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Wayfinding Signs

Custom Brass Plaques in Vancouver WA Great as Wayfinding Signs!

By | Wayfinding Signs

Who doesn’t like a good brass section? You have the deep sounds of the tuba keeping the beat, the trombone with its sliding notes, and the trumpet blasting out a catchy melody. Unfortunately, we aren’t here to talk about all that jazz. Let’s get down to brass tacks or, more accurately, brass plaques. We recently had a client contact us for custom brass plaques in Vancouver, WA, and like a well-trained band, the mighty sign makers at Specialty Graphic Solutions worked together to make sweet signage music.

We Provided the Top Brass

We first met with the client for a free consultation to see what he wanted out of the project. The client operated a business out of his home, and he wanted a tasteful and unique solution for directing deliveries to his front door. We recommended brass for class. He thought that sounded great, and once he approved the mockups of what the finished product would look like, we got down to work.

We started with handsome 16.25-inch by 4.25-inch singled sided quarter-inch-thick flat cut brass panels. The letters were done in a custom font that just screams class. The background is painted black with a satin sheen. Once the plaques were ready for installation, we worked with the client’s schedule to install them. We had to drill and tap (or is it “tapp”?) for a stud mount. Next, we added spacers to create a “floating off the wall” effect. In the end, the client was thrilled with the job we did. Now, the deliveries know where to go!

Wayfinding Isn’t the Only Way to Use Brass

Brass is valued because it lasts so long and is easy to clean. All you need is a little hot soapy water, your friend’s toothbrush (don’t use your own: gross), and some elbow grease. If that fails to get rid of all of the discoloration, did you know you can actually use ketchup to finish the job? It’s true! The acidity works wonders. Of course, there are also commercial brass cleaners available if you need your ketchup for your meatloaf.

Also, wayfinding signage isn’t the only use for brass plaques. Brass plaques are also popular for:

Donor Recognition – Just about every charity relies on donors to be able to open their doors and offer services. It’s important to recognize the generosity of these people. This is possible with tastefully designed plaques.

Commemoration – Personalized plaques are the perfect way to commemorate those who have made your company a success. For instance, military and police organizations may install brass plaques to celebrate someone’s decades of services.

Suite Signs – Plaques are used in some of the most prestigious buildings in just about every city in the country to denote different units and suites. Brass plaques are an excellent solution whether you want a custom sign featuring your branding or a standard marker with just a number.

If you’re ready to brass up the place, you can contact the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for some skilled musicians or the mighty sign makers at SGS for a free consultation on custom brass plaques 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.

Guide with Suite and Wayfinding Signs in Vancouver WA

By | Directory Signs, Suite Signs, Wayfinding Signs

Filmed in part in Oregon, The Shining is considered by many to be one of the greatest horror movies ever made. In it, there’s a scene where Jack Nicholson’s character is running through a hedge maze with an ax trying to find his victims. Instead, he ends up getting lost. Spoiler alert! Sorry, we always say that at the wrong time.

Anyway, let’s pretend that the Nicholson character is your client, the hedge maze is your multi-tenant office complex, the ax is lots of money, and you are the “victim.” Does your building have the right suite and wayfinding signs to allow your client to hunt you down and swing the ax of giving you their business? If not, it might be time to install suite and wayfinding signs in Vancouver, WA. Fortunately, Specialty Graphic Solutions is one of the region’s top suppliers of these markers.

To Customize or Not to Customize

When most of us think of suite signs, we envision standard plastic or metal plaques that just have a room number. Property managers or building owners may require you to “take a walk on the mild side.” On the other hand, if you have a cool landlord, we suggest you try custom signs to give your professional office some flair and to help with your branding efforts.

We can work our personalized magic to incorporate company logos on room signs, use custom colors to match your other marketing materials, add Braille to any signs to keep you in compliance with the ADA, clearly identify restrooms and other amenities with images and text, and create precise designs that follow the terms of your lease.

We Have the Right Materials for the Job

There are virtually endless possibilities when it comes to suite and wayfinding signs. We’ve been known to use materials like PVC, wood, aluminum, HDU, and acrylic when fabricating suite signs. The main guide we use in picking the right materials for your project is the image your organization is trying to project. For instance, if you specialize in natural products, such as hedge mazes, you might consider signs that incorporate wood or stone.

Interior Office Sign Options

Make your building more inviting with these markers:

  • Room Signs – Most facilities are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to have signs for rooms that serve a permanent purpose, like cafeterias, meeting rooms, and restrooms.
  • Wayfinding Markers – Unless your business is located in a standalone closet, your building can benefit from wayfinding signage. Directional arrows can point the way to various amenities, while directories near your entrance tell guests where all of the businesses and departments in your venue are located.
  • Suite Signs – Suite signs are a must to help visitors find their way around your building when you manage a complex with several tenants.

Don’t let your customers metaphorically freeze to death in the corridors of your facility as they search for your suite! Show them the way with suite and wayfinding signs in Vancouver, WA! For a free consultation, contact the mighty sign makers at SGS today!



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.

Acrylic Wayfinding Signs Help Students Navigate at the University of Portland

By | Blade Signs, Directional Signs, Wayfinding Signs

Have you ever walked down a hallway? It would be pretty weird if you haven’t. Hallways are a necessary pathway of modern existence. Most of the time, when we enter a new facility, hallways can be confusing because we don’t know where to go. To make matters worse, some bozo thought it would be a good idea to make flush-mounted signs the most popular hallway signage option. This forces you to stop and read every sign as you continue your search down the corridor.

The University of Portland wanted to improve their students’ hallway experiences, so they contacted Specialty Graphic Solutions for blade directional signs for universities in Portland, OR.

“I’ve Heard of Portland, but the University of Portland?”

Portland is home to a number of institutions devoted to higher education. Among these is the aptly-named University of Portland (UP), a private Roman Catholic university founded in 1901 and affiliated with the Congregation of Holy Cross. The College of Arts & Sciences (CAS), who we were working with, has been around since the school’s founding. It’s home to the largest number of students enrolled at UP with more than 1600 students engaged in 27 degree programs within 20 departments and programs of study.

When such a respected institution came to us for acrylic wayfinding signs for universities in Portland, OR, we let them know that we’d give it the ol’ college try. Mainly located in Buckley Center on North Willamette Boulevard in Portland, CAS wanted to spruce up some of their common areas with helpful signage. We had just the solution.

What We Came up with for UP

We started the project off right by talking with the advising staff for CAS about their signage needs. They wanted markers installed above the Dean’s Suite and the Advising Suite to help students find the resources they needed. We suggested blade signs since they run perpendicular to the wall and are easy to see from far away, unlike flush-mounted signs. UP liked the cut of our jib, and once they approved the design we created for them, we got down to work.

Our Mighty Sign Makers incorporated the iconic lampposts located throughout this North Portland campus into the design of the signage. The markers consisted of three layers of acrylic. First, the main center panel featured full-color digital print on both sides. Then, two smaller 3/16” panels were custom routed so the “CAS” is cut out of the acrylic for a recessed look. We also added a diagonal cut on the bottom to tie in with the shape of the boulevard banners on campus.

We then mounted the signs to the wall with matte silver barrels that give the sign a clean, modern look. In the end, UP loved their new markers. They didn’t offer us an honorary degree or anything, but they were satisfied nonetheless, and that’s good enough for us.

If you’re interested in improving the wayfinding experience of visitors to your facility, consider contacting the mighty sign makers at SGS today for a free consultation on blade 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.

Making Suite Signs in Vancouver WA Attractive!

By | Suite Signs, Wayfinding Signs

You’re likely quite aware of how difficult it can be to direct clients to your office if you’re located in a large complex that doesn’t have adequate signage. And, are your employees constantly getting lost because your meeting rooms don’t have any identifying markings? Fortunately, SGS has suite signs in Vancouver, WA to help everyone in your venue and to avoid missed appointments and general confusion.

Standard and Custom Suite Signs

The Great Bard once wrote: “Would a sign by any other name smell so suite?” He was clearly foreshadowing the excellent suite signs produced by the mighty sign makers at Specialty Graphic Solutions.

When you envision suite signs, you may think of standard plastic or metal plaques that just feature a room number. These kinds of signs are usually required by property managers and building owners. Yet, we recommend making your suite signs a little sweeter. With custom signs, you give your professional office pieces of flair while aiding your branding efforts.

To toot our own horn, we can do it all. Our friendly experts can include your business’s logo on suite signs, use custom colors to match your branding, add braille to any signage, clearly label restrooms and other amenities with images and text, and create precise designs that follow the rules of your venue.

We Make Signs out of ANYTHING

Our mighty sign makers have mad skills. They can make signs out of anything. Metal? Of course. Wood? No problem! Cheese? Well, maybe, we’ve never tried, but we’ll give it a shot if that’s what you need! There are virtually limitless possibilities when it comes to suite signs. In addition to wood and metal, PVC, high-density urethane, and acrylic are popular materials. The main guide in picking materials will be the image you want to project.

The Pacific Northwest loves its natural products. Holistic healing providers, massage therapists, and any organization that specializes in natural services or products should consider using wood or stone for their suite signs. For the more tech-savvy enterprises out there, acrylic signs are a better option. On the other hand, law practices, accounting firms, and financial institutions typically benefit most from aluminum signs that exude longevity and professionalism.

How Are Suite Signs Used?

You can use suite signs however you want. We’d be the last ones to block your creative juices. To get those juices flowing, here are some ways suite signs are used:

  • Employee Nameplates – If you have offices within your unit, you can use suite signs to identify who’s in each office. We have solutions that can be updated easily as employees come and go.
  • Listing Providers – If you have multiple doctors or dentists within one practice, you can let patients know they’ve found the right place by listing your providers on your suite sign.
  • Announcing Your Business’s Presence – Simply putting your enterprise’s logo on your suite signs will make it clear that visitors have found the right place. And, you’ll build your brand awareness.

Contact SGS today for a free quote if you’re in need of suite signs 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.

Smith-Root Relocates and Adds Wayfinding Signs in Vancouver WA!

By | Interior Signs, Wayfinding Signs

Confusion is pretty much unavoidable when you move your company into a new facility. Everyone has a new office, and no one knows where anything is. We’ve heard reports of workers getting lost for days at a time after a move. Okay, so maybe it isn’t that bad, but it can be stressful. Smith-Root wanted to assuage this confusion, so they contact Special Graphics Solutions for directory and suite signs for Vancouver, WA.

Smith-Root Is a Whale of a Company

Smith-Root is actually more of a fish of a company, but that isn’t a saying. They produce a number of fishery investigation products along with doing plenty of fisheries research. They have offices all over the world, but their headquarters remain right here in Vancouver. Dave Smith and Lee Root founded the business more than 50 years ago. Nowadays, they have a large manufacturing facility and supply a broad range of electrofishing and field research equipment. We especially like what they do to keep our lakes and rivers healthy.

We couldn’t help but dive right into this job when such a quality company came to us for wayfinding signs for Vancouver. As of last week, Smith-Root moved into a new facility on Northeast 50th Avenue that was specifically designed for their company. We’d done plenty of work for them in the past, including this awesome boat wrap, so they knew they could count on SGS to go above and beyond. And, that’s just what we did!

There’s No Getting Lost at Smith-Root!

During an initial consultation, we found out that Smith-Root wanted interior directional signs and changeable nameplates that they could update and change in-house. We recommended two excellent modular wayfinding sign systems. They choose a really great curved product from SignPro Systems.

The aluminum frames Smith-Root selected curve left-to-right, but we also offer top-to-bottom curved frames as well. The frames also have a clear non-glare lens on the face that’s easily removable and replaceable when names change. We recommended that the frames be sized in such a way that the printed inserts could be produced on a standard desktop printer using letter or legal-sized paper.

As they prepared to move into their new facility, their in-house graphic designer was swamped. So, our mighty sign makers decided to lighten his load a little bit and used Smith-Root’s preferred font to create the layout for all of the signs. We then printed the initial inserts so everything would be ready on the first day at the new office. In less than two hours, our mighty sign makers Taylor and Jason installed one hanging sign, two directories, and 48 nameplates. As you can see, they even made sure everything was nice and level!

Smith-Root was completely satisfied! In fact, Debbie Oja, their head of marketing, even sent us the following note: “The name signs are awesome!  We are really pleased with the outcome.”

If you’re in need of outstanding signage outcomes for your organization, pick up the phone and call the experts at SGS for a free, no-strings-attached consultation.



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.

Columbia Land Trust Uses Metal Signs to Mark Wilderness/Conservation Properties

By | Wayfinding Signs

There’s nothing quite as invigorating and nothing helps you recharge your batteries quite as well as getting out of the city and enjoying the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest. To keep these areas enjoyable for everyone, though, conservation efforts are needed. And, these conservation organizations need signs to inform visitors of the appropriate behavior in sensitive environments. Columbia Land Trust was just such a group that needed just such signs, so they contacted the mighty sign makers at SGS for wilderness and conservancy signs for Vancouver, WA.

What Does the Columbia Land Trust Do?

With their headquarters on Officers’ Row in Vancouver, Columbia Land Trust’s mission is to care for and conserve the Northwest places we love. The types of places that supply all of us with an unrivaled quality of life and wellbeing.  They conserve areas like natural areas in urban strongholds, forests, Columbia River tributaries, wetlands, wide open spaces that anchor rural communities, Columbia River shores, and more.

When an organization that does such a great job of protecting the Northwest’s unique atmosphere came to us for metal signs for conservation properties in Vancouver, WA, we couldn’t wait to help. We’d done some work for the Columbia Land Trust before, providing them with frosted window graphics for their new Portland offices. For this project, they needed new metal signs for their Upper Elochman Conservation Property and for the Pine Creek East Conservation area.

SGS Saves the Day

After listening closely to what the CLT had in mind, Kindra, our “Jill of All Trades,” took their ideas and ran with them, creating a new design that incorporated their sponsors, logo, and information about the specific site. Before we explain what we did, take a moment to glance at the photos of the signs. Notice how they look remarkably similar? Yeah, Kindra really hit the ball out of the park when it came to keeping CLT’s branding consistent.

We first went to work on the Upper Elochman signage for southwest Washington. They needed two wayfinding signs for each point of entry to make certain visitors would see all pertinent information. We started with 3mm Alupanel, an aluminum composite material, of two different sizes: 18” by 24” and 24” by 24”. We then applied the full color laminated prints to the signage.

For Pine Creek, all of the information needed to fit on one 18” by 18” sign. All together we created eight of these markers. For this job, we needed a more heavy duty .080 aluminum material. And, again, we applied full color print graphics with a protective laminate. Now, these areas are very clearly branded as Columbia Land Trust projects. This helps connect the outdoor enthusiasts who fish, hike, and enjoy these areas with the group that works to rebuild and protect these natural treasures.

Do you need metal signs to mark your territory in the wilderness or the urban jungle? If so, pick up the phone today to put the talented team at SGS to work for you.



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.

BPA “Powers Up” with New Interior Wayfinding Office Signs in Vancouver WA

By | Interior Signs, Wayfinding Signs

When you’re expanding your business, it isn’t just about taking the ten employees you have crowded into a closet-sized office and distributing them throughout the building. There’s so much more that goes into it! The first thing that comes to mind is that you will also need to update signage to show visitors to your building where to go now that everything has moved around. BPA recognized this, so they contacted the mighty sign makers at Specialty Graphics Solutions for custom interior business signs for Vancouver, WA.

BPA? Isn’t That the Bad Stuff in Plastic Bottles?

Yes. Yes, it is. But, that acronym also stands for the much better for you and environmentally friendly Bonneville Power Administration. Though it’s part of the U.S. Department of Energy, BPA is a self-funded federal nonprofit agency based in the Pacific Northwest. It markets wholesale electrical power from a nonfederal nuclear plant, numerous other small nonfederal power plants, and 31 federal hydro projects in the Columbia River Basin.

When a federal agency needed us to supply them with wayfinding signs for Vancouver, WA, we were more than happy to help out. BPA didn’t contact us directly. Instead, we were contacted by the general contractor for the job, BnK Construction. We’d worked with BnK before on some trade show displays. They were familiar with the outstanding, above-and-beyond work our mighty sign makers produced. That’s why they came to us.

How We Helped out BPA

BPA recently expanded their administrative offices in Vancouver from just being a single tenant in a Class A space to taking over the whole building. They needed us to update the signage to reflect the change. Specifically, they wanted us to make a double sided sign out of two single sided signs as well as two brand new directional signs for Vancouver, WA.

The challenge for this job was fabricating markers that matched the already existing signs throughout the building. Our friendly professionals were up to the task. We first started with one-eighth of an inch thick black PVC and added antiqued metal laminate to the face.  This was all on a black metal backer. The color matched digital graphics were added directly to the antiqued laminate. Custom matte silver cabling and hardware was used to hang the double sided sign.

As you can see, the new signs fit in perfectly with the existing décor. In the end, BPA was ecstatic about their new markers.

Is There Any Possible Way We Could Do This for Your Business?

You’re in luck! We help companies who are expanding in their existing facilities or who are moving to a new place entirely or who just want to help visitors who have been lost in their building for years. We can perform a site survey to make our professional recommendations on what markers you’ll need. We’ll then work with your vision, goals, and budget to produce signs you’re proud of.

Are you ready to make your venue a more pleasant place to visit? If so, contact SGS today for a free consultation on interior 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.

Floor Stickers Lead Customers

By | Floor Graphics, Retail Signs, Wayfinding Signs

 These bright blue spots catch attention and lead the way to the IT department location.

Floor stickers as directional Signage

Floor stickers as directional Signage.These bright blue spots catch attention and lead the way to the IT department location.

Lewis and Clark College just finished consolidating their IT Help Services into a single Help Desk located in the library.    Once the move was completed, the IT staff was then faced with the question of how to make sure students, faculty and staff could find them.  The answer –  Floor graphics!

The college created a fun & noticeable path with bright blue dots on the floor that led to the new service desk in the Aubrey R. Watzek Library.  No need for extra confusion and headaches when IT services changed locations.  The dots clearly led the way.

And no worries that they had different floor surfaces to work with in the library.  These graphics work on tile, low pile carpets, linoleum, hardwood, concrete and more.

Wayfinding is crucial on a college campus – especially with so many new students arriving each year.  Effective signs and graphics are a smart tool to help people get where they need to go. And especially in the 11th hour when that laptop seems to have eaten the essay due tomorrow – the IT service desk staff didn’t want frustrated students to end up getting lost while looking for help.

Ta-da! The bright 4 foot wide circle is a great way to announce, “You’re in the right place!”

According to Kelly Wainwright, Sr. Director of Client Engagement,  the floor graphics are working.  Folks are finding the help desk and even having a little fun in the process.  She said some folks actively try to step on each dot and others purposefully avoid walking on them – maybe because they don’t want to ruin the dots.

But walking on them is no problem.  They’re covered with a sturdy, non-slip laminate and will hold up for a couple of months even with all the rain & mud headed this way for the winter.

Do your customers need help finding something? Do you need a unique way to promote a new product or service? Check out floor graphics!  It’s as easy as contacting us for a Free Quote.

Are you there and we’re here? Not a problem. We’re shipping experts too.

So give us a call at 360-635-5556 or at 503-766-3331 to get started on your project. Or if e-mail is better for you – just give us a shout at hello@sgsgraphic.com




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.

3 Reasons to Invest in Wayfinding Signs

By | Wayfinding Signs

All hail the great arrow! As symbols go, the arrow is a welcome friend. Think about one simple example – when you’re tired after a long day of travel, arrows on airport signs help you find your luggage and rental car. In the sign industry, we call these kinds of directional signs wayfinding systems.

But wayfinding signs are more than just arrows to direct visitors and guests.  Here are three great reasons for incorporating arrows and wayfinding systems into your business environment.

First – These signs are an additional way to build a brand and drive sales.  A great wayfinding sign not only serves a directional function but also markets to consumers. That’s one way some stores seem to always get you to spend more than you planned. Smart marketers are cleverly directing customers to the products they most want to sell through the use of thoughtful wayfinding signs. It’s almost like adding a silent salesperson to the team (or an extra Chef in the photo below).

Specialty Graphic Solutions will help you Get Noticed with indoor and outdoor signs, vehicle graphics, trade show displays, window graphics, event signage, wall murals and more.

Need more ideas for what a wayfinding sign can do? Check out our Pinterest board.





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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