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COLOR MATCHING Tips for Digital Printing

NUMBER 229 | JULY 2014


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July 2014





S2 S4

It Starts with Safety Tips for safely using boom trucks and cranes.

A Toast to a Successful Install BY JEFF WOOTEN

A sign shop gets into the “spirits” of a wine bottle sign install.


Installation Ingredients BY JEFF WOOTEN

Hanging signs and window graphics are installed for a high-profile bakery.


A Real Solid Wrap Install BY JEFF WOOTEN

Solid colors are transforming the wrap industry.


Mécanique Technique BY JEFF WOOTEN

Rise of the robot sign.

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 $48.00; foreign $96.00; foreign, air mail $196.00. 2 years US $75.00; foreign $150.00; foreign, air mail $350.00. BOTH Print & Digital Versions: 1 year US $75.00; foreign $150.00; foreign, air mail $250.00. 2 years US $102.00; foreign $204.00; foreign, air mail $404.00. Single copies are $36.00 ea. Subscriptions must be paid for in U.S. funds only. Copyright © Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation 2014. All rights reserved. Contents may not be


Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014

25 35

Self-titled Signage BY ASHLEY BRAY

Sign shops need eye-catching signage too.

30 34


Tips for color printing.

Historical Displays with Staying Power BY BRENDA MURPHY-NIEDERKORN

A missionary organization’s rich history is put on rigid display.

38 43

Managing the Spectrum

A Divine Donor Display BY ASHLEY BRAY

A wall display inspires custom work and a detailed installation.

Industrial Strength Install BY MARK K. ROBERTS

A new identity sign for an industrial warehouse.

reproduced without permission. For reprint information contact: Arthur Sutley, Publisher (212) 620-7247 or For Subscriptions, & address changes, please call (800) 895-4389, (402) 346-4740, Fax (402) 346-3670, e-mail or write to: Sign Builder Illustrated, Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, PO Box 1172, Skokie, IL 60076-8172. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sign Builder Illustrated, PO Box 1172, Skokie, IL 60076-8172. 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.


Automated diagnostics Cloud control via LED cloud Simple front and rear access faster assembly and lower cost Side diffused connections for simpler mounting

19 16 12 mm






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How-To Columns

JULY 2014 JULY 24-27: The Mid South Sign Association’s Summer Convention and Tradeshow will be held at the Marriott in New Orleans, Louisiana. (




A 4K View of Digital Displays

Cutting for the Congregation

14 Cutting for the Congregation BY STEPHEN GLAD

CAD/CAM software produces church sets viewed by 6,000 attendees per weekend.

17 A 4K View of Digital Displays BY JEFF WOOTEN

A high-resolution look at involvement in 4K digital sign networks.

Departments 6





Sign Show


SBI Marketplace


Shop Talk

Editor Jeff Wooten previews this issue’s supplement oveview of recent installations by sign shops.

The latest news from around the industry.

The newest products and services from sign manufacturers.

Advertisements and announcements from the sign trade. INSTALLATIONS Putting Up Signs

COLOR MATCHING Tips for Digital Printing

NUMBER 229 | JULY 2014


Machine MADE


Lori Shridhare requests even more color-matching tips from the experts.

On the Cover It’s no fantasy! This fully functional “Robots” sign combines human and mechanical touches. Photo: KDF Custom Graphics.

Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014

SEPTEMBER 19-20: CONSAC Imagemakers Sign Expo is the Sign Association of Canada’s national tradeshow and is scheduled for the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. ( SEPTEMBER 28-OCTOBER 1: Graph Expo ’14, the industry event spanning the realms of print, online, and mobile, is taking place at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. (

OCTOBER 2014 OCTOBER 8-9: The National Signage Research & Education Conference, sponsored by the Signage Foundation, Inc., will be conducted at the Kingsgate Marriott in Cincinnati, Ohio. (www. OCTOBER 9-11: USSC Sign World International 2014 has moved to a new season but still takes place at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. ( signworld.html)

The Complete Matthews Paint System For Ultimate Color, Durability and Protection Developed specifically for the signage industry, the Complete Matthews Paint System is a total paint solution for the varied and extreme demands of architectural, commercial and outdoor sign applications.


Preparation is Key to Success! Our substrate preparation guide gives step-by-step guidance for a variety of substrates including aluminum, photopolymer, steel, vinyl and PVC. Scan QR Code for Substrate Preparation Guide.



July 2014, Vol. 28, No. 229

Info About Installations

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

This month’s theme is “put up” your signage best.

Jeff Wooten

323 Clifton Street, Suite #7 Greenville, NC 27858 212/620-7244; fax: 212/633-1863 MANAGING EDITOR


Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014

welding equipment to attach a one-of-a-kind wine bottle sign and an electronic message center to a sign pole for an area business. And we will set up the story behind how he sold this client on building and attaching an awning to the front of his establishment, as well. ☞ “Installation Ingredients” (page S8): Have you heard of Duff Goldman? He is the host of Food Network’s Ace of Cakes TV series, and we visit his brand-new do-it-yourself bakery in Los Angeles and detail how Becky Hargrave, co-owner of Signs By Tomorrow in Santa Clarita, California, installed hanging signs and vinyl window graphics for its interior. ☞ “A Real Solid Wrap Install” (page S11): We show how Fast-Trac Designs in Arizona has found success installing solid-color vinyls on their client’s vehicles. Owner Sean Dale’s company has earned a national reputation with their vehicle wraps, and to help get you started, he describes his pre-wrap, four-stage vehicle cleaning process that guarantees proper adhesion: Step One. “We use 70 percent isopropyl alcohol to clean every area of the vehicle that is being wrapped.” Step Two. “If there are any bugs, road tar, or areas with oil, we use Xylene to clean those areas.” Step Three. “We use a prep spray over the entire vehicle; this will help remove any wax or oils from the vehicle’s surface.” Step Four. “We go back over the entire vehicle with 70 percent Isopropyl alcohol.” Our hope is that you will use the techniques and signage described in this supplement and “install” them into your shop’s repertoire.

55 Broad Street, 26th Floor New York, NY 10004 212/620-7220; fax: 212/633-1863 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Butch “Superfrog” Anton, Mike Antoniak, Stephen Glad, Jim Hingst, Brenda MurphyNiederkorn, Mark Roberts, Lori Shridhare, Randy Wright ART

Corporate Art Director Wendy Williams Designer Emily Cocheo PRODUCTION

Corporate Production Director Mary Conyers CIRCULATION


Jeff Sutley 212/620-7233; fax: 212/633-1863 WEST & MIDWEST REGIONAL SALES MANAGER

Kim Noa

212/620-7221; fax: 212/633-1863 Sign Builder Illustrated is published monthly. All rights reserved. Nothing herein may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher. To purchase PDF files of cover and layouts or hard copy reprints, please call Art Sutley at 212/620-7247 or e-mail Circulation Dept. 800/895-4389




Ashley Bray

nstallation is the name of the game this month. In addition to various sideboxes of install advice peppered throughout this issue, be sure to check out our special SBI Installs supplement that covers recent installations completed by sign shops. Here’s a guide to what you will find in this special section: ☞ “It Starts with Safety” (page S2): First up, you will find information provided by manufacturers to help you safely use boom trucks and cranes to lift signage into place. For example, according to David Phillips, manager of Global Business Development & Marketing at Elliott Equipment Company, electrocution is one of the two most common types of accidents related to sign crane use. “To avoid this,” he says, “you should maintain a clearance of at least 10 feet (3.05m) between any part of the crane, load line, or load and any electrical line carrying up to 50,000 volts. One additional foot (.30m) clearance is required for every additional 30,000 volts or less. “Set ground markers in place to be used as a reference to assist in making sure the crane and load maintain minimum clearances required. Power lines and load lines deflect in wind and additional clearance must be provided. If the electrical line voltage is unknown, contact the utility and obtain the voltage prior to operation.” (Note: To read a fuller version of this story, click on our link at ☞ “A Toast to a Successful Install” (page S4): We profile second-generation sign maker Andy Serrato of Worcester, Massachusetts as he uses sign cranes, bucket trucks, steel tubing, and 6

55 Broad Street, 26th floor New York, NY 10004 212/620-7247; fax: 212/633-1863


A Fairy Tale House

Comes to Life Chilliwack, British Columbia—Dan Sawatzky of Imagination Corporation ( recently applied his signature creative and quirky style to the construction of his new home. “When my wife Janis and I started dreaming of our new house, we knew it

Hearts are one of the themes for the outside of the house and thousands decorate the panels and bosses in the oversized trim. 8

Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014

would be anything but ordinary,” says Sawatzky. The Sawatzkys chose trees and hearts as themes for the outside of the house. Eleven trees were designed into the building (fulfilling both a structural and thematic role), while thousands of hearts decorate panels and bosses in the oversized trim of the house. Sawatzky used SAi EnRoute Pro software and his CNC router for the home construction. “I created almost 300 routing files for the house,” said Sawatzky. “I started with the window shapes, designed the windows and doors in EnRoute, and used these files to make patterns for the manufacturers to build the windows.” The same patterns were used to

ISA Educates Planners at National APA Meeting

> Sawatzky used SAi EnRoute Pro software to design oversized crown moldings that go around the windows and conceal the LED lighting modules.

ate window bucks (forms) for the openings in the poured concrete walls. Insulated concrete forms were used to build the foundations and ground floor of the building; the upper floor is wood truss construction. Outside all moldings are thirty-pound Precision Board HDU. The heart panels were created as vector files and layered in three levels. The pieces were then hand-painted with three coats of acrylic paint and coated with three different colors of glaze. At each intersection of horizontal and vertical eight-inch-wide trim, a square heart boss was routed, painted, and applied as a top layer. Inside the house, the straight trim is all cut from MDF. Wainscot panels were routed from thirty-pound Precision Board, and inlays were designed to resemble a stylized tall grass blowing in the wind using EnRoute’s Rapid Texture feature.

A butterfly theme runs throughout the house with corner blocks on all the doors, large reliefs on a bridge that spans the vaulted ceiling connecting upstairs rooms, and more around the front door. “We also used EnRoute to design oversized crown moldings to go around the living and dining rooms and over the large round windows,” said Sawatzky. “They conceal LED lighting modules and throw a dramatic light on the vaulted and curved ceiling.” (Note: The moldings were routed in two layers from three-inchthick, thirty-pound Precision Board.) Sawatzky enjoyed applying his skills to home construction. “Designing and building the house helped me cross some boundaries using EnRoute,” he says. “Working with a program I was used to, though doing something entirely new, not only made the job easier but gave me confidence in the quality of the result.”

Alexandria, Virginia—The International Sign Association (ISA) conducted educational training at the American Planning Association's 2014 National Planning Conference. The session, “Effective Urban Wayfinding,” was presented by James Carpentier (pictured, below), ISA’s manager of state and local government affairs; William Vaught, Sky Design; Sachin S. Kalbag, Miami Downtown Development Authority; and Craig Berger, Fashion Institute of Technology. ISA also shared resources with planners from around the country in the exhibit hall. “Planners have a tremendous impact on the work that sign companies do each day,” said ISA President and CEO Lori Anderson. “We have worked hard to build bridges with planners and local officials, sharing resources and helping them better understand the role that signs play in their community’s overall well-being.” This is the first time ISA has presented at the national APA meeting, but it has been training planners around the country since 2011 with its “Planning for Sign Code Success” seminars and webinars. ISA has also created the Urban Wayfinding Manual, published by the Signage Foundation, Inc. ISA has scheduled at least six “Planning for Sign Code Success” sessions for the remainder of 2014. Remaining locations will be named at a later date.

July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


SignSHOW CUTTERS/PLOTTERS Cutting is a “Dream” with the New XLD-170WP from Colex Colex, your exclusive distributor of Fotoba Automatic Cutters, has introduced the new Fotoba Dreamcut XLD-170WP, which is the perfect solution for cutting tiles of wallpaper with extremely high accuracy to enable side-by-side wall application. The side sensor correction can perform an accuracy of up to 0.065mm (.002-inches) for high-precision cutting. Fotoba XL Automatic Cutters are designed to work with both rolls and sheets and can handle all flexible media up to a maximum thickness of 40-mil. Also new is the Fotoba Coreless Rewinder that creates a fully automated solution for all wallpaper cutting and rewinding applications. It is the perfect solution to cut and rewind media up to sixty-four feet wide. This complete finishing package offers quick turnaround times.

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 Canon Launches a Wide Format Flatbed Printer for High-Quality, Productive Rigid Media Printing Canon U.S.A., Inc's new Océ Arizona 6100 Series is designed for sign and display print service providers who produce approximately 325,000 square feet of printed rigid media per year. Comprised of the six-color Océ Arizona 6160 XTS and the seven-color Océ Arizona 6170 XTS, the Océ Arizona 6100 Series features an extra-large 8-by-10 foot vacuum table to keep media and objects stationary during printing for optimal print quality and rigid media application versatility. The Arizona 6100 Series’ true flatbed architecture supports a wide range of rigid media applications, including printing on odd-shaped, heavy, smooth, or pre-cut rigid media; the production of high-value, multi-layer applications; double-sided prints in perfect register; large prints tiled over multiple boards with perfect geometry; and edge-to-edge printing without hassle or mess.

Wasatch Releases SoftRIP Version 7.1 Use Wasatch SoftRIP Version 7.1 to run multiple printers in parallel with more speed and convenience than ever before! Support for dye-sublimation and direct-to-garment printing is enhanced by the SoftRIP Version 7.1’s new Color Neighborhood Analyzer. This impressive tool makes it easy to match the desired spot color (even on specialty surfaces that make it difficult to create an accurate color profile). The Color Neighborhood Analyzer creates a targeted 100-patch test pattern centered on a chosen target color. This is a powerful supplement to the Cloud Atlas Generator. Version 7.1 also introduces a revolution in print quality for the direct-to-garment market. Wasatch’s new masking tool and rendering capabilities make printing to dark garments effortless, producing photo-like quality prints and perfectly smooth gradients. And this latest release includes support for the Epson SureColor® F2000 printer.

D I G I TA L S I G N / E M C / V I D E O D I S P L AY S Peerless-AV Introduces the World’s Thinnest Full-service Video Wall Mount Measuring 1.87 inches, the design elements of the new Peerless-AV SmartMount® Slim Video Wall Mount (DS-VW755S) were incepted to uniquely complement ultra-thin displays, providing the option to install a video wall system that protrudes no further than four inches from the wall (making the solution ADA-compliant). The Made-in-the-USA mount also offers installers ease-of-service with the ability to seamlessly align displays. The SmartMount DS-VW755S offers simple, tool-less micro adjustments at eight points. Tedious calculations and onsite guesswork are also eliminated for installers, as the SmartMount DS-VW755S offers reusable display-dedicated wall plate spacers. For ease of service, the mount is equipped with a quick release function that allows installers easy access to displays in recessed applications that would otherwise be restricted. With the SmartMount DS-VW755S, the display can also extend into a negative tilt position for ease of cabling.

PA N E L S AW S Saw Trax’s Boxer Lets You V-Groove Dibond® with Your Panel Saw Your Saw Trax panel saw can now V-groove all types and thicknesses of ACM sheets with one cutting tool, the Floating Router option. This V-grooving bit is what takes the material out and allows it to fold. Besides forming 90-degree bends, these router bits offer a sharper bend like 108- and 135-degree bends. The Floating Router is so powerful that it requires no elbow grease and pulls through the material easily. Using the Floating Router attachment fitted with an ACM folding router bit, you can easily score and bend your aluminum composite panels to a variety of shapes and sizes to fit your needs. Once your ACM router bit is set to the correct depth, the unique design of the router plate maintains a constant pressure on the face of the ACM panel. This ensures an accurate depth of cut, which is essential for shaping these panels. 888/729-8729;

July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


SignSHOW ROUTERS/ENGR AVERS Techno CNC Systems and Excitech-USA Announce a New Partnership to Service the CNC Industry For more than twenty-five years, Techno CNC Systems, Inc., has marketed CNC routers primarily servicing the small- to medium-sized production shops. Now President Roy Valentine is confident his company's new partnership with ExcitechUSA, Inc. (a distributor of more-demanding, high-volume production shop equipment) will open up new opportunities for both companies to expand into and service larger production markets. Future additions to the product line will include point-to-point CNCs, panel saws, and edgebanders, to name a few. The new additions will complete the production cell process to help any shop automate their production workflow. Now Techno customers can come back to the company for new equipment that they did not offer in the past. In addition, this new expansion means they will be hiring more staff. 516/328-3970;,

SERVICE TRUCKS/CRANES/EQUIPMENT Expand Your HiReach with Elliott Equipment Company Elliott Equipment Company showcased a wide variety of HiReach aerial work platforms and sign cranes at the 2014 ISA Sign Expo in Orlando. Highlights included a forty-eight-foot M43 HiReach wrapped in a custom vehicle wrap designed and produced by ORAFOL and a sixty-two-foot Elliott L60 HiReach loaded with tread plate aluminum boxes by Elliott dealer MIRK Inc. Expo visitors were given the chance to view six sign cranes and discuss sales with Elliott dealers within the booth space. New Elliott HiReach products are available for immediate delivery throughout North America from authorized Elliott dealers. To find a dealer in your area, visit the Elliott Web site.


Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014

S I G N B L A N K S / PA N E L S / S U B ST R AT E S The Carvagio Olde Towne Collection of HDU Signs Carvagio, America’s foremost maker of classic, molded sign blanks, introduces the new Olde Towne collection, which is classically designed for America’s Main Street and historic areas. This collection's varied designs include Classic Oval, two sizes of Banners, and a medium and large Tablet. The signs are molded out of durable HDU and primed. The signs will not rot, swell, crack, or split even after prolonged outdoor exposure. They come boxed, factory-primed white, and are best painted with a quality latex paint. Their smooth image area makes for perfect carving or sandblasting. 800/628-9042;

VINYL/VINYL FILMS/SUPPLIES Drytac Broadens Its Printable Media Lineup with WallTac Drytac® has expanded its line of printable media with WallTac™, a matte PVC film with removable adhesive that can adhere to and be cleanly removed from virtually any smooth surface (including painted drywall). WallTac is compatible with most solvent, UV, and latex printers and is ideal for interior wall graphic applications. WallTac is available in three versions: 3.0-mil matte clear polymeric with low-tack removable acrylic adhesive; 3.5-mil matte white polymeric with removable microsphere adhesive; and 6.0-mil matte white polymeric with removable microsphere adhesive. Graphics printed on WallTac can be easily applied and cleanly removed from walls or doors, and there is no adhesive residue left behind. In addition, trouble-free repositioning of graphics is made possible when WallTac is used with a microsphere adhesive.

July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated





Cutting for the Congregation

CAD/CAM software produces sets viewed by 6,000 attendees per

Dale Poore, creative space designer for NewSpring Church, worked in the homebuilding industry for thirty years and originally built sets for the church by hand after hours. As the church expanded, the pastoral team wanted to increase both the scope and quality of sets used. “It was clear to all of us that we needed to move to CNC,” said Poore, “but I had never worked with CNC and knew nothing about it. So I talked to one of our members that had considerable experience with CNC through his work in the aerospace industry. “He told us that we needed a CNC router and connected me with Gary Beckwith of Beckwith Décor Products. We talked to [Gary], and he helped us pick out an EZ Router Scorpion three-axis router and ArtCAM Pro software. We took a three-day class in his shop that covered both the machine and the software, and we were




he goal of NewSpring Church in Wichita, Kansas is for each service to be fun, creative, and relevant to its members’ lives. NewSpring has an auditorium that seats 1,700 people, and its five services each weekend are attended by an average of 6,000 people. Services begin with high-energy worship and are followed by a message by Pastor Mark Hoover. Part of the NewSpring experience is producing sets that are both entertaining and help to reinforce the message of the sermon. The church has dramatically improved its capabilities to produce memorable sets here by purchasing a CNC router and CAD/CAM software that now gives it the capability to build sets made of foam and PVC sheet, resulting in a realistic representation of whatever the pastoral team can imagine.


Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014

off and running.” One set Poore created using the CNC router and CAD/CAM software was based on a photograph of Central Park in the 1940s that was used during Christmas season services. The set included the famous Gapstow Bridge and the Plaza Hotel. Poore imported a sketch based on photos of the bridge into ArtCAM, and he traced the key figures in the set using the software’s vector drawing tools. He converted the vector model of the walls of the hotel into 2D programs for the individual walls and then cut the outline of the walls and the windows out of 1/8-inch-thick PVC board on the router. (Note: Lights were placed inside the model of the hotel so that the rooms appear to be occupied. To produce the bridge, Poore went the 3D model route. He created a line drawing of the bridge by drawing over the sketch and then used the two-rail sweep function to create a surface model. Next he divided the model into sections and cut them out one at a time on the router and painted them. Reflection shapes were cut from three-

A sketch based on photos of the bridge was imported into software and converted to vector for CNC production.


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July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


The 3D model of the Corvette was divided into sections—doors, front end, and the hood (pictured).

inch foam and painted like water. Lighting and clear plexiglass placed in front completed the illusion of water. Meanwhile another interesting set Poore designed and built with the software is a full-size model of a 1960 Corvette for sermons with the theme “Road Trip.” Poore found 2D drawings of the automobile on a Web site called www. In ArtCAM Pro, he converted the 2D model to a surface model of the car. He primarily created the surfaces by using the cross-sections found in the drawings as the profile for ArtCAM’s two-rail drive function. He used 3D models to easily move back and forth between the 2D drawings and the 3D shapes. Poore and his CNC operator Nate Kubish used the two-rail extrude feature by creating two lines that intersect the cross-section and then extruding the crosssection along the path of the drive rails to sweep out the surface of the vehicle. The model was divided into sections (such as doors, front end, hood, and wheels) that were each small enough to be produced on the CNC router. Kubish simulated the machining operations on the screen. The simulation showed the path of the cutting tool to be sure there were no collisions or gouges. The simulation also showed the exact geometry of the finished part, which they then compared to the 3D model. After making a few tweaks, Kubish generated G-code for the router. They cut out each section on the router, glued the sections together, painted them, and added a real windshield that they had purchased. The set, which also included road and Route 66 signs, was used for seven weeks in the auditorium of the church. Sometime in the future, Poore hopes to suspend the vehicle above the entrance door to the room where children’s services are held. “It takes about five or six weeks to do each set, and we try to do each one better than the last,” concludes Poore. “We are always pushing the envelope and are using 3D more and more frequently. “The feedback from the pastor and the members has been very positive. In fact, I have been overwhelmed by the support that we have received.” Stephen Glad is account executive at Structured Information.


Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014




A 4K View of Digital Displays

A highresolution look at involvement in 4K digital

and even sponsors when it comes to understanding this particular display technology. Today the question you should ask is more than just “What is Ultra HD?” It’s also “How do I sell a DS network that can maximize the benefits of 4K?” The first thing to realize is that an Ultra HD display alone does not translate into actual Ultra HD visuals. It’s all about the supporting technology. While Ultra HD systems and content are in its infancy, Mark Stross, chief technology officer at ANC Sports Enterprises, Inc. (, a Purchase, New York-based provider of integrated signage, design, and marketing solutions for sports and commercial facilities, points out factors related to it that you should think about now…and later.

4K VS. 2K. While the sign industry still wrestles with full adoption of 2K DS networks, advertis-


sign networks.


igital sign (DS) networks involve electronics, inventory, and content creation. But to truly understand DS networks, you must realize that their two main selling points to end-users are that they provide information (screens in train stations, hospitals, hotels, etc.) and generate revenue (advertising). However conversations and chatter about “Ultra High-Def ” (or “4K”) screens for DS networks are starting to increase in both the consumer and commercial sectors. (Note: Traditional 2K high-def translates to 1080p resolution, while 4K ups this ante to 2160p.) And while it’s crystal-clear the digital signage industry is hotly anticipating being able to use 4K content, there’s still a “disconnect” amongst manufacturers, integrators, end-users, content providers,

July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


ers are already salivating over the possibilities of double-the-resolution 4K. “[2160p resolution] allows advertisers to show their products in absolutely pristine clarity,” says Stross, “because 4K starts to merge the pixels into a completely seamless image—even better than print. For the first time, there’s a medium advertisers can use to show you what they want you to see. “It doesn’t matter where you place the product in the presentation. You don’t have to place it front and center. It will look good anywhere. This allows you freedom to play with space and zones [the segments of the screen].” However this ultra-fine resolution also means that you have to be even more detailed in your preparation and presentation of Ultra HD content. “Because you’re really going to have less chances to fix it,” says Stross. But more on that a little later. (See “Content” section.)

DEPLOYMENT. Stross likens selling 4K DS networks to customers as a “zoo” concept. “You build the zoo to house the beast—in this case, the 4K screen itself.

4K DS displays start to merge pixels into a completely seamless image for pristine clarity. But the zoo also has to feed the beast and maintain it,” he says, “and this requires a good infrastructure around the sign.” This equates to content provision and proper set-up of the DS network. Stross says, “If you have all that taken care of,

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then bring in as many 4K beasts as you want, because their ‘wow’ factor is going to help them sell their product.”

SET-UP. Since Ultra HD is twice the resolution of HD, make sure that all the wires and cables being used are a much higher grade. “Use the best-quality cables, because you don’t want to have to reroute those cables later on in your deployment,” remarks Stross. Keep your HD cable length as short as possible. Stross says that most cable manufacturers today overestimate the cable’s viability down to around 20 percent. “My rule of thumb is, if a cable says it can do 16 feet, I’d lop off 20 percent of the length,” he states, “because ultimately you never get a 100 percent of what cable manufacturers claim you’re going to get.” Stross remarks that cable providers will use the excuse here that you’re not in an ideal situation. “But I’ve never been in an ideal situation with DS deployment,” he laughs. “I don’t know what that is!”

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Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014

happen with any-resolution DS network is that some people want to put up a sign but feel that it’s someone else’s responsibility to care for it. This attitude can cause the network to crumble over time. “4K displays require infrastructure,” says Stross, “and if it’s in place, then the


MAINTENANCE. One failure that can

user is going to have an amazing network. “But it’s important that information about who will be doing what is determined and provided early on.”

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CONTENT. On a 4K display, content should fill the viewers’ direct vision but also allow them to take everything in all at once. So if you’re using a huge display, think about how the content will be perceived by the onlooker. “Size needs to be determined by the space it’s going to be placed and how you want the individual to read the sign,” says Stross. Keep in mind that creating 2K HD content takes time, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 4K content generation is going to take three times longer (since it’s larger resolution and requires more thought). “And if something takes longer to create, you’d better get it right the first time,” advises Stross.

LISTENING. When selling a DS network (either 4K or 2K), listen to your customers closely. “They’re going to bring up what’s important to them,” says Stross. “In my traditional conversations about setting up DS networks, I’ve discovered they’re most worried about things that are relevant to them making money, not with the actual signage they’re buying.” Stross says you need to take their concerns and their business model and “merge” it into the business of digital signage. “And that sometimes takes some really difficult meetings with everyone at the table talking about the reality,” he remarks.

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THINKING AHEAD. Finally it’s important to have a vision of the future. There can be an overwhelming shortsightedness when it comes to customers not thinking about their DS network implementation. “Many don’t realize what they’re buying today also needs to look good tomorrow,” says Stross. “I’ve seen a lot of networks go up, and within one to two years, they’re already dated.” Stross recommends telling your customers not to look at what everyone else is doing today. “Think about where it will be five years from now,” he says. “Ultra HD may not have much content now, but your customers need to be ready for it down the road.”

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KDF Custom Graphics brings its vision for a heavy-duty, 3-D robot sign to life.

Mécanique Technique: Rise of the robot sign. t press time, the artificial intelligence Skynet system had yet to launch its line-up of Terminators to take over the human race, nor had the robotic Cylons attempted to track us down. However one creative sign shop is taking a cue from the Borg and proving that, when it comes to imaginative sign design, “resistance is futile.” Stephen Hoey is the president of KDF Custom Graphics ( in Rockleigh, New Jersey. Last issue, we profiled a cookout-inspired identity sign his shop built and installed for a BBQ restaurant in Blauvelt, New York (“Signs on the Grill,” June 2014). Recently KDF was in the process of automating some of the equipment in its shop when inspiration hit Hoey: Why not take his sudden fascination with what robots can do and turn this mechanical theme into an in-shop sign that could also be used to also show customers what his company can do? Hoey knew he was going to need a heavyduty sign to replicate this look. So far from using the friendlier C-3PO and Robby the Robot as models, his vision went the opposite route. He wanted tougher apocalypticstyle robots, so he employed the “Rise of the Machines” motif from the popular Terminator sci-fi action movies here. It shouldn’t be surprising to see KDF 20

Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014




July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


The design concept included the word “Robots” atop a tank-inspired roving robot, which features two robotic arms hovering above the letters and another robotic arm along the bottom. The robotic elements were carved out of thirty-pound Precision Board™ HDU on a MultiCam 3000 CNC router, while the machined letters were cut out of fifteen-pound Precision Board. work on a sign of this type; in fact, Hoey and his shop have a bit of a fantasy streak in them. We recently showed you how KDF incorporated Game of Thrones elements in its sculpture work (“A Not-So-Fishy Fish Tale,” December 2013), and the shop also produced retail P-O-P signage related to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Their work has even stretched out to a “galaxy far, far away,” as Hoey tracked down a mold of Harrison Ford’s face from a store in Los Angeles in order to make a router-cut, life-sized 3-D replica of Han Solo-frozen-in-carbonite from the original Star Wars trilogy for personal use in the shop. “That was something I’d wanted to build forever,” he says. For the “robots” sign, Hoey worked on a couple of sketches in EnRoute Pro during his free time at night and on weekends. His original concept registered pretty close to the finished sign. The word “Robots” sits atop a tank-inspired roving robot, which has two robotic arms hovering above the letters (simulating putting them into place). Another robotic appendage patrols the bottom portion. The robotic elements were carved out of thirty-pound Precision Board™ HDU on a MultiCam 3000 CNC router, while the machined letters were cut out of fifteenpound Precision Board. After cutting the letters, KDF glued them together with Coastal Enterprises PB Bond 240 One-Part Urethane Adhesive and attached a cable that holds up one 22

Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014

of the letters. The bottom robotic arm is PVC, and the back panel that looks like rusted-out gears is MDF. “We put a sheet of Dibond® on back of the MDF to keep it sturdy,” comments Hoey. “And we glued and screwed them in place.” To get the MDF back panel and letters to look like rusted steel, KDF first applied two coats of Coastal Enterprises FSC88 Primer. They then painted the backer with a faux-iron paint from Sophisticated Finishes. While the second coat was still tacky, KDF sprayed on the Green Patina Solution and waited. “The finish ‘rusts’ before

Hoey worked on “robot” sketches in his free time on nights and weekends.

To create the rusty, metallic look for the sign, KDF used a combination of FSC-88 Primer, Sophisticated Finishes faux-iron paint and Green Patina solution, and Modern Masters Metallic Copper, Black Pearl, and Silver paints. Red AgiLight SignRayz LEDs provide the ominous glow. A motion detector placed in a little box enables the front arm to move. your eyes,” says Hoey. KDF used Modern Masters Silver as the base coat for the letters with a glaze over the top. “We wanted it to appear like it was real metallic and a little scary looking,” states Hoey, noting KDF did texturizing touch-ups later on the painted faces of the letters. To paint the “guts” of the letters, KDF used Modern Masters Metallic Copper and applied a glaze of Black Pearl over the copper. Once dried, they “rusted” out the metal clamps. Then KDF shop members dry-brushed some Pure Silver back over the face of each letter. Hoey admits that, when designing the sign, his initial thoughts were in the 2D realm, but he soon realized KDF was going to need to go deep and get the robots behind the letters. Because the robot pieces were so big and heavy, Hoey created a little shelf behind the letters for them to sit on. The shelf also acts as a stand-off for the letters. “It was important the sign stand out and have a lot of depth,” he says. When you think of “scary” robots, a red ominous glow comes to mind (The Terminator, Battlestar Galactica, 2001: A Space Odyssey, etc.). So KDF placed long strips of red AgiLight SignRayz LEDs in an oval along the back of the shelf to create this effect, which in turn also highlights the sign. The robotic arm protruding from the bottom of the sign features white SignRayz LEDs on its end. “There’s a wire from the LEDs that goes down the arm into the back of the sign,” explains Hoey. “And the wiring goes up through the ceiling, where the power supply was placed.”

To keep with the robot theme, Hoey felt it should incorporate some movement, so KDF also installed a motion detector and a motor. His initial idea involved the top robots moving back and forth with the letters, but since an attached cable holds up one of the letters, this might’ve been a little too much. So KDF placed the motion detector inside a little box on the sign. “As you walk by, the motion detector trips, moving the arm back and forth and gently shining light on the front of the sign,” says Hoey. The finished sign measures 45-by-45 inches and weighs close to seventy pounds. The shop made a cleat out of MDF with a 45-degree cut on the MultiCam 3000 router and mounted this to the wall. They then made a negative of that cleat, attached it to the back of the sign, and mounted it onto the wall. KDF is thrilled at being able to use this robot sign to not only show its customers what the shop can do for them, but also help inspire them what they can use for a sign. “It shows clients that they can do something really cool, more than just a plain channel letter or sign panel,” explains Hoey. For KDF, this robot sign proved to be super-fun to design and fabricate. “We’d love to build these all day long,” says Hoey, “and want our customers to let us do so for them.” So when the machine overlords eventually take over the planet and focus their binary view on KDF’s work here, they’re liable to give this collective group of sign makers a pass and let them continue to make even more dynamic signage—which they’ll no doubt do for the human resistance, of course. July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


Nova Polymers Recognizes Boyd Sign Systems Fair field, New Jersey— Boyd Sign Systems ( of Englewood, Colorado has joined the elite ranks as Nova Polymers Preferred Fabricators of Novacryl®, the world’s most expansive line of high-quality photopolymer ADA signage. Nova Polymers’ Preferred Fabricators status gives architects and designers

the assurance that they are working with the finest ADA sign fabricators in the industry. ADA sign fabricators go through a rigorous process in order to earn Preferred Fabricator status—including subjecting their manufacturing operations to audits that ensure compliance with material processing guidelines, ADA compliance, quality control, and cycle times. Boyd Sign Systems has been a leader in the design, manufacture, and installation of ADA-compliant architectural illuminated and noni l l u m i n at e d s i g n s y s t e m s fo r hotels, resorts, healthcare facilities, and office buildings ever since 1989. Their services combine project management, graphic support, ADA expertise, quality materials and finishes, and installation to provide the most cost-effective solution for customers’ environmental graphic needs. “As a Preferred Fabricators of Novacryl sign material, Boyd Sign Systems now offers architects and sign designers the world’s broadest selection of ADA signage and has greater control over quality, deliver y, and cost,” said Mike S a nt o s, d i re c t o r o f S a l e s a n d Marketing for Nova Polymers. Nova Polymers developed its Preferred Fabricator program to recognize sign fabricators listed as “acceptable manufacturers” in the Novacryl photopolymer three-part CSI specification. Nova Polymers continues to work with the sign design and architectural community to expand its high-quality and progressive product line in ways that add creativity and flexibility, while complying with international accessibility standards. For more information about N o v a Po l y m e r s a n d P r e fe r r e d Fabricators of Novacryl sign material, call 888/484-6682 or visit


Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014


An overview of various sign installations.


Sign Builder Illustrated // November 2013





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It Starts with Safety


his special Sign Builder Illustrated: Installs supplement contains articles detailing projects that sign installers have recently put up. However if there’s one motto you should keep in mind before beginning any type of sign installation, it’s “safety first!” Two big pieces of equipment regularly used in installs are bucket trucks and cranes, and a couple of vehicle manufacturers are here to offer some advice to help you safely operate this equipment.

Bryan Wilkerson, vice president of Wilkie Mfg., LLC (, points out the following pieces of safety advice to follow when working in a bucket/basket during a sign installation: + “Always wear your body harness and belt off to an approved anchor point any time that you’re elevated off the ground. Follow the OSHA guidelines as laid out in OSHA 29 Code of Federal Regulation, Subpart M, Fall Protection, 1926.500, 1926.501, 1926.502, and 1926.503. + “Watch for overhead power lines before you begin work. The proper clearance for working around power lines is laid out in OSHA sections.” + “Make sure the equipment that you will be working on is adequately stabilized. This could include stabilizer pads, wheel chocks, outriggers, or other devices as required by the manufacture of your lift.” + “Be familiar with the equipment that you are working with and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations in operation and maintenance.”

Sign Cranes: Meanwhile according to David Phillips of Elliott Equipment Company (, the most common causes for crane accidents in urban environments are easily avoidable with good training, maintenance, and plenty of planning. S2

SBI Installs // July 2014

One of the most common types of accidents with cranes is tipovers, and to prevent these, Phillips advises: + “Set the crane up on a firm, level surface with adequate support for outrigger/stabilizer loads. Thin concrete, hot asphalt, and partially frozen ground may not support outrigger loads.” + “Riggers must be able to accurately determine weights and distances and be able to select and properly use lifting tackle for the requirements of the lift.” + “Do not side-load the boom. Not only can this cause tipping, but it can

also result in sudden structural failure.” + “Do not lift loads if wind can create a hazard. Winds aloft can be much stronger than at the ground.” + “All wire ropes should be thoroughly inspected at regular intervals. The longer it has been in service or the more severe the service, the more thoroughly and frequently it should be inspected.” For more tips related to avoiding falls, tipping, and electrocution when using service trucks and equipment, check out the expanded version of this article online at


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A sign shop gets into the “spirits” of a wine bottle sign install.


SBI Installs // July 2014

Installation Tip: Sign Cranes “Each outrigger should be visible to the operator or to a signal person during extension or setting.” —David Phillips, Elliott Equipment

The old O’Hara’s sign was very dated. Its face was faded, and it really needed a fresh look.


ometimes one thing can lead to another—especially when it comes to sign fabrication. Just ask Andy Serrato, secondgeneration owner of custom sign manufacturer & installer

Serrato Signs, LLC ( in Worcester, Massachusetts. What started out as a simple request for an electronic message center (EMC) soon grew into his shop also building and installing a brand-new awning…and a giant-sized wine bottle.

O’Hara’s Wine and Liquors is a fullservice liquor store that’s also located in Worcester, but its plain, fluorescent-lit, pole-mounted cabinet sign had faded. The establishment’s owner, Jim Vasiliadis, bought the business twenty years ago but had never changed the sign out. It was time for a fresh look. So Vasiliadis contacted Serrato. “There were two new liquor stores opening within a one-mile radius,” says Serrato, “and July 2014 // SBI Installs



he didn’t want to get lost.” As mentioned, Vasiliadis originally only requested switching the changeable copy portion of the sign to an EMC. But during his initial discussion, Vasiliadis mentioned how he always thought a wine bottle image would make a cool sign feature.



SBI Installs // July 2014

This sparked Serrato’s imagination. “Instead of putting a wine bottle graphic on the sign face, I instead suggested making the wine bottle the sign itself,” he says. Serrato believes that conversation with the customer during the design stages is crucial. “We always try to find out their

likes and tastes and who they are as a company,” he says. “I often tell them to drive around the city and let me know what signs and awnings they like.” (Note: From there, Serrato will meet the customer on location and look at their building to work up signage that will complement it best.) One could say that signage ideas come naturally to Serrato. His father, Louis, started the company back in 1945 out of a garage attached to a one-family cottage.Today Andy has grown the business to its current staff of twelve employees. “We couldn’t have done what we’ve done today without our incredible team here,” he says. On the O’Hara’s sign, the design process proved tricky. The idea was to craft the sign cabinet in the shape of a wine bottle and then cover it with a vinyl print. Serrato researched wine bottle images online and explained to his designer that he wanted it to be positioned at an incline angle—as if it’s going off the sign. However it took a bit of tweaking to get the bottle to look more like a sign. Everything on the bottle appeared dark at first. The solution rested in the top foil. “After back-and-forth discussions about the lack of white on a wine bottle—it’s not a bottle, it’s a sign!—I came up with the gold top nugget to make it ‘pop’ more,” says Serrato. The sign frame for the wine bottle cabinet was made from one-inch square tubing and body-skinned with aluminum. The digital print was output from the shop’s Roland printer to a backlit white piece of Lexan where it was then cut to fit the face. “The bottle and the face are flat, so we put a gradient on the digital print to give it a curved look,” says Serrato. The finished wine bottle cabinet measures 44 inches wide and 12-feet, 8-inches tall. Vasiliadis didn’t want to use a lot of lamps to light the bottle, so Serrato placed six strands of SloanLED PosterBOX 6500K modules around the interior edge of the sign with the lights facing toward the center of the box. What’s interesting is that while PosterBOX is used to illuminate large areas with minimal modules, they’re usually mounted in shallower, thinner poster frames. Serrato credits Ken Davis from Davis Advertising for introducing the product to

him and salesman Dave Disaia, Jr., from Garston Sign Supply for convincing him to use it here. “We tried different angles and amounts,” says Serrato. “It really lights up brightly.” For the EMC, Serrato contacted his Watchfire LED representative, Ben Barr, and they selected a 16mm unit that measures 41 inches tall-by-6-1/4 feet wide. “[Vasiliadis] originally wanted a four-byfour-foot model, but I explained to him that a wider sign would fit his location and prove better for graphics,” says Serrato. After removing the old sign cabinet, Serrato Signs cut off the top section of the existing pole. “We slid a new eight-inch square steel tube into it and welded it into place,” says Serrato. “We then wrapped a pole cover around the pole.” The EMC was installed first and then the wine bottle on top of it. “The square tubing welded to the main pole holds the EMC up,” says Serrato, “and another square piece of tubing goes up into the wine bottle. This lined everything up correctly.” Since the wine bottle weighs 300 pounds, an Elliott crane was used to lift the sign while installers in two bucket trucks guided it into place. “One bucket was lined up in front and the other above it, so we could get the wine bottle up against the pole and weld it into place,” says Serrato. While Vasiliadis was pleased with the install, Serrato thought more work could be done to improve the aesthetics of the property—particularly the business’s entrance. The owner was using an old metal canopy, so Serrato suggested an awning. The awning was fabricated from CooleyBrite material in two sections. “It goes down the building,” says Serrato, adding that graphics and text were added through eradication, “and then turns at an angle.” During site surveys, Serrato put some flat stock on the building to get the necessary angle and clamped it into place. “It wasn’t a true 30- or 45-degree angle; it was somewhere in-between,” he says. “So we custom-made a special bracket and attached it to the building to ensure the proper angle. Then we made the frame.” The awning is four feet tall with a four-foot projection, so Serrato ran fourfoot-long white SloanLED HighLINER

strands on the back wall three feet apart. He then placed five strands of white HighLINER within the awning dome— three across the bottom area and two up above it and mounted to the back wall. Installation of all the signs took place during normal business operating hours.

“The sign wasn’t really a challenge,” says Serrato, “because we were able to set up to the side and not block the entranceway. For the awning, we’d have to stop occasionally and let customers in.” In the end, everyone celebrated the installation of this unique sign solution.

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Hanging signs complement the industrial-looking interior of Duff’s Cakemix studio.

Hanging signs and window graphics are installed for a high-profile bakery.


ans of Food Network’s TV series Ace of Cakes are familiar with celebrity chef and television personality Duff Goldman’s line-up of imaginative theme cakes. Goldman recently co-opened Duff’s Cakemix, an interactive design bakery/doit-yourself cake studio on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles that serves up the star’s delectable treats and teaches visitors how to


SBI Installs // July 2014

decorate cakes and cupcakes. For the interior of Duff’s Cakemix, Co-Owner/Organizer Katelyn Rader wanted to use menus and stations that would complement the industrial-looking environment, so she searched for sign shops to make this a reality. “Because we’re two businesses under one roof, it’s very important to have all

the information disseminated to my customers clearly and concisely,” says Rader, “especially since design plays a huge role in our business.” After checking out the Web site for Signs By Tomorrow in Santa Clarita, California ( and being impressed by its clean, professional look, Rader contacted Co-Owner Becky


Installation Ingredients

Hargrave. “They were super-knowledgeable, quick, and organized,” says Rader. “I believe that Katelyn felt comfortable knowing that we understood what her needs were and taking that extra time to discuss ideas,” says Hargrave. Becky and her husband Rod opened Signs By Tomorrow-Santa Clarita in 2005, and their sign work has grown ever since. Today they have four full-time employees (and one part-time employee) to help build and install a large variety of signage: retail graphics, tradeshow displays, wall murals, wraps, banners, wayfinding, ADA, etc. “We’re also a full-service provider for exterior architectural signs—enveloping conceptual drawings and pulling permits,” says Becky Hargrave. In-shop their well-rounded group of printers allows them to offer a wider variety of graphics solutions to clients: A Seiko 64 ColorPainter large format eco-solvent printer, a CET FK512 UV flatbed printer, and their most recent addition, an HP L260 large format ecofriendly latex printer. According to Hargrave, during initial discussions, Rader only had a general idea as to hanging menus but not much more than that. “Once she explained to me what she was looking for, I knew exactly what would fit her needs,” she says. Due to the size of the frames Rader felt she needed, Signs By Tomorrow suggested Testrite Monster Frames made out of anodized aluminum. “And we custom-built [the frames] so they’d fit their sizes,” says Hargrave. However Monster Frame is made in such a way that the inside viewable area is not the same as the outside dimension of the frame. So when the Duff ’s Cakemix design group was supplying printready artwork to Signs By Tomorrow, Hargrave gave them specific instructions on the margins within the viewable area, and she reviewed artwork as soon as it arrived. “If the border was getting too close to the edge of the frame, we had to have them redo it,” she says. Signs By Tomorrow successfully printed the menu boards onto lightweight, sturdy 3/16-inch Ultra® Board foam-core panels using their CET FK512 UV flatbed.

Window graphics were installed on the interior side of the windows, so as to avoid the possibility of vandalism from the large amount of everyday passers-by.

The frame itself is side-loading, so when Duff’s Cakemix employees get ready to change out the graphics or update prices, they can pull it out from the side and easily replace it. Some of the boards also feature small inserts of Velcro® to aid the DIY bakery in changing out “Flavor of the Month” specials themselves. “If we later change our

Testrite Monster Frames made out of anodized aluminum were used to create the hanging menu signs.

pricing or menu options, I’ll go back to [Hargrave] to update them,” says Rader. Initial discussions also involved three prominent window graphics featuring “parking in back” information, store hours, and a promotion of the bakery’s Intelligentsia Coffee blend that Signs By Tomorrow would print and install. To deter the possibility of vandalism by the large groups of walk-by traffic, Hargrave determined the window graphics needed to be installed to the interior side of the windows. Several different types of vinyl were employed. Signs By Tomorrow used its Seiko ecosolvent printer to reverse-print on a clear, adhesive-backed laminate and then backed it with white vinyl. They then contour-cut it and reverse-weeded the graphics. “Most printers don’t print white ink, so that becomes a little bit of a challenge— especially on a window where you’ve got reflection and you need the white to help the graphic ‘pop,’” says Hargrave. The first signage Signs By Tomorrow installed for Duff ’s Cakemix were just two of the three window graphics via the dry method of application. This was done on-purpose by Hargrave for a couple of reasons: (1.) To have additional face time with Rader and find out what else she might need, and (2.) July 2014 // SBI Installs



to survey the facility and figure out how to hang the menus. “The ceiling is very industrial-looking,” says Hargrave. “It’s wide open with huge, super-duty, orange I-beams.” The menus/stations are all hung overhead. Their installation involved two persons standing on ladders. Signs By Tomorrow installers ended up having to invest in bits that could be drilled through the very thick I-beams. Because there are eyelets at the top of the Monster Frame that are bolted in, Hargrave used industrial hardware and zinc chain (instead of thinner earthquake cable) to hang them from the ceiling. “Zinc was also perfect for that raw, industrial look, as the frames are brushed aluminum,” she says. There were a total of ten frames installed. The Signs By Tomorrow-Santa Clarita installers had to ensure that they were all hanging at the same height and

As Low


secured with the proper hardware. Installation here took place afterhours, since Signs By Tomorrow didn’t want to drill into the I-beams because of possibilities of oil or metal shavings dropping and falling into food. And as you might expect, drilling through metal I-beams proved tedious and slow going. After the initial project was complete, Signs By Tomorrow was called back to add an industrial-looking, functional hanging board with bins and peg board hooks to display merchandise. “We used the same Monster Frame system and a printed graphic for the Ultra Board header,” says Hargrave. The bottom 3/4 of the frame insert is white pegboard. The challenge was to connect the two materials together within the frame and still have it look finished. “We connected the top header to the pegboard with an aluminum bracket/strip on the back and silver

Installation Tip: Site Survey “Seeing the site before doing an installation helps you understand what tools you will need, how many people you will need, and how much time it is going to take.” —Becky Hargrave hardware on the face and screwed them together,” says Hargrave. Hargrave says that a sign project can be as good or as bad as your client and describes Rader as a dream. “Having someone listen and make suggestions is what she was looking for. Building that relationship will give us a long-term client,” she says, noting that Duff’s Cakemix is planning on opening more locations in the future. “As they do, we’ll have an opportunity to grow with them—which we love!”

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A Real Solid Wrap Install


ne of the most popular styles of vehicle wraps these days are solid-color changes, and if installed correctly, nobody will be able to notice your work here. But that’s a good thing— especially for customers looking for an alternative to pricier custom paint jobs! There are several reasons why solid-color vehicle wrap transformations are appealing to customers. “The main attraction would be the cost,” says Sean Dale, owner of FastTrac Designs (, a one-stop vehicle wrap, screen-printing, and graphics company in Phoenix, Arizona, “as they’re more likely to fit their budget than painting. “And a solid-color wrap is a great way for the owner to get a new car look without having to purchase a new car.” Car owners can also get their vehicles back much faster. “A solid-color change wrap can be completed in two days, as opposed to spending three to five days in a paint booth,” says Dale. Recently Fast-Trac completed a solidcolor transformation on a Mercedes. The

customer wanted a clean look for his black car, and Fast-Trac ended up applying a bright white to it. The result is quite literally night-and-day. Fast-Trac went with 3M Matte White 1080-M10. The interior wooden-like accents were covered in 3M 1080-CF10 white carbon fiber vinyl. This wasn’t the first solid-color vinyl vehicle transformation Fast-Trac has worked on. They’ve dabbled before with color switches on hoods and roofs and even applied them to boats. If you’re interested in taking on this kind of work, be aware that there are a lot of different vinyl materials out there for these types of wraps. According to Dale, prior to beginning a color transformation wrap, it’s important to decide what type of material is going to be used.You also have to explain to the customer what type of maintenance will be required afterwards. “Once that’s done, inspect the vehicle to see if there’s any severe paint or body damage. If so, you may reconsider wrapping it,” he says.


Solid colors are transforming the wrap industry.

Fast-Trac Designs transformed a Mercedes from black to bright white through a solid-color change using 3M vinyl.

July 2014 // SBI Installs


Next Fast-Trac Designs will order the material, keeping in mind how much will be needed. “Having enough material onhand is very important,” says Dale. It took Fast-Trac installers about two days to complete this Mercedes color transformation. “After the installation, we wiped the entire vehicle down with isopropyl alcohol,” says Dale. “If there was an area of the matte white vinyl that got a little dirty during installation, we used a Mr. Clean® Magic Eraser® to clean the area. “We set the vehicle outside for an hour or two and then inspected it to make sure all the wheel wells and bumper areas weren’t lifting.” Dale describes solid-color wraps as “meticulous.” “The entire vehicle must be covered smoothly,” he says, “including around the edges and in the contours.” He also points out that the media can be more challenging to work with. “The material is not laminated, therefore, it is thinner and requires high care and proper tools during installation,” says Dale. “It gathers finger prints and dust. “It also cannot be heated with a propane torch like most general wraps.” Fast-Trac provides a care package when a customer receives a wrap and a thirty-day checkup where they’ll inspect how the wrap is holding up and make any needed repairs. The owner of the Mercedes will have to keep up maintenance, since Matte White vinyl shows imperfections. “We told them the vehicle will have to be hand-washed only with non-abrasive solvents,” says Dale. “And it cannot be waxed, as that will take away from the matte finish.”

Installation Tip: Vehicle Wraps “Our installation bay is climate controlled and 100 percent clean of dirt or dust. We have lights placed in strategic areas for maximum light. Good lighting is a must with Matte White vinyl to —Sean Dale keep it clean.”


SBI Installs // July 2014

The Wilkie Model 58XRB Is designed from the start with your needs in mind. • Power level power rotate basket with easy front entry to access the work in front of you. • Jib winch which stores behind the basket when not in use. • Storable mainline winch for quick conversion from service truck to capable hydraulic crane. • All hydraulic extension for ease of maintenance and smooth extension. • Sliding face rest. • Joystick controls in basket. • Available in two load ratings standard rating # max load at 23’ or 1995# in Wilkie’s reduced rating at 23’ • Full 360 degree working rating. • Optional: 110 volt outlet in basket, Welding leads in basket, Air outlet in basket, Pressure washer in basket. • Custom truck rigging This Model mounts on a non CDL truck with carrying capacity to spare. Order your turnkey work ready Rig today, Wilkie has you covered.

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The Old Sign.

Our industry knows that great signage for customers can lead to increased business and better brand awareness, but that concept also applies to the shops making the signs. After all, what better way to show off your talents than on your own signage? This is just the thought that Brooklynbased Paul Signs ( had when it decided its twenty-eight-year-old sign needed an update. And with the new sign measuring in at 40 feet wide-by-6 feet tall, this was no small undertaking. July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


When Paul Signs got the cabinet faces back from the paint shop, they had to remount all of the elements, being careful not to scratch or damage the newly painted faces.

Design and Fabrication The sign design from the old to new sign changed very little. “The design of the old sign was made when Owner Paul Boegemann only had four fonts on the Gerber 4B plotter.The Cooper Font was one of them, and ever since, it stuck,” says son Scott Boegemann, general manager at Paul Signs. “I modified the old style a little to give it a more modern look.” The sign cabinet features a number of elements mounted onto it via 1/4-inch studs and 4-inch spacers: channel letters, a logo box with the letters “PS,” and a cabinet box featuring the phone number—all lit with neon. Meanwhile the sign cabinet is lit by LED lighting placed along its border. Paul Signs started with the frame of the cabinet sign, which is two 5-by-20-foot boxes formed by welding one-by-one-inch aluminum tubing together. Next the shop cut out the cabinet sign faces from 1/8-inch aluminum on its MultiCam M Series router. The faces were cut in four pieces, each measuring 6-by-10 feet. (Note: The sign faces overhang the sign cabinet by a foot.) Meanwhile the channel letters for the sign were also being cut

out on the shop’s MultiCam router. Three-foot-tall letters spell out “Paul” and five-foot-tall letters make up “Signs.” The letters were assembled by hand from .063-inch aluminum siding, 3/16-inch Plexiglas® faces, one-inch plastic trim, and Lexan™ plastic backs. Paul Signs drilled support holes into the aluminum cabinet face for mounting and into the letters for the white neon that illuminates the channel letters. The shop then mounted the letters. The two-foot-tall-by-eight-foot-long phone number box was cut out on the router and assembled from .063-inch aluminum siding painted yellow.Yellow 3/16-inch Plexiglas with vinyl graphics were used for the face. Holes were drilled into the box for the neon housing and into the cabinet face for mounting. The last element, the Paul Signs logo box, was a little different because of its sheer size—five-by-five feet. The backing and sides were made from 1/8-inch aluminum with 2-inch holes around the sides to achieve a backlit effect when illuminated. The face is clear plastic with a layer of red plastic on top. Cutouts were made in the red plastic to insert the white plastic border, as well as the letters spelling out “Since 1984” and “PS.” The “PS” letters also feature one-inch black trim.

The Paul Signs logo box measures five-by-five feet. The backing and sides were cut from 1/8-inch aluminum on the shop’s router.


Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014

Holes were drilled into the cabinet face for mounting and into the logo box for the neon housing. Once everything had been mounted and tested for fit on the cabinet faces, the sign was disassembled. The faces were sent out to an auto body shop to be painted with the same red automotive paint Paul Signs uses on its truck fleet. “When we got the faces back, we went back to work to remount everything,” says Boegemann. “After the pieces were mounted, I set the neon into the box then checked that everything worked. “I mounted the faces, and the sign looked better than I thought it could.” Fabrication took a total of about 400 hours, and Boegemann jokes that one of the challenges on the job was his father. “He’s still old school,” he says. “We butted heads on any idea or way to build a certain part [of the sign], but that’s with any job.” All kidding aside, Boegemann says that the biggest challenge was working with the four very large cabinet faces after they’d been painted. “I could only fit two faces on the work table at a time,” he explains. “Then I had to [mount] everything again and move the signs around, making sure I didn’t scratch the face.”

Installation For the installation, Paul Signs used its sixty-five-foot Skyhoist Crane and thirtyfive-foot one-man bucket truck. First the two cabinet boxes were mounted to the exterior wall of the shop with five-inch L brackets and 1/2-inch lag and shields. Next Paul Signs used dollies to roll out the four cabinet faces with the letters already mounted to them. “Only the ‘L’ and ‘G’ were mounted after the faces were installed, because they were caught on seams,” explains Boegemann. Each cabinet face was rigged to the sixty-five-foot crane and lifted into place, while Boegemann worked from the bucket truck to mount it to the cabinet. Angle iron was welded to the faces, and then they were screwed into the box frame itself. Boegemann made the final connections to power the neon and added red LEDs from SloanLED to the lip of the cabinet box for backlighting. “The sign is a little over the top, but isn’t that the reason to have a sign?” says Boegemann. “When people look at our sign, they know that their sign—no matter how small or big—will have quality.”

July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated









Video Display Enhancements for Cardinals Fans




CALL 516-328-3970 eMail: Web: 28

Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014

The displays provide live video, replays, and game statistics to keep fans entrenched in the action throughout the facility. The displays also provide additional advertising and sponsorship opportunities for brands to send their messages to a captive audience. The following equipment has been installed at Ballpark Village for the 2014 season: + One ribbon display inside Ballpark Village Live Plaza measuring 2 feet high-by-152 feet wide and featuring 15 millimeter line spacing; + One ribbon display inside Ballpark Village Live Plaza measuring 15.5 feet high-by-29 feet wide and featuring 6 millimeter line spacing; + Two ribbon displays on the Cardinal Nation seating deck measuring 3.5 feet high-by-63.5 feet wide, each featuring 15HD pixel pitches; and + One video display located at the Field of Dreams adjacent to Ballpark Village Live Plaza measuring 12 feet high by 20 feet wide and featuring 10 millimeter line spacing.


Brookings, South Dakota窶認ocusing on enhancing the fan experience, the St. Louis Cardinals and project developers The Cordish Company turned to Daktronics (www.daktronics. com) to design, manufacture, and install five additional LED video and ribbon displays at four different locations at the new St. Louis Cardinals Ballpark Village.


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What advice do you have for sign companies and print providers to ensure color management in the printing process? Jeff Burton: My advice falls into two categories: First keep learning, understand the theories of color management, and comprehend the jargon used and the use of color instruments in a particular color workflow. It’s also vitally important to keep up with what new color software, hardware solutions, and standards are available that can enable your business to either 30

Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014

raise profitability or rise above the competition. The other category of advice I have has more to do with the practical application of a color-managed workflow. Having a full understanding of the process is one of the key elements, but one also needs to know how to set up the Raster Image Processor (RIP) so that the color-managed workflow can succeed. If the RIP manufacturer offers advanced workshops, webinars, or classes, take them. Do you have any tips that you can provide when it comes to saving and manipulating these files before output? Manipulating customer files to get a better color match is a very common occurrence. It does cost a business time that’s not usually billed for unfortunately. Another issue in doing this concerns how different operators amend the files for output. Are they all doing the same things? The job sheet needs to reflect who did what to the file to get correct color. If you can standardize the production workflows in your business, your time spent per job will decrease accordingly



T’S A COMMON CHALLENGE: What’s seen on the computer doesn’t always translate to the actual print—at least not when it comes to matching colors. To shed some knowledge on this, Sign Builder Illustrated connected with Jeff Burton, the digital printing analyst at the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA). Since 1998, Burton has been consulting on digital imaging production, computer, and workflow issues, as well as digital equipment/ vendor recommendations. He has also developed webinars and classroom curriculum in color management.











T 866 972 9191



July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


and quality color becomes more repeatable. What mistakes can one make when it comes to color reproduction through inkjet printing, and how can one prevent them? There are so many: Incorrect profile used, nozzle outages, color space, wrong media utilized, using RIP settings inadvertently left over from the last job, lack of pre-flighting to address basic issues before output, etc. Prevention comes down to a basic checklist for the preparation of the file, setup of the RIP, and the printer settings for the specific job output. But there are bigger issues beyond the procedural ones that prevent digital companies from achieving color consistency. What complicates a color-managed workflow is to have multiple RIPs from different manufacturers driving different output devices. Although each individual printer is colormanaged, there’s no unified control station for color. A better approach is to have a singular RIP driving the lion’s share of the output devices. But that scenario happens in fewer places than you’d expect. After minimizing the number of RIPs in a business, setting proper ink limits is the next critical step of a color-managed workflow. Improper ink limit settings (especially for solventbased inkjet) cause myriad issues ranging from poor color densities to costly ink consumption issues. Because this step comes before the actual media color profiling, it’s also the key to getting


Color-matching issues often hide in three overlooked areas: the media or substrate itself (called the “white point” of the material), the laminate, or the light source the final product is viewed under. the best color possible from a particular media configuration. Another item to examine is the oft-ignored input profiles at the RIP level. Are they set for smaller color gamuts than the files you’re sending? An example of this would be the presets of sRGB and Standard of Web Offset Printing (SWOP) versus the larger color spaces of AdobeRGB and General Requirements for Applications in Commercial Offset Lithography (GRACoL). Again it all depends on your color workflow and the types of files that get printed. But paying attention to the details can allow one to optimize the color output from any device. What advice do you have for making colors match the proof when it comes to inkjet output? Matching an inkjet print to a proof is a common issue only because some clients continue to supply proofs without specifying the reference print condition. By reference print condition, I mean was it a proof made to guidelines such as SWOP target values? Or to GRACoL? Or to no target values at all? Most output devices can be calibrated to print in the same reference print condition as the proof. But when no color reference is given, the match must be made visually, which uses lots of labor and materials. Making colors match without a standard happens so much that it’s almost the norm. There are two basic paths I see production personnel using:

To ensure color management stand the color-managed workflow and how to set up the RIP. 32

Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014


is successful, shops need to under-

One path entails printing out a color chart on the same media that the final will be produced on and walking the color chip or print up to the chart. The chart’s color value is recorded and replaced in the file for output. Very often, the time spent doing this is absorbed by the business. Path two has designs using PANTONE® colors that are designated as spot colors. When so designated, the spot color library in the RIP can provide a closer color match, depending on the media configuration in use. If the spot color needs adjusting, a color ring around (sample of printed colors that surround a target color) can be generated sometimes by the RIP and the value of the spot color amended for future use. Doing this saves time, so that when that color is referenced in the future, it’s ready for printing immediately—no reverse engineering is necessary. Can you provide any guidance on printers or printing technology that would be important for sign shops to consider? For the sign shop, some of the overlooked places where color issues hide are in three major areas. The first is in the media or substrate itself. We call this the “white point” of the material. Is it actually white? Or does it contain a color cast that changes the image’s overall look? Some plastics can be bluish white, while others can be neutral or have a warm hue. Laminates are another area, as they’re often thought to be optically clear. If you’ve profiled a critical color, printed it, and then laminated it only to see a color shift occur, you’ll know what I’m talking about here. Laminates will typically have a shift towards yellow, depending on the thickness and amount of UV inhibitors in the product. Finally consider the light source that the final product is viewed under. The only standard for viewing conditions currently is D50 as a graphic standard viewing condition—not shop light, not daylight, and not desk lamp. Standardized viewing conditions are very important when discussing color and images with multiple service providers or customers in diverse locations. For more information about achieving color accuracy, see “Shop Talk” on page 48.

July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


D i s p l a y s / B Y B R E N D A M U R P H Y- N I E D E R K O R N / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

One of the most popular IMB historical displays features a lifesized cutout of the petite fourfoot-three-inch missionary Charlotte Digges “Lottie” Moon.



Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014


The 16-by-228-inch curved window-ledge historical timeline display at IMB headquarters features 3mm black Sintra®, as well as printed vinyl adhered to it.

A missionary organization’s rich history is put on rigid display.



he International Mission Board (IMB), a Richmond, Virginia-based entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, was formed in 1845 as the Foreign Mission Board and today serves virtually every country in the world. Today the IMB’s rich history and global reach are apparent in the décor of its headquarters offices, which feature several permanent displays. Mickey Moore, president and designer of Mickey Moore Design Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia, designed the displays as part of a multi-year interior design update that begun back in 2002. PhotoWorksGroup Inc. (, a large format graphic solutions provider based in Charlottesville, fabricated and installed the displays. Designed to reflect the IMB’s multi-century history and global outreach as well as to recognize the selfless service of its missionaries, these displays also had to hold up to heavy traffic—including close examination by the youngest of IMB visitors. “The IMB is a tourist destination for thousands of Southern Baptists,” said Moore. “Headquarters tours are conducted on an almost-daily basis.” One of the most popular IMB historical displays focuses on the life and missionary service of Charlotte Digges “Lottie” Moon (1840-1912), who spent thirty-nine years living and working in China. Southern Baptists have contributed more than $3.5 billion to the Lottie Moon Christmas Of-

fering, whose namesake inspired the first collection of gifts in 1888. Children are drawn to the Lottie Moon wall display featuring a life-sized cutout of the petite four-foot-three-inch missionary mounted on 6mm black Sintra® graphic display board. While the only existing photos of Moon were headshots,

Fabrics, Sintra, and plywood panels were combined to create a wallmounted memorial triptych featuring missionary nametags.

July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


A series of photo images appear to “float” in the IMB’s Office of Overseas Operations’ waiting room thanks to a Nimlok stainless-steel tension wire system, which was fastened above the drop ceiling to the structural steel and directly to the concrete floor.

Moore and PhotoWorksGroup were able to create a full-body image by combining Moon’s headshot with the body of a period-costumed model. An Océ LightJet 430 photo laser imager was used to print the combined

image onto a textured thermal laminate that was mounted to the Sintra PVC board. The image was contourcut with a jigsaw and attached to the full wall display with an aggressive foam tape.

The Lottie Moon display also features several historical photographs and letters mounted on 3mm black Sintra positioned above a historical timeline. This timeline is mounted to a 12-by-96.5-inch curved shelf fabricated from 3/4-inch ply-

As an early adoptor of LED lighting, Kreuter found an 888-530-4021 opportunity to replace their standard T5HO fluorescent fixtures in sign boxes with LED linear fixtures. © 2014 Mimaki USA 36 Mimaki_JFX200_H_SBI0714.indd Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014 1 6/10/14 2:15 PM

wood. The historical timeline image was mounted to 3mm black Sintra, which was cold-formed to accommodate the shelf’s radius. (Note: Sintra is a lightweight-yetrigid expanded PVC material and is easy to fabricate with wood or foam board techniques.) “This display is positioned in a reception area that leads to a dining hall, so the curved shelf was designed to functionally dissuade individuals from putting food on it,” said Moore. “The wood, Sintra, and photo images worked well together.” PhotoWorksGroup utilized similar fabrication techniques with 3mm black Sintra to create a 16-by-228-inch IMB historical timeline as a curved window-ledge display. Above it, a window header was installed with the message: “International Mission Board: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.” The window header was printed in a fashion similar to exterior graphics with a full-solvent Mimaki JV3 Series inkjet printer on vinyl and adhered with adhesive to 3mm black Sintra. Additionally Sintra was utilized in a security wall-mounted memorial triptych featuring three 36-by-48-inch plywood panels laminated with fabric so that memorial missionary nametags could be attached with fabric hook-and-loop fasteners. A photographic image was spread across the three panels, with each 12-by44-inch image mounted onto 3mm black Sintra. “You can form a radius with Sintra, as well as put it in frames,” said Geoff Kilmer, president of PhotoWorksGroup. “We’re confident it will hold up. We can contour-cut Sintra with either a jigsaw or CNC router. This material is consistent in its surface characteristics.” PhotoWorksGroup also used Sintra for a unique display designed by Moore to update the IMB’s Office of Overseas Operations’ waiting area. A series of fourteen four-by-six-foot photo images representing the peoples and geographic regions served by the IMB throughout the world were designed to appear to “float” in the waiting area. The waiting room graphics were printed with an Océ LightJet 430 photo laser imager on thermally activated textured vinyl, then mounted back-to-back on 6mm black Sintra. To produce standard straight edges,

the Sintra boards were cut to four-bysix-foot sheets with a panel saw. Some panels were laminated on the back side with Frontrunner fabric. These panels were suspended with a Nimlok stainless-steel tension wire system, which was fastened above the drop ceiling to the structural steel and directly to the concrete floor. Moore praises the “great job” that PhotoWorksGroup did with this display. “I like to try something new in every exhibit

I design,” he says, “and they met every installation challenge I threw at them.” According to Kilmer, his company installs everything it produces. “We’re very particular about the materials we utilize in an exhibit because we have to stand behind our work,” he says. “The lifetime of these IMB displays is permanent. “We’re grateful to have played a part in building a body of work through the years to honor this client’s heritage. These displays have staying power.”

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July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


I n t e r i o r S i g n a g e / B Y A S H L E Y B R AY / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

A DIVINE DONOR DISPLAY A wall display inspires custom work and a detailed installation.

Conforming to the wall’s curve. 38

Sign Builder Illustrated //

July 2014

hen a Rabbinical school wanted to honor donors who had contributed to a new addition, only a custom wall display would do. The school reached out to Stamprite Supersine (www., a company that also values custom jobs. “That’s one of the things this company has always prided itself on—working more on a custom level than offering prebuilt, catalog items,” says Steve Field, Architectural Sales for Stamprite Supersine. First a little history: Stamprite Supersine began as two companies, both of which were founded in 1954. Stamprite started out as a rubber stamp and identity signage company. Over the years, it expanded its identification signage division to include Braille and exterior signs. Supersine also manufactured tactile Braille signs (but with a focus on aluminum construction rather than plastic). In 2005, Stamprite bought Supersine and merged the two companies,




combining capabilities as well as contracts and contacts—one of which was the Rabbinical school. When the school approached Stamprite Supersine, it had a rough idea of what it wanted on the donor display wall, and one of the main design elements was a Torah [books of Jewish scripture]. “[They] wanted it to look a little more traditional—like an actual Torah,” explains Field. “They provided us with photos, and we did research online to see what they look like exactly and set out to create something very, very realistic.”

Both the main and small Torahs feature solid brass plaques that Stamprite Supersine cut from a large piece of brass. They are stud-mounted onto 1/4-inchthick, green-tinted acrylic (for a cut glass look) with 3/8-inch-diameter gold anodized aluminum standoffs. A third display also makes use of the green-tinted acrylic and recognizes ad-

ditional special donors. It features acrylic panels cut into an arch with smaller brass plaques affixed via the same style standoffs used elsewhere. This smaller display was the school’s design. “That was one element that they brought to the table and really had a clear picture of what they wanted,” says Field. The final element of the donor display

Fabrication With the look and design in mind, the biggest challenge was to translate that into reality—a tall order for a custom piece that had no precedent. “When we first walked into this, we had no idea how we were going to achieve it,” says Field. “We knew what the final look was going to be, so I think the biggest challenge was conveying that all off to the fabricators and coming up with materials and construction methods that would achieve that final look.” Since a lot of standoff hardware would be anchored to it, the shop needed something substantial to use for the Torah, so they chose .063-inch-thick aluminum. To give the aluminum the appearance of paper, the shop used a combination of paint and 3M vinyl printed on a Mimaki printer. The shop also used a few dimensional tools to add realism. “We actually cut the fabricator loose with various saws and tools to go about making it look like the edges were torn,” says Field. Everyone in the shop had a hand in crafting the Torah, even the owner. “He’s a woodworker and has some equipment at home. He created the wooden handles working in his basement on a lathe,” explains Field. “He had some samples of stain to match up colors to existing woodwork in the school.” Another smaller Torah was also included in the display. This piece recognizes special donors and was made in a similar way to the main Torah, except with .032-inch-thick aluminum. The ends of this Torah were also rolled several times to resemble paper.

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July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


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Ability Plastics, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . 12 AdamsTech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Allanson International . . . . . . . . . 39 Alpina Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . 46 Alpina Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . 46 A.R.K. Ramos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 A.R.K. Ramos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Arris Signs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Biesse America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Brinks Mfg. (Van Ladder) . . . . . . S12 Brooklyn Hardware . . . . . . . . . . . S12 CAO Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Cirrus Systems Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 ClearPath/Rowmark Inc. . . . . . . . S1 Coastal Enterprises/Precision Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Delcam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Duxbury Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Echod Graphics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C3 Elliott Equipment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . S3 Epilog Laser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 ER2 Image Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 FASTENation Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Floyd & Associates LLC . . . . . . . . . 18 Gemini, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 GH Imaging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 J Freeman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Manitex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SC2 Matthews Paint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Mimaki USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 M&T Displays LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 MultiCam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Orbus Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Orbus Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Ornamental Post Panel & Traffic . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Outwater Plastics . . . . . . . . . . . . S10 SA International . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Scott Sign Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014




Companies in Sign Show

and Lattice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . S6


41 Sign-Mart Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 42 Sign-Mart Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46


43 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C4 44 SloanLED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C2


45 Small Balls, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 46 Southern Stud Weld . . . . . . . . . . . 33


47 Stamm Mfg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . S7 48 Techno CNC Systems . . . . . . . . . . 28


49 TRC Electronics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 50 US LED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31


59 61 63 65

3A Composites USA . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Canon U.S.A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Carvagio. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Colex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Drytac . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Elliott Equipment Company. . . . . . 12 Epson America. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Excitech-USA, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Peerless-AV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Saw Trax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Techno CNC Systems . . . . . . . . . . 12 Wasatch Software. . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

51 USSC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 52 VKF Renzel USA Corp. . . . . . . . . . . 46 53 Vycom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SC4 54 Wilkie Mfg., LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . SC3

Saws and other tools were used to make the Torah’s edges appear torn. wall is the series of three-inch-tall Hebrew letters that serve as a header. These letters were cut from acrylic on a Gerber Sabre CNC router and then brass faces were affixed to them. Since the shop was unfamiliar with Hebrew, they paid close attention to a text file provided by the client. “They provided us with a live text file that we were later able to convert into a plot file,” says Field. “As everything was going through the final decoration and assembly and then bagged up for the installers, everything had to be numbered so that they could go back with the templates and know which piece went where.” Right before Stamprite Supersine was scheduled to begin installing, the school decided to cover the plain, painted masonry wall with a wooden façade. The school also added downlighting to the wall.

Install With the fabrication of the Torah and all the accompanying elements done, Stamprite Supersine’s next challenge was the installation. The wall for the display features a compounded radius that curves inward and then outward in an “S”-like shape. The school had no floor plans or the exact radius measurement of the wall, so Stamprite Supersine had to field-fit all of the elements. “We provided a full-size paper proof at the time of the install, just to make sure that everything was translated correctly from the machines and to help locate the final

install,” says Field. “Because of the curved wall, it was hard to decide exactly how all of these elements would be displayed and what we would call a center point.” The installer and the school moved the paper elements around until they arrived at a layout they liked. Stamprite Supersine then installed the main Torah

and the letters as a center point. The letters were flush-mounted to the wall using double-sided 3M™ VHB™ tape. The Torah was also flush-mounted to the wall but with concealed screws. The aluminum was slightly malleable and allowed the Torah to conform to the wall’s curve, which was another reason Stamprite


Quality, Value and Customer Service When you need plaques and letters there is one choice that is clear. A.R.K. Ramos offers the best quality, value and customer service in the industry. Our product line covers a full array of metal plaques and letters including aluminum, brass, bronze and stainless steel. Call today and have one of our friendly staff help you with your plaque and letter needs. • 800-725-7266 July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


Install Advice: Interior Signage

“Listen closely to your customer’s expectations of the finished look. Take your time and, if necessary, produce full-size paper mock-ups of the piece so the customer can get a good feel of the —Steve Field final layout.”

Supersine chose the material. “Our main concern was that whatever we constructed had to fit that radius,” says Field. The curve of the wall also affected the location of the standoffs, and the shop had to field-fit this hardware as well. “You have to take into consideration that all this standoff hardware is going to move a little bit one way or the other,” says Field. “So we had to go back after we installed it and find our center point on [the standoffs] to drill all of the com-

Registration Opening July 15

ponents that mount to them. It was kind of a backwards install.” Once the letters and main Torah were mounted, the installer measured from these elements and centered the two additional displays accordingly. The smaller Torah was flush-mounted to the right of the main Torah with concealed screws. The acrylic display was stud-mounted on the left using a series of 3/8-inch-diameter gold anodized aluminum standoffs. The standoffs are one-inch-long on the outside ends and 1/2-inch-long in the center to compensate for the curve of the wall. Overall the install took about three days for one installer (with the occasional helpers stepping in on the larger components). After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Stamprite Supersine finished up the job about a month later by engraving the names of the donors into the brass plaques. The entire project took about six months to complete, but the impression the custom donor wall makes will last for much longer.

October 9, 10 & 11 Atlantic City, NJ Enjoy Sign World Int’l in Autumn when the weather is beautiful and the tourists are gone. Walk the Boardwalk, dine outside and smell the salt air. Plus 2 full days of seminars, 3 days to see all the latest machinery, and find new products being introduced to the market in the exhibit hall. Visit the American Wrap Master pavilion where some of the best wrappers in the country will be competing. In the exclusive USSC BullPen you can see gold leafing, mural painting, pinstriping and more. On Thursday, join us for the Meet & Greet from 6 to 7 pm and on Friday make your plans to come to “The New Boardwalk Splash” from 5 to 7 pm. See you in Atlantic City!

The smaller Torah.

Make Your Plans Now To Be There Go to or Call 215 785-1922 for a Free Brochure Exhibit Hall Open: Thurs., October 9 - 3 to 7 pm Friday, Oct. 10 - 10 to 5 / Saturday, Oct. 11 - 10 to 4 UNITED STATES SIGN COUNCIL 211 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, PA 19007 / 215 785-1922 FAX 215 788-8395 / Custom wooden handles. 42

Sign Builder Illustrated //

July 2014

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////// BY MARK K. ROBERTS / A lu m i nu m P a n e l s

Industrial Strength Install Creating a new identity sign for a local industrial company.


y shop was recently contacted by a prospective sign buyer wanting us to create a new identity sign that would be installed over a bay door at his company’s warehouse. Most assignments like this are usually limited to several sheets of .080-inch aluminum pre-painted panels. Not so this time. Instead the customer wanted to create a multi-level sign with a nice blue shade of vinyl adhered to the aluminum base panels. Next there would be a second set of pan-formed horizontal brushed aluminum panels with the company name applied in black 2-mil vinyl. We pan-formed the base panels with a computerized aluminum brake machine. Each corner of the aluminum sheet was notched 1.5-by-1.5-inch, to allow the sheet metal brake to make the ninety-degree bends. After all four sides of the aluminum sheet had been bent to ninety degrees, the pans resembled large cooking pans. We fabricated two 72-by-45-inch base pans and two 24-by-93inch brushed aluminum pans. We covered the base pans with blue ORACAL 2-mil highperformance vinyl, using plenty of Rapid-Tac wetting solution. After a good “squeegee� with our felt squeegees, the vinyl adhered to the aluminum pans with very few small bubbles (which have all now since evaporated anyway).

Top: The finished warehouse pan-formed sign. Bottom: Installing more self-tapping screws through the aluminum pans into the aluminum angles.

July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


Both base pans were attached to aluminum angles via sheet metal screws.

It was then time for the wall installation. I contracted this installation portion to my favorite sign installation company, ADS Signs ( of Pasadena Texas. Owner Danny Hickey and I have worked together for over twenty-five years, and I’ve always admired his attention to safety and details. To install the sign panels, the first step was to attach the 1.5-by-1.5-by-144-inch aluminum angle horizontally on the corrugated wall. The aluminum angles were attached with self-

Our installer attaching the second set of aluminum pans to the base set of pans.

tapping sheet metal screws at intervals of twelve inches along the length of the horizontal angle aluminum. After these supports were carefully installed onto the wall, we guided our two larger aluminum pan-formed signs over the horizontal angles and secured them by installing the sheet metal screws through the top angle hangers, as well as the bottom angle hangers. Next we installed another set of four aluminum angles hori-


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As an early adoptor of LED lighting, Kreuter found an To request a brochure, DVD, and samples, contact us at: opportunity to replace their standard T5HO fluorescent fixtures Golden, Colorado • • 888-437- 4564 in sign boxes with LED linear fixtures. 44

Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014

Install Advice: Bucket Trucks “Mark your work area properly not only for your safety (such as preventing vehicles in the work area) but also for other persons in the area from falling objects, trip hazards, or other dangers.” A scaled-down version of the wall sign installed next to the entrance.

zontally to the main base pans. These horizontal supports will hold the secondary horizontal brushed aluminum pans with 2-mil high-performance ORACAL 751 black vinyl. For some additional “style points,” I designed the secondary pans so that they would overshoot the left and right sides of the primary pans, which really delivered a nice look to the whole project. These secondary pans were also installed with self-tapping sheet metal screws and tightened securely with

—Bryan Wilkerson, Wilkie Mfg.

our drill drivers. The client was impressed with the “clean, corporate look” of the sign design, as well as the “blind” installation techniques we used to conceal all the fasteners. Mark Roberts is a thirty-seven-year sign industry veteran, seminar speaker, and teacher for all things signs. Please visit his Web site at

July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


Interior Sign Specialists


Market Place

Wholesale ADA & Architectural Signs Trusted industry provider since 1959

Aluminum Snap Frames Profile Options: 1”, 1 ¼”, or 1 ¾” Corner: Mitered or Rounded Color: Silver or Black Includes: • Polystyrene Back Panel • PVC Front Cover • Wall-mounting hardware Material: Anodized Aluminum Available in Standard & Custom sizes Check our website for more information

Discount Code SBI7


VKF Renzel USA Corp.

1400 E. Devon Ave. Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 P: 847-228-9800

Completely Custom or Pre-designed Sign Systems • ADA • Architectural • Direct Digital • Photopolymer • Photoluminescent • Dimensional Letters • Custom Logos & Graphics • Illuminated Interior Signs Toll Free: 800-237-9447 • email Production Facility: 1480 Gould Dr • Cookeville, TN 38506


Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014

Market Place

Biesse America is looking for a motivated professional to lead our new

Plastic Division as North America Brand Product Manager.

We are searching for a talented individual with specific knowledge of the Plastic and/or sign industry with at least 5 to 10 years experience selling CNC Routers. Must be willing to relocate to Charlotte, North Carolina. Extensive knowledge of plastic processes and industry is a fundamental requirement to apply. Mission: To develop a successful division of business inside Biesse America, creating a dealer oriented distribution channel for Biesse Group’s line of machinery for plastic manufacturing. We offer: Competitive compensation, 401k Plan with employer match, Company paid Insurance Plans. Interested candidates may submit resume with salary history to: Human Resources Biesse America, Inc PO Box 19849 Charlotte, NC 29219 For more information, visit our website at All inquiries will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality.

You'll love our Balls! For ADA compliant braille signage

1-888-444-5131 Your supplier of quality Braille Balls & accessories

CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Contact Jeff Sutley at 212-620-7233 or Kim Noa at 212-620-7221.

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July 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated




Color Management

Achieving Color



hile color management is necessary for accurate digital printing, the process is not exactly straightforward. One issue appears to be that sign shops lack the proper training and tools like spectrophotometers or software or perform routine color calibrations. For shops that do utilize these tools and calibrations, Matt McCausland, a product manager with Epson Professional Imaging ( com), recommends the staff understand embedded profiles (found within formats such as TIFF, JPEG, etc). “When included with a customer-provided file, [embedded profiles] give an idea of what the expected output should be,” he says. Raster Image Processor (RIP) software is the key to color reproduction in inkjet printing. “As part of the RIP software, users can perform a ‘recalibration’ that will fine-tune the color output of each specific printer,” says McCausland. Since most RIP software has a closed loop calibration process, it’s important that the design file being brought into that RIP is correctly set up with accurate profiles and the correct color space. According to McCausland, most people get into trouble when transforming a file from RGB to CMYK. “This process often loses the full color gamut,” he says. “[Delay this transformation] as late as possible in the printing process, to allow for as

much versatility as possible between printers.” McCausland also says that, in many shops, inkjet devices that produce the final output have a smaller color gamut than the inkjet printers used to create the proofs. “For that reason, we always recommend that customers create proofs on the same device that will be used for final production,” he says. When that isn’t possible, make sure the software used to make the proof has a “simulation profile” or be sure that both devices conform to an industry standard, e.g., Standard of Web Offset Printing (SWOP), General Requirements for Applications in Commercial Offset Lithography (GRACoL). Echoing this advice, Jeff DiToro, Sr., global software product manager for Roland DGA Corp. (, says that problems with color management are often related to the effects of mismanaged profiles. “Understanding the dynamics and interactions among input, processing, and output color profiles is key to your success,” he says. “Color profiles can be saved and embedded in a graphic prior to being received by the print provider. Any such profiles need to be identified prior to processing, as they’ll impact the overall color management system.” For the most accurate color matching results, DiToro recommends printing color charts that are processed through the RIP workflow and printed from the actual output device onto the specific media.


Sign Builder Illustrated // July 2014


Colormatching tips from the experts.




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Sign Builder Illustrated July 2014