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Renovating a Beautiful Old Sign in Keene, NH

Exterior Signage, Others, Sign Design, Signage ROI, Signage Tips

enovating an old sign is something like a makeover. The ‘after’ appears beautiful true to the original, but sports an even better, brighter look. And when a sign renovation includes moving from fluorescent bulbs to bolder, brighter LEDs, there’s also a significant energy cost savings. One restaurant owner in Keene, NH recently discovered how a relatively simple sign renovation can make a big difference in how people view the business.

Upgrading, Updating a Business Sign

Long established Papagallos restaurant has legions of fans in the Keene, NH area. But people who are new to the area or who are driving through town on business might not have known what they’d find on the menu.

The Papagallos family specializes in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. But the sign above the restaurant featured a brightly colored parrot, which led some guests to anticipate Mexican fare instead of the signature pasta, veal, and brick-oven baked calzones and pizzas Papagallos serves six days a week

Soon, a change is coming that will end any confusion.

A sign renovation is in the works. The new sign, exactly the same size as the original, will still features the bright parrot, and will add the words “Italian Restaurant.” And while renovation is far less involved (and less expensive) than getting a new sign, upgrading an old sign brings a surprising amount of changes.

Energy savings, for example. In Papagallos’ case, the old sign utilized fluorescent bulbs. Upgrading the sign to use LED lights means it will be brighter and use less electricity. The new LED sign also gave the restaurant owner so many color options, it created a bit of a dilemma.

Many Choices When Renovating Restaurant Sign

For any business – especially one with a good and long-standing reputation – logo and sign recognition is not to be taken for granted.

And while Papagallos’ fluorescent sign had worn and faded quite a bit over the years, it was not only highly recognizable, the owners really liked the way it looked.

As a fluorescent sign wears and ages, vinyl backings and faceplates fade, affecting color and brightness. The existing Papagallos sign, which had been drawing diners for almost 20 years, had a polycarbonate cover that had yellowed considerably over time. But while the yellow hue didn’t match the restaurant’s original logo, the weathered look, including the altered color, was visually appealing and familiar.

LED Color Matching One Option to Replace Weathered Sign

Because LED lights can match a wide range of colors, the owner was faced with an interesting dilemma: order the new sign built with a bright white background, as in the restaurant’s initial logo design, or update the original logo with a new yellow background, to match the look of the familiar faded sign panel.

Color matching can be tricky, particularly when it comes to lighted signs, but Metro Sign and Awning designers have the knowledge and experience to do it. The Metro team was able to provide detailed concept drawings to show how the sign would look with the color set configured so the new (LED) sign showed same color as the faded sign.

They also provided renderings showing the new LED sign with the bright, white background – as in the original logo design.Metro’s technicians will soon be dispatched to Papagallos to install the sign the owner chose…and we’re not going to ruin the surprise. (This is the first part of a two-part post. Be sure to read part two, where we’ll end the suspense.) The original sign a concept drawing showing the color match for a new sign is shown here.

Although determining which background color to use for the updated sign wasn’t easy, making the decision to upgrade from fluorescent to LED was a piece of cake. One of the biggest reasons that switching to LED has become so popular is that they typically have fewer problems and require less service calls to replace bulbs. A service call to replace bulbs can easily creep into the $500+ range, and so having an LED sign that typically doesn’t need servicing for five years is a huge bonus.

“In this way LED conversions can pay themselves off after several years,” Grizzard said.  And while the energy-saving LEDs would mean lower electric bills in the future, they also offered some savings even as the new sign was being manufactured.

Save Money By Losing the Fluorescent Bulbs

“In a big sign (like this), fabricators will use LED light sticks mounted inside the cabinet instead of individual LED lights, which saves a lot of time in fabrication, thereby reducing the initial investment,” explained Patrick Grizzard, Metro’s Keene Business Manager.

“LEDs come in a wide variety of types – slightly different Kelvins can appear very different in color,” Grizzard said. “We have a good handle on color selection as well as design, and can usually color-match a logo or image,” he said. Another very significant upgrade in an LED conversion is that the new sign will be much brighter than the old one, drawing more attention to the sign and to the business.

“For the Papagallos sign, we were able to take advantages of these differences to create a modern, energy-efficient sign that looked like it had been there since the restaurant opened,” Grizzard said.

Metro Sign & Awning Offers New England Signage Solutions

“We have a 32-person team behind us with great experience, ideas, and super creativity,” said Grizzard. “Because of all of those resources, we can say ‘yes’ more often. When other sign manufacturers may not be able to do something, we find a way.”

Find out which sign design and color set Papagallos chose for its renovated sign in part two of this post next month!

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