Effective Signage Systems Can Help Virginia Private Schools Succeed

www.holidaysigns-chester-va-viadaFresh, Bright, Clean Signage Systems Can Help Enrollment at Virginia’s Private Schools

www.holidaysigns-va-waynesboro-school-signs-facilities-signage-designIt’s that time of year again. Back to school season is here. Since there were 1,273,211 children enrolled in K-12 education last fall (according to Virginia Department of Education 2013-2014 statistics) most Virginians will be thinking of public school for education when August and September roll around. But Virginia is home to almost 1,000 private institutions!

It’s a fact. There are 921 private schools in Virginia serving 132,268 students, meaning 10.38% of all Virginia parents with K-12 kids, excluding those choosing to home-school, have opted to send their children to private schools.

With that many schools reaching out for a fair share of the private education pie, marketing must play a big role. How a private school markets itself to stand apart from another must make a significant difference in enrollment.

One key aspect of any good marketing plan is signage. Believe it or not, how well a private school’s sign package conveys their brand identity can offer the following benefits:

  • Helps keep a consistent image in the minds of candidates as they browse a school’s website and visit a facility in person. If the two images don’t mesh in their minds, it can leave negative impressions as they compare schools, and they just may opt for the competitor.
  • Helps attract support from the local community. If a private school looks good in the community, then local residents wanting a good education for their kids will consider local options before looking out of the area for a better school. Also, when a facility looks sharp, it attracts financial support from alumni and local community supporters. Of course, the school’s administration and programs are the real strengths, but marketing images make important first impressions. 
  • Helps staff and students feel charged up and positive. They may not know exactly why, but when any aspects of the school’s buildings, grounds, and facilities (including the organization’s facility signage system) are not attended to regularly, the overall warm and fuzzy feelings of being at such a great place can turn ugly very quickly. 

Signage is often an overlooked element of an organization’s brand. (Read a more detailed article about this topic here.) Good luck with your brand image as another school year begins. Contact Holiday Signs anytime for help with custom electric signs, exterior and interior architectural signage, wayfinding and digital messaging.


Other articles of interest:



Mark Hackley, Account Executive

Holiday Signs  540-416-3154




City Entrance Signs, City of Manassas, VA



Implementing Five City Entrance Signs, City of Manassas



“Just outside of Washington, D.C., lies a small city that feels like home – the City of Manassas,” says the City of Manassas Welcome Page at www.manassascity.org.  

In an effort to boost community communications, the city recently contracted with Holiday Signs to provide city entrance signs for its five main gateway entrances.  Once the signs become operational in a few months, area arts, entertainment and community events will be regularly and prominently shared with some 38,000 residents plus thousands of visitors passing through the city. The signs will not only be able to advertise local events but can also post important traffic and safety information.

www.holidaysigns.com-manassas-washington-dc-sign-installation-crane-serviceMichael Martin of KMA Design designed the interesting signage system. Holiday Signs built the signage to the city’s specifications and installed the custom signs complete with electronic displays at designated median locations.  Consulting with Daktronics, a leading manufacturer of outdoor electronic message centers, it was determined that full-color displays with 20mm pixel pitch and 64×144 matrix size would be the best fit considering the speed of traffic and viewing distances. Signage installation was completed earlier in July and once the signs are live, the city will operate the displays with Holiday Signs providing software installation and operator training.

“The city has already received many positive comments from the community and the displays aren’t even connected yet!” says Patty Prince, Coordinator of Public Affairs for the City of Manassas.

“I already have lots of people asking me to post things,” Patty said.

The winning contractor on this project had to be able to satisfy DBE requirements because VDOT is providing grant money.  Holiday Signs satisfied the VDOT DBE requirements by using a DBE utility contractor to run power and signal conduit to each sign location.  This required boring under the highway and implementing traffic and safety control while working in the highway medians.

Because of the new city entrance signs, citizens and visitors in Manassas will soon benefit from a higher level of ongoing information about local events, safety and community services making the city a more informed and safer place to live and work.  I’ll be sure to write a follow-up article this fall highlighting the signage and its community impact once in full use.




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www.holidaysigns-virginia-commercial-retailCommercial Real Estate Professionals Get Primal in Norfolk

The goal of the HRACRE gathering today at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, besides being a chance to network with hundreds of professionals in the Tidewater area’s commercial development industry, was to be the one with the most creative animal print outfit. I wore a starched white button down with a pair of khakis to represent a polar bear that was in the water too long, white on top and a little tan on the bottom. The winning participant won because her leopard-spotted dress matched her shoes. I thought my outfit was more creative!

At any rate, since a zoo can be considered commercial real estate, I guess we got the chance to meet with different types of commercial Virginia Commercial Retailtenants…mainly Boa constrictors, African scorpions and South American armadillos. We all had a great time trying to win the door prize by filling out questionnaires about each other provided by the Hampton Roads Chapter of Women in Design. Spending the first part of the evening trying to find people who bit their fingernails, didn’t like chocolate, or flossed two times a day provided a great way to induce a long-lasting networking session amongst the crowd.

Since I am a member of the HRACRE group’s Membership Committee, I feel it’s only right that I offer a link about this fine organization for those interested in future networking opportunities with developers, architects, engineers, contractors, and other Tidewater companies involved in commercial development: www.hracre.org.


Sign Project Case Studies:


Virginia Commercial Retail



We Work In Your Town- Electric Signs Lynchburg, VA


LYNCHBURG AREA… we work in your town-july 2014-lynchburg map

Holiday Signs is Central Virginia’s premier custom electric sign company and, just in case you haven’t noticed, we work in your town too!

We’ve been turning traffic into customers for over 40 years and look forward to the chance to help your organization attract attention in your part of Virginia.


We Work In Your Town-Makers of Custom Electric Signs in Lynchburg, VA


we work in your town-july 2014-lynchburg


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See stories about other projects we’ve done around Lynchburg and the Commonwealth of Virginia:


Roanoke Regional Airport Wayfinding System

Historic Sign Renovation Case Study

Branding an Anniversary

Advertising Healthcare Services in Augusta County, VA

Luck Stone Entrance, Manakin-Sabot, VA

Rosemary & George Dawson Inn, Lynchburg, VA





Other Links:

Lynchburg Retail Space

Restaurants in Lynchburg

Blue Ridge Area Food Bank

Lynchburg Regional Airport

Find Reputable Used Car Dealers Near Lynchburg

Lynchburg Business Magazine

Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce



  • Where can I find good electric sign companies near Lynchburg, VA?
  • Who makes CHURCH SIGNS in Lynchburg, VA area?
  • Who makes custom electric signs (signage) near Lynchburg, Gretna, Madison Heights, Amherst, Bedford, Monroe, Timberlake, Concord, Appomattox, Rustburg, Forest, Liberty University, Gladys, Altavista?
  • Electric Sign Maintenance and Service near Lynchburg, VA?
  • signs lynchburg

What’s the Power Cost of Digital Signs?

www.holidaysigns.com-richmond-va-maintenance-cost-of-digital-signsWhat’s the Power Cost of Digital Signs?

www.holidaysigns.com-richmond-va-operating-cost-of-digital-signs-bank-signage-exampleJUDGING THE POWER COST
People interested in digital messaging often ask, “What’s the power cost of digital signs?”
That’s a very valid question.  People investing tens of thousands of dollars in digital signage need a basis to formulate an accurate operating budget.  So is there an easy way to estimate the annual cost of operating a digital sign?

The answer is yes, once you determine what type of equipment is right for your custom situation.  The trick is figuring out what’s right:

  • Size of display (Determined by viewing distance, speed of passing viewers, and local codes)
  • Monochrome or full-color (Determined by content type and personal preference)
  • Pixel pitch (Determined by viewing distance and speed of passing viewers)
  • Expected Hours of Operation per Day (Determined by personal preference and sometimes code)


  People considering digital signage should consult with a knowledgeable local electric sign company to help them with proper equipment selection. Once you know the specs, it’s just a matter of plugging in the sign’s power requirements, your estimated usage, and local cost per kilowatt hour to come up with an operating cost.

  The leading US brands of digital signs are Daktronics, Watchfire, Optec, and Formetco. Daktronics has an “Operating Cost Calculator” tool that inputs the max wattage of your particular equipment but takes into consideration power reduction for content usage and day/night brightness fluctuations. This simply means that some of your message content will use less than 100% of the available LED’s so the sign never operates on max power. (An example is black backgrounds use less power than white or colored ones.) Likewise, night and cloudy-day messages consume less power than messages in full sun with Daktronics equipment due to their automatic dimming features.

  Competitive second-tier brands of digital signs may not have built-in dimming features that maintain sign appearance and reduce power consumption using internal timers or light sensors. The difference in power cost in an offshore model running 24 hours at 100% because it has no dimmer, versus a market leader brand running at 25% at night can make a big difference in operating costs.
  For a good operating cost example, let’s consider a 2-sided Daktronics 3500 Series Full-Color (RGB) Model, 8′ wide X 4′ tall, with aAPR 2015-What is the Operating Cost of Digital Signs pic 2 24 x 64 matrix (34MM pixel pitch resolution), 1,860 max total watts. Using this configuration and an average electric utility cost of 8 cents per kilowatt hour (a good average commercial utility cost for Central Virginia), the estimated daily cost of power is 63 cents, and the estimated annual power cost using the calculator tool is $225.37. Take the same 8′ wide X 4′ tall sign, but boost the matrix size to 64 X 144 (16 MM pixel pitch) and wattage to 3,620, and the power cost doubles. Considering an average LED pole-light in a parking lot costs about $240* to operate year round, 12-hours a day, the operating cost of an average 32 square foot, double sided RGB digital sign would be about the equivalent of adding a parking lot light or two at your site, depending on the resolution you need. (*Source: Lighting Research Center)

  I hope this information was helpful as you investigate the costs of owning and operating your own on-premise digital advertising sign. Our project managers have access to many tools that can help you determine the right sign for your site with a cost estimate, return on investment and utility cost forecast.



Mark Hackley, Account Executive

Holiday Signs 






 Customer Spotlights…


Lifepoint Church    New Life Church    Grace Church


Capital Ale House    Virginia Diner


Lucy Corr Village     Augusta Health Pharmacy & Lab


Mobility Supercenter       Puritan Cleaners       Green Top Sporting Goods


Pioneer Bank      Connects Credit Union


ACAC Fitness & Wellness Centers      Virginia Repertory Theater      Altria Theater


Shenandoah University      Ferrum College


 Rockwood Square Shopping Center    Towne Center West     MWV Corporate Headquarters

reader appreciation 2 9automotive

Electronic Message Centers




(Click on a city below to see some of our work in your area!)

Charlottesville       Chesapeake       Fredericksburg        Harrisonburg       

Leesburg         Lynchburg       Newport News       Richmond      Roanoke     

South Boston/Halifax      Staunton/Waynesboro      Yorktown       

Thanks to everyone who’s been involved with the many interesting sign projects we have been challenged to tackle over the years!


Contact us at (804) 796-9443



Virginia Corporate Headquarters Sign Design



Manakin-Sabot, Virginia





Some say luck is all you need. Holiday Signs contends that when executing an effective entrance sign for a corporate headquarters sign design, skill and planning are the most important factors of success. Utilizing prototypes for conceptual sign designs ensures brand quality and consistency in the finished product and can help get your point across in the sign permitting process.

Recently, Goochland County changed their sign setback provision, allowing signs to be 10′ closer to the road. Luck Stone planned to put a new sign on top of a nice wall they would build using some of their product and then landscape around it.

Bob Morin, owner of Holiday Signs, was at a Planning Commission Meeting representing a different client on a case before the Board. Luck Stone’s presentation was deferred because the Board requested more information. We called Luck Stone’s Project Manager the next day to offer our assistance, suggesting that it might be helpful to prototype the sign as a way to explain to the Commission what they were hoping to create. It turned out Luck Stone was working with a design firm with which we’ve done several projects through the years.



 July 2014 Iconic Signs Newsletter luck stone bloggy blog 2


www.holidaysigns.com-luck-stone-custom-electric-signs-industrial-plants-prototypesThe most technically challenging aspect of the job involved the accurate graphic reproduction of the corporate brand. Luck Stone had just developed a new logo of which they were very proud and wanted it faithfully reproduced on the sign. The logo uses a specific color of green and they wanted it to appear the same during the day as at night.

The sign employs graphics at various surface levels. Translucent vinyl graphics on top of relatively thick-stroked acrylic elements that push-thru the sign faces are at one level. Thin-stroked plastic-backed surfaces behind routed areas in the 1/8″ thick sign faces are at another. Due to the variation in the film’s position on the faces, shadowing and lighting made these elements appear significantly different. We experimented to find the right combination of type and amount of lighting, as well as thickness and color of plastics, vinyl or paint for each element to produce the desired result for both daytime and nighttime viewing.www.holidaysigns.com-richmond-va-entrance-signs-with-lighting-prototypes

Teaming up with Luck’s designer, John Crank of The 1717 Design Group, we produced several samples and prototypes for review by everyone involved and ultimately, Mr. Luck. The design firm tweaked things based on the samples and prototypes, and we built the sign using the revised design.  The recommended design was presented to Mr. Luck as a final prototype.   It was closely reviewed and then approved.   Mr. Luck and everyone involved with the project were very happy with the end result!


Read the Luck Stone Story


Other Holiday Signs Signage Case Studies:



Mark Hackley is an

Account Executive at Holiday Signs








Word from the street in Virginia yesterday at the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association’s (VHTA) third regional 2014 tourism summit is that American consumers are currently trending from buying “real stuff” like cars, boats, and new kitchens, to more “intangible experiences” like vacations.

They said, “Leisure is King.”

If this is true in Virginia, and companies are seeking new ways to capture the attention of increased visitors on our highways, then perhaps that’s why more Virginia tourism entrepreneurs have been clicking on the Electronic Message Center tab on our website this year!


Attendees of the 2014 Tourism Summit, South Boston, VA.

Yesterday’s VHTA summit at Berry Hill Plantation near South Boston, VA was interesting. Linda Shepperd, Halifax County’s Director of Tourism; Shelia Bradley, Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) Board Member and 60th District Legislative Aide; and VHTA’s new head man, Eric Terry, opened up the third summit of the year after earlier successes in Wytheville and Richmond. Hearing about the competition from all 50 states and countries abroad, it was really neat to see the collaboration on marketing ideas that can help capture Virginia’s fair share of increased US travel.

Thad Smith, VTC Brand Director, explained the VTC’s current brand philosophy. The VTC acts as the state’s brand voice, focuses on relevancy to consumers, and provides fuel for tourist industry marketing. Providing fuel for marketing is a big thing these days as most of the industry emerges from a big down cycle, and part of the fuel provided is in co-op advertising opportunities. Just as makers of goods in the tangible retail industry offer resellers co-op marketing perks, the VTC allocates resources to share in advertising costs for those in the tourism trade.

Due to a limited budget, Thad brought up that requests for VTC Co-Advertising need to be both affordable and effective, and mentioned many ways they help partners in Virginia’s Tourism Industry defer ad costs in these media:


Berry Hill Resort & Conference Center, South Boston, VA

When considering affordable and effective advertising, I immediately thought of digital signage. If a hotel or restaurant is situated on a road with a high traffic count, the cost per impression with digital advertising makes it highly “affordable” and “effective”.

I asked Thad about co-op funding opportunities for on-premise digital signage advertising, such as for tourism retailers like hotels and restaurants. He said there are initiatives for co-op help with off-premise billboard ads, but was not aware of any on-premise sign co-op advertising opportunities. He said he would bring it up to the VTC Board to discuss. It seems like a good medium where tourist centers, hoteliers, chambers of commerce, and other travel-industry related organizations could help Virginia spread the word about all of Virginia’s many travel destinations directly to the travelers.


Mark Hackley is an Account Executive at Holiday Signs, 540-416-3154









www.holidaysigns.com-wayfinding-signs-museumsVISITORS WELCOME





“Main entrances must be welcoming, particularly to first time visitors,” says Madge Bemiss, the architect who planned and managed construction of the Museum of the Confederacy (MOC) in Appomattox, VA.

July 2014-Museum of the Confederacy blog blurbHoliday Signs recently worked with the new museum in providing entrance signage and a complete wayfinding system. Due to their location, visible from Rt. 460, effective building identification signage was important. Signs for the project included one large, low horizontal wall sign that gets the attention of passing cars, two colorful signs at main turning points into the parking lot, and a sign above the main entrance visible by pedestrians entering the museum.

www.holidaysigns.com-appomattox-va-museum-signage-wayfinding-graphics-displays-plaquesIMPORTANT SYSTEMS

Just as HVAC, electric, and plumbing systems are all critical components of a building’s design and functionality, signage systems play equal roles in achieving visitor-friendly environments.

We collaborated with Ansel Olson Design to produce the signage system for the MOC. The final comprehensive system included the identification signs mentioned above plus parking lot directional signs, site informational signs, historical plaques and markers, flag markers, tree markers, interior ADA signs, and display graphics in the museum itself.

The Appomattox site is one of three MOC locations. Two other museums are located in Richmond at 1201 E. Clay Street: The Richmond Museum of the Confederacy and The White House of the Confederacy.



Carter Thompson, Project Manager

Holiday Signs  (804) 796-9443





CLICK HERE for an excellent article shared by our friend, Madge Bemiss,

Architect, about “museum design” from Colonial Williamsburg Magazine, Spring 2014.



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July 2014-Museum of the Confederacy footer







This past May marked the 1 year anniversary of our first blog post. We have come a long way since May of 2013 and we are very pleased about that. For those of you who are new to Holiday Signs and what we’re all about, today’s post is a compilation of some of the awesome sign case studies, tips and tricks, and other articles we’ve posted over the last 14 months.

Over the year, we have reached out to many business owners and professionals interested in high quality signage. Our growing list of blog readers and clients is composed of people who purchase signage or have a hand in it. The list includes architects, engineers, planners, economic development leaders, commercial developers, general contractors, financial executives and managers, college marketers and physical plant directors, healthcare executives, marketing and facilities managers, hotel and restaurant owners and managers, attorneys, independent automobile dealers, and the list goes on!

We have such a talented staff to be able to design, build and maintain these great sign projects all in a 150-mile service area radius around Richmond, Virginia.




Here are some past blog stories of interest about signage in VA, MD, DC and NC over the last year:


Technically Challenging Sign Projects:


Branding & Wayfinding Signs:



Digital Messaging Signs:




General Signage:



Mark Hackley

Account Executive



FAQ’s: Contact Us for Answers!

Where can I buy custom electric signs in Virginia? 

How long should a sign last? 

How long should fluorescent lamps last in a sign? 

Who services electric signs in Virginia? 

Where can I buy LED Signs? 

Examples of Electric Signs in Virginia? 

Where can I find a reputable sign installer in Virginia?

Which sign company is best to handle signage at my multi-location retail chain?

I need signage for my shopping center in Virginia, VA. Who do I call?







Branding on a Budget: Using Vacuum Formed Sign Letters

www.holidaysigns.com-chester-va-branding-signs-storefrontsBRANDING ON A BUDGET



“Good-Better-Best” Options

www.holidaysigns.com-channel-letter-alternatives-signsRetailers incorporate their customized logos and taglines into their facilities’ identification signage to promote clear and consistent branding themes across all media channels and various physical locations.

To be effective, big, bold branding statements need to pop off buildings and into the eyes of passing customers and prospects around the clock. But “big and bold” can sometimes challenge budgets allocated for signage. When employing the “good, better, best” model to sign design, sometimes “good” or “better” can work just fine, depending on the situation.

Plastic Solutions

www.holidaysigns.com-richmond-virginia-car-dealer-lot-signs-wall-lettersThere are certain times when a customer’s parking lot and site lighting is sufficient in lighting up branding signs at night, opening the possibilities for channel letter alternatives.

Some of the most popular font variations don’t necessarily have to be custom made, especially when they don’t need illumination. Holiday Signs has access to templates and molds for many standard type styles that save customers the cost of starting from scratch in creating customized letters.

For applications where using standard fonts can do the job without the need for internal lighting, our project managers may suggest vacuum formed letters, like in the case of Mobility Supercenter. Since they had a large, highly visible wall, big, bold letters were a must. To meet the customer’s visibility needs and budget, we recommended vacuum formed plastic letters that have lower manufacturing and installation costs when compared to custom fabricated aluminum channel letters with LED lighting.

www.holidaysigns.com-richmond-va-vacuum-formed-letters-virginia-signsIn this particular application, using formed plastic letters (lit by existing site lighting) offered some of the 3-dimensional qualities and durability of custom fabricated aluminum letters. The non-illuminated plastic letters have a reduced graphic impact and effect after dark compared with channel letters, but remain visible enough after sunset to do the job at a reduced cost.


Contact: Holiday Signs www.holidaysigns.com (804) 796-9443


July 2014-Branding on a Budget Footer



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Part 1- They Connect With The Community

Part 2- They Can Be Paid For By Your Vendors

Part 3- They Grab Attention of the Masses

Part 4- They Allow You to Own the Media Channel

Part 5- They Have a Long Track Record of Getting Attention

Part 6- Promoting Loss Leaders












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