Retail Insights with Harper Grey

Harper Grey: The Test Drive

Since announced the release of the new website this week, they asked me to look it over and review it from a consumer’s perspective. This worried my husband, who had heard stories about my first few jobs in clothing stores where I spent more than my paycheck on the merchandise. But I figured, “Hey, it’s signs. Surely I won’t have a shopping addiction on’s website.”

While I don’t typically go out shopping for signs on a regular basis, and I don’t own a small business or organization, I still have several events every year for which I might want to order a yard sign, banner or window decal. So I opened up my laptop to check out the online offerings at

When I shop at an online store, one of the first things I notice is the way the site looks. Is it tacky, or well-designed? Does the site appear to be legitimate and does the company come across as a safe place to shop?’s site is clean and simple. It isn’t junked-up with a bunch of ads screaming at me to, “Buy Right Now!” The colors aren’t jarring, fluorescent shades. I like the large, clear buttons on the home page that prompt me to choose the type of sign I want.

Once I clicked on “Banners,” I landed on a page with lots of information about the product. I liked the way I could easily find information on installation and materials, as well as see some of the most popular templates right away.

I decided to create an anniversary banner for my parents-in-laws upcoming 50th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, I was soon to find a new addiction – the design tool.

I chose a cool template to start with. I liked the design elements and the font, but the colors weren’t exactly my favorite. No problem! With the snappy design tool, I just changed each of the four color components to match the color theme of the party.

Also, I wanted the banner to say my in-law’s names, so I added a quick text box to include that information. In a matter of just a few minutes, I had a customized banner that was perfect for the upcoming party.

There was just one problem. Once I figured out that I could move around all the design elements, change the font, change the color and even add stuff I couldn’t stop. Instead of doing the laundry and cleaning the house, I created custom vinyl banners. Seven of them, to be exact. And they all look pretty good (if I do say so myself).

Then . . . I found the blank template. Even more dangerous. I’ve always thought of myself as a creative, artsy person and have always been interested in the work that the graphic designers at do on a daily basis. So I figured . . . hey, I can do that! And I did. I designed an anniversary banner from scratch. Then I did another. And another. Do you know that you can even add a photo to your sign?

So now there were ten signs in my shopping cart. Ten. Now if they were sweaters, I’d have been tempted to get all of them. But in this case, we only needed a few banners and it would really be best if they all matched. So I had to choose one. One!

After much pacing and a few rounds of eenie-meenie-moe, I chose a design and ordered three banners (all the same, but different sizes) for the party. The checkout process was easy and straight-forward and fast enough that I started wondering whether I should design some birthday banners for some upcoming parties, too. I’m quite proud to say that I abstained and walked away from the laptop – I’ll work on those birthday banners tomorrow.

My husband came home to a dirty house and no dinner. And a wife who was plotting ways to spend her entire paycheck on banners and yard signs over the next few weeks.

So,, I like your new website. I LOVE your new design tool. And I really, really love feeling like I’m a fantabulous designer (though actually I did choose a template design for the banners I ordered – those professionals are pretty good).

I’ll be back. Soon. And often.