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Building Signs

Grab Attention of Passersby with Blade Signs in Portland Oregon

By | Blade Signs, Building Signs, Exterior Signs

No, we’re not talking about displaying posters of that Wesley Snipes vampire movie from the ‘90s. In fact, blade signs do not involve swords, knives, or weapons of any sort. However, they are a force to be reckoned with in the signage industry.

If your shop is situated in one of the Portland neighborhoods that gets a lot of pedestrian traffic, you could be missing out on a great opportunity to lure in new clients if you don’t have a blade sign. These markers are designed to catch the eyes of passersby and expose them to your branding. Fortunately, Specialty Graphic Solutions is your blade signs for retailers in Portland, Oregon ninja master.

Tell Me More about These “Blade” Signs

Have you ever started your own business? If so, you probably heard some old-timer make a comment about “hanging out your shingle.” You might have dismissed them as kooky, but they were making a reference to the simple sign that was used years ago to let others know that you were selling something. This shingle would extend straight out from, or perpendicular to, your building. For instance, a doctor or lawyer may hang out a shingle with a symbol for their industry.

Flash forward to the modern high-tech days, and you can find blade signs that are quite simple or lighted and intricate. We usually recommend blade signs for:

  • Areas with frequent foot traffic
  • Strip malls
  • Stores with sidewalks in front
  • Downtown boutiques

Why Use Blade Signs?

Let’s go for a mental walk. Most businesses know to put a sign over their entrance to let consumers know “Hey! We’re here!” These signs are usually flush mounted on the face of the building, so you can only see them as you approach the building head on, but here we are on our mental walk – watch out for that dog doo – and we aren’t coming up on the stores face on. We’re coming from the side. We don’t know what stores are up ahead.

Okay. Let’s stop walking now. You can count those steps toward your FitBit total. How could this above confusion about what stores are ahead be fixed? That’s right: Just install blade signs. Here are some other benefits to blade signs:

  • Stores within Stores – Do you operate a shop that’s located in an arcade (think covered passageway with shops, not video games) or within a larger business or super center? Let consumers know where you are from afar with a blade sign.
  • Get’em Coming and Going – Most blade signs are double sided so that people can see them from at least two directions.
  • Attract Traffic – Blade signs are specifically designed for people walking, biking, rolling, riding, or slithering by.

At SGS, we offer customized blade signs that are specifically tailored to fit the needs of your organization. We don’t believe in cookie-cutter solutions. We listen to your vision for the project and come up with recommendations that fit your goals and budget.

Get started today by contacting our Mighty Sign Makers for a free consultation on blade signs for retailers in Portland, Oregon.



Questions? Drop us a line at hello@SGSgraphic.com or call us at (360) 635-5556 and unless we’re up to our elbows in alligators, a live person will answer. If you leave a message we will call you back pronto.

Great Signage Solutions for Restaurants in Vancouver WA

By | Building Signs, Menu Boards, Restaurant Signs

Let’s start off today’s blog with a mental scenario. Let’s say you’re driving or possibly even walking the streets of Vancouver when hunger pangs strike. You thought you’d skip breakfast to help maintain your figure, but now, it’s early afternoon, and you’ve neglected to feed yourself. You need food! But, where should you go? Are you going to trust that diner with the outdated and busted signage? Or, are you going to step into the café with the new vibrant markers? The choice is pretty obvious.

When people are famished, they’re going to check out their surroundings for the best restaurant that isn’t likely to lead to food poisoning. And, they’re going to choose the eatery that’s clean and clearly pays attention to the details. After all, clean signs mean clean kitchens and fresh food. Are your signs so disheveled that they’d induce Chef Gordon Ramsay to unleash a string of expletives? Then, it might be time to check out these signage solutions for restaurants in Vancouver, WA.

Step One: Entice Customers with Exquisite Exterior Signs

Getting hungry diners through your door is your first step. Exterior signs are crucial for this. Even if consumers have been to your place before, you still need to work at drawing them back in. Custom banners are an effective way to showcase some of your top-selling dishes in full color or to advertise your daily specials.

Window graphics will help you kick it up a notch. Bam! As you see with Bleu Door Bakery, we created pieces of flair that perfectly complemented their branding for a sophisticated appearance. The window graphics also served a utilitarian purpose in listing their hours of operation and some of their offerings.

Step Two: Get Diners to Buy Stuff with Interior Signs

Ease of use and aesthetic appeal should be your top concerns when designing and picking interior graphics for your restaurant. Every eatery can benefit from menu boards. With most menu boards, you can grab the attention of foodies, highlight whatever menu items you want, and update your information easily.

Get your floor and walls in on the graphics action as well. You can set the mood for patrons the moment they enter your door with floor graphics featuring your logo. Or, display wall murals that are evocative of your cuisine. Vinyl graphics provide seemingly endless ways for you to boost your brand awareness and beautify your interior.

Step Three: Profit!

Essentially, new signage on the interiors and exteriors of your restaurants will assist you with:

  • Catching diners’ eyes
  • Increasing sales
  • Acquiring new customers
  • Building brand recognition
  • Promoting menu items

This all adds up to big profits, which are generally hard to come by in the restaurant industry with its razor-thin margins. The mighty sign makers at Specialty Graphic Solutions are proud to supply the broadest range of restaurant signs in Vancouver, WA. Contact us today for a free consultation and estimate if you are interested in learning more. After all, you never know when Chef Ramsay might stop by.



Questions? Drop us a line at hello@SGSgraphic.com or call us at (360) 635-5556 and unless we’re up to our elbows in alligators, a live person will answer. If you leave a message we will call you back pronto.

Exterior Signs and Window Graphics for Restaurants in Camas WA

By | Building Signs, Exterior Signs, Window Graphics

There are some restaurants that can survive without any signage. In fact, we’ve dined at one in that big rosy city to the south of us. We only learned about them from word of mouth and only because their food is relatively inexpensive and delectable. This mystique works for some eateries. However, for the vast majority of establishments, signs are a key marketing tool.

Despite featuring mouthwatering dishes that can speak for themselves, Feast at 316 decided to take the unpretentious, decidedly less hipster route of using signage to promote their business. So, they called in the mighty sign makers from Specialty Graphics Solutions for exterior acrylic signs for restaurants in Camas, WA.

What Is Feast at 316?

You may like the idea of feasting at 3:16 in the morning or afternoon, but that isn’t what the name Feast at 316 is referring to. Instead, the name is a reference to their location at 316 Northeast Dallas Street in downtown Camas. Owner and chef Tim McCusker serves up delicious seafood, steaks, craft cocktails, and wines. This fine eatery is also known for its historic décor. The walls are adorned with machines from the city’s 132-year-old paper mill. There’s also a small row of seats from Liberty Theater, which burned down in 1994.

When such an awesome new local business came to us for exterior signs and window graphics for restaurants in Camas, WA, we were chomping at the bit to get started. We had previously completed window graphics and a massive banner for them. This thing was huge: 230” wide (that’s almost twenty feet) by 81” high. The moral of the story is that Feast at 316 knew they could count on us to season their new exterior signage perfectly.

What We Did for Feast at 316?

After a consultation where we listened to what Feast at 316 had in mind for this project, we took a closer look at the brick façade next to the entrance of the restaurant and took some measurements. We then served them up an appetizing artistic rendering of what the finished dimensional acrylic sign would look like. Once we were certain it suited their palate, we got down to work fabricating the new sign.

For this marker, we started by creating the lettering. For the “Feast316” part of the sign, each 3/16” (no pun intended) thick acrylic panel is reverse cut to allow the letters highlighted with colored vinyl underneath to show through to give some depth. For “Cocktails & Steak House” and “Camas,” white cut vinyl was applied on top of 3/16” thick acrylic rectangles.

Each piece is individually glued in place to the ¼” frost acrylic backer. Overall, the sign is 5’ 5” wide by 2’ tall. We worked with the restaurant to install the new marker at a time when it wouldn’t sour people’s dining experience. The sign was standoff mounted with 3/8” chrome spacers for added dimensionality.

In the end, Feast at 316 sent their compliments to our gourmet sign makers. Our recipe for success left another client satisfied!

If you want to improve the presentation of your dining establishment, contact SGS today for a free consultation on exterior signage. Bon appétit!



Questions? Drop us a line at hello@SGSgraphic.com or call us at (360) 635-5556 and unless we’re up to our elbows in alligators, a live person will answer. If you leave a message we will call you back pronto.

Using Dimensional Letters for Buildings in Vancouver WA

By | Building Signs, Dimensional Letter Signs, Exterior Signs

There’s another dimension beyond that which is visible to just one eye. It’s a dimension as vast as three or four inches of depth and as timeless as up to a decade or more. It encompasses light and shadow, elegance and sophistication, and it lies at the intersection of the skill of mighty sign makers and the summit of signage industry knowledge. This is a dimension of imagination. It’s an area which we call the Dimensional Letter Zone.

Types of Dimensional Letters for Buildings

In case you didn’t catch it from our surreal opening, we’re talking about dimensional letters for buildings in Vancouver, WA today. Before we go any further, we want to make it clear what we mean by “dimensional letters.” This term covers a broad range of signs, including numbers and logos. It can even include flat letters that are installed with spacers to give them their dimensionality.

Now that we have that cleared up, you should know that when you prominently display your company’s logo and name on your building, you’ll catch eyes and let passersby know, “Hey! We’re here!” Commonly referred to as 3D letters (don’t worry: you don’t need the special glasses for these) and raised letters, dimensional letters can stand up against the Pacific Northwest elements to last for several years. They’re also made from an array of different materials:

Sign Foam – Due to its versatility and environmental-friendliness, sign foam is used for many of our projects. These letters are made of high-density urethane and can be up to three inches thick. We make them look cool by adding digitally printed vinyl, covering the letters with metal or acrylic laminates, or painting the letters to match your branding.

Aluminum – Aside from heavy metal, aluminum is the most popular metal in the signage industry. This is because it’s inexpensive, durable, and has many uses. Again, to keep your brand consistency, we can paint your aluminum letters any color you want.

Stainless Steel – Oh no! You got stains on your steel again! Put an end to your stained-steel misery by installing stainless steel dimensional letters. This is perfect for high-tech firms, classy apartment complexes, and high-end retailers looking for an avant-garde, durable, no-nonsense, and chic appearance.

PVC, Plastic, or Acrylic – You can give your building a playful vibe with this range of outdoor-rated sign materials. Flat cut acrylic letters that are standoff mounted and feature spotlighting will produce an elegant play of light and shadows.

This just scratches the surface of what we can do. Thanks to our advanced routing techniques, we’re able to customize your dimensional letters to precisely match the fonts you use on your other marketing materials. Basically, if you can imagine it, we can make it a reality in multiple dimensions.

Wading through all of the dimensional letter signage options may feel like you’re trapped in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Fortunately, Specialty Graphic Solutions can be your guide. Contact our mighty sign makers today for a free consultation if you’re ready to make your venue stand out with dimensional letters for buildings in Vancouver, WA.



Questions? Drop us a line at hello@SGSgraphic.com or call us at (360) 635-5556 and unless we’re up to our elbows in alligators, a live person will answer. If you leave a message we will call you back pronto.

Our One-Stop Guide to Channel Letters is Here!

By | Building Signs, Channel Letter Signs, Lighted Signs

No one has time these days to stop at multiple places for their channel letter sign guides. That’s why we’ve put together this one-stop guide to channel letters in Vancouver, WA. So, just head toward that blog that has Specialty Graphic Solutions spelled out in bright attractive letters that are clearly visible both day and night…much like your future channel letters!

From the Front to the Back: We Shine Light on Channel Letters

What are the most requested styles of channel letters? Let’s count up from #1:

 Front-Lit Letters Front-Lit Letters

Front-Lit Channel Letters – Standard front-lit channel letters are the high school football quarterback of channel letter signs. They’re popular and attract all of the ladies (and men for that matter). To create frames in the shape of your preferred typeface, high-gauge aluminum is routed with smoothly welded edges. We prefer aluminum because it’s durable and rust-resistant. The light then shines through acrylic faces in any color you want.

 Reverse-Lit Letters Reverse-Lit Letters

Reverse-Lit Channel Letters – Commonly known as halo-lit letters, the light comes out of the back of these letters. This creates a distinguished halo effect around the letters on the wall they’re installed to. For the entire frame of these letters, aluminum is used.

 Back-Lit Letters Back-Lit Letters

Back-Lit Channel Letters – Back-lit channel letters are the lovechild of halo-lit and front-lit channel letters. That is, they have light shining through the front acrylic face as well as a cool halo created by light coming out of the back.

 Open Face Letters Open Face Letters

Open Face Channel Letters – When you look at these channel letters, it appears as if the light source isn’t protected from the elements. Resist the urge to cover the letters up for their own protection! They actually have transparent acrylic faces that shelter the lights from the weather while producing a sophisticated appearance at night.

Illumination Alternatives

Channel letters used to rely on neon tubes for their light. These tubes produce a number of different lights depending on the gasses used. Unfortunately, there are several downsides to neon, including a dimming effect in cold weather as well as high maintenance and electricity costs.

When you use LEDs for your channel letters, you get brilliant illumination in any environment. Due to their low maintenance needs and energy efficient properties, LEDs are quickly replacing neon as the main source of channel letter sign illumination. Of course, you can also choose to go stealth mode and have no illumination for your channel letters.

How Are Channel Letters Installed?

We’re able to install your channel letters directly to the exterior of your building, or we’ll mount them on a raceway first and then attach them to your venue. If you don’t want a lot of drilling into the façade of your facility, then raceways are the way to go. Otherwise, you get a cleaner look with directly-mounted letters.

Areas We Serve

SGS provides sign installation, design, maintenance, and manufacturing services (not in that order) for the communities of Gresham, OR; Beaverton, OR; Clark County, WA; Camas, WA; Tigard, OR; Portland, OR; and all of Southwest Washington from our headquarters in Vancouver, WA. Contact our mighty sign makers today if you’re ready to make your venue stand out with channel letters!



Questions? Drop us a line at hello@SGSgraphic.com or call us at (360) 635-5556 and unless we’re up to our elbows in alligators, a live person will answer. If you leave a message we will call you back pronto.

Exterior Building Sign for Glacier Tanks in Portland OR Increases Branding Power

By | Building Signs, Dimensional Letter Signs, Exterior Signs

If you don’t have signage on the exterior of your venue, you’re making a titanic mistake! Even if you don’t welcome in clients to your building, your business could still sink if you aren’t working hard on your branding. Glacier Tanks realized this, so they contacted the mighty sign makers at Specialty Graphic Solutions for building signs in Vancouver, WA.

Glacier Tanks Is One Cool Company!

If you’re thinking that Glacier Tanks produces slow-moving military vehicles, you probably don’t operate a microbrewery. For the uninitiated, Glacier Tanks is a leading supplier of beer brewing tanks and accessory equipment. Situated on Northwest 114th Street in Vancouver, they’ve been an invaluable source of a broad range of industrial grade fermenters, tubing, tanks, burners, kettles, valves, and much more for about ten years now.

When a business that produces such important products to support Portland’s brewmasters came to us for exterior building signs for Portland, OR, we dropped our koozies and got down to work. Glacier Tanks knew they could count on us to make them look their best because we’d supplied them with hot blade signs and window graphics in the past. Exterior building signs were just going to be icing on their branding cake.

What We Did for Glacier Tanks

During an initial consultation, we learned about what Glacier Tanks was looking for in their new exterior marker. They wanted a sign that would represent their brand while really catching eyes. We came up with a few design and material options for them. They went with a nice aluminum and PVC number.

Once we had the go-ahead on the design, we moved at anything but a glacial pace. We started with a brushed silver aluminum composite sign panel for the backer. As you can see, it’s evocative of brewing tanks.

To give dimensionality to the sign, we created the logo using half-inch thick painted PVC logo pieces. The beautiful light to dark blue in the mountain and curved elements of the logo was achieved with a laminated digital print on the face of the blue PVC. Also, on the panel is cut vinyl text telling visitors when the company was established.

Once the sign was fabricated, we worked with Glacier Tanks’ schedule to mount the marker directly on the face of the new offices above the main entry. We did it at a time that would cause little disruption to business. We didn’t want to get between brewmasters and their brewing supplies!

In the end, they were completely satisfied with the job we did. The new exterior marker coordinates perfectly with the blade sign around the corner that we did a few months back as well as the window graphics directing customers and delivery trucks to the proper entrance.

Are your sales frozen solid? Do you need a way to get above water? Exterior signs are one of your most cost-effective marketing tools. No matter what industry you’re in, they’re your key to building your name recognition. If you’re ready to boost your branding and drive sales, contact SGS today for a free consultation on exterior building signs.



Questions? Drop us a line at hello@SGSgraphic.com or call us at (360) 635-5556 and unless we’re up to our elbows in alligators, a live person will answer. If you leave a message we will call you back pronto.

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