Behind the Vinyl is our series that explores the inner workings of Goshen Sign Products, your local one-stop print shop.
John Hannum wears a lot of hats as Goshen Sign Products’ Managing Partner. He oversees every aspect of running the shop, from accounting to deliveries, designing to cutting signs. His days start at 8 a.m., where he’ll peruse emails and get the day set up for when his employees arrive at 9:30 a.m.
Once his employees are set up, the rest of his day is spent answering emails, creating signage, and helping his customers with whatever they need. The design work varies daily. One day the team could focus on vehicle wraps, warehouse signs, or vehicle lettering and the next could be filled with banners, lawn signs, and window graphics.
Keep scrolling to read our exclusive interview with senior signmaker, John Hannum!
You are a designer at your core, so I have to ask, what is your favorite color?
I’m sure everybody asks, what is your sign?
With so many great places to dine out in Chester County, what is your favorite dining destination?
Are you a coffee or tea guy?
You devote a lot of your time to Goshen Signs, what do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy doing contracting projects for my friends and family. I have ten chickens, three ducks, three cats and a 2-year-old, and they take up quite a bit of my weekend.
How did you get into the design business?
I went to West Chester University. My major was originally computer science, but I hated it. On a whim, my friend was doing graphic design, so that’s what I decided to do. A buddy said he knew someone looking to hire someone with graphic design knowledge, and I started that afternoon. Twelve years, here I am, and I love it!
Who is your oldest client in town?
The YMCA of Greater Brandywine. We do all of the signage you see in the lobby that changes daily, sponsors banners around the gym, and event signage for all eight local branches.
What do you like to play in the background while making signs?
ESPN, Sporting events, sometimes “The Office” or “30 Rock.”
Do you consider yourself a Michael Scott or Liz Lemon?
With twelve years on the job, I’m sure you’ve had some wild job requests. What was the craziest job you’ve ever completed?
We’ve printed on two caskets and two urns. As far as volume goes, once, we produced 440 signs in two days. It was nuts!
What is your favorite part of managing Goshen Sign Products?
I enjoy talking to people and getting to know the customers. I love building long-term relationships with them and the creative side as well.
What is the first thing people should think about when it comes to creating signage?
They should think about how to say what they want to say in as few words as possible.
Typography can make or break a sign. What are your favorite and least favorite fonts?
My favorite right now is Bebas Neue. My least favorite fonts are Comic Sans and Papyrus (super hard to read and it can take up two hours to cut out the ridges).
If a customer has a limited budget and can only afford to make one type of promotional product, what is the first product they should create?
Banners are always good and cheap. You can also get a large quantity of yard signs for a pretty good price.
It’s a pretty big deal for a company to celebrate its 25th anniversary. How has Goshen Sign Products changed over the years?
We primarily started with cut vinyl and basic signs. Then, we added banners and full-color projects. Five years ago, we added vehicle wraps, which are hugely popular. Now, we can print any promotional product our customers need.
We started with a handful of clients. Nowadays, we have over 1,000 customers and signage on five continents. Some just come in once in awhile for stickers while others come in every day.
What makes Goshen Sign Products different than other printing companies?
There are places online where you can get what I do for half the price, but it’s not the same quality, and you’re not going to get any personal services. I firmly believe that you get what you pay for.
I think that we have a faster turn-around time, better quality product, more attention to detail, and we’re more willing to help individual clients. We’ll even spend a half an hour doing design work for the smallest client because I’d rather it look good than just pump something out.
One final question, if you could be any animal, what would you be?
Monkey… no wait, chimpanzee.
To learn more about any of our services, give us a call at 610-430-7000 or visit us every day from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 553 East Gay Street, West Chester, PA 19380.