Designing a Custom Sign
You can see from the huge variety of signs we make that almost anything is possible. Here are some general rules about what is possible with a totally custom sign.
If you would like to request a quote for a custom sign, or if you have any other questions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . When requesting a custom quote please be as specific as possible as to the size and content of your sign.
Cost: Custom signs vary greatly in cost and the only definitive answer is a custom quote. That said, here are some rules of thumb. A simple modification to a stock pattern such as adding a street name costs around $50 using a stock font. A totally custom design starts around $200 and goes up depending on the size and complexity of the sign. Here are some approximate prices:
12"x16" address sign, custom font $220
24"x36" store sign, custom font/logo $310
30"x72" store sign, custom font/logo $589
36"x120" store sign, custom font/logo $1000
These are approximate prices for frameless signs with natural patina finish and do not include shipping costs. Larger signs require custom crates and ship via truck freight which can be a significant cost.
Size: The copper we work with comes in 3x10 foot sheets so that is the largest sign we can make out of one piece of copper. We have made signs larger than that by assembling multiple pieces. The smallest sign we could make would be about 1" square.
Letter size: The smallest letters we can render are approximately 1 inch high. When the letters get much smaller than this they lose their sharpness and eventually become illegible. Letters this small can only be done in a fairly plain font. If you want smaller lettering in your sign we can use a different process which involves etching the letters in a thicker sheet of copper. The results are beautiful but it is only economical for fairly small signs. There is no maximum size for lettering.
Number of letters: Each letter is formed individually so signs with more text cost more to make. There aren't any hard and fast rules for cost per letter. We once did a donor wall sign which basically filled the largest sign we could make with the smallest text we could manage. It was the most expensive sign we ever did.
Font/Logo: We can make your sign using almost any font or logo you like. Our stock signs are made using stock fonts and those are the least expensive option. The anniversary signs use a stock font which is good for letters and numbers. The stock address signs use a variety of fonts which are good for numbers only. Custom fonts and logos incur a charge which starts around $75 for a small sign or a simple logo. Because we can work with any type of graphics we can make signs in any language provided you supply the graphics.
Graphics: We can make a sign from anything from a cad file to a cocktail napkin sketch, however you can reduce the cost of your sign somewhat by providing the best graphics possible. If you are working with a graphic designer have them send us an Illustrator CS6 file with all the fonts outlined. If that isn't possible then another vector based format is okay. A raster format like a jpeg incurs more expense because we have to reconstruct the graphic outlines. We are very experienced at processing all different types of files, but we do not design logos.
Level of detail: For most applications the smallest detail we can render is about 1/8".
Shape: Your sign can be any shape you can imagine. Rectangular signs are the least expensive. A sign with straight edges can be finished by bending the copper over on itself, making a nice smooth reinforced edge. This can't be done with curved edges. Hand finishing curved edges is expensive. If the sign has a frame then the edges of the copper are covered by the frame and don't need to be finished. Frames can be made in any shape.
Color/Patina: We only use natural patinas to color our signs. Most of the signs you see on our website are made with either the "Natural" patina or the "Oil Rubbed" patina. The natural patina is the least expensive option because it occurs naturally when we heat the copper sheet to soften it. It is an ever-changing variety of browns and reds. Oil rubbed is an industry term for for a more uniform dark brown/black patina. It is done by first cleaning off the natural patina and then applying an acid based chemical to the metal. It involves neither oil nor rubbing. Other than these options copper can be turned a range of green/blue colors by applying various chemicals. The results can be spectacular, but are unpredictable. These are the only colors that copper will turn naturally. Any other color is achieved by covering the copper with a pigment of some kind like a paint.
Frame: Our signs do not require frames. A frame protects the edges of the copper and adds a finished look. Our frameless rectangular signs are usually made with hemmed edges which gives them a nice rigidity and finished feel. This isn't possible with curved edges. A frame for a 10"x16" custom sign costs $45 and prices vary with size and complexity. Frames are all made of steel. Most stock size frames are powder coated. Larger frames are painted satin black. For marine environments it is possible to supply frames with an arc-spray galvanize undercoating.
Other materials: The vast majority of our signs are made with copper, however the look of copper isn't appropriate for all settings. We also do signs in sheet zinc which works with our sign making process as well. Zinc is a cool silver color which can be patined to a brown/black shade. Zinc signs are typically about 20% more expensive than copper.
Cut out letters: While most of the signs we make have the letters embossed in a sheet of copper we do occasionally make signs where the letters are cut out of copper. These signs are made from a heavier weight of copper than our embossed signs.