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Business Profile

Signs for Success

John Bogensberger is not kidding around.

When it comes to business visuals — anything from employee name tags to elaborate murals wrapping vehicles and buildings — a walk through his shop is a glimpse at the leading edge of the industry. You might expect a print shop pumping out some nice vinyl banners for events and trade shows and such. What you’ll see at Signs for Success is a bit more … involved.

"To me, it's all about having an expert team that I trust," Bogensberger says. "I know they have my back, so when I'm talking to the client, I can pretty much promise the world. And then we figure out how to make it happen."

Because the business has committed to helping their employees grow professionally, getting certified in different techniques, they have figured out a great many things.

Examples are everywhere: In their break room, the acoustical ceiling tiles have a cityscape printed on them that is an optical illusion: the buildings seem to change position as you walk around the room. Outside, a huge garage door is covered with a seemingly seamless image of a military tank.

Bogensberger grabs a  sample of their vehicle-wrap film, hits it with a blowtorch for a moment, and molds it into a perfect replica of his fist. It stays that way until he heats it again, flattening it back into place. His sales manager, Will, produces a translucent photo of a zebra, which looks normal until you shine a light behind it. Then the white parts of the zebra's hide show as purple.

"That was something a client asked for and John said yes," Will said good naturedly. "So we figured out how to do it."

Of all the little demos and examples of unique sign-printing they show us, color performance in different lighting is one of Signs for Success's foremost obsessions. If a company's brand includes a certain color, that's how it should look wherever the graphics appear, period. Whether in ambient light during the day, or backlit at night, or on a glass window bleeding onto an adjacent brick wall, it needs to be consistent.

This attention to detail, and the ability to deliver a variety of services, has given Signs for Success a healthy following among marketing and advertising agencies (both locally and nationally) who survive by delivering on-brand graphics and outside-the-box ideas for their clients.

“I love looking at a small business holistically with an owner, and figuring out how we can not only provide great graphics, but how that is part of a bigger plan to bring in business."

He relays a story of doing a couple vehicle wraps for a small company. The customer was thrilled, so John suggested they snap a few photos, write it up for the blog, and then post the photos on all the business's digital and social media platforms. The customer declined, because they hadn't claimed a presence on any of those platforms.

"I was like, listen, I appreciate your business," Bogensberger remembers. "But you shouldn't be spending money on this sort of thing while not taking advantage of all the free ways to look great in front of your potential customers."

In a similar way, Signs for Success has partnered with INB for its own growth, financing a large new building that will allow Bogensberger and team to put graphics on huge semi trucks even in the heart of winter. At the same time, Bogensberger's team has found a way to make INB's downtown location a showcase of massive visual displays, inside and out.

Before I leave, Bogensberger sums up a shared value between INB and Signs for Success: the mission of supporting other businesses.

"We like printing all kinds of things, but what we really like is local people succeeding — and looking good doing it."