What is the “real metal” you use?
We use a spray process that applies real metal to most any substrate. It is up to seventy-five percent real metal. After application, it has all the properties of cast or sheet metal. This process is used all over the world on interior and exterior projects. It is highly likely that you have seen real metal coated items and assumed that you were looking at something made in a foundry.
Why are your prices for plaques and signs so much less than others?
Three reasons for this. 1) Our signs and plaques have a high-density-urethane (HDU) base. HDU was developed for the aerospace industry and has been used for signs for forty years. Most exterior signs that look like wood, and many that look like solid cast metal are actually HDU which is very cost effective. 2) We coat the HDU base material with real metal and gives the look and feel of foundry piece without the weight. 3) We keep our overhead low by producing everything ourselves. We don’t have commissioned salespersons or a dealer network that would have to be supported with high prices.
Why do you charge for samples?
It is nice to “see and touch” before making an online purchase, and we happily accommodate by sending out samples. Atlas is a small business, producing strictly custom signs and plaques, We sell directly to consumers and businesses with none of the overhead of going through a middleman. Samples, like any plaque, need to be created. This has a real cost, so we charge. Samples can be sent back to us for a full refund, less shipping cost. We feel this is the most fair and does not pass the cost of samples to those who do not require them.
Can I do whatever I want with the samples I have purchased?
No, samples represent the talent of our associates, and as such, are only for your approval process. They may not be taken to other firms or individuals to be recreated or duplicated using other methods. They may not be photographed except to show them to others in the decision making loop. In other words, treat samples like any other artistic work. You wouldn’t copy and sell a movie dvd or music cd, so realize that our samples are no different.
How many times can I have you make design changes? When do you charge for design work?
If you desire a plaque, sign, or address numbers, simply attempt to select from one of our online choices. When you want something that we have not yet created, we are thrilled to work with you so you can have it your way. Our designers will take your idea and give you a number of different ideas from which to choose. If one is close, but only needs a couple of minor changes, let us know and we will go at it and get you a proof with a couple of variations from which to choose. You decide and your creation will go to our shop for creation.
But, our prices are kept reasonable because we control our expenses and overhead. We do not have a huge profit margin to support “free” (we read as “included in everyone else’s price”) services. Sometimes it is just difficult to make the final decision. If you find yourself in that position, we will be happy to keep working with you. It will be necessary to make a Paypal transaction, and complete further design work at our $70.00 per hour rate. So to be clear, you get 2 designs with variations for free, then we must charge for further work.
Can I supply my own artwork and graphics?
Yes. We can convert most any file type into a format that is usable to our equipment. Since each line is seen by our computer programs, the design and letters must be vectorized and made smooth. Additionally, we often need to adjust the letter kerning for a better look and to have a little separation between each, non-script, letter. Beware that we often receive graphics from well-intentioned amateurs and professionals that are not familiar with our process. These can contain elements such as line over-laps, loops, or other issues that would not be a problem for printing, but would be problematic for our equipment. We will do some graphic clean-up work for free, but will let you know if additional charges will be necessary to make the design work for a sign or plaque.
Let us know what you are sending and we can work with you to get look you desire. We can not use graphics, photographs, or elements that belong to someone else. So, be certain of your source and realize that we could ask you to provide proof of ownership or a release in some situations.
Are there limits on letter or graphic sizes?
Letters should be a minimum of .45″ and lines should be minimum of .125″ width. Lines should should be slightly rounded or squared off. Due to our coating process, some distortion of extreme detail may occur in the finished product.
How large should my house numbers be?
For readability, plan a minimum of 1 1/2 inches per 50 feet of distance. You should also be certain of any minimum size or contrast requirement required by your local authorities. Many of our address plaques go to homes that also have an additional, official, fire or police number posted. So size would not an issue in these cases. In general, address numbers of 3 inches is a good scale. On a larger building, larger plaques will have a better scale.
Where do you get your artwork and graphics?
Our artists often create original art graphics just for you. To speed the process and keep our prices low, we use fonts and graphics from a variety of sources. We have our own extensive library and subscribe to a number of different services. Our fonts and graphics are original, licensed to us for use, or are in the public domain. We won’t intentionally cheat someone by stealing their talent and effort.
We make a fine selection of stakes, posts, hooks, finials, and brackets available on our website in our Sign Brackets, Hooks, Posts, Stakes section. When your order includes these, we will complete your sign so that final mounting will be easy. We have found a source for our mounting hardware that is Made in America. Atlas only uses products and materials that are Made in the USA, so we are reluctant to purchase from the chain home stores and, of course encourage you to use domestically manufactured mounting hardware.
If you don’t purchase from us, we prefer that you support your community by contacting your local wrought iron craftsperson to have one made. Just let us know the dimensions and we will install “I” bolts or other hardware to match your mounting situation.
What if I want my sign or plaque sooner?
We are usually able to ship within 2 weeks of final design and artwork approval. Our normal shipping method is UPS Ground Service, which is both speedy and cost effective, especially for residential delivery. One way to get your product faster is to have us ship FedEx Overnight service. We will charge you the extra expense and a service charge.
Can I get a painted sign from you?
Kind of, we can include some color for a modest charge. We use One Shot Brand Sign Paint when we add a “splash” of color to our metal-coated signs. Metal coating is always the main part of the sign or plaque, but we are happy to use paint to bring your color scheme to a logo, name, or family crest. All you have to do is specify the exact colors and an approved proof.
We also make all of our signs available uncoated. By ordering your plaque uncoated, DIY enthusiasts can finish it using commonly available materials. You can then have any colors or other finishes that you desire.
You advertise that your product is Made in the USA. Do you use any foreign products?
Not intentionally. We shop hard in an attempt to assure that even the smallest items are Made in America. We also strive to purchase and use only tools and machines in our shop that are domestically made. With that said, it is impossible to assure that every component measures up to our standards in this international economy. There are, no doubt, elements in our tools and equipment that have a foreign heritage. But we really try, and hope that you will also support your community.