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The How-To Magazine

S e p te m b e r 2017 | s i g n s h o m



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Contents September 2017

Vol. 31


No. 267

How-To Columns



By Peter Perszyk Fasteners can make for strange bedfellows in the sign industry.


6 8 10 46 48


Editor Jeff Wooten checks out how the sign industry has changed and progressed over the past thirty years.


HDU Harley Quinn heats up SDCC ’17, and 3M participates in the X-Games.

Sign Show

The newest products and services from sign manufacturers.

SBI Marketplace

Advertisements and announcements from the sign trade.

Shop Talk

David Hickey talks about strategies to combat restrictive regulations.


22 26 32

16 2

Sign Builder Illustrated

September 2017



By Adam Brown Integrated identity signage for a popular café.


By Ashley Bray A Star Wars wrap story.


By Lori Shridhare Creating signage to support the natural environment.


By Jeff Wooten Running water and dynamic EMCs are on display.


By Various The latest and hottest technologies and materials in the print industry.

​Cover Photo: Sign Effectz, Inc.



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What do you feel is the biggest challenge for sign shops these days?

September 2017, Vol. 31, No. 267 Sign Builder Illustrated (ISSN 0895-0555) print, (ISSN 2161-0709) digital is published by Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation

Subscriptions: 800-895-4389

executive offices President and Chairman Arthur J. McGinnis, Jr. Publisher Arthur J. Sutley 55 Broad Street, 26th floor New York, NY 10004 212-620-7247 ; Fax: 212-633-1863

“Attracting talented young people not familiar with signage as a career to our industry.”

editorial Editor Jeff Wooten 323 Clifton Street, Suite #7 Greenville, NC 27858 212-620-7244 “Permitting and regulations can be a one-two punch of red tape for sign shops.”

“Shop management—whether this entails finding or retaining good employees, investing in the right equipment, or scheduling to fill work orders on time.”

Managing Editor Ashley Bray 55 Broad Street, 26th Floor New York, NY 10004 212-620-7220 Contributing Writers Adam Brown, David Hickey, Peter Perszyk, Lori Shridhare

art Art Director Nicole Cassano Graphic Designer Aleza Leinwand

production Corporate Production Director Mary Conyers

circulation Circulation Director Maureen Cooney

advertising sales Associate Publisher/East Coast Sales Jeff Sutley 212-620-7233 Mid-West & West Coast Sales Monica Boutros 212-620-7225 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


Sign Builder Illustrated

September 2017

Editor’s Column


By Jeff Wooten

September 2017 SEPTEMBER 10-14:

The PRINT 17 exhibition and conference returns to McCormick Place South in Chicago, Illinois. (


The 2017 NSSA Northeast Sign Expo, featuring over seventyfive exhibits, will be held at the Connecticut Convention Center in downtown Hartford. (

October 2017

Thirty Years Later…

OCTOBER 10-12:

SGIA Expo is taking place at the Ernest M. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. (

The industry is constantly progressing.


Sign Builder Illustrated

you’ll also read how 3D printing is trying to make a push into the field of nextgeneration vehicle graphics.) Do you know what else celebrates a milestone this year? Well Star Wars premiered in cinemas forty years ago. Not to date myself, but I remember sitting there watching it in the singlescreen theater like it was yesterday (okay, maybe more like last week or last month, to be honest). And this month, we have a feature detailing how one shop fully wrapped a Nissan Rogue as an X-wing fighter pilot (“Going Rogue,” page 22). Forty years ago, these materials and techniques would be something straight out of the sci-fi fantasy realm. (Back then, I remember a simple cab-top sign promoting the flick that was attached to the top of a pick-up truck. Ah, progress.) I also recall being bowled over by the Zip-Change letters spelling out “Star Wars” on the theater marquee in our galaxy-not-so-far-away. Nowadays these displays have been overtaken by digital signs that just beg for a Princess Leia hologram searching for her only hope. Not to date myself, but I have to admit that I’m already looking fondly at the innovations that have transformed the signage of 2017. Who knows what the next thirty years will bring? Any ideas?

Jeff Wooten Editor,

September 2017


The Arizona Sign Association Tabletop Trade Show will be conducted at TopGolf in Scottsdale, Arizona. (


The automotive SEMA Show rolls in to the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. (

November 2017 NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 2:

USSC Sign World International is scheduled to be held at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (

February 2018 Photo: Shutterstock/guruXOX.


o it suddenly snuck up on me that, this fall, Sign Builder Illustrated celebrates its thirtieth anniversary in print. Now while our magazine has physically changed with various presentations and redesigns over the years, it’s just as interesting to note how the sign industry itself has progressed over these past thirty years— quite significantly, in fact. Not to date myself, but the signage landscape today brings to mind those magazine cigarette ads of a bygone era touting: “You’ve come a long way, baby!” We’re now living and working in a sign world where G7 carries more weight than 4B (the Gerber 4B, for you kids out there) and where, thanks to ADA, HDU, ACM, and more, there are now probably more acronyms at your shop than you would find in a Tammy Wynette song. And with fabrics, dye sublimation is trying to challenge screen printing. When it comes to print and vinyl, it’s all about immersion. We’ve ventured beyond plain cut letters. Now full-color graphics on cars, walls, floors, windows, and even unique objects are more the norm instead of the exception. On page 36, you’ll find a special section devoted to product announcements and case studies showing how hardware and materials are being utilized in unique, popular ways (“Print Trends 2017”), well beyond what was considered thirty years ago (or even three years). It even showcases the many different types of inks out there. (And


Graphics of the Americas 2018 will commence at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (









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In The Industry

Harley Quinn range, California—DC Collectibles recently approached James A. Powell, vice president of Design at Monster City Studios, a fully equipped design and fabrication company in Fresno, California, about doing a character statue for the annual, world-famous San Diego Comic-Con® International [SDCC]. After initial discussions, they eventually decided on the original version of the popular Harley Quinn character and sent the digital files of their design over to Powell. “We had a little over two weeks to make it,” says Powell. “Because we had such a limited amount of time to 8

Sign Builder Illustrated

fabricate the statue, we used Precision Board HDU from Coastal Enterprises in combination with EPS foam. It made cleanup easier on the parts of the statue made from Precision Board, including the plaque, gun, and master mold for the smoke, [since] it is smoother and requires less sanding.” Monster City Studios works with HDU a couple of different ways, depending on the job. “We will hand-sculpt Precision Board with traditional tools like knives, curry combs, hand saws, and chisels,” says Powell. “And we are fortunate to have two four-axis Frog CNC Mills here, which have 6-by-10-foot beds. With

September 2017

these, we can mill flat stock and gigantic 3D pieces.” For the SDCC project, Powell and his team created Harley in pieces and then assembled her around a steel frame composed of one-inch tubing with steel wires going into her fingers. Harley had bolts welded to her frame and she was also bolted to the base. The entire statue was hardcoated with Polyurea, sanded, and then Bondo’d. Powell used Pur Stick expanding polyurethane glue to attach the EPS and Precision Board together, since it doesn’t “expand a lot.” The gun assembly, including Harley’s hand, cuff, gun, and smoke, were

All Photos: Monster City Studios.

Heats Up SDCC ’17 O

3M & X Games

Using Precision Board, Monster City Studios brought a comic book character to life.


Making Harley for SDCC was a natural fit, as Comic-Con is so graphic and visual. She was the perfect photo-op. all made out of PBLT-6. This was fabricated separately and then attached to the main body. For the smoke coming out of the gun, they made a master mold out of PBLT-6. The smoke was given a Polygem hardcoat and then sanded. That piece was then molded and cast in resin. The plaque was made out of PBLT15, covered with PB Hard Coat, and then primed and painted. Fabricators knew they needed something strong to attach the plaque to the base, given the heavy foot traffic it would see on the convention floor. “We used Rare Earth magnets, which are super strong, and put them inside

inneapolis, Minnesota— 3M™ participated in the 2017 ESPN Summer X Games held July 13-16 at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Throughout the event, over 100,000 attendees enjoyed live entertainment and watched more than 200 athletes compete in extreme sports, including skateboarding, BMX, and Moto X. This Summer X Games was the first held in the Midwest, with another to be held in the city next summer. As part of its participation, 3M held live wrap demonstrations promoting its “Wrap Your Ride” campaign, which partnered with local graphic manufacturers Brand Ink, Creative Color, and FlipSide Graphics to wrap a Toyota Tundra. The demonstrations featured the use of a number of 3M products, including 3M™ Wrap Film Series 1080, 3M™ Opaque Graphic Films, 3M™ Print Wrap Film IJ180mC, and 3M™ Scotchlite™ Print Wrap Film 780mC-10R. In addition, X Games athletes— including Jack Olson, Larry Edgar, Jimmy Wilkins, and Brad Baker— held autograph signings and greeted fans at the 3M Commercial Solutions booth, the 3M Garage, throughout the event.

the plaque,” says Powell. “There were magnets inside the base as well. This allowed us to attach the plaque to the base and help it handle the accidental abuse from people walking the convention floor.” Monster City Studios ( is a custom fabrication and themed environment shop that has worked with DC Collectibles for about a year on a few conceptual projects. “Making Harley for SDCC was a natural fit, as Comic-Con is so graphic and visual,” says Powell. “She was the perfect photo-op.” —Tai Freligh (with additional reporting by Jeff Wooten) September 2017

Sign Builder Illustrated


Sign Show ADHESIVES/TAPES Options for Bonding with Weld-On SCIGRIP Adhesives and Cements from Chemical Concepts For sign fabrication, Chemical Concepts currently offers SCIGRIP 3, 4, 16, and 45, among other adhesivetype products. SCIGRIP 3 is a water-thin, non-flammable cement formulated to quickly develop highstrength, clear bonds to many thermoplastic substrates (particularly acrylic). SCIGRIP 4 is a water-thin, somewhat flammable cement formulated to quickly develop very clear and high-strength bonds for many thermoplastic substrates. SCIGRIP 16 is a very high-strength, clear, medium-bodied, fast-curing, solventtype acrylic cement. SCIGRIP 45 is a fast-curing, two-component, low-VOC, reactive structural adhesive.

Banner Ups Introduces Clear Power Tape E. L. Hatton Sales Co., maker of Banner Ups PowerTape®, a high-tensile strength, single-sided adhesive banner hem tape, has announced the availability of Clear PowerTape, which is made of a translucent film that allows banner graphics to show through, especially on double-sided banners. Clear PowerTape is used to make banners of much higher wind resistance than traditional sewn, welded, or taped banners—and in minutes without any special equipment. Available in 1.5-inch width, Clear PowerTape does not require folding of the banner hem, saving up to 80 percent of the time required for double-sided banner hem tape. Clear PowerTape is made with a fiber-reinforced composite polymer film created by E. L. Hatton Sales specifically for the banner application.

Digital Printing Equipment/Supplies Second-generation GoTx Fabric Pre-treatment System Incorporating a new non-bath, single-sided surface coating technology, the 75- and 102-inch GoTx 1900PT/2600PT units from, a division of Impression Technology, use transfer rollers instead of fabric crushing to maintain the fabric surface. This unit is one of the first to not use either spray or soak coating methodologies. Fabric handling is facilitated by an integrated defurling spreader roller for smoothing the fabric. Adjustable guide rollers on the input and output side control the coating consistency and prevent edge curling. The fabric is dried with a new TurboDryer dual exhaust system for extracting humidity and steam. The Turbo-Dryer system uses 30 percent less electricity than other units.

A Big Lineup of Large Format Printing Solutions from SinaLite SinaLite, a trade printer operating since 1999, offers a wide range of large format printing solutions from Coroplast signs to banners, display boards, and window graphics. The company’s mission statement is to provide high-quality products at wholesale prices, offering next-day business production and shipping options to over 7,000 trade customers across North America. They print signage through a range of large format printing capabilities, including the AGFA Jeti Titan HS and the HP Scitex flatbed printers. Most recently, SinaLite has been able to speed up turnarounds even further by adding the AGFA Jeti Ceres roll-to-roll press (pictured).

MONUMENTS/PYLONS Custom Foam Fabricators Offers Monuments Wholesale to the Sign Industry Custom Foam Fabricators is a leading manufacturer of foamcore monument signs, wall-mounted sign panels, columns, column caps, and architectural accents. The company offers multiple finishes (including stucco, faux wood, stone, and brick). Customers can choose from one of thirty-one standard model templates or design their own. Custom Foam Fabricators is wholesale to the sign industry only. Visit the company’s Web site for a same-day quote.


Sign Builder Illustrated

September 2017

Sign Show LED MODULES/TUBES/STRIPS SloanLED Launches Cold Deck FIT for Multi-deck Merchandisers The Cold Deck FIT LED lighting systems from SloanLED optimizes the visual appeal of produce, meat, and dairy cases, while dramatically lowering operating costs, energy consumption, and extending shelf life of perishables through reduced heat output. Cold Deck FIT saves up to 77 percent in energy costs over a fluorescent lamp and is available in four color temperatures: 2700 K, 3500 K, 4000 K, and PRIME. SloanLED’s PRIME meat-tuned chip utilizes LumiLED FreshFocus Technology™ to maximize the visual appeal and color of meat. Cold Deck FIT is IP68 rated, offers dimming and two occupancy sensors, and can light a twelve-foot merchandiser with a single 100W power supply.

POST-AND-PANELS Howard Industries: HED I-FLEX Architectural Signage System Introducing the most recent addition to the Howard Industries exterior signage systems: the HED I-FLEX versatile signage cabinet. This revolutionary new sign system offers both flush and standard face alternatives, non-illuminated and illuminated capabilities, a myriad of cabinet depths increasing from five inches, changeable polycarbonate panels utilizing the company’s two-part H-bar divider, changeable seamless aluminum “Slide Panels,” and twin-hinge backlit changeable message system capabilities. As with all of Howard Industries's exterior post-and-panel signage systems, the HED I-FLEX carries a universal mounting extrusion that can be utilized with a variety of slotted mounting posts.

SIGN PANELS Laminators Inc., Releases New and Improved Guides with Updated Technical Information The new nineteen-page Sign Panel Production Guide from Laminators, Inc., covers the best practices from panel handling, storage, prep, and set-up to cleaning, cutting, routing, and installing/mounting the panel. It also outlines how to apply vinyl, films, and paints, as well as digital and screen printing applications. Laminators also has an updated twenty-page Sign Panel Products brochure featuring a new product added to their digital print-ready Omega-Bond® product line: Omega-Bond Economy, a solid-core, rigid, yet lightweight ACM panel that features double-sided gloss/matte painted aluminum bonded to a solid polyethylene core. Digital copies of the guides may be requested.

Trotec Laser, Inc., Launches New Laserable Wood Panel Line Wood's pleasant and rich appearance makes it the favorite material for timeless and varied high-quality applications and uses. With this in mind, Trotec Laser Inc., announces a new offering of solid wood panels, panels with authentic wood veneer, plywood panels, and MDF board to the engraving market. The expansion of Trotec’s material range means that the laser manufacturer is broadening its existing portfolio of single-ply and multi-ply laser engraving and cutting materials. Trotec ensures that only the best wood cuts are used so the material can be precision processed on laser engraving equipment while retaining the authentic natural wood grain and texture. Finely sanded and treated with a natural matte lacquer finish, wood panels from Trotec create a unique, high-quality appearance.

TOOLS Kett Tool Company Helps Users Conserve Materials with KD-442 Double-Cut Shears When cutting cold-rolled (C.R.) mild steel and stainless steel, the KD-442 Double-Cut Shears from Kett Tool Company easily transfer any distortion produced in cutting to a waste strip, leaving behind material edges that are not rough or burred to allow maximum use of sheet material. Kett’s KD-442 shears use a 5-amp pistol grip and 0-2,500 RPM variable-speed electric motor that effortlessly cuts through C.R. mild steel (up to 16-gauge) and most grades of stainless to 18-gauge sheet metal, spiral pipe, metal doors, and metal studs at speeds of up to 170 inches per minute. The lightweight, maneuverable shears weigh only five pounds and have close-cutting, heavy-duty blades that can cut a radius as small as seven inches.

September 2017

Sign Builder Illustrated


How To


Designing with Hardware Fasteners can make for strange bedfellows in the sign industry. ing more widely visible? Regardless of the real reason, socket head cap bolts, while no different from a hex head structurally, are visually pleasing when they’re installed (Photo 2). Fabrication must be a bit more time-consuming for these types of connectors, however, as they mate with hex/Allen keys. That being said, these bolts don’t create the potential for wrench marks across a newly painted sign face that other fasteners do, and you don’t have to stop in a specific rotation to have all the fasteners align. There are other similar socket head styles available for use—simply look up “cap screws” or “security fasteners” on your Web search engine.



n certain segments of the sign landscape, companies tend to think of fasteners in terms of efficiency rather than design. This is why you’ll find pop rivets and the proverbial hex-slot head drill screw ubiquitous in many signs—similar to the kudzu plant creeping along an Alabama interstate (Photo 1). I have always gravitated towards stainless steel hardware for outdoor signage. However considering that some percentage of outdoor signs do not have longevity as part of their design criteria, I can understand why there is a tendency to pick standard-plated hardware amongst sign makers. (Hint: After all, it’s really about the cost! It costs ten times more for stainless steel.) The type of extrusion that a sign or cabinet is created from is going to set the tone when it comes to fasteners. Simple, low-cost acrylic and trim letters need a bunch of screws. However extrusion systems may need few, if any, external fasteners to stay closed. The good news is that, if you would rather invoke design rather than efficien12

Sign Builder Illustrated

cy here, there are actually a number of wonderful decorative solutions you can employ to incorporate hardware and fasteners into a great-looking sign! Here are three “tricks” for you to consider that may not be the norm: 1. Show the hardware. One idea is to design the sign intentionally so that the hardware is completely visible. In some cases, attempts to make the fastening hardware disappear can lead to complexity. Who knew simplicity could be such hard work? A classic designer request I have often heard is, “Can we use motorcycle bolts?” Maybe this is relative to these sign fabricators having a number of motorcycle owners in their area. When we talk about motorcycle bolts, we’re discussing socket head cap bolts, and one search across the Internet leads to a lot of results here. I even noticed that my local Ace Hardware Store had socket head cap screw-style fasteners set up in a very nice display rack. So maybe their popularity can be attributed to be-

September 2017

2. Look for odd hardware. It’s so much easier now to locate weird-looking fasteners, thanks to the Internet. For example, security button head bolts have a very interesting look to them (mostly because of the tool that is needed to work with them). Meanwhile the flange washer with a



How To


Torx® head (six-point, star-shaped) bolt found on motorcycles has that futuristic, techno look (Photo 3). There are also hex washer Torx black stainless steel bolts that are easy to install but hard to remove. Then again, a simple chrome or stainless steel cup washer with a gleaming oval head screw always makes for a clean connection. Another design idea is to put a washer underneath the fastener (Photo 4). Look for something more than a flat washer, such as stepped or square washers. Washers are functional, though some of that function may surpass what the sign industry needs. So be sure to size the washer to complement the hardware—even if you think it’s going to end up being overkill. Meanwhile acorn nuts, which are available in a variety of sizes and fin-

ishes, are another classy touch to top off the actual threaded stud going into the wall. 3. Make it part of the pattern. If you think that there’s limited reason to have the sign hardware visible in the finished sign design, make it part of the design by putting it in a distinct pattern. An added pattern will not only enhance the look of the sign, but it will function as an attachment as well. Do you need to make the pattern symmetrical? Well fasteners can be used for a visual texture where they aren’t working to secure the sign (Photo 5). You can put them closer together than you normally would, or you can use them to accent the corners and the centers. After all, symmetry is one of those things that many sign designers can agree on.





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Sign Builder Illustrated

September 2017 SBI_VisitSignShopAd_Options.indd 1

12/13/16 3:20 PM

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Lighting By ADAM BROWN


LED Lighting This project features one lighting technology that does it all! In one job, incandescent, neon, and fluorescent were replaced by LED. We are big fans of this technology as it delivers improvements to the client in terms of service life and energy efficiency. We used Principal LED Street Fighter for internal illumination and SloanLED flexbie LED tubing for the neon 16

Sign Builder Illustrated

All Photos: Sign Effectz, Inc.

he owners of Café Hollander embrace Dutch culture. They travel throughout Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg and bring their favorite cultural aspects back to their U.S. cafés. The European grand cafés are comfortable places where neighbors can meet over an espresso, a snack, a meal, or a strong ale—day after day. From bicycles and biers to mussels and frites in a paper cone, Café Hollander integrates elements of the Benelux region’s culture. The newest Café Hollander officially opened earlier this year in Brookfield, Wisconsin. It has a rooftop deck and lounge, a street-level patio, and overhead doors to open up the restaurant on warm days. The café is in a new mall called the Corners of Brookfield, a 750,000-square foot premier lifestyle center built on approximately nineteen acres of land. The mall provides a neighborhood-like atmosphere. The Lowland Group, which owns the café, had the primary goal of maintaining the branding they’ve established over the years at their new location. My company, Sign Effectz, Inc., has worked on numerous projects with the restaurant group dating back to the early 2000s, including the original Café Hollander, which was built in 2006. To accomplish their goal, my shop, Sign Effectz, Inc., worked with the client on coming up with a complete sign package that included a circular building sign, a marquee sign, channel letters, and a rooftop sign.

September 2017


Integrated identity signage for a popular cafĂŠ.

September 2017

Sign Builder Illustrated


Sign Effectz, Inc., worked with the client on coming up with a complete sign package that included a circular building sign, a marquee sign, channel letters, and a rooftop sign. look and LED bulbs for the incandescent recreations. Roof-mounted Signs The rooftop channel letters and logo sign are mounted onto a 35-foot-wideby-7-foot-tall steel supporting structure frame. The frame required engineering and coordination with the general contractor and a structural engineer. The sign features a medallion-style, circular cabinet sign with the restaurant’s lion logo. The channel letters are double-layer and feature LED bulbs that replicate incandescent lights. The lettering is justified on the left end. We hooked up jacketed low-voltage 18

Sign Builder Illustrated

cable with grounding through the wall to the remote power supply behind the exterior wall. We also wired jacketed lowvoltage cable jump to the remote power supply in the raceway. The illuminated letters spelling out “Hollander” are open-face, fortyeight-inch channel letters featuring an 1/8-inch-thick white acrylic lens with first-surface app vinyl film. The lighting is exposed S14 Warm White LED bulbs featuring a voltage of 1.1 / bulb - .01 amp / bulb. We fabricated five-inch-deep returns for the open channel letters and painted them in Dark Bronze from Matthews Paint. The inside returns and baffles were painted using Modern Masters to

September 2017

match the client-specified PMS 144 C Orange color. The illuminated letters spelling out “Café” are populated with white LED lighting that has a retainer-less, facelit white acrylic with 3M™ Scotchcal™ 3630-84 Tangerine translucent vinyl with a white outline. We also included five-inch-deep aluminum returns with them and painted them with Matthews Paint’s Dark Bronze. The Lion cabinet sign was made from aluminum and features white LED lighting. The perimeter of the circle was painted with a suede finish, while the lion was painted in a “metal effects rust finish” with clear coat from Modern Masters.



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Building-mounted Signs These exterior signs are similar to the rooftop sign specifications. One is mounted on the south elevation of the restaurant building, and the other is featured on the west elevation.

They feature three-foot-tall aluminum-fabricated channel letters that are flush-mounted on the cedar finish wall in two locations above garage doorstyle entrances. They also feature LED chaser bulbs

that have the look and feel of old-school incandescent bulbs. The channel letters were routed with a Gerber Sabre® 408 and formed on our Accu-Bend Light channel letter bending machine.


The New Super ChannelBender XP from

Automate your hole punching:

There’s not much the Super ChannelBender XP doesn’t do.

• ¼” weep holes • ¹⁄ 8” screw holes And of course, it still: • bends, flanges, notches and broaches


Sign Builder Illustrated

September 2017

303.798.7110, ext. 203

A double layer of baffles were required. One layer supports the sockets for the LED bulbs and serves as an enclosure cover for the electrical wiring. The second layer serves as a mounted back for the letters and also finalizes the enclosure. The channel letters are accompanied by six-foot-diameter, circular, LEDilluminated medallion cabinet signs. We used laser-cut steel with a patina finish. The cabinets feature a vinyl overlay and LED tube lighting that replicates the look of neon light around the perimeter.

Many folks have shied away from incandescent bulbs because of their inferior service life. LEDs are getting better all the time, especially the soft amber glow that makes this sign special. The aluminum cabinet contains white LEDs and an outer drum return. We painted the face ring black with a suede finish. The “Café” letters are 3/8-inch-thick white acrylic with 1/4-inch projection from the face. There are also routed flange “Hollander” letters. They feature 3M™ Scotchcal™ 3630-84 Tangerine translucent vinyl with a white outline.

Marquee Sign The marquee sign is mounted flush to an exterior wall and is internally illuminated with a face that is laser-cut steel with a patina finish and vinyl overlay. Tube light around the perimeter illuminates the sign’s shape. The perimeter also includes LED chaser bulbs that represent incandescent bulbs. However the lights don’t chase—they stay constant.

Installation Special equipment was required to lift the rooftop sign. Most of the building is built over a parking structure, which makes the ground below hollow. Due to weight restrictions, we had to stay off the parking structure. So we used a large 100-ton crane and extended-reach snorkel lifts to reach over the underground parking structure.

Outcome We are proud our team successfully came in on budget. We value-engineered the project to align with the level of investment the client wanted to make. And given our implementation of the design—along with the right choice of dimensions, paints, and lighting strategy—the client enjoys the brand recognition they sought. Adam Brown is president of Sign Effectz, Inc. ( located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

For an inside look at this project inside the shop and out at the installation site, see the video at

September 2017

Sign Builder Illustrated



A Star Wars wrap story.

GOING con Image Graphics, a Californiabased company specializing in custom graphic installations, recently finished a job worthy of the big screen—a complete wrap makeover of a Nissan Rogue into a Star Wars X-wing fighter pilot. “Back in August of 2016, we had


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committed to a Star Wars-themed commercial ad that would feature our colorchange wraps on the new 2017 Nissan Rogue and Titan,” says Sino Tour, director of Operations for Icon Image Graphics ( “The effectsheavy spot was scheduled to air later that

September 2017

year in conjunction with the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. “After the first wrap project was completed, the Japanese automaker, along with Walt Disney Studios, commissioned several concept cars that would highlight one of their more popular

All Photos: 3M.



The X-Wing Fighter pilot wrap is another bold addition to our portfolio. The Force was truly with us on this one. hicles—the Nissan Rogue. Because the Nissan Rogue shared its name with the film’s title, it was the obvious choice to receive a complete vinyl graphics makeover as an X-wing fighter pilot.” Indeed these were the Rogues Walt Disney Studios was looking for. In addition to promoting the movie, the wrap project aimed to highlight the limited edition Rogues produced by Nissan in conjunction with the new film. The plans were to premiere this wrapped vehicle at the L.A. Auto Show last November. For the first time with any automaker, Lucasfilm lent their design skills to the badges on the flanks for these special vehicles that were on sale for a short period. Originally Nissan and Walt Disney Studios commissioned two wraps—the X-wing fighter pilot and a stormtrooper helmet wrap. The stormtrooper wrap was cut at the last minute by the studio. “It would have been an amazing addition to the show and a stark contrast to each other since they were sworn enemies,” says Tour. “[But] with every inch of the Rogues set to be covered with vinyl graphics, it would have been extremely difficult to complete both of them because of the time constraint.” Icon Image went ahead with the Xwing fighter pilot wrap, fashioning it after the uniforms depicted in the film. “The vibrant orange color, squadron markings, ‘Rebel/Resistance’ emblems, and the helmet with yellow visor were just some of the familiar characteristics of the flight suits that were replicated on the vehicle,” says Tour. Icon Image only had less than a week and a half to complete their wrap mission, so because of time constraints, the company brought in Chicago-based Consolidated Color & Design (CCD) ( to assist with the design and printing of the graphics. To match the specific orange and

other colors of the X-wing fighter pilot, CCD tweaked the colors using ICC profiling and printed samples. They created the background pattern on the vehicle by taking multiple patterns and putting them together. With such a short turnaround time, Icon Image kept the entire Rebel Alliance project team updated with lots of emails and photos. This also helped in getting fast approvals. “There were many key elements we had to address and get approval for very quickly, such as a test print/swatch of the distressed orange, the sizes of each overlay, and even the color match of the Rebel pilot badges and markings,” says Tour. At the same time, this was a top-secret mission, so Icon Image had to trust their feelings and cloak themselves in the power of the Force to complete the project undetected and without any leaks.

“This project was classified by our client as a ‘high-security’ wrap,” says Tour. “Any photos, diagrams, information, or leaks of any kind were strictly prohibited until its unveiling at the auto Show. “We even had special key card access given to specific members of our crew to gain access to the warehouse and the closed set.” The Nissan Rogue was wrapped on the closed set in 3M™ Envision™ Print Wrap Film LX480Cv3, which was printed out on an HP Latex 360 printer. “We have used 3M products on a majority of our custom and fleet work,” says Tour. “Some of our entertainment clients expect immediate results with a quick turnaround. We need to furnish them with several options per project in terms of specific shades of a color, finishes, or an eye-popping digital print. “3M’s films have assisted us on different occasions in quickly achieving that bubble-free application or vibrant color-change.” Installation took three days and the skills of a Jedi as it included covering every section of the vehicle—the grill,

September 2017

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To match the specific orange and other colors of the X-Wing pilot, CCD tweaked the colors using ICC profiling and printed samples. They created the background pattern on the vehicle by taking multiple patterns and putting them together.


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September 2017

headlights, fog lights, and glass windows all received vinyl or a tint for the themed look. Even the doorjambs and the trunk space were wrapped to match the trademark orange of the pilot suit. “I reminded my custom team of the adage ‘quality over quantity,’” says Tour. “People will notice the fine, intricate details—from properly tucked corners to the orange-tinged doorjambs—that will leave a lasting impression of the work, just like the [Star Wars] series.” The custom wrap made its debut at the L.A. Auto Show but not before being sent to George Lucas at Skywalker Ranch for a first look. The fully wrapped vehicle then made rounds at various auto shows in Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, and other cities and is still on the road today making appearances at numerous other events. “Everyone involved in the wrap had a very positive reaction to it because they got the press that they needed and the buzz to help drive tickets sales for

both the auto show and Rogue One,” says Tour. The company may not have received a royal medal ceremony for their successful work here, but Icon Image was still excited about the final result. “As a company, we all have a nice, personal display of Star Wars paraphernalia scattered throughout our homes or offices,” says Tour. “Being such huge fans, it was truly an honor to work on a job of this magnitude and the feedback from all parties involved was universally positive. “At the L.A. Auto Show, it was truly a delight to see Star Wars fans, members of the press, and attendees taking a bevy of photos with our wrapped [Rogue] after its unveiling to the world.” Icon Image delivered the goods with this impressive X-wing fighter pilot wrap. “This wrap is a confirmation of the visual transformation that can be achieved with the use of vinyl graphics,” says Tour. “The Force was truly with us on this one.”

Many parts of the car had to be disassembled to install the wrap, which took three days and included every section of the vehicle—the grill, headlights, doorjambs, trunk, fog lights, and glass windows all received vinyl or a tint for the themed look.

September 2017

Sign Builder Illustrated





hat happens when you put a former park ranger behind the design table? Throw in a love of conservation and the natural world that continues into George Giavasis’s daily life, and you’ve got a window into how best to design signage with nature in mind. Appropriately based in remote north-


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September 2017

west Montana, Giavasis’s firm Highline Design (, which he founded with his wife Elma in 2012, works on a range of environmental design projects that reflect their broad interests in community and their myriad talents in graphic design and art. “By accepting projects that align with our company’s ideals (wilderness

All Photos (unless noted): FTBT.

Creating signage to support the natural environment.

servation, outdoor recreation, community development, etc.), and working with local nonprofits as often as we can, we hope to use design to affect positive change,” says Giavasis. While public land is abundant in Montana, the state’s trail system signage has languished over the years, possibly due to a lack of tax funding. Fortunately Highline has harnessed the financial power of private foundations and other fundraising efforts to support their design work on trail signage—efforts that are in line with the priorities of state residents who have demonstrated a solid commitment to the land. This is exactly the kind of effort that yielded a win-win for Highline and conservationists when a partnership was established to revamp a trail system at Herron Park called Foy’s to Blacktail Trails. Located just outside the small city of Kalispell, Highline supported the nonprofit FTBT as they sought to raise

It helps to employ sound design aesthetic to the trail signage system. While many hikers are used to basic signage guiding their way, there’s no replacement for engaging, dynamic signage that is created with an eye on both form and function.

September 2017

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Highline needed to design trail signs for use by hikers moving slowly, bikers moving quickly, and those on horseback who are up high.

$2.4 million towards land conservation efforts (including modernizing the existing trail system).

The key to helping this nonprofit was integration of all marketing pieces, including wayfinding systems and signage.

Highline not only designed the trail systems but also created a print map, which was used not only by visitors, but also for fundraising efforts. In consultation with the organization’s board of directors, the team redesigned the map with an eye on simplifying the complex network of trails and created a color system to identify the trails. Once Highline moved on to design the trail signage, their mission was clear: Make the trails user-friendly and enjoyable, while enhancing the visitors’ experience and commitment to the trails. The challenge, the team discovered, was creating a signage system that could adapt as the trail system expanded, while remaining within the established budget. “To keep costs down and allow for flexibility, we purchased affordable fiberglass posts and weather-proof decals for the main wayfinding signs,” says Giavasis. “Intersection and infrastructure points are clearly marked through direc-




GREATCOMES CONTENT GREAT SIGNAGE! Sign Builder Illustrated is the “how-to magazine” of the sign industry. Each issue includes SBI’s signature “how-to” columns and features with detailed, step-by-step instructions covering a wide range of signage.

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tion arrows and a color identity system. “By limiting the amount of copy appearing on the signs, the user is left with a simple system of colors and icons, which makes better use of limited space and complements the main map and pamphlet graphics.” The style of the signage is unobtrusive, yet attractive, and the function and messaging were geared to convey safety, navigational, and educational information to ensure visitors have an enjoyable experience. The trail signage was required to stylistically blend with Forest Service signs, and was submitted for approval by the county as well as other partner landowners. In addition to the signage, Highline also created FTBT merchandise, event materials, annuals, and newsletters. “When new users can find their way intuitively, they have a better experience and come back for more,” says Giavasis. “More park usage means more donations, a happier community, and higher

Good trail signage can help the environment by making sure users stay on the trail, develop fewer undesignated tracks, and keep their impact to a minimum.

property values.” It’s not as obvious how signage can directly help preserve the natural envi-

ronment, but when people are adding their footprint to trails, signage can help mitigate their impact and remind them





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September 2017

of the value of conservation. “Better signage means users stay on the trail, develop fewer undesignated tracks, and keep their impact to a minimum,” says Giavasis. It also helps to employ sound design aesthetic to the system. While many hikers are used to basic signage guiding their way, there’s no replacement for engaging, dynamic signage that is created with an eye on both form and function. In essence, it helps to think of trail signage as part of a brand connecting to the organization’s core values. Since signage is usually an outgrowth of an established brand and one of the final elements in content development, Highline often advises starting each project with the basics. “If the customer lacks a comprehensive visual identity, we might start by stepping back and establishing a consistent visual style for their brand that we can carry across the signage program,” says Giavasis. This initial conversation is followed by a series of steps that involve researching the client’s potential needs after the team conducts an audit of existing materials and content—the information needed, the users and their method of transportation, the surrounding environment, etc. “Once we know as much as we can, we start concepting designs and materials,” says Giavasis. For example, in creating signage for Foy’s to Blacktail Trails, Highline’s team took into consideration the perspective of the users and the activities they would be undertaking when viewing the signs. “These signs needed to be used by hikers moving slowly, bikers moving quickly, and those on horseback who were up high,” says Giavasis. “For those moving quickly, the trail and direction can be identified from a distance by the color and large arrow.” Highline incorporates best practices into both their design aesthetic and the copy, and they keep information at a minimum. “Less is more. Everyone knows that, but they still find more information to add to their signage,” says Giavasis.

Photo (Kallispell Boulder Project): Brad Lamson.

Image is everything! Outdoor signage works better if people like to look at them.

“What are your goals of the sign, and what is the minimum amount of information needed to convey your message?” Giavasis notes additional trail wayfinding best practices. For example, when possible, sign posts should be placed on the user’s right when heading into the park. “A sign post only points forward,” he says. “In turn, arrows only point right, left, up, diagonally right, and diagonally left.” He also advises to use as few sign posts as needed. “And don’t use more than three decals per sign post,” he says. In working on the topic of nature, it’s not surprising that Highline would also veer towards environmentally friendly products when choosing materials, while working within the allocated budget. However this wasn’t the case when the team chose fiberglass posts for Foy’s to Black Tail Trials. “This option was versatile and relatively inexpensive, which meant that the foundation could allocate more funds toward conserving more land,” says Giavasis. “The posts and the decals we applied are both incredibly durable. This means we’re creating less waste, requiring less work, and saving money.” For sign companies looking to work on projects that support parks and the natural environment, Giavasis has some words of advice. “First it’s ideal to partner with a good designer—signs work better if people like to look at them,” he says. “Second design a great product, but have an idea of how it will be made and how much it will cost to produce and install. “Finally a close relationship between the sign company and the designer is crucial to create realistic designs.”

September 2017

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Feature Name HDU/FOAM By JEFF Author WOOTEN

Running water and dynamic EMCs are on display.


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September 2017



All photos: Design Center Signs.


he up-and-coming Cannery Lindale is a retail, entertainment, and living development in Lindale, Texas that counts country music recording artist and native Miranda Lambert among its backers. Its management realized they needed on-premise custom signage that would transform the “ordinary” into the “spectacular.” The Cannery Lindale was previously two historical buildings that were now outfitted with exterior elevation wood-finished façades, so officials thought monument-type signs reflecting a rural, country atmosphere would work best. Their idea was something mimicking old-time wooden water towers—but accompanied with touches of the modern. They reached out to full-service Design Center Signs of Tyler, Texas, to inquire about any possible solutions here. “We feel we have a niche in custom-fabricated signs,” says Commercial Operations Director Rachel Moore. “We have worked with architects and developers using materials that really stretch the limits of traditional signs.” Design Center Signs worked up two water towers, each with their own unique components. The first 120-inch-tall water tower sign features a 16mm Watchfire XVS EMC on both sides, as well as halo-lit “Cannery” letters, a faux-rusted roof, and faux-wood foam sides. This sign is prominently set up at the property’s entrance and is the first thing that visitors see. The digital screen, connected via broadband wireless, promotes tenants, entertainment acts, and special events. The second 86-inch-tall water tower sign is set up in the Cannery’s center courtyard. It sports graffiti-style, painted

“The Cannery” lettering. It also features an overflowing water feature with colorchanging RGB LED accent lighting. “The water runs up the leg of the sign and flows into the bottom pan that was made to fill up at the same level,” explains Moore. “So when the pan overflows, the water cascades over the top of the lip. We mounted the RGB LEDs to this bottom pan.” Having their designers and fabricators work closely together, Design Center Signs custom-built every other piece of the water towers in their shop. However one big challenge was to achieve a wood-like appearance that would successfully reflect the local culture yet also be able to withstand the ravages of weather and time. Moore states that, because of a shortened timeline,

her company didn’t have the chance to prototype pieces of this project beforehand, as they normally would. “We received a sample piece of distressed wood from the customer,” she says, “and they approved the rust finish.” Since Design Center Signs was building the metal framework for these signs, they turned to Signs By Benchmark ( to supply a hardcoated wood finish to the EPS foam on both water towers. Signs By Benchmark also provided integration support for the EMC and the overflowing water feature. Moore and her company had worked with Signs by Benchmark on many other custom projects. “They’re very knowledgeable on the latest sign trends with finishes,” she comments. On the EMC pylon, Signs By Bench-

September 2017

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Recreating the Comic Art of Corto Maltese


Paris-based sign and display company, METROPOLE, 3D-printed a life-sized replica (pictured) of the much-loved Corto Maltese—an Italian adventure comic book series created by Hugo Pratt named after the enigmatic sea captain. Marking fifty years since the series started entertaining European (and U.S.) fans, the stunning model was produced to demonstrate 3D printing’s power to better engage target audiences. The 4.3-foot-tall captain was 3D-printed on the company’s Massivit 1800 in under three days. Once printed, Corto Maltese


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mark created the two side pieces featuring a wood grain finish and faux-rusted bands from EPS foam. They also crafted two smaller EPS foam sections behind the channel letters that tie in with the onpremise buildings. “We didn’t have to make the panels that deep, since they were getting mounted to the already-built framework,” says Signs By Benchmark Designer Jamie Kakacek. Signs By Benchmark had been working on a realistic wood grain finish for quite awhile, and thanks to their team of on-staff artists, they achieved it by using a stucco coating. As with their other foam-core monument signs, they sprayed a pure polyuria coating over all the pieces. “We worked closely with Design Center Signs to make sure we had the mounting provisions in the right place to avoid any mishaps during installation,” states Kakacek. “We even provided them with templates of them.” Both the EMC and water-feature pylon signs were pretty similar in construction. “The foam round ends on the bigger sign were built to compensate for the flat EMC and not lose the round look of the sign,” says Moore. Signs By Benchmark shipped all the parts from their South Dakota-based facility directly to Design Center Signs. “Due to the smaller size of the waterfeature pylon, we were actually able to assemble it here at our facility and

September 2017 8/18/17 10:01 AM

was spray-painted for a more lifelike appearance. Seated on a bench outside the Gare de Paris-Austerlitz, Corto Maltese is inviting commuters to join him for a selfie until October 31. To watch a video of this project, visit

ship it out as one complete section,” remarks Kakacek. Installers set the steel posts for both water tower signs first on the sections of the property that had been landscaped in preparation for them. Then, using their cranes, they set up the cladding and the components over it, building from the sign frame up. Due to the lightweight nature of EPS foam, dressing up a metal frame and surrounding two electronic message centers on the water towers proved a simple task. In the end, both water tower signs added “award-winning” to their list of adjectives. The Cannery Lindale EMC captured Gold in the Watchfire Sign Design Award, as well as Second Place “Freestanding Sign” with the Texas Sign Association, while the Cannery Lindale Water Feature won First Place “Restoration and Historical Reproductions” with the Texas Sign Association.


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PrinterEvolution: D5300 DS printer.


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September 2017

Mimaki: UJF-3042 MkII EX printer

The latest and hottest technologies and materials in the print industry.


2017 Avery Dennison: MPI 1405

Arlon: SLX Cast Wrap with FLITE Technology.


rom dye-sublimated soft signage and specialized vinyl to custom wall coverings and eco-friendly inks, the digital print industry has enhanced its offerings that have captured the attention of clients nationwide. This special feature provides a roundup of some of the latest product announcements showcasing some of the hottest trends in the graphics industry. To better help you, we have divided these write-ups into the following categories: Hardware, Software/Cloud, and Vinyl/Media. You will also find a couple of case studies reflecting some of the current print trends in the industry, as well as a special overview of the different types of inks. HARDWARE Canon: At the heart of the new sixty-fourinch, roll-to-roll Océ Colorado 1640 is Canon’s recently announced UVgel technology, which combines a radically new UV curable ink from Canon that instantly gels on contact with the media, an advanced “self-aware” piezoelectric printhead technology, an LED-based UV system that cures without adding any damaging heat to the media, and continuous, on-the-fly, printhead nozzle monitoring and performance compensation. These unique technologies come together to create a printer that sets new standards for quality, productivity, automation, application range, and operation. Users are able to handle peak periods with fully automated media loading of multiple online rolls and confidently print unattended with on-the-fly quality assurance to produce instantly cured prints on a wide variety of high-quality indoor and outdoor applications, including heat-sensitive media. Colex Finishing and Fotoba Intenational: The Dreamcut XLD-170 Automatic Cutter and new Motorized Heavy Duty Roll Feeder produces fast cutting of printed rolls up to 67 inches wide and 40-mil thick with capability of handling rolls up to 24 inches in diameter. This fully automatic X/Y Cutting System includes an exit table up to 12 feet long and stacking cart with wheels for easy transport. The Dreamcut XLD-170 is capable of handling the output of several printers. Imagine cutting a 150-foot media roll in less

Septmeber 2017

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Next-generation Vehicle Graphics 3D printing presents viable application opportunities for the large format/sign sector, including the production of attentiongrabbing vehicle graphics. Carisma, a company specializing in vehicle wraps, recently capitalized on this technology as part of a project that required them to create nine double-decker bus wraps promoting the final season of the show Black Sails. Using their large format Massivit 1800 3D printer (, Carisma 3D-printed an eight-foottall skull and two skeletal hands. This was then vacuum-formed into nine skulls for the nine wraps and adorned with printed self-adhesive

vinyl sheets—all within three days. The client was blown away by these next-generation vehicle graphics. “As a business owner, the need to retain clients by securing repeat work is critical,” says Moshe Gill, CEO and founder of Carisma, “and our bus wrap projects are a clear example of how the Massivit 1800 3D Printer enables us to do exactly that.”

than 10 minutes; in fact, two to four hours of cutting on the Dreamcut XLD170 is equivalent to fifteen to thirty man hours of trimming. Mimaki USA: The UJF-3042 Mark II (MkII) EX model UV-LED tabletop flatbed printer includes eight ink channels, enabling users to take advantage of all available ink colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Light Cyan, Light Magenta, White, Clear and jettable Primer). This model can accommodate Light Cyan and Light Magenta or be configured with White, Clear, and Primer inks at the same time. The Kebab MkII option is available on this machine for printing on cylindrical objects such as stainless steel tumblers, bottles, cans, vases, packaging, and shipping tubes. PrinterEvolution: The streamlined media configuration and material handling of the D5300 Dye Sublimation printer al-

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WE’RE HERE TO ANSWER THE CALL! Sign Builder Illustrated is the “how-to magazine” of the sign industry. Each issue includes SBI’s signature “how-to” columns and features with detailed, stepby-step instructions covering a wide range of signage. SBI’s website (, newsletters, Buyer’s Guide, and digital edition keep you updated with timely news, recent projects, and upcoming industry events.




SOFTWARE/CLOUD Roland DGA: InClix Creative Media Maker is a unique Web-based creative design and workflow management system that simplifies the production of designs for print or digital displays, enabling users to source media, create, approve, and publish in just a few easy steps from virtually anywhere via a Web browser. In addition to providing instant access to millions of royalty-paid, highresolution photos, graphics, and readyto-use videos, this user-friendly platform puts in-browser, professional-grade design tools at your fingertips. Creative Media Maker also allows for quick client proofing, significantly reducing turnaround time.

Orafol: ORACAL 641

lows print shops to run full sixteen-footwide rolls or multiple rolls of different widths at the same time with ease and speed. The D5300 DS’s integrated ultrasonic automatic sewing system attaches new rolls with ease and significantly re-


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duces waste created during full webbing. Its patented heating drum is the first of its kind, and with its electronic setting abilities, users will see consistent, repeatable fixation, print after print.

September 2017

VINYL/MEDIA Arlon: SLX™ Cast Wrap is a premium gloss white repositionable cast film with FLITE Technology™. Designed for the single installer, this film allows for a fast wrap and superior repositionability for full

and partial vehicle and fleet applications. FLITE Technology is a lite contact system allowing graphics to float over a substrate until firm pressure is applied. It guarantees the fastest installation while ensuring long-term bond conforming effortlessly around rivets, complex curves, and deep channels. Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions: MPI 1405 is an ultra-conformable, PVC-free film with a long-term Easy Apply RS™ removable adhesive. Its reliable and superior print quality and instant adaptability make it suitable for a broad range of indoor and outdoor architectural applications—from car wraps and outdoor graphic needs to textured surfaces like brick walls or cinderblock. It also requires less heat during installation, due to its high conformability. MPI 1405 provides reliable print performance across all digital platforms— latex, solvent, eco-solvent, and UV.

Think Inks: A Look at Ink Types Solvent: “They can be printed to all popular brands of calendered or cast PVC vinyl,” says Evan Lyons, regional sales manager for INX International. “Textured PVC vinyl are used for a more artistic look and higher quality impression.” UV-curable: These versatile inks can be used on rigid and flexible substrates. For rigid applications, the inks can be used on Dibond®, wood, ceiling tiles, corrugated cardboard, treated aluminum metals and glass, and a wide array of plastics. Compatible flexible substrates include fine art canvas, adhesive-backed PVC vinyls, and single-sided block-out PVC vinyl.

Aqueous: According to Lyons, these inks are compatible with photo papers, poster paper, polycotton, and cotton-based water-resistant fine art canvas, water-resistant calendared PVC, and polypropylene adhesivebacked films. Alternative or OEM Inks: Shops also have a choice of third-party inks, which offer ease of use and a 35 to 40 percent savings. Lyons says one of the most important considerations is the warranty, as it proves the manufacturer will support their product. For more information on inks, visit

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September 2017

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Colex: Dreamcut XLD-170

DreamScape: Reinvent interior spaces with DreamScape products that include more than twenty unique textured surfaces, which may be digitally imprinted with any design to use as interior surface coverings. The beautiful variety of these embossed vinyl surfaces gives you complete decorative options. The textured surfaces greatly reduce the common print defect of banding, which allows for faster printing.

Drytac: SpotOn® Floor 200 is an 8mm embossed, printable, white matte monomeric PVC film for short-term, indoor floor graphics. Thanks to a unique dot pattern-printed, pressuresensitive polyacrylate adhesive, the new film can be applied to multiple flooring surfaces including ceramic tiles, sealed wood or concrete, waxed vinyl, marble, and more. SpotOn Floor 200 has been certified by CTIOA and has achieved a “low slip potential” rating in both wet and dry scenarios, according to the EN13036-4 Pendulum Test. HP: HP Everyday Blockout Display Film features an innovative three-layer construction of polyester and polypropylene for incomparable lay-flat properties. This heavyweight film produces rigid, durable displays suitable for retractable banner stands and tradeshow graphics. The state-of-the-art coating enables quick drying and is compatible with

both latex and aqueous printers. Its light-blocking opaque layer prevents show-through, so viewers only see clean, crisp images. ORAFOL Americas Inc.: ORACAL® Series 641 Economy Cal calendered films, traditionally a high-gloss only film, is now available in twenty-one of the most popular graphic film colors available— but with a matte finish! This PVC film is a cost-effective alternative for short- and medium-term applications. ORACAL 641 features a clear, waterbased, permanent adhesive with excellent cutting and weeding properties and one of the lowest shrinkage rates of economy films. The matte surface of this film makes it great for suppressing unwanted reflection on indoor directional signage, P-O-P displays, window graphics, and short-term outdoor general signage. (Note: This material is not recommended for vehicle applications.)

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Sign Builder Illustrated

September 2017

Expanding Horizons at Vivas Banners Luis Vivas, founder and CEO of Vivas Banners in San Francisco, started his business in 2012 from his apartment with a laptop and a dream. Today he and his seven employees work in a 3,000-square foot facility serving A-list clients such as Lucasfilm, Sephora, The Gap, and Google. Their Roland SOLJET XR-640 large format printer/cutter and TrueVIS VG-640 printer/cutter has allowed them to expand into window, wall, and floor graphics. One Friday at 4 p.m., Nike called Vivas requesting a wall graphic for a store opening Saturday morning. “The clients who call us late on a Friday afternoon are the people who really need us, and we have to help them out if we can,” said Vivas. He stayed with his crew late into the night producing the graphic. His installation team had everything ready for the store’s opening at 10 a.m. the next day. In 2014, Vivas’s son was born with Down Syndrome and had to undergo several surgeries. “Since that moment, our way of doing business changed,” noted Vivas. He and his wife donate graphics to several organizations that help children with disabilities and their families, including Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area. They also provide graphics for the helmets babies wear to shape their heads. “We say, ‘Let’s put colors on this problem,’” said Vivas.

PerfectCut Vinyl: The provider has announced an expanded product line to include a full range of cut vinyl (plotter vinyl) and print media (digital media) in cut pieces and short-roll formats from 12-by-12-inch sheets to 5-, 10-, and 20-yard rolls. This unique approach to product delivery eliminates the need to purchase fifty-yard rolls of material

when only one yard is needed for the job. Benefits for the sign shop and graphics provider using these products include: improved profitability, less on-hand inventory, waste reduction, and flexible ondemand ordering. PerfectCut Vinyl processes orders on demand with shipment to customers in the United States within 24 hours.

September 2017

Sign Builder Illustrated




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ADA Central Signs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46


AdamsTech. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20


Arlon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40


Alpina Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47


Avery Dennison. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41


A.R.K. Ramos Mfg. Company . . . . . . . 46


Canon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37


Asante Sign Group. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21


Chemical Concepts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10


Biesse America. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43


Colex Finishing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37


Brooklyn Hardware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46


Custom Foam Fabricators . . . . . . . . . 10


Coastal Enterprises. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30


Dreamscape. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41


Custom Foam Fabricators Inc. . . . . . 27


Drytac . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42


DUNA-USA Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7


E.L. Hatton Sales Co.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10


Duxbury Systems Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46


Fotoba International. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37


Echod Graphics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47


Howard Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11


Epilog Laser. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25


HP. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42


Fastenation Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24


INX International . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41


Gemini Duets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3


Kett Tool Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11


International Sign Association. . . . . . 35


Laminators, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11


J. Freeman Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31


Massivit 3D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38


Manhattan Signs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47


Mimaki USA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38


Metomic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14


ORAFOL Americas, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . 42


Mutoh America. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40


PerfectCut Vinyl. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43


Orbus. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

57 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10


Orbus. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46


PrinterEvolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38


Ornamental Post Panel & Traffic. . . 46


Roland DGA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40


Principal LED. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C2


Roland DGA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43


Renolit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41


SinaLite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10


SGIA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15


SloanLED. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11


Sign Bracket Store. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38


Trotec Laser, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11


Signs By Benchmark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

29 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C4


Sinalite. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1


Small Balls. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47


Southern Stud Weld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31


Stamm Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . . . 42


USSC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19


USSC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32A-P


Wilkie Mfg. LLC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13


YJ Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5


STEPS 1. Go to our website at,

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3. Request info about advertisers & products

September 2017

Sign Builder Illustrated




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JEFF SUTLEY (212) 620-7233 MONICA BOUTROS (212) 620-7225

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Sign Builder Illustrated

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September 2017

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Sign Builder Illustrated


Shop Talk


A Burden to Carry

Strategies to combat restrictive regulations.


t’s a story that I hear all the time— ordinances and regulations are putting a damper on creative sign design and damaging businesses that rely on those signs to brand their location and market their products. In fact, when ISA surveyed attendees at ISA International Sign Expo 2017, it was something we heard a lot: • “Governing authority codes and regulations are our biggest competitor. We can sell a real nice job, and the governing authority will turn it down. We have too many restrictions in this country, and we all seem to just be accepting it as that is the way it is.” • “Hazard assessment can take longer than the actual work.” • “Local planning departments thinking signs are a distraction and therefore ‘unsafe.’” It would be easy to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem, but

there is a bright spot. That same survey showed that 31 percent of attendees felt that the local and state regulatory environment was improving. It might seem that 31 percent is a small number. But consider in 2013— the first year ISA asked the question— only 9 percent felt the state and local regulatory environment was improving, compared to 39 percent who felt it was worsening. (In 2017, only 24 percent felt it was getting tougher). We can complain about planners not understanding the sign, graphics, and visual communications industry. We can argue against restrictive sign codes when we see them on a planning or city commission agenda. Or we can work collaboratively with local officials to help them understand more about our industry, show them what good sign codes look like, and walk with them along the way as they tackle

Sign Builder Illustrated (Print ISSN 895-0555, Digital ISSN 2161-4709) (USPS#0015805) (Canada Post Cust. #7204564; Agreement #40612608; IMEX Po Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2, Canada) is published monthly by Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, 55 Broad St. 26th Floor, New York, NY 10004. Printed in the U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and Additional mailing offices.

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Sign Builder Illustrated

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September 2017

the monumental task of revising sign regulations. It’s this strategy, I believe, that’s paying off. Since 2012, ISA has educated more than 10,000 planners and local leaders through Webinars and in person. ISA has presented at the American Planning Association’s National Planning Conference three of the last four years. We’ve also provided education at dozens of state and regional APA events. Of course, we continue to work with planners as needed, reviewing sign codes and providing comments. And yes, we fight for our industry when we need to. We need on-the-ground help to identify sign code issues when they arise—and the earlier, the better. We must hear when permitting processes are out of control. We need to know when state governments are proposing laws or regulations that may negatively impact the industry. And you are responding. We have built a stronger alliance of ISA member companies who proactively work alongside ISA on these issues, but we need more. ISA monitors the news from around the country, but you may have heard of an issue before it makes the newspapers or the front door of City Hall. Let us know by making sure to contact us at And provide your local planner with access to ISA’s resources at

We need on-the-ground help to identify sign code issues when they arise.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sign Builder Illustrated, PO Box 3135, Northbrook , IL 60062-3135. Instructional information provided in this magazine should only be performed by skilled crafts people with the proper equipment. The publisher and authors of information provided herein advise all readers to exercise care when engaging in any of the how-to-activities published in the magazine. Further, the publisher and authors assume no liability for damages or injuries resulting from projects contained herein.

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Sign Builder Illustrated September 2017  

This issue features stories on HDU, LED lighting, vinyl wraps, vehicle wraps, monument signs, trail signage, identity signage, digital print...

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