Not All Signs Are Created Equal


We understand that purchasing a sign is an investment. That is why you should be aware that not all signs are created equal. When evaluating quotes from different companies are you really comparing the same products? Are materials the same quality? Are they produced to get the most out of its life cycle? Below is information that will assist you in making a more educated decision when select a sign as well as a company.

Built To Last

For durability and clarity in backlighted signs we use high grade acrylic, modified acrylic or polycarbonate. Our material is the ideal thickness for longevity and prevents you from seeing the lamps when illuminated. Other sign companies may use a thinner grade substance to cut costs. Or they will use acrylic when more expensive polycarbonate is the better solution to avoid breakage from vandalism for low-mounted building and free-standing signs. We use premium vinyl products for our graphics that have approximately a 7 year life expectancy. Other companies typically use 1-3 year vinyl to save money.

Lighting Up Your Business

We provide superior LED, neon, high-output fluorescent lamps and other lighting components. We often design signs so that the lamps are mounted horizontally since condensation running down vertical lamps shortens their life. We use financially sound domestic firms that produce the brightest and longest lasting component with stocking parts program for future ease on maintenance. Cutting corners on electrical components may save money now but if they fail prematurely, the long term service repairs will make the sign cost more during ownership.

The Right Way Is The Safe Way

Our illuminated signs are built per UL requirements for safety. This includes enclosed raceways and UL electrical components. We also use name brand ballasts and power supplies for peace of mind. Seams are designed for expansion and contraction with precise tolerances. We add durable foam in seams as needed to eliminate light leaks.

Standing The Test Of Time

To ensure the sign will not rust, we use aluminum extrusions and aluminum components that are rigid and thick enough for the specific design. Other Sign companies often use thinner metal walls and backs in their signs to save money but that process causes a wavy surface making the sign prone to dents during its life.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Investment

To enhance and augment light distribution for vivid colors and easy to read graphics we paint the interior of illuminated signs white. This step does cost more but the value is returned when your sign stands out at night. To ensure smooth finish and ideal paint adhesion metal surfaces are sanded, polished, and then primed prior to painting. This gives the sign long-term durability during its life; if well maintained the finish can last 10-13 years. Many sign companies use a cheaper enamel paint with a short 3-5 year life span.

Up To Date And At Your Service

All free-standing signs are engineered for the wind load in the installation area. The correct foundation pier and pipe are determined to ensure stability. Our engineering is updated regularly for changes required in building codes and guidelines. When required by the municipality (and for a fee) we can subcontract the engineering to a licensed state engineer to review the calculations and stamp the installation drawing.

Covered For Those Unforeseen Accidents

We are a licensed Texas Electrical Sign Contractor. Our install crews are trained to follow OSHA rules and regulations for safety around the jobsite and to operate our crane and ladder trucks. We have Master Sign Electricians and other licensed electricians as required by TDLR to ensure signs are installed according to the National Electric Code. We have a $2M liability insurance policy in place for your peace of mind. Special projects can be bonded as needed. Many sign companies carry no insurance, cannot be bonded and do not offer workers compensation insurance.

Guaranteeing Your Investment

While some firms offer a 90 day warranty or less, our signs and installation are warrantied for one year. We pass on longer OEM warranties on products (like digital message centers) to our customers.

Meeting Special Requirements

We are certified as a woman-owned business and a Texas Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) in case you need minority vendor participation.

Notable Accomplishments

In 2013, we were honored to receive the BBB Award for Excellence chosen from over 2,500 accredited businesses in 19 Texas counties. We have won more design awards since 2006 than any other sign company in the state of Texas.




Signs Are Like Automobiles


By Paul Ingle, Vice President, Design Center Signs-Tyler, TX

(Originally published in the Texas Sign Association’s SignPost newsletter, 2013)

You may have a new venture in mind, such as a restaurant or retail store because of the many years you’ve invested in that particular field. You are ready to venture out on your own. The entrepreneur in you is desperately trying to take flight and even in a challenging economy, you know you can do it better, faster and cheaper than everyone else. You get a loan, find a building, hire some people, stock your place and you’re about 4 weeks out from the big grand opening.

If you have worked in or operated a business, you are probably aware that an exterior sign is important, maybe even critical to a company’s success. You’ve been swamped trying to open your new store and busy with the challenges of launching your life’s vision. Then one afternoon, you think about the signage. Oops. After all, how long can it take to make a sign?

Don’t feel bad; most people think of signs as a commodity sitting on a shelf and ready to go like a pair of comfortable size 10 tennis shoes. On closer inspection, there are hi-tops, lace-ups and Velcro-snapping versions. And they come in white, black, red, plum and 32 other colors. There are cross-trainers, basketball, jogging and football-cleated models in leather and mock leather. There are name brands that cost a month’s salary and even some with weird soles that make you balance like a see-saw as you walk. Why, you can even pick flat or round laces to match the colorful gel in those clear panels under your heel.

Unfortunately, signs aren’t like tennis shoes. They are more like automobiles.

If you’ve ever bought a neon channel letter set, an electronic programmable LED sign or 35 foot tall large flexible face pylon sign, you may find the task daunting. You may have an idea of what you want so you call a couple of sign companies for a bid. But, you are way over budget since you used that beautiful travertine for the floor you had to have after you saw it at Home Depot. The fixtures set

you way back but you know the extra hundreds you dropped for the Venetian wall coverings will impress your customers with jaw-dropping power.

So even though you’ve spent $280,000 on finish out and permits, $19,000 on inventory and fixtures now is not the time to spend $366.00 on a new sign. Sure you could have a nice vinyl logo added to a 4′ x 4′ flat aluminum panel screwed to your wall above the door. That is a sign. But does it clearly communicate the brand you’ve spent the last 23 years thinking about creating while working diligently for someone else?

Signs are not sitting around on a shelf in a shop waiting for you to order them a couple of weeks before you open your doors. The majority of signs are custom fabricated to meet exacting requirements such as: color, type of raw materials, size, shape, illumination type, warranty, etc. Your landlord, city, electrical contractor, Underwriters Laboratory (U.L.) and others may impact how the sign must be designed.  (By the way, did you check with your landlord about what type of sign was required for your particular shopping center?)

But how are signs like automobiles?

A used 1969 VW bus and 2013 Lamborghini Gallardo can both transport you to the drugstore. Both have four wheels, an engine and many other parts in common. Both will fit in your cluttered garage. But cars, like signs, all say different things about you, your lifestyle and what you can afford. Cars are an expression of you; signs are an expression of your business. A Chevrolet Impala is affordable because it is mass-produced by one of the largest car companies in the world. It is functional, practical and appealing and probably meets most people’s needs. Why then, doesn’t every American buy an Impala? Individualism, style and cost most likely.

Signs, like cars, have an infinite range of cost depending on materials used, complexity of design, quality, craftsmanship, warranty period, etc. How much does a sign cost? How much does a car cost? In sedans alone, you may see a range of $30,000 from the low-end to the high-end models. McDonald’s routinely spends $80,000 per store in signs and graphics to sell a 99 cent hamburger. Why do they invest so heavily on signage when they have one of the most recognized brands in the world? Because signs are one of their lowest cost and most effective forms of advertising! They work; they bring the customers from off the street into their stores.

So signs, like cars, are not created equal. Even between fabricators, signs of the same shape and size may differ greatly in cost. Why? Because in a custom application, craftsmanship and quality still impact sign costs. Paint finishes, aluminum thickness, face thickness, vinyl brand, interior light diffusion, number of lamps, engineering, etc. can create significant spreads in price for the same sign design. So don’t take the lowest price until you do your homework.

But how do you select the ‘right’ sign company?

If you make all of your decisions based on price in your life, you will be severely disappointed. The old adage, “I can give you quality, price or speed…pick the two that are most important to you” is still true. If you select the lowest bid to save $800.00 for a sign (that has a life expectancy of 15 years) but the sign company goes bankrupt next month, how much did you really save? Select companies that have a strong reputation in the region, ones with longevity and wide group of customers. Ask to see their client list. Go to their website. Call one of their customers. Meet their staff. Go to their showroom and ask for a tour. Ask them what they do that sets them apart from their competition. But do not make your decision strictly on price.

Do your homework and you’ll not be disappointed. And you’ll have a sign that brings in customers and becomes one of your best salespeople during the day and at night.



Design Center Signs Acquires Kirkland Sign Company


Texas Identity Firm Enhances Custom Fabrication and Installation Capabilities

TYLER, Texas (October 31, 2013)—Design Center Signs, Inc. has announced they have acquired the assets of Kirkland Sign Company. The Tyler custom signage manufacturer was founded in 1983 by Don Kirkland and his partner, Scott Zimmerman. The purchase will enhance Design Center Signs’ diverse product and service offering with internally illuminated signs and custom architectural graphics. The addition also doubles the existing service and installation fleet of crane, ladder and aerial lift platform trucks to eight and makes it one of the largest branding firms from Dallas to Shreveport and Texarkana to Houston.

 The acquisition of Kirkland Sign Company also increases Design Center Signs’ share of the growing market for building and pylon sign cabinets, neon and LED letters, electronic message displays, electrical sign service and crane lifts. The company also provides vinyl graphics, banners, vehicle wraps, ADA and regulatory signs sold through retail and direct sales divisions. “This combination of Kirkland’s well-known fabrication team of craftsmen and our existing core competencies will provide our clients with the quality and speed they expect, “ said Nita Ingle, president of Design Center Signs. “We’re widely known as a single source vendor and this new acquisition will continue our commitment of providing consultative branding solutions, value and an enjoyable buying experience.”

 Scott Zimmerman will join the Design Center Signs’ team along with plant foreman Duane Belhumeur and the entire group of fabricators and installers. “Scott, Duane and their staff have over 112 years of combined design, sign-making, installation and repair experience. Their addition to our award-winning team will help Design Center Signs continue to exceed our customers’ expectations,” said Paul Ingle, vice president. Mr. Ingle currently serves as the president of the Texas Sign Association for 2013-2014.

 About Design Center Signs

Design Center Signs is a woman-owned state of Texas HUB vendor with accreditation by SCTRCA. Celebrating its 25th year in business, the firm has been a provider of branding and identity solutions that include custom signs/graphics, imprinted promotional products, decorated apparel and screen/business printing. Services include: design, project management, fabrication, installation, and electrical sign maintenance. This is the firm’s second acquisition since 2011 when it purchased local screen printing business, CCC Printing & Graphics, LTD. Co. In early 2013, the company was chosen to receive the BBB Award for Excellence from among 2,500 accredited businesses in 19 Texas counties.



Come in, we're open!


Design Center Signs Launches New and Improved Promotional Products Website Link Added features enhance the customer’s shopping experience. April 27, 2013

Tyler, Texas – Today, Design Center Signs unveils our new promo products website link, which makes it easier than ever for customers to shop for hundreds of thousands of promotional products that can be branded with company logos. Our robust search engine powers the top retail sites and connects our customers to the perfect products for their promotions. “Sharper product images, easy-to-view product details and the ability to preview logos on products are some of the exciting features customers can enjoy on the new site,” said Paul Ingle, Vice President at Design Center Signs.



Design Center Signs Receives 2013 BBB Award of Excellence


Vice President Paul Ingle receives the award for excellence for a business with less than 25 employees from Sharon Howell, of Travel Masters, at the Better Business Bureau Annual Awards Luncheon at the Holiday Inn in Tyler.
(Sarah A. Miller/Staff)



Design Center Signs Offers Clients a Wide Variety of Options - New Article in Sign & Digital Graphics Magazine


Tyler, Texas-based Design Center Signs is more than just a custom signage company; it’s a full-service image and branding company that values its ability to offer customers a wide range of business services, says Vice President Paul Ingle, who bought the company in 2006. While signage and graphics are Design Center Signs’ primary service offerings, it also offers promotional products, business printing, corporate apparel, website design and online marketing.

Article link:



Design Center Signs Tyler, TX Featured in  Sign & Digital Graphics Magazine!


Check out this article about our nationally recognized pylon sign we fabricated and installed for Brookshire Grocery Company at their corporate headquarters.  One of the largest on-premise signs between Dallas and Shreveport, this combination LED electronic message display and identification sign replaced their iconic sign installed in the 1960s.

Article Link:



Design Center Signs Acquires CCC Printing & Graphics, LTD. Co.


Texas Identity Firm Enhances Custom Branding Capabilities

Tyler, TX (August 1, 2011)—Design Center Signs, Inc. announced they have acquired CCC Printing & Graphics, LTD. Co. a leading regional screen printing firm. The purchase will enhance Design Center Signs diverse product line by offering customized screen printing of decals, wearables, promotional products, signage and graphics.

The purchase of CCC Printing further increases Design Center Signs share of the growing decorated corporate and casual apparel market. The company currently provides embroidery and laser-etch branding of name-brand clothing through its retail and direct sales divisions and the internet. “This combination of CCC Printing and our company will provide our clients with greater economies of pricing, speed and efficiencies, “ said Paul Ingle, vice president of Design Center Signs. “We’re widely known as a single source vendor and this new partnership will allow our customers to have the very best in quality, service and flexibility from within our new Tyler facility.”

Harold Collier, former owner of CCC Printing and former employee Sol Smith will join the Design Center Signs team to oversee the screen printing division. Collier has been in the industry since 1989 and has provided screen printing for firms such as General Electric, Schwinn, Ford, Exxon, Poulan, American Standard and others. His commitment to quality and customer service was recognized with awards of “Vendor of the Year” and “Partner of the Year” during his career. “Harold and Sol have over 30 years of combined screen printing expertise and experience. Their addition to our award-winning staff will help Design Center Signs continue to exceed our customers’ expectations,” said Ingle.

About Design Center Signs

Design Center Signs is a woman-owned state of Texas HUB vendor with accreditation by NCTRCA, SCTRCA, and WBC Southwest. Since 1988, the firm has been a single-source provider of branding and identity solutions that include custom signs, graphics, imprinted promotional products, decorated apparel and business printing. Services include design, project management, fabrication, installation, and electrical sign maintenance/repair. In late August, the company will move into a new 15,750 square foot facility that will offer an all-weather interior vehicle graphics application area, a larger retail sample showroom, and additional space for sign and graphics manufacturing and assembly.



Express Yourself!


In today’s fast-moving and ever-changing environment, your company’s image may struggle to get noticed. How do you stand out? How do you rise above the visual clutter and enable your brand to shout,

“Hey, look at me!”

Decorated apparel can be an ideal solution.

With the advent of digital embroidery machines, caps, jackets, dress shirts and polos with a colorful logo have replaced suits and dresses as the mainstream corporate culture casual wear. Each season, more colors of thread become available so that matching specific logo design styles becomes even easier.

This wardrobe even has a new term: ‘wearables’ and it allows flexibility at work, tradeshows, sport venues, travel and other everyday functions. As fabrics evolve, there are more and more opportunities for decoration; the number of items that can showcase a logo are limitless. Screen printing and direct to garment application continue to be popular for caps, t-shirts, bags and other promotional items, incentives and gifts.

DirectEtch is the next generation of wearable decoration using a laser to brand the logo directly into the fabric. Ideal for fleece, headwear and t-shirts, DirectEtch provides a tone-on-tone effect that is more subtle. The laser can also create a larger image that can overlap zippers and seams with ease.

Laser-etched Fleece

So, if you want your identity emblazoned in way that will get your firm noticed 24/7, invest in decorated wearables. They will be silent but effective salespeople that never sleep.