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Sarah Buzaglo

Signs are everywhere. Who designs them, who makes them, and who puts them up? Behind the signs you see every day is a whole world waiting to be discovered.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Photo: Shutterstock

Ican be red or blue, black, or white, short as a teacup, or high as a kite! Shaped like a triangle, circle, or square; if you look around, you can find me everywhere! 

This riddle may seem confusing, but if you walk down any street in your city, no matter where you live, you’re bound to find the answer hanging right in front of your eyes! From stop signs on every corner to window signs in groceries, you come across hundreds of signs every day — signs in different languages and colors, signs with different purposes and meanings. 

Have you ever wondered who makes these signs? How they stay up for years, even during snowstorms and rain? Or how they are attached hundreds of feet above the ground? Mr. Sanny Steinmetz Jr. from BP Signs shares with us how this is done.

First Impressions

Imagine the following scene: You’re shopping for summer camp, and trying to find the perfect pair of sneakers. As you walk down the street, two stores catch your eye, both with windows piled high with sneakers. One window has a piece of paper taped to it, with “Sneakers Sold Here” written in marker, the other has a large rainbow colored sign in the shape of a shoe hanging above the door, with the address and “Sam’s Sneaker Store” in large letters that light up every second. 

Both stores are on the same street, both have similar prices, and both sell sneakers — but which one is more likely to grab your eye? 

Mr. Steinmetz, a sales representative and designer at BP Signs, says, “Our company, in Brooklyn’s Boro Park neighborhood, creates hundreds of different signs for businesses and stores across America.

Photo: Shutterstock

“There are many reasons signs are so important. They create a first impression for customers. A well-designed store exterior/interior creates an atmosphere of confidence, trust, professionalism, and efficiency, both for the seller and for the customer. 

“Signs also provide helpful information for customers and passersby, such as address, phone number, and hechsher. As a matter of fact, large facilities such as nursing homes and malls often spend more time and money on their directional signs than on all exterior signs put together. Advertisements that catch people’s eyes and get them curious about a business are an example of directional signs, which are useful and important for so many reasons.

BP Posts

● BP Signs is one of the oldest sign manufacturers in Brooklyn. Mr. Steinmetz Sr., and his partner, Mr. Gutter, opened the business when they had both just gotten married. Back then, signs were still made completely by hand, and hung by men up on ladders. Today, 43 years later, the business has grown, and new machines and computers use the technology of the 21st century. 

● There are many different kinds of signs. BP Signs has created signs for indoor projects, outdoor projects, and for trucks, walls, canopies, and even skyscrapers. 

● Smaller signs can be as small as two inches for book plates on seforim or six inches on door tags. They can also be as big as 400 to 500 feet (that’s almost 6,000 inches!).

Desktop to Design

The very first step in creating a sign is thinking about why you’re creating it. Is it for a grocery, or maybe a museum? Is the purpose of the sign to give directions/instructions, or to attract attention/advertise? How big is the sign meant to be? Is it a standard square shape, or a specially designed shape? Will the sign have words and symbols on it? Does the business want a vintage look, or are they more modern and cutting edge?

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