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Cedar signs

hazCom standard

Incised, Routed & Displayed

What You Need to Know

www.signshop.com

Nu mbe R 218

Number 218 | august 2013

How-To

“Super” FaSt Sign Bu i lder i l luStr ated

Wraps > Awards & Imprinting

a u gu st 2 013

> CNC Router ROI > UL Sign Panel

Photo: Pella engraving

August 2013

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30 SUPPLEMENT: PROMOTIONALS, AWARDS, & IMPRINTING

Customizables Projects and products designed to help you expand your sign vision.

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Winning Additions BY MIKE ANTONIAK

Awards & engraving promise a new profit center.

Sweating the Small Stuff BY LORI SHRIDHARE

Digital printing on promotional products.

Sign Builder Illustrated (Print ISSN 895-0555, Digital ISSN 2161-4709) (USPS#0015-805) (Canada Post Cust. #7204564) (Bluechip Int’l, Po Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2, Agreement # 41094515) is published monthly by Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, 55 Broad Street, 26th Floor, New York, NY 10004. Printed in the U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and Additional mailing offices. Pricing, Qualified individual working in the sign industry may request a free subscription. Non-qualified subscriptions printed or digital version: 1 year US $105.00; foreign $197.00; foreign, air mail $297.00. 2 years US $149.00; foreign $267.00; foreign, air mail $497.00. BOTH Print & Digital Versions: 1 year US $158.00; foreign $296.00; foreign, air mail $396.00. 2 years US $224.00; foreign $400.00; foreign, air mail $600.00. Single copies are $36.00 ea. Subscriptions must be paid for in U.S. funds only. Copyright Š Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation 2013. All rights reserved. Contents may not be

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Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

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A Rock-Solid Wrap BY JEFF WOOTEN

Sizing up the landscape of possible wrap requests.

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Wrap of Steel BY JEFF WOOTEN

Designing wraps like a superhero.

Wraps: The Need for Speed BY JEFF WOOTEN

Vinyl gets involved in the race for a land-speed record.

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Cutting Into New Profits BY ASHLEY BRAY

One shop demonstrates how a router can help you make money in new markets.

reproduced without permission. For reprint information contact: Arthur Sutley, Publisher 212-620-7247 or asutley@sbpub.com. For Subscriptions, & address changes, please call (800) 895-4389, (402) 346-4740, Fax (402) 346-3670, e-mail circulation@sbpub.com or write to: Sign Builder Illustrated, Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, PO Box 10, Omaha, NE 68101-0010. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sign Builder Illustrated, PO Box 10, Omaha, NE 68101-0010. Instructional information provided in this magazine should only be performed by skilled crafts people with the proper equipment. The publisher and authors of information provided herein advise all readers to exercise care when engaging in any of the how-to activities published in the magazine. Further, the publisher and authors assume no liability for damages or injuries resulting from projects contained herein.

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The one water doesn’t put out.

Worry-free outdoor lighting a myth? Not anymore. Our unique potted modules produce unmatched outdoor performance, period. Whether its heat, cold, rain, salt or wind vibration – LuxemBright Fire Series LEDs will perform worry-free year after year.

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Above image used for advertising purposes only. LuxemBright® Fire Series™ modules are potted to IP67 standard and are not intended to be submerged in water. Fire Series, Fire, and Flare are Trademarks of CAO Lighting, Inc. Blaze and Inferno are Registered Trademarks of CAO Lighting, Inc. © 2013 CAO Lighting, Inc. All rights reserved.

Agenda

How-To Columns

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16 16

September 8-12: PRINT 13, produced by the Graphic Arts Show Company, is taking place at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. (www.print2013.com) September 20-21: CONSACImagemakers, the Sign Association of Canada’s national tradeshow, will be held at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. (www.sac-ace.ca/consac)

How HazCom 2012 Affects Your Business

OCTOBER 2013 How HazCom 2012 Affects Your Business

BY JIM HINGST

The HCS takes effect this December. Will your shop be ready?

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SEPTEMBER 2013

Routing Cedar Signs

Routing Cedar Signs

BY MARK K. ROBERTS

Departments 6

UpFront

8

Dispatches

An app a day might not keep the doctor away, but Editor Jeff Wooten points out how our new SBI app can prove helpful to you.

Setting sail for the creation of new routed cedar signs.

The latest news from around the industry.

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12

Sign Show

42

SBI Marketplace

44

Shop Talk

UL Sign Industry Business Panel

BY RANDY WRIGHT

The sign industry meets with UL to learn about updates.

CEDAR SIGNS

HAZCOM STANDARD

Incised, Routed & Displayed

What You Need to Know

Advertisements and announcements from the sign trade.

Jeff Wooten shows how Buzz Graphics of Ogden, Utah is a print shop and ad agency all wrapped up into one.

www.signshop.com

NUMB ER 218

NUMBER 218 | AUGUST 2013

HOW-TO

The newest products and services from sign manufacturers.

“SUPER” FAST SIGN BU I LDER I L LUSTR ATED

Wraps On the Cover > Awards & Imprinting

A UGUST 2013

> CNC Router ROI > UL Sign Panel

4

The Panther Graphics #4 National Guard Man of Steel vinyl wrap flies along the Indianapolis 500 Speedway track. Photo by IMS Photo.

Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

OctOber 9-10: The National Signage Research & Education Conference (NSREC), sponsored by the Signage Foundation, Inc. (SFI), will be conducted at the University of Cincinnati. (www.thesignagefoundation.org) OctOber 11-12: Official ShopBot Training Classes will be taking place at the company’s headquarters in Durham, North Carolina. (www.shopbottools.com) OctOber 23-25: SGIA Expo 2013, featuring the industry’s most innovative imaging developments, heads to Orlando, Florida. (www.sgiaexpo.org)

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Up

by jeff wooten

August 2013, Vol. 27, No. 218

There’s an App for That A new app to help your sign shop stay connected.

Sign Builder Illustrated (ISSN 0895-0555) print, (ISSN 2161-0709) digital is published by Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation executive offices

President and Chairman Arthur J. McGinnis, Jr. Publisher Arthur J. sutley 55 Broad Street, 26th Floor New York, NY 10004 212/620-7247; fax: 212/633-1863 editorial editor

Jeff Wooten

323 Clifton Street, Suite #7 Greenville, NC 27858 252/355-5806; fax: 252/355-5690 jwooten@sbpub.com associate editor

Ashley Bray

W

hether employed as an angle in movies, television, music, or even magazines, it can prove difficult to step out on a limb and attempt to predict the far future. Sure one can sometimes prognosticate a few things close enough to be able to take credit for being a visionary years later (after you’ve had time to tweak your original predictions to fit the reality). But more often than not, your results are so far off base that you can end up a future laughingstock, as they review how you still continue to “party like it’s 1999.” For instance: Five years ago (when the iTunes app store first opened), who could’ve imagined how popular apps would be today (aside from Steve Jobs and his cohorts, that is)? Who really saw that coming from the comforts of your chatrooms and AOL emails? Now some fifty billion downloads later, apps are a big part of our everyday lives. Even the original, old school James T. Kirk never really plugged into what should’ve been these past advancements for him, as he browsed through his Reader’s Digest-sized version of the Encyclopedia Britannica while commanding the bridge of the starship Enterprise on TV. (Whoops! There goes that dangerous “trying to predict the future” scenario again.) With this in mind, I’m pleased to announce that Sign Builder Illustrated has joined the

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55 Broad Street, 26th Floor New York, NY 10004 401/722-5919; fax: 212/633-1863 abray@sbpub.com

world of Angry Birds, Doodle Jump, Words With Friends, Pandora, AccuWeather, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Now you can download our free Sign Builder Illustrated app to your iPhone, iPad, and/or iPod Touch. From your home screen, you’ll be able to use this app to: + Receive real-time news coverage on a wide array of topics (digital printing, vinyl, LED/neon lighting, digital signage, business management, dimensional, installation, etc.); + Obtain full access to all previous/archived magazine issues; + Enter keywords in our search function to find recent content related to them; + Use the zoom function to enable clearer reading of selected articles with amazingly clear text rendering; + Integrate with your social network to keep your friends and colleagues up-to-date with the latest sign news and share your favorite articles with them; and + Download and save individual pages to enjoy offline when you are on the go. Reminder: This free Sign Builder Illustrated app is available to download at the iTunes App Store (http://bit.ly/sbiapp). So I recommend taking the opportunity to experience this exciting development for yourself. Meanwhile I’m fairly confident in predicting that this function will greatly aid you for the forseeable future—whether you’re inshop, at-home, or on-the-go surveying, building, and/or installing signs and graphics.

Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

contributing writers

Butch “superfrog” Anton, Mike Antoniak, Jim hingst, Peter Perszyk, Mark roberts, lori shridhare, randy Wright art

Corporate Art Director Wendy Williams production

Corporate Production Director Mary Conyers circulation

Circulation Director Maureen Cooney advertising sales national sales director

Jeff sutley 212/620-7233; fax: 212/633-1863 jeffsutley@sbpub.com west & midwest regional sales manager

Kim noa

212/620-7221; fax: 212/633-1863 knoa@sbpub.com

For reprint information contact Arthur J. Sutley 55 Broad St, 26th Floor New York, NY 10004 212/620-7247; fax: 212/633-1863 Circulation Dept. 800/895-4389

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An app to help your sign shop

Dispatches

Revitalized Signature Grand Court

LED Video Orlando, Florida—In 2002, a new 1.2 million-square foot enclosed shopping and entertainment center in Orlando chose Daktronics to provide them with the industry’s most innovative indoor LED video solution. Now more than a decade later, The Mall at Millenia has again relied on Daktronics to revamp their twelve curved, high-resolution LED displays that serve as the mall’s Grand Court entertainment showpiece. Steven Jamieson, general manager of The Mall of Millenia, states, “The LED screens are truly a focal point and source of energy, often thought of as the heartbeat of the Center. The Forbes Company is committed to delivering the 8

best of technology and creativity for our guests. We entered into this revitalization of the screens with excitement and confidence in the technology Daktronics has provided.” The new displays are larger than the original designs—each measuring nine feet high-by-four feet wide. In addition, they feature 6 mm pixel spacing (four times the resolution when compared to the mall’s prior technology). Designed for premier organizations and locations that can accept only the highest image quality at the closest viewing distances, The Mall at Millenia’s new displays feature technology that takes advantage of 3-in-1 SMD (surface-mount

Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

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Grand Court once again,” said Brad Wiemann, executive vice president of Daktronics. “Upgrading to the higher resolution LED video technology of today is exemplary of The Mall at Millenia’s commitment to offering its shoppers an incredibly unique and immersive experience not found anywhere else.” For more information about how LED video is revolutionzing today’s shopping center environment, visit www.daktronics. com/shopping.

Corona Bottles the Moon Chicago, Illinois— Corona Extra recently showed that the sky really is the limit with an innovative and interactive billboard that uses astronomy to turn the wedge shape of a “waxing moon” into the iconic lime of a Corona. The billboard, called “Luna Corona,” was created in New York City through elaborate planning and research with some of the world’s most renowned scientific institutions and planetariums. The result was that during two hours on selected days over the summer, the lime slice-shaped moon appeared to rest inside the top of the billboard’s Corona bottle. Fans were encouraged to find street decals denoting the perfect locations to stand at the intersection of 9th Avenue and 15th Street to witness the phenomenon live. “This astronomical opportunity aligns perfectly with Corona’s belief that finding your beach can happen however, whenever, and especially in this case, wherever,” says Craig Neely, senior director, brand marketing for Crown Imports, Corona Extra’s exclusive U.S. importer. “The ‘Luna Corona’ execution represents the kind of remarkable experiences our consumers will be seeking all summer long.” To view a video of the out-of-thisworld ad campaign, visit http://bit. ly/19ODTka.

photo: corona.

photos: daktronics.

device) LED to produce exceptional brightness, unsurpassed viewing angles, and incredible picture detail. In addition to updating the twelve curved LED video displays, Daktronics also provided ProPixel® LED freeform stick elements to vertically illuminate the Cone Fountain display located at the main entrance of the mall. The LED screens’ content varies from high-end fashion pieces to fantasy-like motion graphics to playful creative artwork that leaps outside the boundaries of traditional digital artwork. An eclectic mixture of audio and video content transports guests from the high seas to the depths of outer space while captivating them with beautiful water and smoke forms. “We are tremendously proud to have been given the opportunity to help realize The Mall at Millenia’s vision for their

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August 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated

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Dispatches +

Ada, Oklahoma—Steve Gustine was in the electric sign business when he saw the need for a machine that could perform both plasma cutting and CNC routing. So he started building machines, mainly for sign builders but also for manufacturing companies producing a wide range of different parts for people making arts and crafts. PlasmaRouteCNC provides CNC plasma cutters and CNC router tables designed from the ground up to p rov i d e p o we r f u l , high-resolution routing and plasma cutting capabilities in one table. To d ay G u s t i n e ’s company also makes its own videos on using the machines and posts them for its customers (www.plasmaroutecnc.com). Their latest video shows how they used ArtCAM by Delcam to design and build a new dust collector for their machines. These images show the first dust collector (pictured) created by PlasmaRouteCNC using the program. Pictured is the inside part of the top half of the dust collector

showing the inside air channels that have been hogged out with the area clearance tool path function. "Once we have the final version like we want it, we’ll use the machine prototype to make a mold so that we can start casting these dust collectors out of a clear acrylic type of polymer," says Gustine.

FASTSIGNS® Earns Recognition for Vet Recruitment Carrollton, Texas—Victory Media has recognized FASTSIGNS® as a 2013 Military F r i e n d l y F ra n c h i s e ® . Criteria for inclusion on the list includes the franchise’s success in recruiting military veterans, non-financial efforts, and financial commitment to recruit and retain veterans. Worldwide franchisor FASTSIGNS is the only sign and graphics company to make the list. Currently 10 percent of the FASTSIGNS U.S. network is comprised of

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veterans, and an additional two veterans have signed on with the company to open centers in Denver, Colorado and Brandon, Florida in the coming months. “We truly appreciate the sacrifices that our servicemen and women have made for our country,” said Catherine Monson, CEO of FASTSIGNS. “We want to make sure our veterans have every opportunity when it comes to securing a career in franchising. For those wanting to go into business for themselves, FASTSIGNS is committed to offering aggressive financial support and resources that will help them every step of the way.”

Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

Next Wave Teams Up with Reggiani Macchine

Buford, Georgia—Next Wave Media Solutions (www.nextwavems.com) has entered into an exclusive North and Central American Sales & Service Agreement with Reggiani Macchine, an Italian-based manufacturer and global leader in the digitally printed textile arena. Next Wave is to be the exclusive sales agent and servicing partner for Reggiani’s paper and textile products, which cover an expansive range of applications (from display, industrial, and textile inkjet graphics to surface decoration). Both companies feel the time is right for the exponential growth of inkjet-printed products in North and Central America that cover the specific markets of display graphics, sports apparel, textiles, and industrial applications. “The photo-realistic quality and wide assortment of inkjet printers continues to expand various applications while cost barriers continue to drop,” says Pat Clark, president and co-owner of Next Wave. “This gives Reggiani a distinct advantage in establishing itself as a major player in this region.”

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photo: next wave media solutions.

photos: artcam.

CAD for CNC and Plasma

SignSHOW AW N I N G S & V I N Y L - COAT E D FA B R I C S Direct Print Textiles from Top Value Fabrics for Advanced Printing Platforms Top Value Fabrics now offers Direct Print Textiles, which provide an advanced printing platform for superior banners, flags, exhibit graphics, and advertising displays. The media is constructed with a superior print-receptive treatment for direct printing. After imaging, the fabrics are designed to provide outstanding color consistency, excellent image sharpness, and a wide color range. Direct Print Textiles include 3.2 oz. Flag Polyester, 3.3 oz. Polyester Satin, 5.2 oz. Stretch Polyester, 6 oz. Polyester, and 7.3 oz. Heavy Polyester. The innovative, REACH-compliant fabrics meet NFPA 701 FR specifications and are available in widths ranging from 61 to 126 inches. www.topvaluefabrics.com

B A N N E R S /M AT E R I A L S / E Q U I PM E N T Pitch Your Message: Creative Banner Introduces a New Imprinted Tent Accessory Creative Banner Assemblies has expanded its tent accessory line with the new Marquee Banner Display. Shaped like a half moon, this display attaches to one side of a tent for maximum brand exposure and offers additional space for messaging. Compatible with any ten-foot side of the company's ShowStopper Event Tents, this banner display securely attaches to the frame’s legs for simple installation. The banner’s height is fully adjustable by easily sliding the clamp hardware up or down on the Event Tent leg. At its highest point, the banner can reach up to thirteen feet high. The Marquee Banner Display features a bold, full-color, dye-sublimated knit polyester banner with black nylon pole pockets. The display also includes the poles and leg brackets for mounting to the Event Tent legs. www.creativebanner.com

Drytac® Launches SilkScape™, Cost-effective Print Media for Retractable Banner Stands Drytac® welcomes brand-new SilkScape™ to its line of digital print media. Made of multi-layer white polypropylene, SilkScape is an 8-mil., 99 percent opaque banner material with a satin matte finish and single-sided, print-receptive coating. It is compatible with solvent, eco-solvent, and UV printers. With it’s “hang-flat” properties, SilkScape’s edges are curl-resistant and do not fray. In addition, there are no distracting shadows due to its excellent opacity. SilkScape is available in thirty-six-inch rolls on a three-inch core. www.drytac.com/silkscapetm.html

New Strip Mesh Pro LTX from Ultraflex for Latex Printing Custom-built to print ideally with Latex technology, Strip Mesh Pro LTX from Ultraflex is a 9 oz. printable mesh material with backer that can be easily removed after printing. The specially designed backer creates an airtight print surface that prevents ink spray from coming through and allows vacuum-equipped printers to hold material flat during printing. Strip Mesh Pro LTX has 25 percent airflow and is ideal for outdoor banners, building wraps, fence mesh graphics, and other applications in high wind areas. Formulated for use not only with latex but also solvent, eco solvent, and UV printers, this mesh is available in widths measuring from 54 to 126 inches. www.ultraflexx.com

CHANNEL LETTERS Direct Sign Wholesale Pens Channel Letter Information Guide Direct Sign Wholesale (DSW) has introduced its new marketing piece: the Channel Letter Information Guide. This piece is an upgrade to DSW’s popular Channel Letter Sales Guide—but now featuring new information that includes LED data, logo box photos, channel letter color combinations, and a sign square footage calculation example. The new twenty-eight-page-long, wire-bound guide aims to provide customers with a comprehensive product data reference, as well as to assist them with their channel letter sales efforts. www.directsignwholesale.com

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Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

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Sign news on the go?

There’s an app for that. Introducing the new Sign Builder Illustrated app SBI App

http://bit.ly/sbiapp

•Up-to-the minute daily sign news •Full access to all previous/archived editions of monthly magazine •Automatically receive new issues on IOS5 or higher •Download and save individual pages to enjoy offline or on the go

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•Social media integration to easily share news Sponsored by

Download the Kaywa QR Code Reader (App Store &Android Market) and scan your code!

SignSHOW D I G I TA L P R I N T I N G E Q U I PM E N T/ S U P P L I E S HP Expands its Latex Printing Portfolio HP has broadened its HP Latex Printing Technologies portfolio with the introduction of its HP Latex 3000 Printer. The HP Latex 3000 offers broader media versatility (including heat-sensitive substrates) with the HP Latex Optimizer. This new ink solution ensures consistent image quality at high speeds, as well as efficient curing at lower temperatures and with less energy than previous HP Latex solutions. HP Latex Inks are UL ECOLOGO and GREENGUARD Gold CertifiedSM. The printer’s increased production capacity lets high-volume customers meet tight deadlines, producing 830 ft2/hr of indoor applications and 1,290 ft2/hr of outdoor applications. Standard carbon fiber, dual-roll spindles also help reduce media loading times and the need for operator intervention. www.hp.com

Marabu North America Becomes an Authorized Mimaki Reseller Marabu North America is now an authorized reseller for Mimaki’s UJF-3042FX and UJF-3042HG printers. Mimaki’s UJF3042 tabletop printers are just the right size to be placed into any office, and with Inkjet Primer capability and new UV curable ink offerings, these printers present a host of possibilities and applications. UV LED offers critical energy savings, a longer diode lifetime, and an almost-zero Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)-emitting printing environment. As UV LED does not generate excessive heat, printing on heat-sensitive material is possible. The printers also employ two staggered heads arrangements, which will enable simultaneous printing. In addition, a white over- and under-printing capability will achieve the same speed as color printing. http://www.marabu-northamerica.com

ITS_ViewStation_sun_7x4.125_Layout 1 3/23/12 1:36 PM Page 1

it’s guaranteed to overheat your display. we guarantee it won’t. Your LCD not only needs to look cool, it needs to stay cool. With over 27 years of experience, ITSENCLOSURES has the proven track record to guarantee your digital displays and signage will withstand any environment. Our line of ViewStation LCD enclosures protect against rain, snow, extreme heat, frigid temperatures, theft and even the teenage vandal. From stadium to transportation terminal to drive-thru, ViewStation offers customized solutions for any display – large or small, inside or out. And each unit is installed by trained experts, made in the USA and comes with unparalleled customer support. To learn how we can help you, call 1.800.423.9911 or visit ViewStation.com.

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Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

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High Capacity and Versatility: Océ Arizona 600 Series UV Flatbed Printers Canon Solutions America, Inc. (CSA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., has announced the availability of the new Océ Arizona® 600 Series UV flatbed printers. Four models are available: Océ Arizona 640 GT and XT (four independent ink channels) and the Océ Arizona 660 GT and XT (six independent ink channels). The six-channel modules can be configured for maximum productivity or optimized White Ink utility or with both White Ink and Varnish for maximum versatility. The Océ Arizona 600 Series has a number of new features, including active pixel placement compensation for optimum image sharpness, density, and uniformity over the entire print area. The series also includes a precise vacuum system to match the majority of standard-sized graphic arts media and a batch mode operation for streamlined, unattended production of complex, many-layered print jobs that require multiple prints on a single piece of media to achieve a specialized result. www.csa.canon.com

LED MODULES/TUBES/STRIPS Outwater's Tri-Mod LED Backlighting Panels for Translucent Surfaces Outwater’s [Outwater Plastics Industries, Inc. + Architectural Products by Outwater, LLC] 1/16-inch-thick Tri-Mod LED Backlighting Panels are ideal for use in tight applications with less than one inch of installation depth. They are a great way to uniformly back-light graphics, posters, and promotional messages without any hot spots or uneven light dispersion. Comprising recently introduced second-generation LED lighting with incorporated “LED Diamond Light Technology,” Outwater’s Tri-Mod LED Backlighting Panels generate low heat and no UV yet produce the purest, brightest, white LED lighting available on the market (with a Color Rendering Index of 80). Offered in six different sizes, the modules are also available in RGB programming for the ability to illuminate in seven different shades. www.outwater.com

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PrODUct FeatUreS: Power Supply • Diameter: 1”, Height: 1” • Color Temperature: Cool White • Number of LEDs 6 per Standoff • Total wattage: .4W • Flat Cap-M10 thread • Up to 10 Standoffs can be run off of one power supply • Screws & anchors included

Go to 2012 Web Page 986

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Finishes: Polished Chrome Brushed Brass Polished Chrome Matt Chrome Brushed Stainless Satin Stainless Black Nickel Satin Copper

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Barrel lengths from 1/2” – 6” Diameters from 1/2” – 1-1/2” Serving the Industry FREE Premium Since 1972 Premium 1,000 aluminum 1” Diameter Barrel Unbeatable STeel SerieS for rieS Tamper Proof theIdeal Page Se Outdoors Part # Tamper Proof length Price 3/4” Diameter Catalog! 5/8” Diameter Barrel StDe-3224- * 3/4” $1.60 ea. Barrel Part # length Price StDe-3232- * 1” $2.02 ea. Part # length Price StDa-2020- * 5/8” $1.94 ea. StDe-3248- * 1-1/2” $2.22 ea. StD-2424- * 3/4” $6.55 ea. New Jersey StDa-2032$2.26 ea. * 1” StDe-3264- * 2” $2.42 ea. StD-2432- * 1” $6.85 ea. ArizoNA StDa-2048- * 1-1/2” $2.73 ea. StDe-3296- * 3” $2.92 ea. StD-2448- * 1-1/2” $7.60 ea. StDa-20642” $3.26 ea. * $10.25 ea. StDe-32128- * 4” $3.33 ea. StD-24128-* 4” StDa-2096- * 3” $3.94 ea. StDe-32192- * 6” $4.00 ea. Go to 2012 Web Pages 96-102 StDa-20128- * 4” $4.15 ea. Lowest Prices...Widest Selection... All From Stock!

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August 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated

15

HOW-TO

By Jim Hingst

Regulations

How HazCom 2012 Affects Your Business The HCS takes effect this December. Will your shop be

The key elements of the HCS include keeping a file of the appropriate safety data sheets, developing a written hazard program, maintaining a chemical inventory, employing the proper use of hazard labels, and providing employee training. These are nothing new. What is new are some major changes to the HCS, such as: * New criteria for classifying hazardous materials; * New labeling for all hazardous materials; and * A new sixteen-part format for Safety Data Sheets (SDS), which were previously called Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). The new labeling, required under the provisions of HazCom 2012, consists of three essential components—a signal word; a pictogram; and any applicable hazard statement for each hazardous component (as well as any pertinent precautionary statements).

Photo: alterfalter/ ShutterStock.com.

ready?

I

n 2012, OSHA enacted a major revision to its Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200). The new standard, called HazCom 2012, affects all sign shops, screenprint shops, and digital print shops— regardless of company size. No one is exempt. Even if you employ fewer than ten employees, you still must comply with the new regulations. The new Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is designed to familiarize workers with the dangers associated with any hazardous chemicals that they work with and to provide the necessary training to safely handle these chemicals. The new standard also complies with the United Nations Global Harmonization System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). (Note: Don’t worry; we have not yet ceded our sovereignty to the U.N.) While the GHS is not in itself a regulation, it does provide a framework for agencies (such as OSHA) to implement its elements within their system.

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Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

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An Easier Way to get Your Message Across Advertise In

Contact Jeff Sutley (East Coast) at jeffsutley@sbpub.com or 212-620-7233 or Kim Noa (West, Central U.S.) at knoa@sbpub.com or 212-620-7221 Follow Us On: Sign Builder Illustrated @SBIMag

fb.com/SBIMag

In Print, In Person and Online Log on to www.signshop.com

All three elements must be present on the label in the format compliant with the GHS labeling system. Providing consistent

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labeling (whether chemicals are shipped domestically or internationally) will help end any confusion regarding hazards.

Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

By June 1, 2015, manufacturers, distributors, and importers are responsible for ensuring that all containers that contain chemical substances must be labeled with a GHS-compliant label. The labeling requirement also includes secondary containers. What that means is that, if a container is filled or repackaged with a hazardous chemical from another container that was received from a manufacturer, you must label the refilled or secondary container with a GHS label. By June 1, 2015, chemical manufacturers must reclassify their chemicals using the GHS criteria. By this date, the manufacturers must also provide the end-users with safety data sheets in the new sixteen-part format. The new SDS provide comprehensive information about the hazards of a substance use in the shop. Their purpose is to provide employers with the information that enables them to train their employees to safely use hazardous chemicals in the workplace. These sheets also provide information on danger materials for firefighters and medical professionals. Even if a manufacturer only provides an SDS as a courtesy, their documents must conform to the new format. OSHA requires manufacturers to deliver the safety bulletins either before or with the shipment of hazardous chemicals. signshop.com

Photo (above, left): oliver Sved / ShutterStock.com.

The GHS labeling system must be used, illustrated in the chart at the right.

Photo: Pryzmat / ShutterStock.com.

In the past, manufacturers and distributors had the latitude to provide the MSDS in various formats. The new standardized format is designed to make the information more accessible to the downstream user. Under OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard, maintaining safety bulletins is a key responsibility of an employer. Shops must organize any existing MSDS or the new SDS bulletins in a binder or better yet in an electronic file. Whatever you do, resist the temptation to discard any of the old bulletins. OSHA requires employers to retain these bulletins for thirty years following use of the products. The first important deadline coming up for compliance with the provisions of the new HazCom 2012 standard is December 1, 2013. By December 1, if you are an employer, you must have completed training of your workers on the new GHS labeling system and the new safety data sheets. Expect OSHA to assiduously check for training compliance. The purpose of the training is to provide workers with the information that they need to decipher the safety labels and safety bulletins, so that they recognize any hazards and take the appropriate actions. To help you comply with the new training requirements, SGIA has recently updated its Right-to-Know Training Program. The program is now available on DVD with both English and Spanish language options, and it provides an introduction to the potential hazards of chemical products found in a typical screen or digital facility. (Note: For more information, visit www.sgia.org/govt/ga_ RightToKnow.cfm.) By June 1, 2016, all employers must be fully compliant with HazCom 2012. This means that: (A.) All of your employees must be trained; (B.) You must be using the GHS-compliant labels; and (C.) You must be maintaining your MSDS and SDS documentation. The time to start is now. If you do not have a person in your company responsible for hazard communication, assign someone. Make it part of his or her job to understand the requirements of the HazCom 2012. signshop.com

This person should also be responsible for inventorying all chemicals in your shop. The inventory of hazardous chemicals should note any current hazard classification. Next contact your suppliers and request updated safety bulletins. Finally make sure that all hazardous materials are properly labeled by June 1, 2016. Jim Hingst is business development manager at RTape (www.rtape.com).

The new HCS is designed to familiarize workers with the associated dangers of the hazardous chemicals they use and to train them in safe handling.

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August 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated

19

HOW-TO

By mArk k. roBerts

Dimensional

Routing Cedar Signs Setting sail on creating routed cedar signs for the Puerto bistro.

T

hirty-six years ago, I started my sign shop primarily as a routed cedar and redwood sign company. I’ve always enjoyed working with wood, glue, and clamps, so taking a redwood slab, masking it, and sandblasting or routing it and turning it into a work of art has always been a gratifying experience for me. So I was extremely excited to recapture this sense of gratification when my latest client asked if I could create two routed cedar signs for him to be placed in his new bistro called Puerto. Since “puerto” is Spanish for “port,” the owner wanted these signs to feature a sailboat silhouette.

They would also have the catchphrase “Tacos & Cervezas” beneath the “Puerto” name. My first step was to carefully select the right cedar with compatible grain from board-toboard. Grain matching can be tricky, so you need to find a lumberyard where you can “pick and choose” your wood so the final product will be pleasing to the eyes—to you and to your customer. Try to stay away from knotty cedar—or at least keep your knots at a minimum. I also use a method of board flipping, which means every other board is laid rings up and the next board is laid rings down. This will ensure a much flatter panel than if all the boards were laid

“Puerto”is Spanish for “port,” so the new bistro sign features a sailboat logo.

20

Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

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A close-up view of the finished incised lettering pre-staining.

Using vinyl for negative weeding of the artwork.

Routing the sailboat silhouette. 22

Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

in one direction of the grain. To join the individual cedar panels, I used a dowel jig to drill holes in the edges of the cedar for joining one board to the next board. I precision-drilled the dowel hole to a specific depth, vacuumcleaned it, and poured epoxy glue into each hole. Then I hammered the wooden dowel pins into place to join the panels together. When all the panels had been drilled and dowelled, I placed bar clamps on the top side and the bottom side of the panel to ensure a straight and strong sign panel when it had finished drying. The next day, I removed all the clamps and brought out my belt sanders to take over. Both sides of each panel were beltsanded to level the sign face. (Note: This step will become very important when the routing time comes!) Now it was time to work on the graphics. After deciding on the right look for the profiles of the sailboats, I opted for some basic, easy-to-read incised lettering that the client and I decided would be best stained a dark brown. I always create my artwork for routed signs with vinyl, which is negative weeded; this way, when applied to the wood and sprayed with spray paint, we’ll have a positive image to route. I removed all of the vinyl from the sign panel and selected a Porter-CableŽ router with a vacuum attachment, which plugs into my 55-gallon vacuum cleaner. This method results in almost no discernible dust, which is a good thing for our lungs. Each element was routed and vacuumed out as I went along. I also keep an X-ACTOŽ knife handy to straighten up any crooked lines I might create while routing. For this project, the total elapsed time for routing one of these panels was fortyfive minutes (including the minor cleanup with our X-ACTO knives). The incised letters were now ready for their coat of paint. There are two schools of thought about painting incised letters. One method is to simply paint the inside of each letter with the right size brush. This step should be done carefully, as extraneous paint left on the surface of the sign has to be sanded away. And sometimes, the paint will stain the sign, which is not what we want to do. signshop.com

Using a vacuum attachment leaves behind no dust. The method I selected was to mask the areas around the letters. Then I sprayed the paint into the letters, making sure all bottoms and sides are covered. (Note: The goal here is to get no extraneous paint onto the sign surface. All of the paint instead goes into the routed areas of the wood.) For the finishing, while your customer will probably make the decision of which colors to use, never hesitate to put on your sign expert hat, if necessary. I needed to use whatever color would be required to create the “look” of the sign, so I used a latex brown paint. I painted the incised lettering with a contrasting color. I could’ve used any color, but I had to make sure that it was compatible with the style and theme of the sign. Now that we have the finished signs, who will install them? Perhaps you offer installation services. For projects of this magnitude, I always hire the services of a professional sign installer. My sub-contractors have crane trucks, rotary hammers, and all the other cool stuff to safely install signs on walls. So far, I’ve never had a disappointment with any installation. Dimensional signage is a very nice niche of the sign industry, and one niche I really feel comfortable with. Perhaps you’ll enjoy it as much as I do, so why not get started now? There are customers waiting for your dimensional signs and will pay you dearly for your products and services. Mark K. Roberts is the owner of The InterSign Group in Houston, Texas. For more information, visit www. theintersigngroup.com.

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August 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated

23

HOW-TO

By rAndy WrigHt

Electric

UL Sign Industry Business Panel industry meets with UL to learn about updates.

T

he UL Sign Industry/Business Panel members had their annual face-toface meeting in Northbrook, Illinois at UL headquarters on March 26-27, 2013. The panel met with various UL department heads and managers. Representing the United States Sign Council (USSC) were Wendy Kern, Bartush Signs; Dave Selby, Selby Signs; and Randy Wright, RKW Consulting. Representing the International Sign Association (ISA) were Rich Gottwald, ISA; Dave Servine, Servine Sign Services; and Wes Wilkins, Persona, Inc. And representing the World Sign Associates (WSA) was Pat Schuster, American Lift & Sign Service.

C-CAP The first item of business was discussion about the removal of the VN variation notice fees. If a VN is currently discovered during a follow-up visit, the subscriber will have the option

to correct the problem—as long as it can be completed during the visit and sufficient rationale presented that the situation will not occur in the future. If a problem is discovered in the drawings or documentation for signs already installed or shipped, arrangements will need to be completed to return the product to the factory or have a field correction completed and documented. In either case, a variation notice will be generated for the file and no fee will be assessed at that time, but a return visit will be generated and billed to review that the correction has been completed and the procedures corrected for future production. According to UL records, the sign industry accounts for 7 percent of the variations recorded for all their industries. The VN fee is waived for only the UXYT category. The follow-up services manager explained the rationale and a new program called C-CAP (which will replace the variation notice fees). This program was a total surprise to the sign as-

Photo: dave forreSt.

The sign

Don’t lose out by failing to know about UL’s new C-CAP program.

24

Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

signshop.com

Misplaced your favorite issue of

?

We can help. Back issues are available. call for availaBility: 1-800-895-4389 or 1-402-346-4740

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The Sign Retrofit Program and LED retrofit kits will need a closer look. monitoring the production and products used in the completion and documentation of the type of electric signs they produce. We shall keep you updated as information becomes available.

UL 48, FiFteenth edition The panel was next updated on the online tools and training available from Knowledge Services (i.e., the old UL University). The target date for the complete training module rewrite for UL 48 the

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Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

fifteenth addition was March 15, 2013. Knowledge Services has many tools you can access for training, a new tool for general coverage compliance, and other compliance information on the ul.com site. The sign industry is to be reminded that your personnel should be trained, the classification of service required from UL should be selected, and your documentation methods enacted. If you are not currently using the fifteenth edition of UL 48 and have not updated your files, you should contact your UL office for completion before your listing is revoked.

UL StAndArdS review The UL standards, their development process, and current updates were reviewed and presented to the panel—the most notable being UL is now accredited by the Standards Council of Canada to write standards for use in Canada. This currently will allow UL to write Canadian standards for products that currently have no Canadian Standards written. Some examples pertaining to the sign industry would be UL 879 Components; UL879a LED retrofit kits; and UL48b Changing Message Signs. The panel then asked how Certification Requirement Decisions are made and what constitutes authorization without Standards Technical Panel (STP) voting to approve the change. It appeared the most recent decision may have been outside the ability of staff to proceed without STP approval. The two items in controversy were the drain hole issue for providing screens to existing holes and the grounding and bonding issue where UL decision would restrict the code application to Article signshop.com

Photo: dave forreSt.

sociate members, since this was the first time we had heard anything about this new program. C-CAP stands for “customer corrective action plan” and can be initiated based on the follow-up personnel’s opinion of the severity of the infraction. The program can also be called into action if similar infractions are discovered on numerous return visits. It seemed clear that you do not wish to be involved with the C-CAP program, due to the severity of the expense for return visits and extensive program procedure corrections. The panel will be reviewing the programs implementation and the extent of infractions that can (or will) cause the C-CAP program to be initiated. Please let us know how the program is working for you in your organization. My opinion is this program is targeted at those companies that have numerous infractions from lack of training in work methods needed in general coverage procedures. Additionally there could be an oversight from their Manufacturers Technical Representative (MTR) in

600 as opposed to the entire National Electric Code (NEC).

Sign retroFit ProgrAm The next item for discussion was the controversial Sign Retrofit Program. The UL Sign/Industry Business panel members have been working on the LED retrofit kit, UL 879a, for over a year, and the STP for UL 879a also reviewed the proposals for conversion to an ANSI/UL standard. Some of the major concerns from the industry was generated by the close comparison to 1598c (the luminaire standard for retrofit) because most of our products are more custom and could not be accomplished by a basic onesize-fits-all type of kit provided by the component manufacturer. Component manufacturers would have no idea of the composition of the completed sign and therefore not able to provide installation instructions needed to complete an electrically safe conversion. The committee was presented, by one of its industry members, with photos of the contents of the usual one-size-fitsall kit provided to the sign industry for retrofit conversion. Unfortunately to no one’s surprise, the contents did not include any installation instructions for the replacement parts, the installation, and the electrical conversion, nor did it provide all the components needed for the complete installation. The UL representatives and the UL 48 (PTE) Product Designated Engineer,

UL standards affect all electric signs.

included by conference call, agreed these type kits need further investigation. The group also agreed these kits will need to be covered by general coverage retrofit kits for electric signs and provide coverage in UL 48. Because of the unique design and personality of signs, sign component manufacturers or sign supply distributers would not be able to provide these kits for the industry without the assistance of the sign manufacturer.

energy eFFiCienCy & titLe 24 The final industry concern was energyefficiency regulations and the current status with Title 24 in California. The panel was informed that UL has made no further progress with having the UL energy-efficient label accepted without additional local signature requirements. Questions or comments? Email me at randy@rkw-consulting.com.

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August 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated

27

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?

Supplement to

Beyond

Signage Promotionals, awards & imPrinting

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/////////////////////////////////////////Special: Promotional, Awards & Imprintng / By Jeff Wooten

Expanding your

Sign Vision

How to add promotionals, awards, and imprinting to your workflow.

W

hen most of your customers think of signage, the first thing that might come to their minds (and yours) are large format banners, illuminated channel letters, or posts-and-panels. However today’s advanced technologies are allowing shops of all shapes and sizes to branch out and really blur what can be considered signage. Phrases like “advertising specialty,” “printwear,” and “personalization” can seem just as common now as “LED,” “CNC,” and “HDU.” Apparel and fabrics appear to be the new vinyl, while pens and plaques are just as much a canvas as wood or aluminum. And trophies and awards can prove as profitable for you as dimensional signage! In this special supplement, you’ll find a variety of articles designed to help open up your business and really explore new avenues for products that can generate profit. These are items you may not have even been aware that you can produce with the equipment already in your shop (whether an engraver, a flatbed, a dye-sublimation printer, etc.). Leading off is our “Customizables” section, where we recap some of the latest projects and products related to promotionals, awards, printwear, and imprinting. Then you’ll find features showcasing not only how sign makers are using engravers and printers to work up new offerings for their customers, but also how some shops are applying vinyl wraps onto something different than the moretypical cars and walls. There really are no customers that are off-limits to you anymore, and hopefully, this supplement will inspire you to reach out to them! signshop.com

The definition of “signage” has gotten a lot broader--and so too have your possible profit margins! August 2013 // SBI Promotionals, Awards, & Imprinting

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Customizables: Projects and products to ACRYLITE®: Customizable iPad Enclosure Cases Evonik Cyro LLC has teamed up with ArmorActive Inc., a Utah-based company specializing in developing tablet accessories, to create durable and highly-customizable ACRYLITE®-based iPad enclosure stands for retailers such as Foot Locker. “We create secure mounting stands and wall mounts to display iPads in our customers’ stores,” said Nick Ames, chief marketing officer at ArmorActive Inc., a company that works with customers to develop various accessories for tablet devices such as the iPad, Kindle, and Samsung Galaxy. “Since these stands and wall mounts are usually featured in busy retail stores, the durability and quality of ACRYLITE is critical for protecting the iPads from frequent human contact,” continues Ames.

Vinyl Graphics Fit to Travel After almost taking home a similar set of luggage that belonged to another passenger during a trip to Vancouver, Victor Mapua, technical sales director for Parkmedia Trading Corp., in Manila, Phillipines, set about finding a way to mark a set of hard case Rimowsa Salsa luggage. He had been working with self-

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“ACRYLITE also saves significant costs in manufacturing, since lasercutting acrylic is more cost-effective compared to steel or polycarbonate,” says Ames. “This allows us to accommodate our customers with highquality designs even under tight budget constraints.” Evonik Cyro’s ACRYLITE® sheets are available in various colors and textures, which offer protection against scrapes, scratches, and scuff marks. This feature makes them an ideal material to protect iPads when they are used in display cases and wall mounts. “Working with our customers to meet their specific needs is a key component of Evonik Cyro’s business strategy,” said Antoinette Spages, Evonik Cyro’s director of marketing and communications for Acrylic Polymers. “I was very happy to see how ArmorActive Inc. is using Evonik Cyro’s acrylic sheets to make

stands that reflect the retailer’s branding and color schemes. “ACRYLITE is very versatile, and it is always exciting to see our customers use it in unique ways.” 800/631-5384; www.acrylite.net

adhesive vinyl for seven years and decided to use Avery MPI1005 polymeric cast vinyl to achieve a custom look (pictured). “The corrugated surface of the luggage made it essential to use a cast film that is both highly conformable and does not leave residue after removal,” says Mapua. “The Easy Apply technology of MPI1005 paired with the super-

thin cast film made the application relatively easy. As long as you have the proper heat, the film will stick like paint. For Mapua, the most challenging aspect was keeping the lines straight as he went over the edge of the luggage. “When you stretch a large piece of vinyl to cover an area, the edges—no matter how distorted—won’t show,” he says. “Stripes however are quite different. Once you stretch the material, the line of vinyl becomes thinner and will be obvious. Patience and the proper squeegee techniques solved this.” Mapua plans to keep the cast film on for as long as it looks reasonably fresh. If he gets tired of the design down the road, he can just replace it with a different motif. For Mapua, this still remains a hobby, but his friends are literally lining up to have their Rimowas personalized by him. Other future luggage design ideas include a Japanese Koi Fish, superheroes, Angry Birds, and even military camouflage. www.averygraphics.com

SBI Promotionals, Awards, & Imprinting //

August 2013

signshop.com

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////Special: Customizables

help you expand your sign-making vision. LaserBits: Solid Surface Sheets, Leather Sheets, and More Solid Surface Sheets (pictured) from LaserBits are ideal for both cutting and engraving with a laser. Sheets are similar in nature to other solid surface materials offered by Corian©, Wilson Art©, and Avonite©. The engraving creates a white color with a speckled finish. These sheets can be fabricated into cutting boards, key chains, plaque plates, jewelry, coasters, and about a million other products that require durability and a stone-like look. The company also offers Leather Sheets that work great for any special project. The premium-tanned leather is die-cut and light tan in color. Photos, text, and logos take on a unique and beautiful look when engraved on these Leather Shapes. Meanwhile its Cyro Edge Glow Acrylic Sheets are ideal for shape cutouts and signage. This type of acrylic sheet has loads of flair, as it catches the light on its edges. It engraves a frosty white color and looks great in most applications. Finally LaserBits has released a Laser

Training CD (CUS 102) that has detailed techniques of photo-engraving down to a step-by-step level. The provided infor-

mation will help you attract and retain customers who want that extra-special personalized gift. www.laserbits.com

Kern Laser: Engraving Graphics Large format graphics can be etched onto a variety of materials with the help of a Kern laser system. Work areas are available starting at 24-by-24 inches and as large as 80-by120 inches. Kern’s lasers are capable of etching onto marble and granite with a frosty white appearance. Wood can be engraved with a deep 3D effect, and a variety of coated and uncoated metals can be marked with a laser. Even better, Kern offers a turnkey package that is manufactured right here in the United States! 888/660-2755; www.kernlasers.com

signshop.com

August 2013 // SBI Promotionals, Awards, & Imprinting

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Graphics One: The Complete Shoe Personalization System Graphics One, LLC (GO) is announcing the GO u-Shoe Heat Press System, the first comprehensive shoe personalization printing and transferring system. The centerpiece of the GO u-Shoe Heat Press System is the GO

u-Shoe Metalnox heat press. Manufactured under exacting standards in the Americas, the GO u-Shoe heat press offers high quality, which will transform an average pair of tennis shoes. The heat press frame (cast in aluminum) is lightweight, durable, and low maintenance. The u-Shoe heat press comes standard with a base placing the press handle at a comfortable level and enabling a consistent press each time.

Included in the GO u-Shoe Heat Press System is the GO UNO first-ever professional LED transfer printer, a starter set of CMYK toner, and one pack of GO UNO Weedless Transfer Paper—giving you everything you need to begin customizing shoes. Additionally the GO UNO printer can be used for traditional heat transfer applications, making the bundle even more versatile. www.graphicsone.com

Vastex International Rolls Out VRS Lite for Smaller Shops Vastex International introduces a smallscale, low-cost screen registration system called VRS Lite, which allows film positives to be registered onto screens off-press and screens to be registered on-press 70 to 90 percent faster than with conventional methods. The tabletop system fits any rearclamp manual press. The user simply aligns all film positives in registration on the pin board and maintains registration when transferring positives onto each printing screen held against screen stops. The pin board indicates shirt outlines, pocket placement, distance from neckline, and the central twelve-inch “sweet spot” where most T-shirt art is placed. Once screens are exposed, the pin board doubles as a pallet jig that is secured to one pallet of the press, allowing each screen to be held against the screen stops for clamping into each respective print head, maintaining screen-to-screen registration. The system eliminates virtually all of the trial-and-error time associated with registering screens on press—minimizing set-up time, increasing accuracy, and generating significantly higher profit per hour of press time. 800/482-7839; www.vastex.com S4

SBI Promotionals, Awards, & Imprinting // August 2013

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Winning Additions Awards & engraving promise a new profit center.

A

re you wondering what else you can offer customers as a new source of revenue? If so, consider awards and

engraving services. While they won’t carry your entire business, these items can bolster your profit picture and make your company more of a one-

A laser engraved monument.

stop shop for all client needs. In fact, if you design and print signs and graphics for area businesses, churches, and civic organizations, then you’ve already got

“There are just so many different applications for plaques and markers. You have to decide what you want to go after and then have a marketing strategy behind it.” —Matt Williams, Dixie Graphics

clients with the occasional need for an award, a commemorative plaque, or a marker. “The guys doing awards and trophies have started producing signs too,” states Mike Fruciano, vice president of distributor LaserBits (www.laserbits.com). “So if you’re sending customers down the street when they need something engraved, you could risk losing their sign business, as well.”

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SBI Promotionals, Awards, & Imprinting //  August 2013

signshop.com

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////Special: Awards & Engraving / By mike antoniak

Familiar Tools

photo (left): kern lAser systems; photo (right): lAserbits.

Fruciano’s business focuses on providing materials and training to compete in the engraving and awards market. He believes sign suppliers who add the capabilities of an engraving system enjoy a distinct advantage over other aspirants to this service category. “Ninety percent of the challenge to getting started in engraving is in learning the layout software,” explains Fruciano. “But they already know that software because it’s the same design programs they’ve been using for signs and graphics.” With laser engraving, design files are converted to grey scale for rendering on the engraver. “The process is totally transparent to the user,” remarks Fruciano. Derek Kern, vice president of laser cutting and engraving systems manufacturer Kern Laser Systems (www.kernlasers.com), agrees. “The process of getting a file to the laser is as simple as using a standard desktop printer,” he says, noting that knowledge of design softwares such as CorelDRAW, Illustrator, AutoCAD LT, and PhotoGRAV are important areas to master. “Simply design your file in this software and print the file to the laser system. “These types of systems already include a user-friendly interface for setting

laser speed and power.” If the ease of transition doesn’t seem enticing enough, consider the profit potential. Margins of 60 to 70 percent on some engraved products are routine, according to Fruciano. For promotional items, like engraved pens, mark-ups can run to four times cost. At supplier Gemini Incorporated (www.signletters.com), Marketing Director David Welch says, “Profit depends on how complex, creative, and aggressive you are willing to get, as the properties of materials like heat-bendable lend themselves to be used in endless ways.”

Strategic Decisions Sign producers eager to pursue these opportunities have two options: (1.) purchase a system, software, and materials; or (2.) partner with a wholesale supplier. To bring these capabilities in-house, Welch explains, “All it takes is a rotary or laser engraving machine, [devoting the] time to learn its operation, and a reliable supplier of engravable sheets. The investment will enable shop owners to offer additional choices—another set of options and solutions.” Kern recommends an entry-level machine capable of cutting through 1/2inch acrylic as a starting point. “With high-speed engraving capabilities, that

machine will add additional sales opportunities for engraving name plates and ID tags, as well as awards,” he says. As with digital printers, prices have fallen, but cost depends on system configuration and capabilities. Hardware vendors offer several tiers of systems, and most can be used with a variety of materials for a diversified new service. Deciding which system and what capabilities you’ll need may only become evident over time, after sampling demand for a range of products and services. For that reason, the safer start may be to partner with wholesale suppliers of plaques and awards. This approach offers several benefits. For instance, this solution presents a no-cost opportunity to test demand before investing in the hardware. You can offer a variety of products before choosing your niche. In fact, you may discover you can profit handsomely from plaques or awards without equipment. David Wommer, president of cast and engraved plaque wholesaler A.R.K. Ramos (www. arkramos.com), sees strong profit potential in these specialty products. “[Shops] can get a 40 percent profit margin easily,” he observes. “All they have to do is a little paperwork on their end. We take care of everything else—layout, design,

With an entry-level laser engraving machine, engraved name plates and iD tags are just one type of product that can add to a shop’s profits.

signshop.com

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even shipping to their customer.” Wommer says that these days you can put just about anything on a plaque these days, including a photograph, and there are a lot of application options (such as markers for building dedications). “You may just need to make your clients aware that you can provide this when talking to them about their signs,” he notes. At wholesale engraved plaques and awards supplier Pella Engraving (www. pellaengraving.com), Vice President Jeff Vroom says sales opportunities are re-

flected in the types of awards it produces. “We see a lot of work coming through for corporate awards and for manufacturers’ sales awards to dealers,” he says. “Some can be for several of the same award, all that’s different is the name.” The awards can be whatever the client requires. “We’ve got equipment for sandblasting on glass, etching on metals like zinc, and engraving on any type of metal,” describes Vroom. “A lot of times, all it takes is to tell your customers, ‘We can do this, too,’ and you’ll start to see

some orders.” Dixie Graphics (www.dixiegraphics. com) provides etched plaques and awards as a wholesaler supplier to the sign industry. The company’s specialty is deepetched zinc, as an alternative to cast products. “We can offer a more budgetfriendly product for the end-user,” says Vice President Matt Williams, noting that production costs can be half the price of a comparable cast plaque. “With etched metal, we can also do photo engraving, for much more detail, at tremendous

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photo (left): lAserbits; photo (right): kern lAser systems.

engraved products should be a complementary service to what you already do and who your customers are. shops should also find ways to promote awareness about these products and capabilities to their customer base.

cost savings and better lead times.” The savings make these plaques an effective solution for increasingly popular donor recognition programs. “Even a small donor program might need twenty-five or thirty plaques,” says Williams. “With etching, it’s cost-effective to make each one of them different.” And, that’s just one market. “There are just so many different applications for plaques and markers,” comments Williams. “You have to decide what you want to go after and have a marketing strategy behind it.”

Know And Show Options Those interested in expanding into this area should take inventory of the different types of plaque materials used and talk to a couple of reputable suppliers. “An informal survey should provide insight into the range of awards products, costs, applications, and if this is an endeavor worth pursuing,” says Williams. Because awards may not seem to be a logical extension of the sign business, marketing can make or break this endeavor. “The biggest problem can be there are simply too many markets for laser engraving,” notes Fruciano. “The best approach is to look at how you can offer more products to existing customers.” To promote awareness, add a gallery of engraved products, plaques, and awards in your office and on your Web site. And be sure to use samples that are available from wholesale suppliers. “Because the products we can produce are so diversified, sometimes people need to hold something in their hand and see what it looks like before they appreciate how they could use it,” suggests Vroom. “Whenever you’re visiting a customer, there’s an opportunity to make customers aware. But you have to present it to them, so they understand.” Focus efforts where it makes sense— for the business and clients. “If you’re doing a lot of vehicle wraps, you might want to start with engraved key chains or by talking up awards for car shows,” suggests Fruciano. “For those doing a lot of photo printing on signs, laser engraving of photographs is a natural vertical market to start with. “But this needs to be a complementary service to what you already do and who your customers are.” signshop.com

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August 2013   //   SBI Promotionals, Awards, & Imprinting

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Special: Customization / By lori Shridhare////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Sweating the

small stuff Digital printing on promotional products.

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tIME FRaME offers a diverse range of products in three main product lines: award products, promotional products, and labels and decals.

SBI Promotionals, Awards, & Imprinting //  August 2013

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all photos: tIME FRaME.

I

f you’re looking to diversify your product options, consider the “smaller end” of digital printing, which encompasses promotional items such as awards, souvenirs, and even covers for tablet computers. With the advent of smaller UV printers, the manufacturing process has become simpler and the product more market-friendly. Take the example of TIME FRAME® (www.timeframe.com), a shop making promotional products. The company began using Roland’s VersaUV LEF-12 printer and watched their production process successfully change. As they invest in additional printers, the company will begin phasing out their current method of production, which is applying stickers to metal or plastic. “Dash plaques are a great example,” says Jeff Bishop, president of TIME FRAME. “Our ‘classic’ dash plaques are laminated stickers that are produced through our normal process and then manually installed into plastic frames. We usually hot-stamp the frames to give them a metallic look. “Now using the UV printer, we grab a piece of metallic engraving stock and print the full-color image directly to it.”

The Direct Printing Advantage Bishop says that not only are there operational advantages to direct printing, “but the product is waterproof and looks absolutely amazing!” (Note: Bishop adds that his company wouldn’t have considered a change to UV printing if they had to consider sacrificing image quality; instead, they’re quite impressed by the quality of the printing of this new process.) Based in Peterborough, New Hampshire, TIME FRAME was founded in 1990 and assumed new ownership in 2012 when Bishop purchased the company with his wife, Francoise. Merging her background in business and marketing with his engineering and operations experience in the automotive and aerospace industries, they set out to grow a small business that would serve the awards and promotional products industries. TIME FRAME’s main products have always been trophy inserts and plaque components (essentially highend laminated stickers), but their product offerings have expanded greatly in recent months. In addition to Jeff and Francoise, the company employs ten staff members who work on three main product lines: award products, promotional products, and labels and decals. “We produce everything from a five-cent paper label all the way up to plaques and glass awards that might sell for as much as $90 each,” says Bishop. “The one common thread among the various products in our portfolio is that they all involve high-quality, full-color digital printing.” Using the example of a typical plaque that can be purchased through any neighborhood trophy shop, Bishop demonstrates how their product line has evolved over the years. Initially the company produced only two-inch laminated Mylar inserts that were assembled into a holder and then stuck to the face of a plaque along with an engraved plate that was typically produced by the trophy shop. However after a few years, TIME FRAME developed their own full-color plaque mounts that replaced the Mylar, the Mylar holder, and the engraved plate, while adding color and making the design more visually interesting. “Now we’re taking the same engravsignshop.com

“There are not only operational advantages to direct printing, but the product is waterproof and looks absolutely amazing.” —Jeff Bishop, TIME FRAME President

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August 2013   //   SBI Promotionals, Awards, & Imprinting

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ing stock that our customers used to spend hours engraving, and we’re printing amazing full-color graphics directly onto the metal,” says Bishop. “It’s allowing us to use the beauty and sophistication of the gold or silver plate, but we’re taking it to the next level. “We’re adding full-color photos, scanned signatures, variable data, and even textures to today’s plaque mounts.” TIME FRAME finds that its UV machine loves to print on plastics and acrylics, while other substrates (such as metal and glass) require some amount of process development to ensure the printing will stay intact for a long period of time and that it will wear well. Bishop adds that when they print on metal parts, they either apply an epoxy dome or a pressure-sensitive laminate over the artwork. And with glass, they perform both a pre-treatment and a post-treatment to create a reasonably wear-resistant product.

Making Progress To move forward in this field, the business plan has to be targeted and strategic.

A first requirement for TIME FRAME when it comes to taking on a new project is that it must include high-quality artwork. They then have to be sure they can make a customizable product in a short

period of time. Finally, says Bishop, they have to make a profit using their preferred American supply base. “I’m not a fan of importing components, and I’m not interested in

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SBI Promotionals, Awards, & Imprinting //  August 2013

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tIME FRaME uses its UV printer to print onto any product up to 3.94 inches thick—including plastic (this page) and metallic engraving stock (opposite page) for dash plaques. being a ‘supplier’ that sources manufactured product from overseas,” he says. “My plastic parts and metal components are mostly imported from Massachusetts.” When it comes to the artwork, most of

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their jobs include files provided by their customers, which TIME FRAME’s designers then work on. “Again dash plaques are a really good example of this,” says Bishop. “We might receive a

photo of a car positioned in front of a chain link fence with two people standing next to it. Our designers extract the car from the photo, enhance the image using design software, redraw portions

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of the vehicle (if necessary), apply the car to a cool background, and then lay out text around the car in a way that looks fresh and interesting.” Over time, the team has accumulated a library of vectorized cars, trucks, tractors, sports images, mascots, and other categories of images. “We allow customers to view these images online and to use them in their artwork. This comes in very handy for car clubs and sports teams that don’t necessarily have their own artwork,” he says.

As a business owner, Bishop is excited that flatbed UV printing has allowed TIME FRAME to expand its product line to include small signs, placards, name plates, identification tags, and other high-volume product lines. “We can also go even lower on the volume scale and get into personalization of keepsake items, memorial plaques, and even Christmas ornaments,” he says, noting that there are so many different directions they can go that it’s sometimes hard to stay focused. In estimating the current market for

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SBI Promotionals, Awards, & Imprinting //  August 2013

promotional items, it’s hard to make a determination, since many are produced outside the U.S. “We try to stay focused on low-volume and quick-turnaround opportunities,” says Bishop. “The overseas suppliers cannot compete with us in this arena, just as we can’t compete with them on an order for 50,000 key chains that are needed in three or four months.”

How to Get Involved For sign professionals looking to partner with a company that offers promotional items, Bishop has some advice: Understand your niche and work to dominate that space in the market. “We tend to specialize in lower volume, quicker-turnaround orders, as well as those orders that most suppliers would consider ‘weird.’ These would include items and services that don’t fit neatly into a product catalog and require real communication, design work, and innovation,” he says. “I have to ask myself everyday: Am I getting better at handling small orders? Can I get faster? Do we have enough creativity bandwidth to handle more ‘weird’ projects in the future?” As with any partnership, Bishop encourages solid communication with your supplier. “Find one that will take time to talk to you about process capabilities, suggest product solutions, and participate in the creative process with you and your clients,” he says. “There are plenty of suppliers out there that will take your artwork and print it on something for you. “There are probably very few that will take the time to truly brainstorm ideas with you or take your customer’s chickenscratch drawing and work with you to turn it into an amazing keepsake item for them.” As TIME FRAME expands its UV printer line and opens up to new product ideas, they’ll consider entering the “new frontier” of printing onto glass and acrylic. “We’ve already completed several large projects and what we’re doing is very exciting for us and for our customers,” says Bishop. “The ability to print on both the front and back sides of a surface has opened up a new world for our design staff. “They’re creating 3-D effects on award products, even glass medallions that are really amazing.” signshop.com

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////Special:Wraps / By Jeff Wooten

A Rock-Solid

Wrap Sizing up the landscape of possible wrap requests.

all photos: speedpro signs grand prairie.

Sure your sign shop may think it’s capable of handling any project at any time. But what would happen if a customer wanted you to decorate the front of a giant rock sitting at the front entrance of their property? Would you have a rocky time trying to come up with a monumental solution for them? Well the Greek king Sisyphus of myth (Google him, kids!) has nothing on sign maker Dave Metituk, who was responsible for performing a rock-solid wrap on just such a piece of granite. Being able to actually wrap the face of a large rock shouldn’t be too surprising, as there really aren’t many projects that Metituk, co-owner with his wife Jennifer of Speedpro Signs (www.speedprogp.com) in Grand Prairie, Alberta, has turned away over his past eleven years in business. Speedpro Signs is the largest sign franchise in Canada, but Metituk acknowledges that his particular branch is unique as it’s always ready to take on any challenge. “We push ourselves every signshop.com

year to be able to offer something new,” he says. Hailing from a community as small as Grand Prairie, Metituk says it would be impractical to focus entirely on specializing in just one area of signage. He has to consider his business as a “Jack of All Trades” and be prepared to work on anything from concepts to fabrication to installs. And doing this has allowed his business to experience not only growth but also accolades from the local Chamber of Commerce and within the Speedpro Signs franchise network. Metituk’s Speedpro Signs store has really developed a reputation for high-

When it came to applying vinyl to this rock, dave Metituk had to be extremely careful not to pierce the vinyl on any sharp edges, so no water, dirt, or bugs could get in and cause the wrap to fail. end commercial and decorative wraps. The Avery-certified shop’s sole pieces of hardware are Roland VersaCAMM printers. And in addition to Avery vinyls, their wrap material preferences also include 3M and HEXIS products. One trend impressing Metituk these days is the range of solid-color changeout vinyls that are available now. “We like to partner them with prints, whenever possible, in our regular wraps,” he says.

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Before wrapping this tool cabinet with Avery MPI1005 EZ RS vinyl, Dave Metituk made sure to clean it thoroughly. He then applied the whole print at once and started trimming.

However Metituk found that wrapping a rock rather than a vehicle or another typical vinyl-receptive surface required a different approach. “For starters, you simply cannot pick it up and bring it back to the shop,” he says. This rock had already been painted several times in the past, so there were several layers of paint in spots that first needed to be removed. “We scraped the areas clean of any loose pieces and dusted the heck out of it,” says Metituk. “Notice I said, ‘dusting.’ Don’t spray the rock down with cleaners. Dry cleaning

and dry application of the material will resist sticking, if there’s too much moisture on it. “A good two days of hot, dry weather, and the rock will be good to go.” Metituk used 3M textured wall material for this rock with the proper laminate. Aside from the massive mosquitoes, the dry install was a relatively simple process involving brushes, heat guns, and knifeless tape. But this is still a rock we’re talking about here! There were parts of it that were smooth and parts that were rough.

“Then there were the sharp tops that would pierce the material during application, so we tapped them off with a small hammer,” says Metituk. The biggest challenge was knowing the limitations of the vinyl material and being crystal clear with the customer about these limitations upfront so they’d know what to expect. (Note: Metituk has found that addressing possible issues fully with the customer beforehand, there are rarely questions afterwards.) “For example, if we saw a spot on the rock was going to be too deep to apply the material in, we wouldn’t; because if you pierce the vinyl, that’s the spot that will start to allow water, dirt, and bugs to seep in,” says Metituk. “Then the wrap will start to fail from the middle. So before starting, we let the customer know vinyl wouldn’t be possible there.” For the Metituks, vehicle wraps come up so many times in conversation with their customers that they appreciate it when something different comes to them. In addition to vehicles, they’ve also wrapped toolboxes, key fobs, laptops, cell phones, skis, skateboards, snowboards, helmets, snow machines, water proper Cleaning of the surface is always necessary before applying a wrap, such as these graphics of swimming koi fish (inset) speedpro signs placed on the cover of an outdoor water tank.

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SBI Promotionals, Awards, & Imprinting //

August 2013

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tanks, dishwashers, guitars, clocks, and garbage cans. (Everything but the kitchen sink, one could say, but never count that possibility out.) Metituk recalls when his shop was asked to wrap a tool cabinet for an automotive client. “A tool cabinet is not without its issues, since it lives in a greasy environment,” he says. “So we cleaned, cleaned some more, and cleaned even more. “Then we waited fifteen minutes and cleaned again.” Metituk trial-wrapped a couple of drawers with scrap material of Avery MPI1005 EZ RS vinyl first. After determining how he was going to trim each drawer, he applied the whole print at once. “We laid the sides down, then applied all the highs on the front, and started trimming,” he says.

Straight to Your Inbox SBI Update, Sign Builder Illustrated’s monthly e-newsletter, delivers the latest hot topics and news from around the sign industry right to your email

“We push ourselves every year to be able to offer something new.” —Dave Metituk, Speedpro Signs Metituk credits one reason for their success was bringing a high-end designer (Tevis Sample) onboard—a designer also willing to learn about wrap installation. “[Tevis and I] have had a long working relationship,” he says. “When he asked if we would install wraps he had designed, I had him wrap with me first. That way, he would know what our shop is about and what the vinyl materials can do. “[Sample] knows we like a challenge, and he is never shy about bringing us one.” In fact, Sample brought this rock customer to Metituk. “His colors and layouts are always spot on,” he says. “When we win awards, it’s almost always a Tevis Sample design.” And when it comes to wraps, Metituk finds it pays to think unique. “When customers are giving buying signals but not feeling the standard solution we’re talking about, we’ll start looking,” says Metituk. “What’s big and visible in their yard? “When you point to a big loader or a huge rock, that’s when they get hooked and their excitement builds.” signshop.com

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3M Commercial Graphics . . . . . . . 33 Allwood Signblanks Ltd. . . . . . . . . 23 Alpina Manufacturing. . . . . . . . . . 42 Alpina Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . 42 A.R.K. Ramos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 AXYZ International . . . . . . . . . . . S12 Biesse America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 CAO Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Car Top Signs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Clearpath/Rowmark, Inc. . . . . . . . S5 CLN Of South Florida . . . . . . . . . . S13 Coastal Enterprises/ Precision Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . S4 Delcam International . . . . . . . . . . 39 Duxbury Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Epilog Laser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SC2 Gemini, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . S9 Gemini, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 GH Imaging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Gyford Standoff Systems . . . . . . . 23 Hartlauer Bits, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 ITSENCLOSURES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 L&L Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 LMT Onsrud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . S9 MBS Standoffs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Metomic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 MultiCam, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . S8 ORAFOL Americas . . . . . . . . . . . . . C4 Orbus, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Orbus, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Ornamental Post Panel & Traffic . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Outwater Plastics . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Principal LED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 SGIA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 ShopBot Tools, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Sign America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Sign Bracket Store By Hooks & Lattice . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 signshop.com

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Signs365.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Signs By Tomorrow . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 SloanLED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C2 Small Balls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Southern Stud Weld . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Stamm Mfg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Thermwood Corp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Trotec Lasers Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . S14 Universal Products, Inc. . . . . . . . S11 US LED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 USSC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 VFK Renzel USA Corp. . . . . . . . . . . 43

Company

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Companies in Sign Show Canon Solutions America, Inc. . . . 15 Creative Banner Assemblies . . . . . 12 Direct Sign Wholesale . . . . . . . . . 12 Drytac . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 HP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Marabu North America . . . . . . . . . 14 Mimaki. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Outwater Plastics Industries . . . . 15 Top Value Fabrics . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Ultraflex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

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Wrap of Steel Designing wraps like a superhero. We recently presented a full-throttle look at how Panther Graphics (www.panthergraphics.com), sister company of IndyCar’s Panther Racing team, is successfully designing and installing vehicle wraps both on and off the track for its #4 National Guard IndyCar and the general public (“Gentlemen, Start Your Wraps,” March 2013). We mentioned that they were working on then-top-secret car graphics for races this year. One of these designs actually turned out to be “faster than a speeding bullet”—a full wrap promoting the National Guard’s connection with this summer’s Superman cinematic relaunch, Man of Steel, which was applied over Panther Racing’s sixteen-foot-long IndyCar racer at the recent Indianapolis 500. The National Guard had a partnership in place with distributor Warner Bros. to do cross promotions for the Man of Steel movie through its “Soldier of Steel” branding campaign. Since the National Guard is the lead partner for Panther Racing (and has been since 2008), it didn’t take Lois Lane to figure out that the graphics team would probably get to work on this wrap design as well. So Panther Graphics Lead Designer Neal Cross started browsing geek-cen-

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tric Web sites to learn about some of the discrepancies with the new Superman costume. “I saw there was going to be a texturing pattern in the suit,” he says, “and started planning design ideas with that in mind. I figured replicating this texturing pattern on the car would really make something “pop” on what would be a large field of red and blue.” Even though a third-party marketing company presented Panther Graphics with an initial design idea, Cross felt that it didn’t pack much “super-punch” for such a well-known property. He returned to his research for a different rendering. Cross took measurements of Panther’s racecar and put together a design featuring the texture of the actual Man of Steel Superman costume. “I tried to make it seem like the car was wearing a scaledup version of this suit,” he explains. Cross had begun rebuilding this texture himself using online photos as reference, when Warner Bros. sent him the actual swatch file. “I was then able to generate a larger field of that pattern and change it from either the blue or the black, basing the new design on our current livery,” he says, noting that he used the Supermanthemed colors to achieve a nice balance.

Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

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///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Wrap Design/ By Jeff Wooten

all photos: panther graphics.

Panther Graphics wrapped a 16-foot-long IndyCar racer with graphics promoting the Man of Steel movie and the National Guard.

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Warner Bros. provided just one image of Henry Cavill’s Superman character (as well as the “S” shield), and Cross worked with the current National Guard livery. However the studio stipulated that none of the other logos or graphics on the car could touch Superman or his cape. “We originally wanted to do a larger version of the cape over the back engine cover,” he says, “but weren’t allowed. “The red cape ended up involving a lot of red tape.” The design approval process took

about two-and-a-half weeks. “The red tape and legalese led to a bit of a time crunch to get this wrap finished on time for the race,” says Panther Graphics President Nic Baumann, noting that not only did they have to make sure that Warner Bros. and the National Guard were happy with the finished wrap, but that his company was too. Even though the provided imagery looked like a ready-to-go file, some discrepancies still had to be addressed. “I double-checked the photo,” says Cross,

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UNITED STATES SIGN COUNCIL 211 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, PA 19007 215 785-1922 / FAX 215 788-8395 / ussc@ussc.org 32

Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

noting some clean-up work was necessary. “What looked like a white background was actually a slightly washed-out gray background. So when you would overlay that over a black, it would create a washed-out border around the image.” Panther Graphics printed out the graphics onto about 140 linear feet of Oracal 3751RA vinyl via an HP 26500 latex printer. “The bulk of the work took less than two days, which is pretty standard for us when it comes to racecars,” says Baumann. “Then we finished the bits and pieces and extra parts over the next day.” Panther Graphics performed a dry installation since the Oracal vinyl has airrelease channels in it and they wanted the panels as seamless as possible. “We used three panels for the majority of the wrap,” says Cross, adding that the car also received pinstriping and clear-coating. Cross says this is another aspect where IndyCar racecars vary from regular street vehicles, which have a certain number of panels and a certain amount of overlap. Meanwhile spare parts and multiple parts of the car also had to be wrapped. “During the design process, I also worked directly with the installers to be able to create the right print files based on what they needed,” he says. “We make pretty good use of Knifeless Tape to help seam panels on the car itself.” (Note: The curves and compounds of a racecar can also prove more challenging than a typical vehicle.) While Panther Graphics swooped in and saved the day with this wrap, this wasn’t the only movie-sponsored graphic they worked on for this race. They also completed one for the Dreamworks Animation summer movie Turbo driven by Panther Racing driver Townsend Bell. “The cool thing about the Turbo car was that the livery is taken directly from the movie,” says Cross. “We received renders from [Dreamworks] depicting the character in a fire suit and a helmet,” says Cross, “and we wrapped the IndyCar how it looks in the film.” Of course, no cartoon is obviously spot-on to the details of a real-life car. “Plus there are other things going on it (sponsor decals, for example) that aren’t depicted in a movie,” says Baumann. Cross finds that his team worries more about how they’re going to get the car done than what’s featured on it, but he admits, “It’s still always fun to get tied into pop culture.” signshop.com

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To read more about Buzz Graphics, turn to “Shop Talk” on page 44.

Wraps: The Need for speed Vinyl gets involved in the race for a land-speed record.

A

li Youngblood currently holds three land speed records via her replica ’32 Ford Roadsters. Along with her brother J.D. (who still races) and her father Don (who serves as mechanic), the trio form the Youngblood Racing Team (hotrodali.com), which has made a name for itself and broken a number of records in World Land Speed Racing. So imagine the surprise awaiting Rich Whitemyer, art director (and founder) of Buzz Graphics in Ogden, Utah, when the elder Youngblood walked into his shop requesting a full-color wrap for one of their custom-built metallic Roadsters. Buzz Graphics (www.buzzgraphics.net) bills itself as “Northern Utah’s Large Format Printing and Marketing Company.” The five-person company has built its name through vehicle wraps, and with this project, they could deem themselves as “Northern Utah’s fastest company” as well. The Youngblood Racing Team had secured a sponsorship from 3M this season and were looking for people with experience working with its Scotchprint® Wrap Film Series 1080 vinyl. So Whitemyer sat down with Don Youngblood and explored options with him. Youngblood wanted something “silvery,” so Whitemyer suggested Brushed Titanium, since its unique texture mimics 34

Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

brushed metal. “It’s also very durable and conformable,” says Whitemyer. One concern was how speed would affect the full-color vinyl wrap, since the Youngblood Racing Team was attempting to get their car over their then-record 174 miles per hour. “You don’t get many wraps going that fast,” he says. “And since it’s being run out in the salt flats, tiny grains of salt would be pounding into that wrap as well.” Whitemyer had to make sure that the grain of the wrap was

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/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////Solid-Color Wrap/ By Jeff Wooten

all photos: buzz graphics.

consistent throughout the process (from front to back). “We had to make sure everything got installed so that the directional pattern was consistent,” he says. Not only does the brushed pattern give the racing Roadster a finished look, but Whitemyer figures that it also helped to channel air flow over the car. “This may—or may not—have helped the Youngblood team break the record,” he says, “but we know for certain that they looked good doing it!” (Note: Ali Youngblood did break the record she’d previously set, taking this wrapped car up to 175 miles per hour.) Another concern: Buzz Graphics usually applies wraps over actual paint. However this then-bare metal Roadster only featured a primer. Whitemyer knew the 3M 1080 film series are formulated to work with gloss paint, but would it stick over primer? He decided to apply Primer 94 to the edges of the wrap, and there hasn’t been one issue of it failing. “It’s been out for over a year,” he says, “and it still looks fantastic!” World Land Speed Racing rules state that the headlights have to be covered to keep them from cracking, so Buzz Graphics wrapped these with 3M 1080 Black Carbon Fiber film. “The wheel coverings were powder-coated black though,” says Whitemyer. For the flame package on the car, Buzz Graphics first mocked the imagery up in Photoshop and refined it in Illustrator. They printed it onto cast vinyl, cut it out, and applied it to the hood. (Note: The black lettering along the vehicle’s sides is

Buzz Graphics used 3M™ Scotchprint® Wrap Film Series 1080 on the Youngblood’s Roadster. But rather than install over a paint job, the Roadster only featured a primer, and the shop worried the film wouldn’t stick. Buzz Graphics decided to apply Primer 94 to the edges of the wrap, and there haven’t been any failures.

signshop.com

cut cast vinyl, as well.) The shop worked on this job after closing time two to three hours one day (starting with the base 1080) and then another two to three the next day. The installers used torches and hard silicone squeegees with felt-edges to apply the film and OLFA® click-off blades for needed trimming.Panther Graphics Since this was a small car (approximately theasize of a Mazda wrapped 16-foot-long racerofwith Miata), Buzz Graphics used less thanIndyCar ten yards material to graphics promoting the to cover the hood and the sides. “We had to watch carefully Man of Steel movie and make sure we didn’t get any kinks in it,” says Whitemyer. “ObvitheisNational ously on a job like this, any imperfection going toGuard. show easily, so it had to lay down very nicely.” Whitemyer says this actually turned out to be a pretty simple project, citing it actually as one of the easiest his shop has ever worked on. “We also did the sponsor logo artwork and the decals on the car,” he says. This record-breaking ’32 Ford Roadster replica sits in a garage when not out in the field during speed runs a couple of times a year. The Youngbloods will be bringing it back out for another record-trying run (maybe up to 200 miles per hour?) at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah this summer. They also take their cars around to select auto shows to display. “Since it’s not out in the elements every day,” says Whitemyer, “I wouldn’t be surprised to see this wrap last another ten to twenty years.”

The Roadster was a small car, so Buzz Graphics only used ten yards of Brushed Titanium 3M 1080 film. The installers used torches, hard silicone squeegees with felt-edges to apply the film, and OLFA® click-off blades for needed trimming. They were careful to make sure that no kinks appeared in the flawless wrap.

August 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated

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all photos: creative encompassing solutions.

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CES not only created a variety of signage for Studio Brow, it also provided all of the displays, desks, and wall elements.

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Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

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//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// CNC Router/ By Ashley BrAy

Cutting Cut ting Into

New Profits

C

reative Encompassing Solutions (CES) in Granby, Connecticut specializes in the art of not specializing in anything. The shop relishes custom work—the type of jobs that make other shops scratch their heads. “We do all the hard-to-build things,” says Matt Newton Sr., owner of CES. “We just keep pushing the envelope on things. If someone comes up and asks us for something weird, sure we’ll try that.” All of the shop’s equipment is in-house, so it’s able to turn around even “weird” custom jobs quickly.

One sign shop demonstrates how a router can help make money in new markets. signshop.com

“We have a niche unfortunately for fast turnarounds,” says Newton. “The problem with what we do in our industry is that everybody wants something yesterday. “And the more that you don’t put inhouse, the more you lose that control and that touch and you’re relying on a second or third party. And then their variables become your variables, and you’re worrying about the end product in play.” CES keeps control of all of its projects by keeping supplies stocked and by stocking its business with a variety of equipment. The company boasts a full vinyl department, a laminating section, and welders and associated equipment. (Note: One of the shop’s partners even brought their landscape business onboard, which allows the company to landscape around signs.) But one of the machines that gets the most play is the shop’s 1993 Gerber Sa-

bre™ 408 CNC router with a four-byeight-foot table. “That [machine] is like my right hand,” says Newton, who purchased the router used from a shop in New York and rebuilt the entire machine. (Note: See sidebox for a list of updates Newton made to his router.) This CNC router continues to handle a demanding workload with cutting tolerances of plus or minus zero. Thanks to its pull-through capability, the router can also handle material beyond the length of its table. Newton says having a pull-through capability is important. “You don’t have to have a huge shop,” he says. “All you have to do is turn the machine on, and you can just keep pulling the material through.” The CNC router has not only allowed CES to keep jobs in-house, but it also automates many processes. Gerber’s OMEGA™ 5.0 software can electronically file and store project info,

August 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated

37

As part of the Studio Brow project, CES created banners, large vinyl prints, and second-surface stand-off signs.

so repeating a job is simple and automated. Thanks to Newton’s filing template system, he can find a job while on the phone with a client and, as a result, offer them more detailed information. “It gives them that extra personal touch and makes them feel that we understand them and have them covered,” he says. The shop also uses the software to save on material waste by cutting on pieces of material that have already been used. “We output the coordinates,” says Newton. “Everything is a saved file, so after we cut something, we can take it back off of the shelf, put it back on the router, and know exactly where the

things are cut out of it. “Then we can continue to reuse the material.” In addition, the OMEGA software works with other machines, like the shop’s Graphtec cutter and Mutoh ValueJet 1324 printer. This allows for greater integration between machines and, as a result, a better workflow. “All of the print-to-cut projects and vinyl jobs go to the Graphtec plotters from Gerber OMEGA, and all the routing goes to the Gerber Sabre 408,” says Newton. “Printed and cut vinyls line up perfectly on routed parts from the Sabre and all complement each other for the

Router Upgrades Ever since purchasing his used Gerber Sabre™ 408 router, Matt Newton Sr. has performed a series of upgrades on it. (Note: When making any upgrades to a machine yourself, use caution.) Here are some of the changes he made to it: + Replaced the two lead screws on the x- and y-axis. + Replaced bearing rails and some cabling. + Refinished the table surface to factory standard and added a sacrificial material on top of that for greater vacuum performance. + Upgraded the factory vacuum hose to a larger, clear hose with the ground strap built-in to stop clogging issues around tight corners. It also serves as a visual guide to when the vacuum canister is full.

These displays were made by covering IKEA cabinets with fold-up shells of Omega-Bond™ in gloss black and brushed aluminum.

38

Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

+ Modified the head foot to allow for the use of cutting fluid and vacuuming at the same time for routing aluminum with less mess.

signshop.com

finished product.” Above all, however, one of the greatest benefits of the router is that it’s allowed CES to enter markets beyond the sign industry. “The sign industry is such a beautiful base for so many things. Shops just don’t realize it,” says Newton. “As long as people understand what a router what it has, the possibilities are endless. “These things are incredible machines, but if you don’t know what to do with them, it just sits there; it’s just a paperweight.” One of the first places to begin looking for new markets is from a business’s existing customer base. “The sign industry gets to see a private back view of a lot of different industries,” says Newton. “While you’re talking to a customer, you get to see the backend workings of their company and what makes their company work— totally unrelated to yours. “It also lets you see that they have needs that you can fulfill that you’re not even marketing.” These needs often aren’t signs, but Newton urges shops to think outside of the four-by-eight-foot router bed.

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5/15/12

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Parts One of the markets in which CES has found success is prototyping and parts. These are things companies normally don’t think of a sign company for, but for which a shop actually has all the capabilities to do. “Once you get in the door for doing some cutting, you have these machines. These people still need details for these machines, they need parts,” says Newton. “You have every single thing at your beck and call to use and utilize.” Newton has even made spare parts. One of his clients owned a discontinued excavator and couldn’t find a replacement gasket. So Newton cut one out for him. “I traced his old gasket into the computer and used Gerber software to bring it in,” says Newton. “I put it on the router and plotted the full thing out first, which worked. “Then we actually bought gasket material, which can be held down on the Sabre, and we cut out his gasket on the Sabre.”

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Templates If machine parts are too far outside signshop.com

August 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated

39

CES used its router to provide a number of signs, such as push-through acrylic letters and a pan sign with push-through letters.

the box, what about templates? By giving materials another consideration, shops can put a new spin on patterns for channel letters, for example. “People used to make a lot of patterns with paper for mounting letters up on the wall outside. And you have to worry about the wind and the water and everything else. We use styrene,” says Newton. “We don’t care if it gets wet. We don’t care about the wind or it getting ripped. The stuff is pretty indestructible.”

By branching a bit outside the sign industry, shops can also begin to supply templates for industries like construction and architectural. Newton has created acrylic templates for products like granite countertops, which saves a lot of time for his clients (who are used to making the templates by hand).

Remodeling In the construction/architecture business, there are a lot of opportunities for re-

How to be ready when Hollywood calls? Work really hard, and use a ShopBot. Melissa Jones from Minnesota, a mother of two, has been diligently building her one-woman sign business for about 5 years. She got a ShopBot CNC router in 2008 to expand her production capability, and that’s when the call came from Sony Pictures to make specialized props for “The Green Hornet.” And business has been going well ever since.

See Melissa’s and other ShopBotter stories at shopbottools.com

ShopBot offers powerful, precise and affordable digital fabrication tools. So give us a call and let’s see how we can help your business dreams come true.

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40

Sign Builder Illustrated // August 2013

Owning a CNC router can lead to many avenues of profit—and not just limited to signage. modeling work, as well. A specific example of this is the work Newton did for a local beauty salon called Studio Brow. CES provided a number of elements such as signs with push-through acrylic letters and a pan sign with push-through letters—both illuminated with SloanLED VL-Plus LEDs. Acrylic logo signs above the stations were edge-lit with International Light Technologies’ LEDs. CES also created banners and large vinyl prints, as well as second-surface stand-off signs. “You kind of have almost every single type of sign in there,” says Newton. However CES went beyond signage on this job by also creating all of the displays, desks, and wall elements in the store. CES purchased IKEA cabinets and then customized them on the router. He covered them in fold-up shells of gloss black Omega-Bond™ with brushed aluminum Omega-Bond accents, which sandwiched acrylic edge-lit panels for a custom look that matched the store’s surrounding walls and colors. The project was a large one, and Newton ordered anywhere from eighty Omega-Bond sheets at a time from his supplier, Garston Sign Supply. Over the years, CES has fabricated and designed all of the elements for two more Studio Brow locations. It has also gone back and redesigned the first locations to match the layouts and concepts it developed for the new stores. Clearly owning a CNC router can lead to many avenues of profit, which aren’t all limited to the sign industry. “This is a new era of the economy,” says Newton, “You really need to put your eggs in a lot of different baskets to survive, stay busy, and thrive.” signshop.com

Photo (left): city Place aPts., st. Petersburg, fl; (right): moffit cancer center, tamPa, fl.

Using Sign Standoffs Sign standoffs, otherwise known as through mounts, are a practical, yet stylish sign mounting hardware. Some may even refer to them as “attractive nails,” as they give signs a modern, finished appearance. Using screws and wall anchors, standoffs can be used to mount a sign to virtually any surface (including wood, drywall, and concrete). Standoffs also effectively hold the sign in place. Here are some step-by-step instructions and tips for basic standoff installation: Step 1: During the design stage, you want to determine the placement of the four screw holes in both the sign back plate and sign face. Tip: It is recommended that all holes are drilled during fabrication prior to installation.

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Step 2: Determine the sign’s mounting surface (e.g., wood, drywall, or concrete). If wood, you will need four wood screws; if drywall or concrete, you will need four plastic wall anchors and four screws. Step 3: Once you have chosen the approximate mounting location for the sign, hold the sign’s back plate against the wall surface. Tip: Use a level to ensure the sign is mounted perfectly straight. Step 4: Using a pencil, mark the desired location of the hole for the screw. Remove the sign back plate, and using a drill bit, drill the appropriate pilot holes, going about one-inch deep. Step 5: Insert the screws through the holes in the standoff bases and then the sign back plate. Make sure to tighten all screws until they are secure.

Step 6: Once the sign back plate and standoff bases are secure, it is time for the sign face. Line up the holes in the sign face over the standoff bases, screw the standoff end caps through the sign face, and tighten by hand. The cap is what gives it a truly sophisticated appearance. —Moira Allen, marketing coordinator at Creative Sign Designs (www.creativesigndesigns.com) in Tampa, Florida.

August 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated

41

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August 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated

43

SHOP TALK

B y J e f f Wo ot e n

Buzz Graphics of Ogden, Utah

The Buzz on

Diversification

O

n page 34, we showed you how Rich Whitemyer, art director at Buzz Graphics (www.buzzgraphics.net) in Ogden, Utah, wrapped a ’32 Ford Roadster replica using Brushed Titanium vinyl material. However the story behind how this shop has managed to accelerate its offerings is also worth noting. The first thing to realize is that Buzz Graphics is a fusion of large format printing and marketing, with a focus on graphics and conceptual work. They’ll also do offset printing (if requested) and have even expanded into Web design for clients. Buzz Graphics handles the design, production, and installation of vehicle graphics (lettering jobs, partial wraps, full wraps, etc.), yet its on-staff designers are the “heart and soul” of the business and have influenced their ability to create logos, develop company branding, and offer Web site design and maintenance. “We’ll also do ad-type work for a lot of our customers,” says Whitemyer. “We’ve filled the gap between what a normal sign shop traditionally offers and what you’d get if you paid big bucks at an ad agency.” Even though Buzz Graphics has been around since 2007, Rich was a designer in the industry ten years prior. “Wraps are a big deal here in Utah, and it looked like fun. I figured I knew it all, so I bought a printer and decided to start my own wrap business,” he laughs.

Whitemyer intended Buzz Graphics to be a oneperson boutique shop focusing only on select vehicle wraps. However when the economy went south, he realized his shop had to diversify its offerings. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. “We’re now a full-service large format shop. We’ve added more designers and installers to our staff over the years,” he says. (Note: Rich’s father, Rick, is the president of the company and is responsible for operations management and copy writing.) While Rich Whitemyer is “officially” the art director, thanks to his background, he can find himself working on many different aspects of a project. “One of the nice things about starting out as a one-man business is that I can still pretty much fit in anywhere I need to be,” he says. “I help the designer, but if it’s a complicated project, I can also help the installer.” The company’s clients range from multi-million-dollar businesses to bakeries to universities. “We’re working with about eighty different colleges right now doing the marketing for their book stores,” remarks Whitemyer. Yet Whitemyer feels that their traditional customer is like his shop looking in the mirror—the smaller owner-run business. “We’ll clean up their branding a bit and then apply it to a couple of different marketing pieces for them,” he says. “We’ll put together a graphics package and get them ready to go for the next five years.”

44

Sign Builder Illustrated

all Photos: Buzz GraPhics.

A print shop and ad agency all wrapped up into one.

// August 2013

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Sign Builder Illustrated August 2013