Back in the day I could tell which shop in town made any particular sign. Each shop's style was evident at a glance. In today's largely computerized generated world this is a lot less evident for signs and most shops. With each shop relying on the same fonts, and the similar sources for clip art, sameness has crept in. Further restricting our choices are standardized sign cabinets and cookie cutter architecture. Many shops I know don't even do much cutting of their substrates. What comes in the door, goes out the in pretty much the same shape and size, only with a layer of vinyl stuck to the surface.
I sometimes wonder what people see when they say to me "I saw the new sign you just installed at ______________ and I knew it was one of yours." Does it mean my work is too similar to the other work I've done recently - or is it merely so different from everyone else that it is instantly recognizable as coming from our shop. Is it because our work is not flat or rectangular in shape and very unlike the work everyone else does on a regular basis? I like to believe each piece we do is very different from the last. I know I don't like to repeat myself if I can avoid it.
I believe in today's world it is easier than ever to do work that stands out from the rest. It's also pretty easy to separate our shop from all the others out there. We simply have to do what no one else does.
In doing so we also set our customer's signs and businesses apart from all the rest. And that is an effective sign.