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Can Gilded Lettering Increase Your Bottom Line?

Why is gold so desirable, initially as adornment and then as a form of money, and then back to a status symbol or a store of value? Some of the reasons are the qualities of gold: malleable, imperishable, chemically inert, extraordinarily dense, soft as putty--and relatively scarce. Almost all the gold ever mined is still around, if you include shipwrecks at the bottom of the seas. Peter L. Bernstein notes that, if you piled all this gold in one solid cube, you could fit it aboard any of today's great oil tankers; it would weigh about 125,000 tons, compared with the U.S. steel industry's ability to produce 120 million tons a year! What is more attractive than gold? Diamonds perhaps. But I wouldn't hang them on my sign. Gold communicates on an emotional level. Any good business person knows the benefits of winning a new customer through an emotion.

We use a lot of gold leaf on our signs and here's why. Gold has three special properties that make it unique. First, it is the most light reflective substance on earth. Everyone responds to gold, but few understand why. Brass, bronze and many other metals can be polished to be very shiny. But because they don't have the light reflectivity, they don't shine with the luster and brilliance of gold. And because gold is a noble metal (doesn't tarnish or oxidize) it will also last longer and stay bright and shiny.

Second, gold is the most malleable metal. This means that it can be beaten into very thin sheets and still stay in one piece. The leaf we use is 3/1000000th of an inch thick, 500 sheets of gold leaf is about as thick as 1 sheet of onion skin paper. When properly applied, the letter or graphic appears to be solid gold. However, few could afford solid or even cast gold letters.

Third, gold is the most ductile metal-meaning that even when the sheet is this thin, it can be contoured to irregular surfaces such as dimensional letters and graphics. This is hugely important, because dimensional gilded letters perform 100 times better than flat faced gilded letters. Flat letters you are at the mercy of the light source. If you can see the sign, then there is light somewhere, but unless you are in line for the gold to reflect it, the letters won't look bright and may actually be difficult to read. Gold leaf on dimensional letters are magical by comparison in that there is a constant transition of highlights and shadows defining the shapes. This is because of the reflectivity of the gold.

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Meet The Pro Designed my first sign in 1968 working with a friend I learned along the way that if you are going to make the better signs you cannot also make the cheapest signs. read more »

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Sign help Just a little business signs 101 here. Today, there are a number of sign types, styles, and options to help make your sign more profitable. I will give you a brief explanation of each, show a few examples along the way, and offer my professional advise via e-mail or phone. learn more »