Don’t judge me too much for this, but I’m kind of a snob when it comes to sign writers. Melbourne has some signs with pretty great different types of designs and catchy phrasing and all that, and don’t think I haven’t seen some awesome signs in my time, because I have, but you’ve got to admit, there’s a lot of bull out there.
It’s one of those things that developed pretty slowly really, my sign snobbery, I mean. It wasn’t like one day I didn’t notice them at all and then suddenly I was grading them on a bell curve, rather, I’ve always been one to notice the detail in things. It’s just the way I am. Then, for fun in university, I took a marketing course. One of the first things the marketing professor said was, and I remember this very clearly: “marketing is everywhere – all you have to do is look around you” and I don’t know why but I did. I started literally looking around me and taking into account all the signs plastered all of the place. Evaluate them. At first it was just something fun to do while on public transport, but after all this time it’s become like a little bit of a compulsive habit. Not that it’s bad or anything. Not that it bothers me, because it’s doesn’t. It’s always like a bit of a game.
When I tell people about my little game, people are often pretty confused about it, and I get some pretty weird questions. My favourite question, though, would have to be “what’s your favourite sign?” It’s not just my favourite question because I have an answer ready and waiting, but because just remembering that particular sign brings a smile to my face. It was for a car wrap company in Melbourne, and I don’t really know what it was about it that I loved so much, except to say that everything just worked together, like a tuned orchestra. It was beautiful and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.
As a small business owner, finding a really good, trustworthy, high quality sign company in Melbourne can be difficult. You know you want something great, that makes you stand out from the crowd, that draws the eye, that makes people want to work with you and your business, but ferreting out those who say they can from those who can deliver is really difficult. Trust me. I’ve just been through the whole thing. Twice.
I own a local, organic green grocery. See what I mean? Small business, and yet I really want to get across what I’m all about through my business signs. Melbourne residents need to be able to look at my sign and know that they can trust me and my products. They need to be able to walk past my sign on the street and be interested enough that they have a bit of a look inside, or better yet, have a chat to me or one of my fantastic staff about our products. The sign is the hook, without it, they’re probably not going to want to have a look inside, and I need that to happen.
Going and talking to couple of different graphic design companies has been more or less a complete disaster. They’ve presented us with all kinds of different ideas and styles, but, in my opinion, it’s all been terrible. All I’ve seen are bizarre, comic reductions of our core message into gaudy images and shapes, or, alternatively, designs so mainstream that we would look exactly like every other organic grocery. It’s as if everything we talked about in our meetings, which were generally excellent, went in one ear and out the other. All I needed was for someone to listen to me, and that just didn’t happen.
I’ve come to the point where I’m just exhausted. I know signage in Melbourne is important, but I just don’t know if I can keep going through this process. I just feel done. I just want to see the light at the end of the tunnel.