coffee shop owners an idea of how to make your business stand apart and also feel welcoming.

Exterior Signs for Cafés

Perhaps what matters most for all businesses are the signs that adorn the front of the building, for these are the signs that essentially say ‘here we are’ to any passersby and potential customers. Depending on the property you own you may be locked into a certain sign type by your landlord, a common agreement we’ve discussed here; however, if you have flexibility you may consider channel letters, pan faces, or if you have a standalone building or a drive-thru a blade sign.

Channel Letters

Channel Letters are defined as sign that consists of three-dimensionals letter that may include a light source. Channel Letters are perhaps the most frequently used sign type for business facades, as they are functional, often preferred by property managers, and allow the incorporation of a brand’s logo, color, and design.

Pan Faces

Scooter's Drive-Thru Signs

Pan Faces are defined as a plastic sign face molded into a three-dimensional shape. Pan Faces may be second only to Channel Letters in their popularity, as they are an affordable option that likewise allows for brand customization for a businesses signage.

Blade Signs

Blade Signs as defined the Sign Research Foundation are a type of projecting sign mounted such that the face of the sign is perpendicular to the flow of traffic.

Though Blade Signs aren’t as common, they stand apart both in their uniqueness and their designs. We in fact have written an entire blog highlighting how blade signs attract customers, and thus we recommend you read that for a deeper understanding of the value of this sign type.

Now these are all excellent examples of common, and effective, sign types that cafés and restaurants use to identify a business.

Temporary Signage for Cafés

We should now discuss the various types of temporary signs that cafés use to highlight their hours, showcase specials, or highlight seasonal beverages such as the beloved pumpkin spice coffee options we see every Fall.

Banner Signs

Banner Signs are signs that are composed of lightweight material; often used in a non-permanent setting, such as to announce a grand opening, sale, or special event. These are often placed on the building itself; however, they may also be placed depending on your municipal code on pylon signs, monument signs, or other structures.

Flag Signs

Flag Signs are similar to banner signs in that they are often composed of lightweight material, and likewise may be used in a non-permanent setting. However their name comes from their unique shape which is often similar to a feather, and they are often placed on a sidewalk in front of the business to quickly identify a name or feature of the shop. For instance a popular flag sign for a coffee shop might has a graphic that looks like liquid coffee, or coffee beans, and the text would simple say ‘COFFEE’.

Sandwich Boards or Sidewalk Signs

Sandwich Boards (Sidewalk Signs) are signs that are not secured or attached to the ground or surface upon which it is located, but supported by its own frame, which is typically in the shape of an A. These signs are frequently used to highlight specials of the day, hours, or other timely announcements. There may be stipulations to the distance, and time, that these signs may be in place, so confer with your local municipal codes or ask the expertise of your local sign company such as Ortwein Sign to learn more.

Interior Signage for Cafés

Cafés often have as many signs in the interior of their business as they do on the outside, and these signs each serve their own purpose that complement the overall mission of the business. Here we breakdown four common types of signs that you will often see in restaurants and cafés in particular.

Menu Boards

Menu Boards are signs that display for customers the various menu items that are on offer at a cafe or restaurant. Though traditionally menu signs have been analog, using paper, or chalk, for rotating menus. More and more menu boards have gone digital, as restaurant and cafe owners have embraced the ease with which they can adjust the display, as well as its ability to better display photos of the drinks and food items available to patrons.

Logo and Statement Signs

Though many restaurants may have a logo on display in their restaurant, cafés have gone above and beyond by making their logo, and often their slogan, an Instagram or Tik Tok worthy attraction for patrons to photograph. Often these are LED signs; however, we at Ortwein Sign have also fabricated real neon signs in-house for businesses as well, which offer lighting and ambience as well as a centerpiece for photos or selfies in the café itself.

Wall Art and Environmental Graphics

Cafés are known for their ambience, and a component of the success is through the art and graphics that are implemented on the walls. Whether these graphics feature local artiss, local settings, or perhaps more generic coffee or cafe items, they help cafés stand out and feel all the more cozy for those in the establishment.

Digital Kiosks

In the past couple of years the use of digital kiosks have taken off, and though not every establishment or cafe chooses to implement these, more and more they provide customers a contactless way to order food while also seeing the myriad of choices up close and personal, as well as photographs of the food items they are browsing through.


Cafés and restaurants incorporate a significant amount of signage, perhaps more than you might have realized; however, we hope we have shown not only the types of signage on offer to cafés and restaurants, but also their uses and how they help engage with patrons to provide a better, more positive experience for the customer.

Signage ROI: How to Measure the Impact of Signage on Business Revenue

Signage is a crucial component of one’s business plan and marketing and brand strategy, and thus its important to give it the full consideration it deserves. After all it’s an essential component of your overall marketing strategy, as it helps passersby and customers recognize your brand, find your business, and ideally encourages them to shop at your business. If you’re working with an expert sign business such as Ortwein Sign, we’ll put all of our skills into designing, fabricating, and installing your sign to ensure its the most effective it can be for your business.

Even so you may still want to look at the ROI of your signage, to truly assess how your signage helps your business goals, whether that means more foot traffic, higher sales, or increased brand visibility. In this guide, we’ve broken down ways that you can measure the ROI of your signage.

Set Objectives

First of all before calculating your ROI, you must define your aims and goals with your signage. By understanding your goal you’ll know what metrics you need to calculate and assess to identify success.

Calculate Foot Traffic to Your Business

Perhaps you want to drive traffic to your business in certain hours, or at an increased rate overall. If for instance you want to increase foot traffic by 20%, then you’ll need to have the means to measure your clientele. You might need counters by the door, surveillance that assists, or perhaps you’ll need to manually count the number of visitors coming into your store.

Track Sales Before and After Signage Is Installed/Refreshed

If you’re looking at measuring the rate of sales, and hoping for an increase after the addition of signage, or signage refresh, then you’ll want to look at your sales before your signage is installed and after your signage.

Customer Surveys Provide Qualitative Data

Customer surveys can also assist you determine the effectiveness of your signage. You can query your customers on whether your signage drew them into your store, whether it impacted their purchasing decisions, and if you’re using signage to promote a sale or promotion whether they noticed and/or remembered that promotion from your signage.

Promotions, Sales, and Coupon Codes and Signs

If you are using signage to promote a specific sale, promotion, or item, you can track the mentions of said promotions or in the case of a coupon code track the uses of said coupon.

Tracking Signage Engagement with Website Analytics

Even if you have a brick and mortar business that you work out of, you may want to drive traffic to your website. By using signage you can implement this strategy, and with the advent of QR codes in particular you are able to track the engagements with these codes. Therefore you can implement these in your business, and look at your web traffic to confirm the number of times a QR code was scanned and thus drove traffic to the site or page you directed people to.

Social Media and Signage

Similarly you can either use QR codes to direct customers in your store to your social media, or you can use hashtags on signs, or use statement signs that customers will want to take pictures of, and you can track the posts and engagement online across a myriad of existing social media platforms.

Brand Awareness

You may be hoping to increase your brand awareness with your signage, in which case through surveys, and social media and website traffic analysis, you can get a better picture if your brand profile and familiarity increased and improved after the addition of signage.

Scooter's Drive-Thru Signs

Comparative Analysis of Signage

To do a comparative analysis of your signage, you will want to compare the cost of signage installation and maintenance against the revenue generated as a direct result of the signage. Calculate the ROI by dividing the net profit (revenue generated from signage minus signage costs) by the signage costs.

Consider the Timing and Time Frame

Remember that though your signage may seem dramatically different from one day to the next, if you’re installing entirely new branding, or refreshing signage, that its impact may take time. So consider the length of time too that you should calculate the effects of signage, as it may impact the results of your analysis.

A/B Testing of Business Signage

Though it’s not practical for all businesses, especially with permanent signage, if you have the opportunity you may want to consider A/B testing your signage to determine its comparative effectiveness. If this isn’t practical but you do implement temporary signage as part of your brand strategy and marketing, then perhaps implement A/B testing with this signage instead.

Call the Experts at Ortwein Sign

If perhaps this is too complex, or you simply do not have the time to fully assess your signage ROI, let us help. We use our expertise day in and day out to provide the best signage for our clients to fully capitalize on your branding and marketing to boost the objectives you want to help your business succeed.

A Look at the Costs and Challenges Impacting the Manufacturing Industry in 2023

During the pandemic businesses across the globe were hit with supply chain issues and increased inflation. Though our supply chain issues have been largely mitigated, thanks to the reopening of states and countries post-pandemic, we are still dealing with inflation even as the Fed tries to combat it with increased rates. This can impact different businesses and industries across the world, but we wanted to highlight in particular how it has affected manufacturing in America.

Supply Chain Issues and Lingering Inflation

Again these supply chain challenges have somewhat been diminished in 2023 thankfully; however, the lingering impacts can still be felt as supply and demand forces continue to push and pull. At first there was a drastic drop in demand for manufacturing products, as projects were canceled or delayed and businesses prepared for losses of income due to this drop. Once states and countries started to return to some semblance of normalcy, and pandemic rescue funds began flowing to companies and individuals alike, demand began to spike for products such as wood, metal, and other manufacturing goods.

What happened at this point though is that many companies had not been producing these materials to the same extent due to the lack of demand. Likewise companies like China, who had a much longer, more severe lockdown than most countries, were primary providers to companies across the world, and thus there were incredibly long delays for their goods. Thus prices began to spike, and since companies needed the materials and had more cash, they were willing to pay those higher prices. This is in effect what drives inflation, and so the costs of materials continued to increase. This is parallel with what was happening with consumer goods as well.

Supply chains have balanced out once again, though some have shifted for better, and for worse, but no longer do we see such incredible delays for products, goods, and materials anymore.

Inflation alas has continued to linger on, even as the sources of inflation have started to dissipate. Though Fed Chair Jerome Powell, and his cohorts, are continuing to fight inflation, while hoping to avoid tipping the country into recession, people, businesses, and yes manufacturers, are having to navigate this new world.

As such we wanted to highlight some of the areas that are most concerning to manufacturers now, and what continues to impact the industry and its pricing for all variety of manufactured products.

Hiring and Retaining Workers in a Hot Labor Market

At the start of the pandemic many of the most-at-risk workers were the doctors and nurses of course, but also included among them were the service industry workers, and essential industry employees, who day in and day out would continue working throughout much of the lockdowns.

As the risk lingered on, and companies struggled for employees, higher wages became standard for some businesses. On a micro level this is incredible for people looking for wages to support their families. On a macro level this can still be a positive; however, it also can further increase inflation as employers earn more money to spend on products, while also leading employees to move out of low-wage industries or low-wage jobs for higher wages. The shift in workers impacted some industries in particular, such as service and retail, and these shortages helped slow down the delivery of some goods. Even industries not as directly impacted though still had to raise wages to compete, and for manufacturing companies some of those raises could impact costs of services.

More recently the work of the Fed to increase interest rates appears to have cooled down the labor market somewhat; however, it’s still a gradual process and one that must be planned delicately so as to not tilt the country into a recession. What will result from these interest rate hikes ultimately is yet to be seen as of this writing.

Cost of Vehicles: New and Used

One cost increase that has been felt across the board, for consumers and businesses, is the high price of new and used vehicles. Story after story of consumers trying to take their car for every mile they can have become commonplace, and this is true for business as well.

However even an existing fleet of vehicles can impact a business, as the cost of repairs is not light either. Especially when running a business, such as a manufacturing company, where materials may need to be moved or installed with an existing fleet, those costs can add up.

Cost of Materials: Mixed

Steel Costs 2009-2022: source:

One positive we have seen, though it can and has fluctuated, in manufacturing in particular is that we have witnessed the cost of certain products such as wood and steel largely returning to lower, pre-pandemic prices.

Cost of Fuel: Still High

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration the average cost of retail gasoline prices bottomed out at the start of the Great Recession and at the start of the pandemic only to then climb dramatically in the months since. Thus the price reached its peak height of 5.05 per gallon in June 2022, and though it’s gone down since it’s still higher than it has been since 2015. Fuel costs can have an impact not just on workers, who have to commute to their jobs, but also on the businesses truck costs. Even if they’re using a third party company to handle shipping these added fuel costs will often be passed on to the business.

What’s Next for Manufacturing

Currently as of this writing the debt ceiling debate lingers large on the economy. Whether America defaults may have a substantial impact on our economy.

In addition to that though we also have high interest rates, set by the Federal Reserve to lower borrowing, and we have continued international uncertainty with the war in Ukraine, the strained relationship with China, and always the potential for uncertainty around the world.

On the more positive side, for manufacturing in particular, there’s been a boost over the last two administrations to make products in America in a way that’s not been the case in generations. With recent bipartisan bills such as the CHIPS act, the revised NAFTA agreement, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the focus has been on prioritizing American industry and workers. This hopefully will have a positive impact on manufacturing and on the country as a whole.

Branding, Exterior, & Interior Signs for Franchises and Franchisees

Though each franchise business is unique and has its own guidelines and procedures determined by their parent company, what is common between them all is a sense of uniformity with branding across the branches owned by the franchisees. That way no matter whether you’re in a franchise in Miami, Florida, or Juneau, Alaska, you recognize what establishment you are in and you get a similar sense of place. If you are a first-time franchise owner you’ll be given a lot of information from your corporate headquarters to let you know what you can and cannot do with your business. Today we wanted to break down what those guidelines could look like as it relates to branding, exterior signage, and interior signage.

Exterior Signs

Though the physical location of a business can vary drastically, especially in rural places compared to metro cities, the exterior signage will usually be incredibly consistent. One example of this can be found with Starbucks. Starbucks may have stand alone properties in suburban areas, and sometimes they’ll take up a tenant space in a larger commercial property. While the larger, suburban business space may have more signs and a drive-thru (not typical for all Starbucks), there will usually be one or more signs on the building itself that you can find at every Starbucks in the world.

Starbucks as well is a great example as they over the last few decades have increasingly franchised into other businesses, such as Target, Food City, hospitals, and colleges and universities. This means they are not the dominant business in the property; however, they still need to brand their space and traditionally do so with exterior signage to let visitors know they are present.

Interior Signs

The world of interior signs is often far more vast than people realize, and it can include everything from ADA signs, to menu boards, vinyl graphics, electronic message centers, electronic kiosks, environmental graphics (i.e. wall art or mural art), and interior neon and LED signs.

While the interior of a business allows opportunities for franchises to customize their space to match their community, it’s also a space to use familiar branding and signs to create a familiar sense of place.

Panda Express is one such business that due to the layout and interior colors and graphics presents very quickly to customers a sense of who Panda Express is and a familiarity with all other Panda Express locations. Even in universities with Panda Express, where there is often less physical space and perhaps competing restaurants in a food court environment, once you approach the cashier you’ll see familiar colors, designs, vinyl/graphics, and menu colors.

This isn’t just true with fast food establishments though, as franchises include everything from hotels to escape rooms to travel and gas centers and more. Hotels especially are often licensing the branding from a major company, be it Marriott or Hilton, but the hotel itself is run by a franchisee and not the corporation itself.

No matter how small the business or how large the property is, the use of interior signs and branding can help visitors immediately feel at home in these businesses.

Exceptions to the Rule

Again each franchise has their own rules, but there have been a few notable exceptions to the rule that “all must match”, as some corporations have now started to allow for increased personalization to promote community ties.

In 2021 for instance, 7-Eleven reached out to local artists to commission murals for their stores exteriors and interiors.

“We kicked off our mural program with a local artist at a new 7-Eleven Evolution Store, an experiential testing ground where we test new concepts, products and services before we scale them across the 7-Eleven system,” said 7-Eleven Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Marissa Jarratt. “It’s been a hit so far and I’ve seen my fair share of excited customers stop what they’re doing to take Instagram-worthy photos in front of the larger-than-life mural. This positive customer behavior and feedback has encouraged us to expand the concept to more stores in 2021.””


Covid’s Impact on Franchisee’s Signs

Covid also meant individual franchisees had to adapt especially to any local restrictions imposed by their municipalities. Though this hasn’t changed permanent signs as much as it has temporary, it still means that you can walk into one Taco Bell and see an touchscreen menu board off to one side, while the next may simply have antimicrobial screens at the counter.

For a fun example showing specific exceptions to the rule with McDonald’s check out’s “Non-Standard McDonald’s Architectural Design” list.

What Business Owners Need to Know About Sign Insurance

Signs are a key part of a business owner’s plan and assets, and like the rest of your property, business owners will often want to make sure their signage is insured.

In this blog, we breakdown what you need to know for your signage insurance.

What type of insurance covers my signage?

Signage is covered under the umbrella of “Commercial Property Insurance”.

According to,

“Commercial Property Insurance covers your business against everything from a minor hiccup to a major loss.

For example: 

  • A fire could destroy your building and the contents inside
  • A burst water pipe could damage valuable documents
  • A storm could damage your outdoor sign”

Weather in particular is a common reason for signs to be damaged. Wind, hail, snow, earthquakes, and tornadoes are all reasons why a sign may incur damage.

Is Commercial Property Insurance different from General Liability Insurance? defines General Liability Insurance as insurance that “helps protect you from claims that your business caused bodily injury or property damage. It can also protect you if someone sues you for advertising injury.”

This is different from Commercial Property Insurance, which “covers your business’ physical location and equipment, whether you own or lease it.”

These insurances may often be paired together in a package by your insurance company; however, you should double check with them to be sure.

Who provides Commercial Property Insurance?

Commercial property insurance is covered by many large and small insurance companies alike.

Does insurance differ for on-premise signs and off-premise signs?

Depending on your lease agreement, you may need to acquire insurance that covers your on-premise signage.

If you have a roadside sign like an Electronic Message Center then you should consider insurance for your sign. These signs are often more costly than on-premise signs, and their positioning can sometimes make them easier targets for weather, accidents, and vandalism.

I’m leasing a tenant space in a commercial property development. Do I cover my sign’s insurance or does my landlord?

While lease agreements may vary, you as a tenant are generally required to purchase the signs for your business. Therefore you are also the ones required to secure commercial property development insurance to cover said signage.

Does my sign company need to engage with my insurance company when my sign is damaged?

In the case of a damaged sign, if it needs to be fully replaced then your insurance company may reach out to the fabricators of the sign to determine the original cost. If it needs to be repaired then they may reach out to a local sign company to get a quote for the potential repair costs.

How much will my sign coverage cost?

According to, costs will be determined largely by “the size and location of the sign.” Also under consideration will be if the sign is “in an area prone to extreme weather, such as wind, which could damage the sign.”

All You Need to Know About Project Management

Project Managers are the backbone of our team at Ortwein Sign. They oversee the project from the time it’s sold to the time we drive our crew off your lot after successfully installing your signage. To get even more detailed, they handle permitting, work day to day with our fabrication team, and hand off all the needed notes to our installers, while ensuring they have the needed information to do their job. Simply put, our Project Managers make things go smoothly. So in this blog we thought we’d not only give a shoutout to our great team, but we would also break down what makes an effective project management team. So you can see not only how our team works, but also we hope you can take away some pointers for your business.

What is Project Management?

Project Management in many ways is just what it sounds like: managing a specific, or multiple, projects from start to finish. Project Management is used for projects of all sizes, scopes, and industries. For companies without a Project Manager or Project Management team, having an expert project manager on your team can be a revelation to really see how effective and essential a Project Manager can be.

What is a Project Manager’s Role?

While the nuances of a Project Manager’s day-to-day work varies based on the work itself, essentially they oversee the completion of a project from start to finish. This includes creating a timetable for the completion of said project, scheduling and delegating tasks to the team, checking-in on the progress and completion of said tasks, assessing what needs aren’t being met and where needed pulling in additional resources, and all of that while reporting routinely to their supervisors, the relevant parties involved, or both, the overall status of said project.

What is the Project Management Triangle?


The Project Management Triangle is how a project manager manges the quality of the job. The three lines making up the triangle are: scope, time, and cost. You may have heard the old adage “you can have it cheap, you can have it fast, or you can have it done well” This speaks to the very push and pull that makes up the triangle and the struggles of a Project Manager’s role in balancing these demands.

Do Project Managers Need Expertise in the Industry They’re Managing?

While it certainly helps, there could be an argument that the industry elements may be less required than general know-how on simply effectively managing the many elements of a project from start to finish.

At Ortwein Sign, we’ve had Project Managers enter with little experience in the sign industry, but with training we were able to work together to get them up to speed with the nuances of the sign industry.

At the same time, we’ve had Project Managers with experience in our field, and while that’s certainly sped up the onboarding process, what we relied on from them most was their ability to organize, delegate, and manage all aspects of the projects they were given.

What Skills Do Project Managers Need?

Project Managers need a variety of skills, including:

Detail-Oriented Thinking

Projects can vary in scope, but as is so often said “the devil’s in the details”. It’s these details where an excellent Project Manager shines, because by overseeing all the smaller elements of a project they help the full project come together.

Time Management

Though many projects may have deadlines coming from leadership, or some external deadline, a Project Manager may need to set these deadlines, and certainly they’ll need to work within deadlines given to them. Project Managers therefore often rely on timelines and progress charts to keep up with where the completion of the project is and also the status of each individual contribution to the greater project.

Communication Skills

Communication Skills may seem obvious as a need for any employee; however, for Project Managers its essential. Not only do Project Managers need to communicate to employees up and down the chain of leadership, but they also need to really listen and grasp the information they’re being given by everyone involved. Oftentimes they’ll have to take the information from the top of the chain and relay it down and vice versa.

Ability to Run Meetings

Though essentially a component of communication skills, one aspect we’d like to single out is the ability to run meetings. Now a smaller project may not require many people to be in a room at one time; however, whether the meeting is small or large, this is another time where the Project Manager will have to field questions, listen closely to all that’s being said, transcribe these notes and often relay them after, and more.

Organizational Skills

These almost needn’t be said; however, sometimes the obvious needs to be stated and that is to say that Project Managers absolutely require organizational skills. Organizational skills are essential at every level, as it’s needed when constructing a timeline, when coordinating notes, when preparing for meetings, etc.

Do Project Managers Need to Be Certified?

Some companies may require certifications, while others may not, but if a Project Manager is looking to get ahead then there are certifications out there established specifically for Project Managers.

One such certification is the Project Management Professional (PMP)®. The PMP is offered by the Project Management Institute.

For more details on the Project Management Institute, visit their website:

What Pushbacks Do Project Managers Hear Most Often?

Project Managers are an essential tool for many companies; however, that doesn’t mean that the inclusion of Project Managers on a team isn’t sometimes met with doubt and skepticism. Many employees may feel they’re already “handling” their projects just fine, and while that may be true, Project Managers often allow managers, sales team members, and others more time to do the job they were hired for.

Likewise, Project Managers are like a safety net for any missed moments in a project. While it’s ultimately up to the employees working on the project to complete their portion of the job, Project Managers act as a guide and safety line. They make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

What’s the Biggest Struggle for Project Managers?

Project Managers in many ways are the unsung heroes of an office. They usually do not have direct authority over those working on the project, but ultimately their job is ensuring the projects success. Therefore they are incredibly reliant on the work of their team. They often lack “sticks” to ensure success, but they can and should use “carrots” to encourage and support workers up and down the line who help bring the project together. Project Managers can be asked to relay difficult messages to higher-ups, and line workers; however, they also have plenty of opportunity to pass along praise. It’s a difficult balancing act for sure, but an excellent Project Manager rises to these challenges every time.

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    Guide to Signage for the Self-Storage Industry

    The industry of self-storage continues to thrive, and more and more entrants are coming into the industry to set up their own self-storage businesses. At Ortwein Sign, we’ve had the opportunity to support many self-storage businesses with their signage, and in that time we’ve been able to use our expertise to establish some tips we recommend for owners purchasing signage for self-storage units. In this blog, we breakdown what you need to know about signage if you’re considering starting, acquiring, or growing your self-storage business.

    Why is Signage Important for Self-Storage?

    Storage Pug, an industry leader providing websites and marketing support for self-storage companies, recently emphasized that proximity is one of the key factors self-storage customers consider when looking for self-storage options online. They go on to say that for self-storage owners a strong Google My Business profile is essential as online queries will pop-up the nearest businesses on Google. A business with a strong GMB presence therefore will capture would be customer’s attention more successfully than a poorly managed GMB.

    Much can be said that signage is important for essentially the same reason. A good looking, working sign will attract local passersby, especially if the signage stands out like a pylon sign. Whereby an unlit sign or a sign that doesn’t stand out means the would-be customer may drive right on by for a self-storage option just a little further.

    What kind of Signage helps self-storage companies stand apart?

    Though every municipality is different, and thus may allow or not allow certain signs, for our clients the bulk of our orders have been for a combo of pylon signs (or monument if pylons are not allowed) and channel letters.

    Pylon Signs

    Pylon signs are freestanding business sign structures with a custom single or multi-tenant illuminated sign box supported by one or multiple steel poles. The sign base and pole surroundings can be constructed of various materials. Pylon sign bases can be constructed of high-density urethane with a stucco finish, brick or block structures, or welded aluminum base primed and painted. Single or double sided, custom paint colors are available to complement your architecture or corporate identity. Most sign companies can incorporate a full color LED digital message board if desired. A digital message board can be programmed in a matter of seconds from a remote location.

    Pylon signs are an incredibly effectively way to bring attention to your property or business. If you have a complex with many tenants, then pylon signage featuring business names and logos are an effective way to provide advance notice for the location of your tenants’ businesses. Often, the first impression of your business is a pylon signs. Pylon signs therefore offer high impact and low maintenance exposure for only a few dollars a day.

    Custom pylon signs can help direct traffic to your business location, and they can help communicate the message of a single business or multi-tenant complex. Customized pylon signs are very popular when it comes to identifying shopping plazas and industrial complexes, car dealerships, gas stations, restaurants, mini-malls, hotels, and retail locations. By implementing a pylon sign into your project’s design scheme you can take your brand to new levels.

    Monument Signs

    Taft Hwy Self Storage monument sign with blue mountain sketched above lettering

    Monument signs vary in size; however, they are often the approximate height of a person. They can be made of a variety of materials including bricks, sign foam or aluminum.

    Though pylon signs are often taller than monument signs, there are occasions where a monument sign can actually be a pylon sign. The signage used to highlight all occupants of a strip mall calls for the services of a monument design with the height of a pylon marker. It is the best of both worlds and helps to give each merchant a chance at attracting customers, which of course benefits the other businesses as well.

    Property owners usually favor a tall design that gives each occupant a signage spot of similar size. With a smaller marker, only top-billers get good-sized signage whereas the smaller businesses might have to make do with a crammed display of their name or logo.

    Channel Letters

    A typical channel letter is a three-dimensional graphic sign element. Its channel is fabricated from sheet metal, most often aluminum since it will not rust. A flat sheet of aluminum is typically cut on a table by a computer-controlled router. This creates the back of the channel and is the basis for the letter shape. The letter can is painted and fitted with any lighting components necessary such as neon gas tubes or light-emitting diode (LED) modules. When illuminated at night, channel letters draw the eye of passers-by.

    Channel letters are a prime choice among for those looking for exterior business signs. The shape, size, and illumination of each letter ensures that your sign will stand out among other businesses, especially at night. The construction of these letters allows you endless options for custom signs. The letters are available in nearly any font, color, and size. As each letter is individually crafted, you can also incorporate your business logo in the design.

    What kind of Signage is essential for the day-to-day operations of a Self-Storage company?

    Once you’ve captured their attention with strong exterior signage, you also need to ensure the signage around your complex can help present and future customers navigate your storage units. This is where wayfinding signage especially comes into play.

    Wayfinding Signage

    Wayfinding signage systems consists of signs that let you know where you are, where you want to go, where you need to be, and sometimes even where you aren’t allowed.  When used in tandem, these signs should help direct customers and visitors alike right to their destination.

    Directional Signage

    Directional Signage is a valuable tool for self-storage units to help direct customers to their units. These signs often include arrows to help point more precisely in the direction of the destination.

    Identification Signage

    Identifying Signs at storage units consist of signage that helps label the key buildings, including the main office or offices, as well as the as names or numbers of the units themselves. If a self-storage unit has a group of units called Complex A and Complex A consists of Units 100-120, then identifying signs would be placed at the start of each complex and on the door or facade of each unit.

    What will the sign company need from me as a Self-Storage Owner?

    To be the most effective partner for your sign needs, Sign Companies will generally need three things:

    Logo and Branding (Vector Format)

    If your signage includes your logo at all, and it most likely should, then your sign company partner will need your logo art to help them design and fabricate your sign. Vector format is the preferred type of file sign companies will need as it allows them to scale the art to fit signs of various sizes.

    Survey of Your Site/Conversations During Pre-Planning

    Sign companies can help build a plan for your signage needs and how best to satisfy them. By providing your sign company early information on the site, both and you and the sign company will be better served as they help understand what signs will need to be fabricated and where they’ll need to be installed. This will also help the sign company permit the signs, which is a requirement in many municipalities.

    By contacting your sign partner early, you’ll also help alleviate potential unknown headaches along the way that may crop up if you haven’t already built-in signage to your business plan.

    Access for the Installation

    Bringing a sign company in early is the best way to prevent access issues; however, whatever time you begin to work with your sign partner you should consider what access they will need to installing signs.

    Cranes in particular are heavy and take up a fair amount of space. Therefore the surface on which they stand, and the space allotment, is important to consider. Storage companies also often have retention ponds too, and these can be often overlooked when considering access until the sign company is brought into the conversation. Be sure to mention to your sign company if and where you have a retention pond as early as possible, so the sign company can use this in their planning.

    How to choose the right sign company for the job?

    When considering which sign company to partner with, you want a company with a strong record of customer service, project management skills, as well as the know-how and equipment to develop, fabricate, and install your sign package.

    We at Ortwein Sign pride ourselves on our fabrication, customer service, and project management skills, and we believe our 99 years in business can be put to great use to help develop and execute the best sign plan possible for your self-storage business.

    Call us today at (423) 867-9208 or fill out a quote request form to see how we can help with your signage needs!

    How to Enhance Your Office with Interior Signage

    Signage and branding can be used to enhance the work environment, from the entrance, to the foyers, the hallways, and the offices themselves. This can be used as part of an overall strategy to help boost productivity, employee retention, and to promote a strong positive work culture. Signage is also key for promoting a strong sense of place with visitors and can be effectively used to guide visitors to where they are needing to go. In this guide, we breakdown the types of interior signage, along with how each can be used to effectively enhance your office space.

    Second Surface Door or Window Vinyl

    Moonlight Roller Interior Sign on Glass Window

    Whether you have a large complex, or a small office space, second surface vinyl is often the first interior signage that visitors and your employees will see. If you only have one entry door then this is the perfect space to brand your door with your logo, and it’s also a key location to add business hours to help indicate your open hours. If you have a complex with many doors, then interior door vinyl can help indicate which doors are publicly accessible, and which are not, and with further branding you can promote a sense of place as your logo could appear on all the doors of your facility.

    Wall Logo / Lobby Signs

    If you enter an office for the first time, you’ll likely see the logo on a side or back wall opposite the door so that when anyone enters the room it’s one of the first things they see. This can be done in a simple fashion or in a more ornate artistic style. Either way, by including this feature this sign not only helps highlight your office’s brand but it also helps assure any office visitors that they have indeed arrived at the location they’re seeking.

    Entryway Directory

    Directories are essential for new visitors in particular to find their way around your office space. By providing a directory upon entry, visitors will find who they’re looking for quickly and see what room they’re located in.

    Wayfinding Signage

    Interior wayfinding signage that says South and Town Center on two walls at the front of a hallway

    Pair a directory with additional wayfinding signage to help get visitors on the right foot. Wayfinding signage systems can be a perfect way to help direct traffic where you want it to be, and it can also be an opportunity for branding as brand colors and fonts can be included. Wayfinding signage can include everything from statuatory signs, built to display rules and regulations, to identificational signs, which indicate the name and purpose of a place or space.

    Learn all about the six types of wayfinding signage in our blog: Wayfinding Systems Solutions Through Signage

    Title Signs

    Title signs are perhaps the most omnipresent example of identificational signs. Each office space will undoubtedly have an occupant, or more, and by putting the name and title of the teacher, professor, office worker, etc. in a small sign on the door visitors know that they’re at the office space of said person. These can be fabricated in such a way as to slide in a frame , should they need to be replaced as office workers come and go. Digital LED screens can even be used in this manner as well, which will help increase the longevity of the sign though at a perhaps greater initial cost.

    Branded ADA Signs

    ADA sign on table with reflection; sign says PRIVATE 123

    ADA signs are a requirement for most any office, and while there are specific requirements for ADA signs there still exists the opportunity to brand ADA signs with colors or logos.

    Environmental Graphics, Murals, and Wall Art

    Graphics of Chattanooga and text on wall interior

    Wall art and mural art are perhaps the greatest assets for adding creative uses of branding in an interior space. Even if the logo isn’t included you can use brand colors in the art to signify your brand in a more subtle fashion.

    Oftentimes too wall art is an opportunity to tie an office closer to the community they serve, whether that be photos of the city from which they operate or perhaps photos or graphics of their customers. Employees can also be represented through wall art as well.

    Neon Signs

    Neon signs have historically been considered primarily as exterior signage, except for perhaps the many neon bar signs one finds. More and more though neon signs are used as accent pieces to brighten, metaphorically and literally, office spaces. These can be fun ways for offices to emphasize a motto, the brand name and logo, or to simply create a pleasant vibe in the office space.

    Our team fabricates Neon signs for Interior and Exterior uses:

    Download our FREE guide to learn all about neon signs today!