So, you need a custom sign made and you don't know where to go or start from there. That's what I am here to help with!
In this post, I am going to breakdown the good-to-knows and the need-to-knows, and of course exactly what you are investing in.
First, make sure that your local calligrapher offers this service. Just because an artist practices pointed-pen calligraphy does NOT mean that they offer hand-lettering, which is done with alternative artist tools. They likely would know how, but knowing how and practicing it are to very different things.
Next, know what you are most interested in. For me, I offer three levels of signage options: Lettering only, Semi-Custom and Completely custom.
Here is my breakdown:
Lettering Only - $
This is the most cost effective way to achieve the custom signage you want. Generally, the client would provide the piece; whether it be wood, glass, a mirror, or even canvas and I am then able to write and illustrate the components wanted.
You would likely be provided with a set up fee that acts as the deposit. In this fee, usually the artists time to center and align the piece is covered, and sometimes also any additional materials that need to be purchased to complete. This is applicable to all calligraphy and lettering projects for me.
If you don't have a surface, or lack the time to make one, this is a great option that is also more affordable than going completely custom! With a semi-custom sign, you can let me know generally what you are looking for when it comes to size and color. I am then able to check to see what is in stock and come back with the closest matches for you. The boards usually range from $20-$35, and would be in addition to the set-up and lettering cost mentioned above. Sometimes, these boards are unfinished and may require to be coated with poly; check to see if your designer offers this service or mention if it is something you can take care of.
Completely Custom- $$$
This is ALWAYS a sticker shock, and I'd LOVE to explain why. Many times, brides-to-be inquire about custom signs for their weddings with an image they see on Pinterest and would like something very identical. However, the tricky part to that is obtaining or achieving that matching wood board. When you are asking for a board to be made in addition to the lettering, it is an additional service that has a cost: you are paying for a wood board with construction, AND then also the lettering as well.
To make a wood board, a decent amount value is wrapped up in time and materials. You would have to get the wood needed, cut it, sand it, stain it and even clear coat it all before assembling it.
Then, once the board is prepped, is it ready to be lettered on. This is the original service as interest, but often getting to that point is often overlooked.
Why not? Come join me and learn the art of lettering, I would love to teach you and I am always willing to share my best tips and tricks!
BUT NOW you can also add semi-custom artwork too! I teamed up with Chalk Couture to offer beautiful pre-designed silk transfers that can be applied right to your surface. They wash right off, OR you can make them last forever. Check it out!
Check with a local rental company to see if they offer rental pieces that can be taken to a professional lettering artist. Often times they do- just be sure to let your designer know it is a rental and to use non-permanent paints.
*If your rental company offering the "lettering" service, ask to see a portfolio to see if you like the writing style. Many times they are not done by a professional.
In the least, I hope this provided you with some education and insight as to how custom signs are constructed AND the reasoning behind the tentatively high cost you may face if choosing to go completely custom.