Sign Designing Tips

When designing a sign there are a few things to consider to make an appealing visible sign.

  • Use contrasting colors: A dark color on a dark background is difficult to read even up close. Consider a drop shadow or outline using a different color in this situation. Using contrasting colors is the easiest way to create a more visual appealing sign.
  • Use a Specialty Vinyl: A specialty vinyl is often a great complement to a lettering design. Consider using a specialty vinyl as a top color then outline or shadows in solid colors. The reverse of this is also great combination
  • Bigger is better: In the sign industry we always get the question, "What size do you recommend?". Our answer to that is the bigger the better. Bigger lettering are able to be read from further away.
Installation Instructions

Temperature Requirements: Surface temperatures should be between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit before attempting the installation. As a general rule, if the surface is hot to the touch it's over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Adhesive becomes brittle when it gets too cold and gummy when it gets too hot. Applications outside the recommended range of 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit reduce the adhesives' ability to perform.

Dry Method - Adhesive Backed Vinyl Application Instructions

•  Read all of our directions first!
•  Clean the surface well to avoid dust and oil under the vinyl.
•  ATTENTION: Place your lettering on a hard flat surface, take your squeegee and run over the entire decal pressing firmly. This firmly bonds the transfer paper to the vinyl.
•  Without removing the backing, place sign exactly in the position it is to be located.
•  Hold everything temporarily into place with masking tape.
•  Step back and see how it looks.
•  Once applied, it cannot be repositioned.
•  Measure twice to assure accuracy, measure from the flat areas on numbers and letters.
•  Apply a piece of masking tape across the entire top edge, to make a hinge.
•  Fold the sign back along the tape hinge.
•  Remove the backing (back side), revealing the sticky side (Only remove the backing - DO NOT remove the transfer tape - Front Side)
•  CAUTION: Do not allow the sign to fall freely on the surface or it will stick there and potentially ruin the vinyl if you try to remove it.
•  ** Hold the sign away from the surface. With a squeegee (plastic spatula, bondo applicator, etc.) carefully begin to squeegee down the top 1 to 2 inches along the top edge. Work from the hinge down, squeegee down and out over the remaining sign area, but be careful not to trap any air bubbles behind the vinyl.
•  Remove the transfer tape by slowly peeling it back from the sign.
•  The sign will remain in place if it has been firmly applied.
•  If any air bubbles appear, puncture with a pin and squeeze the area to flatten the bubbles.
•  Tiny bubbles will disappear over time with the heat of the sun.

Wet Method - Application of Adhesive Backed Vinyl

•  This method makes it easy to put down large graphics with less air bubbles. Take your time and you will get professional looking results.
•  You can use this method as above with a tape hinge by inserting the following steps after the coordinating symbols. OR You can "float" the sign on the surface without a tape hinge; this will allow a small amount of movement for straightening.
•  Create a Liquid Soapy Water Mixture: Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of dish soap with 32 oz. of water. Mix in a spray bottle.
•  Prepare mix before you begin application.
•  ATTENTION: Place your lettering on a hard flat surface, take your squeegee and run over the entire decal pressing firmly. This firmly bonds the transfer paper to the vinyl.
•  * Spray a liberal amount of soap & water mixture on the surface to which you are applying the vinyl AND the adhesive side of the vinyl - first remove the paper backing.
•  ** Squeegee out the water. Allow the water to dry before removing the transfer tape. MUST let dry for ATLEAST 12 hours in SUN or use hair dryer to assure the lettering has strongly adhered to the surface.
•  CAUTION: In both Dry Method and Wet Method, once the sign has been applied it cannot be repositioned. It can be removed by applying a little heat with a hair dryer AND peeling it away. The sign is not reusable once it has been removed.

What is the lettering made out of ?
All of our standard lettering is made from high performance Oracal 751 cast vinyl. Specialty vinyls are all vinyl based also.
The Boat Lettering Designer doesn't seem to be working right?
We support Internet Explorer IE 5.5 or later, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari. Please update your browser to the newest version if possible if you are not using one of these. Make sure javascript is enabled, you should receive a message alerting you if it is not.

Be sure you are clicking outside of the text box after you change your text, this will refresh the page for you.

I am typing but the preview isn't changing?
The preview on the right does not change until you click outside of the text box you are typing in. This causes the page to load the updated image. Users on high speed broadband should see an preview rather quickly. If you use dial up internet it will take a few seconds for the new image to load.

Why does my text change size?
The Boat Lettering Designer fits your imprint text as best it can in the to the space available on the screen. If you try to type to much on one line the font size is automatically decreased so it will fit. We make this as easy as possible to use. If you can't situate the text to your liking using the designer you can contact us to set up the specific design for you. Alternatively, you can place your order and leave a comment using the "comment" feature when you checkout. We will make the necessary changes when the order is produced.
I can't get the layout I want using the designer?
The Boat Lettering Designer is only capable of doing basic layout adjustments. We do this to keep it easy to use for everyone.

Tips for more advanced text placement:
  • Spaces can be added before or after text to force the designer to move your text left or right
  • Spaces can be added by pressing the enter key above and below your text to shift it up and down
The key thing to remember, what you see is what we will produce. If it doesn't look right when you order it and we have no comment on the item it will be produced like you see.

We highly recommend trying to come up with a design you are pleased with using the designer, however, if that isn't possible we will be happy to help you place your specific text at no extra charge. Please contact us by phone or email.

How long does your lettering last?
All standard solid color vinyl has a manufacturer rating of 8 years. Specialty vinyl can last up to 5 years depending on conditions. Look for 1-2 years life out of specialty colors.

Will my lettering look exactly like the screen shows?
We try our best to get the layout and the overall look of the sign the same as what you see on the screen. The colors will vary slightly from what you see due to screen calibration differences. Specialty vinyls especially are previewed as best they can, but the color of effect may appear different when you get the lettering.
How long will it take to get my lettering?
99% of orders ship the next business day. All orders ship in 2 business days. If there is an issue or delay we will notify you. Tracking numbers are sent immediatly after an order is shipped.