Our Process

About, Design

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working” | Pablo Picasso

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In the short time since we’ve started we’ve realized one thing about the creative process; it can be very difficult.

A quick scroll through our Instagram page shows the hundreds of signs we’ve created and delivered. It doesn’t show the literal hours that go into creating each and every single one. So I thought I’d take some time and share how our process works.

First Contact

Nearly every item we create begins as a custom order. Since we decided at the very beginning that we didn’t want to use order forms, we usually begin by receiving a message in our inbox. It’s an idea or an inquiry from a customer asking if we can do something. Here we discuss what the sign will say, the exact words, layout, size, design proofs and corrections, colors, and expected date of completion.

The truth is this can be a lengthy conversation where the customer usually apologizes at least once for being so picky. Our response to this is always the same – “BE PICKY!” We want you to be picky. Pickiness gives us direction. It provides specifics for us. We want to create something just for you. It’s going to be something we spend several hours over standing in front of and something you’re going to pay money to get made. We want to get it right for you, as much as we do for ourselves.

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Construction

After the details are hammered out and invoices are sent (and hopefully paid), the real work begins on the piece. Depending on the order this can mean sanding down planks of reclaimed wood or sawing up pieces of construction-grade scraps.

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It’s all measured and assembled in our own garage. Each plank of wood is hand-sanded and run over with bare hands to make sure it’s smooth for sketching and paint.

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Sketching

When the piece is built to its specified size and all the wood is painted or sanded, it’s time to sketch. There are several ways to do this and everyone swears their way is the right way. Some sign painters do theirs free-hand and some just use vinyl cut-outs. To each his own.

We have our own process of creating a digital image then “tiling” the image to be printed. Then we sketch the image onto the sign using carbon paper.

Be aware, this is a lengthy process. The layout alone can take some time as each item has to be measured and moved several times before it is ready to sketch. Every line and outline is gone over by hand to leave its impression on the wood underneath.

Paint

After the paper is removed and the sign combed over to ensure the impression is the exact replica of the digital image, it is ready to paint.

For my wife and I this means settling in somewhere comfortable with a brush and plastic cup of acrylic paint. This part of our process is usually reserved for late nights after our kids are asleep. We’ll binge watch a series or catch up on our DVR’d episodes while we paint.

This is my favorite part of it all, where the most dramatic change happens. Where once there were just a few pieces of wood screwed together, there now starts to appear shapes and lines and a message. It’s no longer just raw materials but becoming something with meaning.

 After the final brush strokes are added we let it all dry then get it ready for delivery. We add a tag and ship it off. Hopefully someone enjoys it in their home as much as we enjoyed making it in ours.

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One Thing

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“I just haven’t decided what I want yet.”

It’s the thing we hear the most from potential customers. They’ve decided they’d like to order something, have a place picked out in their home, and they’re ready to put something there, they just can’t decide what it will be.

It’s a tough decision. There are several factors to consider. What will it say? What color? What size? What font? Not to mention the variety of items that can be made. In a little over a year, we alone have made over 400 signs. That’s not even taking into consideration the thousands of designs available on Pinterest and Instagram.

We’ve seen these factors and others hold potential customers back. The thing is, this isn’t just a small issue, it’s a documented occurrence in our culture. It’s called The Paradox of Choice. It’s a phenomenon studied by psychologist Barry Schwartz and it basically is summed up by the following:

We assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. But beware of choice overload: it can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run it can lead to decision-making paralysis.

It’s the difference of walking into a store trying to find a pair of jeans you’ll be happy with by going through a rack of 100 pairs or three pairs. It’s easier to find the one you like the best in a smaller rack.

The good news is that you can easily avoid this dilemma with one quick thought.

What are the most important things to me?

It may sound cliché, but it works. Is if your family? Is it your faith? Is it the fact that before you do anything else you really need coffee? Think of those things then let us do the rest.

If it’s your faith, tell us your favorite verse or the one you know you need to see everyday. If it’s your family, just think of what you want them to know. You can commemorate the day your family started with a sign and your wedding date.

And trust us, if there were a Bible verse about faith, family, and a cup of coffee, we would have made that one a long time ago.

The main thing is just think about what’s important to you. We’ll  walk you through different colors and sizes and fonts. That’s what we enjoy the most. We love helping our customers create something that’s just for them.

Think of one thing and let us find a way to say it.