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The How-To Magazine

D e c e m ber 201 8 | signs h o p.co m

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EXPERIENCE: SIGN BUILDER

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How To:

HDU DESIGNS, LASER ENGRAVING

BUSINESS:

SIGN SHOPS OF THE YEAR

INSTALLATION:

STANDOFFS & MAGNETS


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Contents December 2018

Vol. 32

No. 282

How-To Columns

13 16 31

THE ART OF CRAFTING HDU

By Jeff Wooten A sign shop has creative designs on using high-density urethane.

MARQUEE IMPROVEMENTS

By Jim Cirigliano New marquee renovation is a good sign for Flint, Michigan.

A TALE OF TWO ENGRAVERS

By Ashley Bray Two sign shops share their experiences with laser engravers.

departments

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11 46 48

EDITOR’S COLUMN

Editor Jeff Wooten draws up a Venn diagram to show how traditional sign shops are getting more involved with more untraditional clients.

IN THE INDUSTRY

“Engaging” LED displays welcome and guide guests, a distributor raises money for blood cancer research, Sign Manufacturing Day 2018 recap, and this year’s Wrap Team Challenge winners.

Sign Show

The newest products and services from sign manufacturers.

SBI Marketplace

Advertisements and announcements from the sign trade.

Shop Talk

Guest columnist Ed Guedes logs in to tell us how ADA compliance disputes are bad for business.

34 Features

19 34

13 2

Sign Builder Illustrated

December 2018

39 41

sbi SPECIAL: Voices of the industry

An advertorial section featuring insight and input from the thought leaders of the sign industry.

SIGN SHOPS OF THE YEAR

By SBI Staff The sign shops that caught our attention this past year.

STANDOFF!

By Jeff Wooten A very heroic sign component.

GETTING GRAPHIC ABOUT MAGNETS

By Jeff Wooten Get attracted to using magnets for interior transformations. signshop.com

​Cover Photo: NanoLumens.

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What do you think was the biggest sign trend this year?

December 2018, Vol. 32, No. 282 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

“Digital signage and wayfinding continue to come together, and dynamic signage makes it easy to keep up with changing information on campuses.”

editorial “Convergence and shops exploring new markets. See Editor’s Column on pg. 6 for further discussion.”

Editor Jeff Wooten 323 Clifton Street, Suite #7 Greenville, NC 27858 212-620-7244 jwooten@sbpub.com Managing Editor Ashley Bray 55 Broad Street, 26th Floor New York, NY 10004 212-620-7220 abray@sbpub.com

“3D Printing made strides this year, and we saw the technology being used for applications like POP displays, channel letters, and even SEG frames for fabric graphics.”

Contributing Writers Jim Cirigliano, Ed Guedes, John Hackley

art Art Director Nicole D’Antona Graphic Designer Aleza Leinwand

production Corporate Production Director Mary Conyers

circulation Circulation Director Maureen Cooney mcooney@sbpub.com

advertising sales Associate Publisher/East Coast Sales Jeff Sutley 212-620-7233 jsutley@sbpub.com Mid-West & West Coast Sales Monica Boutros 212-620-7225 mboutros@sbpub.com 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 asutley@sbpub.com.

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Sign Builder Illustrated

December 2018

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Editor’s Column

AGENDA

By Jeff Wooten

February 2019 FEBRUARY 20-22:

The Midwest Sign Association Winter Meeting takes place at the Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Airport in Louisville, Kentucky. (msassn.org)

FEBRUARY 22:

The Mid South Sign Association Presents “Ideas Exchange 2019.” This event will be occuring at Charles Hampton’s A-1 Signs Inc., in Burns/Dickson, Tennessee. (midsouthsignassociation.org)

March 2019

Trending Now

MARCH 26-29:

Traditional sign shops open up to new ideas.

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Sign Builder Illustrated

their plates trying to remember everything on their daily ‘to do’ list,” she said. “They want to know that there’s one company they can go—whether it’s exterior sign, interior design, business cards and brochures, stickers, decals, custom flags for their flag poles, etc.” So is the traditional sign shop (one focusing exclusively on one segment of signage) being phased out? Hybrid equipment is a popular terminology used in discussions and press releases; how about “hybrid business?” During a presentation at this past October’s SGIA Expo, SGIA President Ford Bowers remarked that print is no longer bound to equipment—users can attack new markets and verticals. Graphics are touching on commercial print capabilities, and garments and textiles are reaching out to the other side. “Everybody is playing in everybody’s sandbox,” he said. “Ninety-five percent of printers have told us that they are considering getting into new verticals. It’s fragmented because it takes no time to learn a new technology individually. Now they can offer a specialty product as they get acclimated to new markets.” They say the future is at your fingertips, but now do you have to expand and consider your whole hand as well?

Jeff Wooten Editor, jwooten@sbpub.com

December 2018

April 2019 APRIL 23-26:

International Sign Expo 2019 takes place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. (signexpo.org)

May 2019 MAY 19-23:

LIGHTFAIR International, the world’s largest annual architectural and commercial lighting tradeshow and conference, sets up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (lightfair.com)

June 2019 JUNE 6-7:

Photo: Shutterstock/ MMMilk.

A

s always seems to be the case when it comes to publications and their content at the end of the year, they tend to reflect and comment on the biggest trends of the previous 365 days. And as we close out 2018, I’ll be no different. To me, the biggest sign industry trend I’ve noticed over the past twelve months (and probably for the foreseeable future) is convergence. It’s definitely talking the talk and appears to be walking the walk. Many of the press conferences, seminars, and open houses I attended this year seemed to touch, in one way or another, on being able to expand into different areas and markets with output. Let’s face it—the Venn diagram appears to be the new universal symbol of signage and graphics. I’ve already noticed it seeping into more and more Powerpoint presentations. In print, manufacturers are blending sign and graphics with textiles, apparel, promotionals, industrial, etc. In signage, flatbeds and dye sublimation stand next to routers and engravers. The customer base at large may be dictating this shift. Are more shops today basing equipment adoption on recognizing what outside-the-box, non-traditional-type customers want? In my interview with sign maker/entrepreneur Merry Trucksis last month, she told me that over her decades of experience, she has noticed that more clients are looking for one-stop shops now more than ever. “They’ve got enough on

Digital Signage Expo 2019 plugs in at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. (digitalsignageexpo.net)

The Midwest Sign Association’s Summer Meeting & Golf takes place at the Soaring Eagle Casino Resort in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. (msassn.org)

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In The Industry

“Engaging” Displays Welcome & Guide

Navy Pier Guests A tlanta, Georgia—Chicago’s Navy Pier, an iconic landmark that is one of the Midwest’s top destinations, is a venue that is evolving into an accessible, yearround centerpiece for Chicago’s diverse arts and cultural treasures. Since its last redevelopment in 1995, more than 180 million guests have come to enjoy the Pier’s fifty acres of unparalleled attractions and experiences. During this evolution, it became apparent that the “People’s Pier” needed a better, brighter, and bolder way to welcome and inform guests without distracting them from the Pier itself. NanoLumens provided the perfect solution with four portrait mode, 1.87mm 8

Sign Builder Illustrated

Engage Series™ true HD LED displays measuring 3.94-by-7.75 feet. The displays sit side-by-side at the Pier’s entryway and act as the new visually stunning welcome to guests. “Going with four displays for this install allowed us to create some space between each display and not take away from the view into Navy Pier as guests entered,” said NanoLumens Regional Sales Director Ryan Wilhelm. The way the four displays are set up also allows for a more artistic look, which blends in well with the Pier atmosphere. “Navy Pier is a world-class entertainment, arts, and social destination providing a myriad of activities and experiences for both Chicago locals and

December 2018

tourists,” explains Jeff Arko, design producer at Gensler, the design firm that oversaw the renovation. “That energy and informational moment was created through expressive visuals promoting and inviting visitors to join in the fun while providing a dynamically updated daily activity information feed at entry. “We wanted to deliver a new welcoming experience that was both present and obvious but one that would not cause any kind of impedance on the journey for visitors from the entryway into the rest of the Pier experience.” Designed to help guests along on their journey through the Pier, the columns can each run content separately or be signshop.com


Raising Money for Blood Cancer Research

W

We wanted to deliver a new welcoming experience that was obvious but wouldn’t impede on a vistor’s journey. used as a single canvas with messages that stretch across all four of the displays. “We didn’t want the content to force people to linger at the entryway,” said Arko. “We wanted it to simply set that stage as they enter.” NanoLumens was able to provide the very tight pixel pitch this solution needed as visitors would be viewing the content from up close. NanoLumens Engage Series displays feature the lowest pixel pitch range of any NanoLumens product—from 0.9mm to 2.5mm. Also important to the client was the 6-year Nixel™ to Pixel warranty on the LED displays. The three-day install was accomplished over a big holiday weekend. signshop.com

“The ease of installation when working with NanoLumens displays helped [since] there were additional challenges that come with working in a very busy public space as a larger renovation was ongoing,” said Project Integrator Paul Krumrich of Spye, who went on to say that the displays were lightweight and easy to handle during the install. Overall the installation was a success. “There was a balance that needed to be struck with this project that included a melding of tech, art, and culture,” said Krumrich. “The design of these NanoLumens displays enhances the Navy Pier experience and accomplishes the desired blend in a unique and very effective way.”

oodridge, Illinois— Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells, usually found within bone marrow. According to the American Cancer Society, 30,770 new cases of this devastating illness will be diagnosed in 2018 alone. It is the second most common blood cancer and is incurable. The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) organizes 5Ks nationwide throughout the year to raise awareness and funds to help scientists learn more about this disease and how to cure it. Studio D i s p l a ys o f P i n e v i l l e, N o r t h Carolina, an expert distributor of Nimlok exhibit and display products and services, had twenty-two staff participants in a fundraiser walk, which took place October 13 in Charlotte. Their contributions have helped the MMRF reach $3,195,065 so far in 2018. Studio Displays has a personal relationship with Multiple Myeloma, having lost their founder, Tom Pope, to the disease in 2016. To learn more about helping with the fight, visit themmrf.org.

December 2018

Sign Builder Illustrated

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In The Industry Wrap Team Challenge Winners

A

LEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA—Nine two-person teams compete d i n t h e W r a p Te a m Challenge, hosted by the SGIA’s PDAA Committee over the three days of this year’s SGIA Expo (Las Vegas, October 18-20), to see how fast they could wrap the side of a 2018 Ford Mustang GT. The competitors tried to wrap the side of the Mustang in the time allotted and were judged on the quality of their install. The top teams advanced to the next day, until the third day, when the remaining pairs vied for the top prize of $2,000. Arlon, Ritrama, and 3M sponsored the competition and provided material for each day’s heats. This year’s winning teams were: Istvan (Steve) Hargittai, Florida Car Wrap, and Jim Miller, Miller Decals (First Place); Damon Miles and Derek Trahan, Corporate Installations Inc. (Second Place); and Shane Lloyd, GeckoWraps, and Frank Oliver, Phatautowraps (Third Place). The Wrap Team Challenge will return in 2019 at the inaugural PRINTING United Expo (Dallas, Texas, October 23-25).

Sign Manufacturing Day 2018

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Sign Builder Illustrated

of whom toured during a previous Sign Manufacturing Day. One student said, “I liked how you had somebody who specializes in each section take the time out of their day to basically describe what they do on their day to day and what kind of schooling they needed, if any at all, to have the job that they have today. I hope that in the future you keep your doors open to kids like us, who like to see what the different fields are and see if they’re interested in any of them.” Participating companies had students apply on the spot for internships. Others set up job shadowing. One company even recruited the father of a Sign Manufacturing Day participant. The event also provided a valuable and ongoing relationship with area high schools and career institutes. One participating company said, “Last year, we had one fabrication instructor attend with a few of his students. This year, he asked to include one of the other fabrication instructors, so we doubled the size of our group. The instructors are interested in using some of our drawings (after we take out pertinent customer information), so the students can practice welding off of actual structural drawings rather than from a book of blueprints.” To learn more about Sign Manufacturing Day, visit www.signs.org/mfgday or www.signs.org/careers.

December 2018

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

A

lexandria, Virginia—More than 3,400 students toured a sign, graphics, or visual communications company for the sixth annual ISA Sign Manufacturing Day 2018, held on October 5 and sponsored by the International Sign Association in conjunction with the National Association of Manufacturers. Companies say this year’s event was exciting for current employees and provided an important relationship with local educators. In a survey conducted after the tour, 86 percent of participating students said they would consider a career in manufacturing or sign manufacturing. Before the event, only 36 percent said they had considered a career in manufacturing. The survey showed that 98 percent of participating students were better able to see how their career and technical education could be used in their vocations. “It is so exciting to see how students’ eyes open when we discuss our industry—and how many want to translate their education into a sign, graphics, and visual communications career,” said Lori Anderson, ISA president and CEO. Participating companies put their own stamp on the event, encouraging employees to showcase their work and to discuss how their education prepared them for their jobs. In some cases, students were able to hear directly from recent graduates of their schools—some

Photo: Ace Advertising Signs, Houston, Texas.

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France Lighting Solutions, which has provided superior service and reliable performance since 1913, is pleased to announce the availability of their Eco Power Series, which features six reliable LED power supplies—12V models (30W, 60W, and 120W) and 24V models (30W, 60W, and 100W). These Eco Power Series drivers require no de-rating, and they support 100 percent load across the entire operating range. The Eco Power Series from France Lighting Solutions enable low energy costs due to high electrical efficiency and are IP68-rated for dry and damp applications. They also provide cool operation in a small package. Each of these power supplies is UL Listed Class P and is Type HL, which means that they are suitable for hazardous locations (E468013). France Lighting Solutions adds that they feature a five-year France LED parts warranty, as well as a oneyear labor warranty. (800) 793-4793; sfeg.com/france

Graphics manufacturers and installers wear many hats. They’re artists, highly-skilled technicians, and business owners. Along with offering quality materials and training opportunities to successfully execute installations, 3M is now introducing two new digital tools to help shop owners grow their businesses: the 3M™ Graphics Install Wizard and the 3M™ Graphics Hub. The Graphics Install Wizard is a new software application that helps both shop owners and installers. Shop owners can access a database of installers based on location and capabilities, as well as list job opportunities, accept bids, and book jobs. It also helps shops manage a consistent workflow and stay organized, serving as a platform to share job details, documents, completion photos, and more. For installers, the Wizard is an opportunity to increase visibility and receive more installation work by bidding on new projects. The Graphics Install Wizard is linked to the new Graphics Hub, which is a free online resource center for graphics manufacturers. The Hub offers valuable educational resources, news on the latest innovations, and information on different 3M training programs, as well as a look at the latest trends. 3m.com/graphicshub

DIGITAL SIGNS/DISPLAYS Watchfire Signs Provides the Winning Score for Sports Content Management Software Watchfire Signs has added football, basketball, and multi-sport scoring and timing to its Ignite Sports game day content management software (which delivers professional-level sports entertainment to any facility with a Watchfire video display or virtual scoreboard). The new functions include a built-in scoreboard editor for layouts and appearances that bolsters branding for the home team and can be customized for each game or event. In addition to a built-in scoreboard editor, Ignite Sports software seamlessly integrates scores, timing, live video, instant replays, crowd prompts, and advertising with a dragand-drop interface. Display operators can divide the scoreboard content into zones, which gives them the flexibility to display one large scoreboard or a combination of graphics, videos and sponsor messages. The software’s digital panel makes it easy to create, manage, and deliver content and ad rotation smart playlists to run during games, as well as edit content on the fly. Ignite Sports also includes a large library of EasyArt professional graphics that can be used right out of the box. Text and colors can be tailored with dragand-drop customization, and custom graphics and video can be easily imported. watchfiresigns.com

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December 2018

Sign Builder Illustrated

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Sign Show VEHICLE GRAPHICS Avery Dennison Adds Five New Colors to its Supreme Wrapping Film Portfolio with Fall 2018 Collection Inspired by their loyal installers’ creativity and their need for “more options for vehicle customization,” Avery Dennison has announced the release of five new color and finish options in the Fall 2018 Collection of their Supreme Wrapping Film™ portfolio: Matte Olive Green (pictured), Satin Dark Basalt, Gloss Rock Grey, Satin Safari Gold, and Sand Sparkle. These new colors are based on automotive color trend research and input from the Avery Dennison network of wrap installers. With both light and dark shades, they provide a greater number of options for striking accents and full vehicle wraps. With these new additions, the Supreme Wrapping Film portfolio features more than one hundred colors and finishes—including chrome, gloss, metallic, pearl, matte, matte metallic, and extreme textures. Best-in-class performance and easy installation are offered by Easy Apply RS™ air egress technology; the result is that Supreme Wrapping Film can be repositioned easily during application for bubble-free results. graphics.averydennison.com/swf

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Sign Builder Illustrated

December 2018

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How To HDU

By JEFF WOOTEN

The Art of Crafting HDU A sign shop has creative designs on using HDU.

Photo: Select Signs, Dayton, OH.

Q

uint Creative Signs in Piqua, Ohio specializes in designing and fabricating custom dimensional signage. Brian Quinter started the business part-time on his own in 2000 before moving into it full-time in 2004. Today the now-fourperson shop crafts stunning custom signs made from Coastal Enterprises Precision Board™ high-density urethane (HDU) that are setting their clients apart from others. At the beginning of these projects, Quinter will often meet with clients onsite while he surveys the surroundings and takes pictures. These photos help him create mock-ups. He works up these images in CorelDRAW, edits them in Corel Photo-Paint, and exports the bitmap vector artwork into Vectric Aspire where he further turns the artwork into a 3D sign appearance. “Vectric Aspire allows us to experiment with different textures and 3D element signshop.com

for the signs. We can preview the sign and are able to spin it around and view it from any angle,” says Quinter, noting that he shares this file with his customers for further modifications and approval (either through face-to-face discussions or electronic means). The shop’s motto is that if they can design it, then they can machine it with HDU. They use a 0.25-inch ball nose bit on their AXYZ CNC router when creating all the texture and 3D elements, and 0.1875-inch and 0.25-inch end mills for the rest. If there’s need for a beveled edge, they’ll employ a v-carve bit and toolpath. They rarely have any need for sanding or finishing after carving. Quint Creative Signs typically uses Sherwin-Williams DTM and Resilience paints, however, they also love Nova Color. “Most of their colors are very opaque, and there are very few coats you need to apply,” says Quinter. “For example, if you have a painted black back-

ground and need to paint white letters, you can do so with Nova Color in just two coats.” They use Sherwin-Williams primer on all their signs. “Primer makes the paint work look much nicer,” says Quinter. The shop has a separate room where they spray the primer and the main base color onto their signs. After twenty-four hours of dry time, they’ll move it to another room to paint the signs by hand. Three recent projects demonstrate the creativity Quint Creative Signs employs using Precision Board: Royal Pointe HMO. Quinter routercarved a brand-new HDU identity sign for a home owners association community in Beavercreek, Ohio. The HMO asked Select Signs of Dayton, Ohio to replace a vinyl-covered Dibond® sign they’d been using on their front gate. Sunlight had deteriorated it over the course of just a few years, and the owners wanted something more

December 2018

Sign Builder Illustrated

13


How To HDU

By JEFF WOOTEN

For larger signs lifted up onto a building, they’ll typically screw and bond two-by-fours onto the back sides and make a French cleat out of the top twoby-four. “All we have to do is mount and level our French cleat to the wall, lift the sign, and lay it into place,” says Quinter. “We then hide a few screws in the bottom corners of the sign to pin it down so wind can’t lift it off. “Any way we go at it, we always hide the fasteners.” Piqua High School Memorial Garden. School officials contacted Quinter, inquiring about a sign for their new Memorial Garden in front of their campus. This garden represents every student who passed away before graduating from the school. Their names and would-be graduation dates are etched into the brick walkway. However the previous Memorial Garden had long been neglected and wasn’t getting noticed. Thanks to an influx of grant money, administrators decided it was time to develop a new garden with a more noticeable new sign. “They wanted the sign to be classy yet still fit within the theme of the school,” says Quinter, explaining that his shop designed this sign from scratch after receiving input

from the school. “The Indian head is the school’s logo.” This particular sign features a fauxwood grain textured look on its panel that Quinter has become famous for over the years (“Faux Wood,” March 2018). “We created the faux-wood grain for the Precision Board panel using Rapid Texture toolpath from Aspire,” he says. The school’s colors are red, white, and blue, and Quinter utilized them throughout the majority of this sign, however, his shop added gray colors to the outline border to further set it off. The “Memorial Garden” letters attached to the Precision Board panel are white PVC that Quint Creative studmounted to the panel. “This makes it ‘pop’ off the background,” says Quinter. They used PVC sleeves for the posts and painted them black. They then mounted the sign with screws through the face and painted the heads of the screws to conceal them. Saint Peter Catholic Church. Quint Creative made two Precision Board signs for this church located in Huber Heights, Ohio—a larger one on the lawn that replaced an existing vinyl-covered cabinet sign and a smaller one attached to the left-side entry casing next to the

Photos (this spread): Quint Creative Signs.

high-end that would better match their buildings. “They wanted something more durable they wouldn’t have to worry about over the next fifteen to twenty years,” says Quinter. His shop got involved after being asked by Select Signs to build it from their design. In fact, they have been doing wholesale work for Select Signs for about four years now. Quinter is really excited to acquire more wholesale work nowadays. “This allows us to concentrate on making signs, which is what we love doing,” he says. “There’s a lot less legwork involved with trying to secure permits and performing installs.” Select Signs supplied them the vector design, which featured numerous fleurde-lis patterns throughout. Quinter turned the vector image into a toolpath image carved out on an AXYZ router. The company hand-painted the gold and lighter red flourishes on the sign. Because the sign was going to be attached to an iron fence, Quint Creative Graphics created custom metal brackets for this sign as well. “We used aluminum angle stock and attached it to the sign with bolts,” says Quinter. “The head of the bolts are hidden under the letters.”

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December 2018

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How To HDU

front doors. The priest at this church had seen some of Quinter’s faux-wood HDU work in the area and requested that look

in the new signs. There were a couple of possible options during the sales pitch. “One was to just replace the sign cabinet with a new face. The other was a new

By JEFF WOOTEN

3D carved sign that resembled wood,” says Quinter. “If we went with the 3D faux-wood sign, I told him I could make some cool custom shapes besides a typical rectangle. This would bring some life to it, and he agreed.” The signs are all one-piece Precision Board carved on the AXYZ router, except for the keys-and-cross icon located on the tops—the keys are PVC, and the cross is Dibond and both were stud-mounted to the panels. The larger sign was made in two pieces and the HDU bonded together. Quint Creative attached the new sign to the brickwork monument. “We took the existing cabinet off and screwed the new Saint Peters sign directly to the face,” says Quinter. “Typically we try to find a spot in the grain that we feel we can hide the screwhead. We paint over the heads with a thick layer of paint that we use for the backgrounds, and this hides them.”

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December 2018

Sign Builder Illustrated

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How To RETROFIT

By JIM CIRIGLIANO

Marquee Improvements

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lint, Michigan has received a lot of media attention in recent years—most of it negative news about the state of its public water supply and economic distress. The community of Flint, however, has a long history to be proud of, and this includes several historic landmarks. One such iconic building is the Capitol Theatre, a ninety-year-old structure that has stood in the heart of downtown Flint since 1926 and has offered entertainment and live performances since the era of silent movies. The building is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Last modernized in the mid-1950s, the theatre shut down in 1996. The building remained closed for 20 years before being sold to the non-profit Friends of the Capitol Theatre in 2015. By the end of 2017, a $37 million renovation project restored the 1,600-seat theatre to working order and revised the 16

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floor plan to include 25,000 square feet of office and retail space under one roof. This ambitious remodel also included repairs and upgrades to the building’s exterior, notably its signature marquee: a fifty-one-foot-tall, sixty-one-foot-wide outdoor spectacular sign that gave the building its classic theatre look. The massive marquee restoration, which included a wish list of desired modernizations and updates, required a specialty sign company capable of working on this unique proposition. The client turned to Signs by Crannie, Inc., a company with more than thirty years of experience that specializes in commercial and business signage from its office locations in Flint, Michigan, and Fort Myers, Florida. Signs by Crannie offered a complete solution—from the custom sign design to permitting to construction and installation. “The complexity and size of this project excluded most of the local

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sign companies,” explains Dan Crannie, president of Signs by Crannie, Inc. “Our past experience with the contractor and client, as well as our reputation in the community, were also deciding factors that made [us] a logical first choice.” One of the main challenges for the Signs by Crannie team was trying to balance the need for repairs and upgrades to the sign’s structure and lighting with the client’s desire to maintain the classic marquee design as it was conceived in the 1940s. “Our in-house team went to work planning with great care the restoration of an important landmark, working from measurements of the actual existing components to blowing up old photographs for details,” says Crannie. “The planning on this project took nearly as long as the three months to build it.” One major improvement to the existing marquee requested by the client was signshop.com

All Photos: Signs By Crannie, Inc.

New marquee is a good sign for Flint, Michigan.


the addition of two electronic message centers (EMCs) to replace the old letterboard signage. The EMCs, however, risked being heavier than the original marquee could structurally support. The design team compensated for the additional weight by upgrading several other fixtures with lighter materials. “To accommodate the added weight, we proposed to remove all of the porcelain-coated steel and replace it with painted aluminum, replace all of the heavy neon lights and components with LED, and swap all of the 11-watt incandescent lamps and porcelain sockets for LED lamps to complete the energy overhaul,” says Crannie. “Another element in a complex lighting project like a marquee is all the additional wiring that’s required in a spectacular with chasing lights, flashers, and spellers.” Another challenge was manufacturing the spiral finial towers to match the design of those that accompanied the large blade signs that rose to the top of the marquee. The original marquee design included four finial towers with decorative toppers, but all except one of the toppers had been lost or damaged. “We found a supplier that could scan the one remaining finial top,” says Crannie, “then manufactured three new ones to go on top of the large blade signs.” Other supplies used in this remodel project included: • Paint: Matthews Paint System; • Electronic Message Centers (2): 5-by-12-foot WatchFire 12mm units; and • LED lights: Osram BoxLEDs Fabrication and installation were completed by Signs by Crannie’s inhouse team. “Using our own equipment—60-foot Elliotts and a 118-foot Manitex—our installers did the install in record time, even with having to call off the first attempt at installing the large blade signs due to wind funneled between build-

ings,” says Crannie. High winds weren’t the only installation challenge. Although the building had been kept in repair during most of its twenty-year closure, the existing signage and hardware hadn’t been updated and was in rough shape due to its age. “We did have some surprises,” recalls Crannie, noting the unforeseen need to remediate live and dead pigeons, their nests, and their droppings. “Working with a great contractor and project team was very helpful.” The restoration of the iconic Capitol Theatre marquee and the renovation of the historic building marks a positive step toward a turnaround in the fortunes for this city whose motto is “Strong, Proud.” For a city that receives more than its share of negative attention—often portrayed as a case study in urban decline following deindustrialization—state and local officials hope that the beautification and re-opening of the Capitol Theatre will help to change the narrative. “It’s going to reintroduce Flint to a whole new generation of people who haven’t thought of [the city] in a positive light in a long time,” said Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley in a December 2017 interview by Jake May for Michigan’s MLive Media Group. “What was old has turned into something new and exciting.” The dazzling marquee atop the iconic Capitol Theatre, now once again open for business and brightly lighting the streets of the City of Flint, can serve as a highly visible beacon of hope and a symbol of revitalization in this community that has endured through recent tough times. “Not being strangers to large, unique projects, our team produced and installed the restoration on time and on budget even with a few changes thrown in on the way,” says Crannie, thanking the entire SBC team for making the project happen.

Stunning Signage Day to Night When the sun sets, customers expect their backlit sign face to deliver the same quality as the reflected image they see in the daytime. Additional image density may be required to achieve a consistent look from day to night. Consider the following tips and balance them until you achieve the desired results: 1. Only a single film layer is needed when using colored translucent film on a sign face. Two layers may be used if more color density is desired. 2. Inconsistent light distribution within the light box may be more noticeable when an image has variations in both light and dark colors. Distribute the light evenly within the light box using 3M™ Light Enhancement Film or add film diffusers. Building vibrant backlit signs that attract attention day and night is easier when you use the right materials. Get inspired at 3M.com/IlluminatedSigns.

3M.com/IlluminatedSigns

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ALL THINGS

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Voices 2019: FRANCHISE

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or over thirty years, FASTSIGNS International, Inc., has led the sign, graphics, and visual communications industry as the number one-ranked franchisor in the space. Under the leadership of CEO Catherine Monson since 2009, the brand continues to excel, reporting

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strong results and growth year after year. Monson’s deep expertise and exposure in the franchise and small business communities have driven expansion both domestically and overseas. In 2012, Monson appeared on the Emmy Award-winning series Undercover Boss to learn new ways to advance the FASTSIGNS brand, and she currently serves as second Vice Chair of the International Franchise Association. Monson has won numerous awards,

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including being selected as a Soderstrom Society Inductee for her contributions to the printing and graphic communications industry and was also honored with the 2016 Leadership Award from the Women That Soar organization. In 2017, she received the Distinguished Women Award presented by Northwood University. Monson was selected as the 2018 Ambassador of Free Enterprise by Sales and Marketing Executives Intersignshop.com


Catherine Monson, CEO, FASTSIGNS International national (SMEI), joining the Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame in the SMEI Academy of Achievement. She also received the 2018 Top Female Executive Award presented by the North Dallas Business magazine. Monson has also received the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) first Franchise Action Network (FAN) of the Year award for her advocacy work in the franchising community. Additionally she serves on the Board of Directors for the franchise company Brain Balance. Expanding Its Reach As part of its commitment to provide its franchisees with the most creative, results-driven products and services, FASTSIGNS continues to implement new technology. In 2018, FASTSIGNS began to move its centers to a 100 percent, completely paperless workflow, allowing seamless access to customer information, orders, and processes. Additionally in 2018, FASTSIGNS launched a worldwide partnership with 1HUDDLE, a workforce training platform that converts training content into science-backed, quick-burst training games that are proven to accelerate workforce productivity. Today FASTSIGNS has more than 600 users on the gamification platform. In 2018, FASTSIGNS added over forty-five locations in the U.S. and Canada through new development signshop.com

and its co-brand and conversion franchise offerings, and it signed over fifty franchise agreements to open in cities such as Manhattan, Orlando, and Portland, Oregon. The brand projects opening another forty to forty-five centers each year over the next five years throughout the U.S. and Canada, in addition to developing new markets like Spain, Chile, Malta, Italy, and Greece. Additionally, for the third year in a row, the brand was ranked by Entrepreneur magazine as the numberone franchise opportunity in the sign and graphics category for 2018. FASTSIGNS also signed an agreement in Spain where existing FASTSIGNS franchisee Chris Kirby will develop a minimum of ten locations, specifically targeting initial development in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, and Malaga. Meanwhile new master franchisee, the Famalco Group, will open sixteen centers throughout Malta, Italy, and Greece. And in Chile, full-service sign business NEOMARK plans to convert its existing location to FASTSIGNS and open five additional centers throughout Santiago (the largest city in the country). FASTSIGNS continues to seek qualified candidates to grow its international footprint in target markets throughout the world, including New

Zealand, Brazil, Quebec, North Africa, Southeast Asia, India, Europe, and Latin America. The FASTSIGNS’ co-brand and conversion franchise offerings have driven significant growth for the franchise, allowing longstanding signage companies like NEOMARK to expand their services and grow under the FASTSIGNS name—recognized internationally for its expertise and success. “Although we are a family company with many years in the graphics industry, we can always be better,” said NEOMARK General Manager Gonzalo Alcayaga Granic. “FASTSIGNS showed us that they are able to help us and strengthen our business to take it to the next level, with growth potential even outside our country.” Conclusion 2019 will, once again, bring new and exciting opportunities for FASTSIGNS and its franchisees to expand beyond simply printing and signage—everything from project management and content development to branding, graphic design, surveying and permitting, shipping and storage, installation, and more. For more information about the FASTSIGNS franchise opportunity, please visit www.fastsigns.com.

Providing franchisees with resultsdriven products and services. December 2018

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Voices 2019: Lighting

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hat does the sign industry need today? That’s a question that drives us,” said Josh Brown, Vice President of Sales, Distribution Channel, at Keystone Technologies. “It’s only by listening to our customers’ challenges that 22

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we’ve been able to answer that question and bring fresh ideas to the industry.” Keystone Technologies was founded in 1945 and is now in its third generation of family ownership. In just a little over a year after increasing their investment in the sign industry, Keystone has brought the smallest form factor 60w and 100w LED drivers to the market, Pocket Driver, and one of the fastest and easiest retrofit systems for sign cabinets in the industry, Sign Hero. Both prod-

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ucts are extremely easy to install and nothing short of revolutionary. An unusual player in the sign industry, Keystone started out as a ballast manufacturer and then spent many years manufacturing quality lighting solutions for fixture manufacturers and wholesale distributors. This is in contrast to many companies that start with signs and eventually pivot toward the broader lighting market. “Keystone is investing in the sign marsignshop.com


Josh Brown, VP of Sales, Distribution Channel, Keystone Technologies ket for the long haul,” said Brown. “We’re leveraging the foundation we’ve built in lighting for almost seventy-five years and bringing that expertise to signage.” For the past decade, Keystone has made a concentrated effort to expand into LED lighting. “LED is energy efficient and economical. That’s where the future is going, and that’s what we have our eye on,” explained Brown. “We’re in the business of future proofing. The transition from fluorescent to LED affects every industry, and it has led us to discovering opportunities in the sign industry. Now that we’re here, we’re also finding many other areas where we can help.” Brown continued, “For example, almost every one of our customers says the same thing—business is great, but we need more qualified installers. They say it’s tough to find labor that has experience or is willing to learn. I think part of the reason is that installing signs falls into a gray area—you don’t have to be an electrical engineer, yet training is required. There’s no clearly defined career path.” Keystone is doing what it can to help this issue. “We support an initiative started by the California Sign Association called STEPS, a sign training education program series that helps address the sign industry’s demand for more qualified personnel. We also believe our easy-to-install products make learning simpler and faster.” For economical and personnel reasons, the industry is moving toward faster and easier installation. “Lighting signshop.com

installers are interested in getting in, getting out, and moving on to the next project. Doing so drives down the overall retrofit cost for the end-user, which leads to more sales for the sign company,” explained Brown. Enter Sign Hero, an LED fluorescent lamp replacement, born from a successful Keystone linear interior LED lamp that has been in the commercial lighting marketplace for years. “Sign Hero tubes have been designed so that they can typically be installed in less than five minutes. And we even have resources to support you, if you need them” said Brown. “The secret sauce with Sign Hero is our Direct Drive technology which eliminates the need for an external driver or ballast while still using the existing sockets. This saves time and hassle for field technicians. They’re available in every length from 18 inches up to 10 feet, and we’re excited to have recently added a 117-inch tube to this line.” What does the future hold for the sign industry? “We’re seeing a demand for smaller signs with less depth,” explained Brown. “But not all lamps can illuminate the sign that close to the face. To get lighting into those areas, you need something incredibly small. This is why we developed the Pocket Driver specifically for the sign industry. It is the smallest LED driver available without sacrificing any power.” Brown continued, “The Pocket Driver is available in two sizes. Both are about 1/4th the size of a conventional driver and able to deliver either 60w/12v or 100w/24v, depending on which version you choose. This is the answer to the demand for more flexibility in signage

manufacturing. If the Pocket Driver won’t fit, nothing will.” Driven by their motto “Light Made Easy,” Keystone is more than just a supplier but an overall resource for their customer base. They build lasting relationships with customers to help drive innovation and continue to provide solutions you won’t find elsewhere. “Whatever market we enter into, we become a game changer and redefine the experience of working with a lighting manufacturer,” said Brown. “I’m looking forward to many years of innovation and shared success with our distribution partners in the sign industry.”

For more information or to request a free sample, visit www.keystonetech.com. For more information on becoming a sign professional via STEPS, visit www.calsign. org/steps-training-program.

keystone is a newcomer with big ideas and a solid foundation.

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Voices 2019: ADA understand all the options is part of the mission at Nova Polymers, especially for ADA-compliant signage.

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here is a lot more to signs than graphics and pleasing colors. Knowing the limitations of materials and which ones to use can make the difference between signage that’s ordinary or spectacular. Because this is not simple to do, helping architects and designers 24

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Meeting Standards ADA-compliant signs are commonplace in most offices, schools, and places of worship. Behind the scenes is ANSI (the American National Standards Institute), which sets down parameters for these important wayfinding tools. ANSI’s work draws on studies that strive

December 2018

to understand and address the needs of citizens with physical impairments. These studies are followed by meetings and agreements among multiple private and public agencies, architects, and designers. Establishing ADA standards is just part of ANSI’s work that spans a plethora of requirements developed for the safety and well-being of people in public places. Nova Polymers, the leading provider of materials for ADA-compliant photopolymer signage, knows the signshop.com


Bob Greenberger, Director of Education and Sales, Nova Polymers challenges architects and designers face with every project. Addressing this, Nova’s educational team meets with more than 150 architects every year, hearing about the challenges they face and educating them about how photopolymer signage can address the majority of ADAsignage challenges, especially the very real potential for failure of signs. For example, signs using outdated raster bead or applique technologies are reliant on the skills of the sign installer or the technician who make the signs. And uneven skills can lead to problems. Tactility Matters “On ADA signs with Braille, the amount the dots rise about the surface of a sign is a matter of compliance. Braille is a tactile language, so it’s very important that the dots be of the correct depth,” explains Bob Greenberger, director of Education and Sales at Nova Polymers. “With technologies that are dependent on manual placement, the dots can be set too deeply, which can make them harder to identify or too shallow, which can lead to the dots falling out. Both shortcomings put a sign out of compliance.” Neither scenario is possible with photopolymer signage, which ensures every sign is produced correctly. Photopolymer technology delivers a single piece of material, making it impossible for any characters to become loose or fall off.

Workflow Manager Software that is specifically engineered to ensure accurate production of ADA-compliant signs,” recounts Dave Miller, managing director for Global Business Operations at Nova Polymers. “If a sign fabricator or designer uses Workflow Manager, it is virtually impossible to create or produce an ADA sign that is not compliant.” Still, when architects and designers are facing a new project, the technology used to produce the signs is just one of their concerns. Equally important is whom they should turn to for reliable, on-time production. This is not an idle issue when contemplating a new multi-story building with several hundred signs. And because signage is often one of the last items on a developer’s punch list, the entire job has to be turned around as quickly as possible. “We know this is always a pressing concern,” says Miller. “When it comes up, we make a point of recommending one of our preferred sign fabricators— companies we know that do excellent work, use tools like Workflow Manager, and utilize our latest photopolymer products (such as NovAcryl) to help ensure the work of an architect or designer will match their vision and be in full ADA compliance.” Nova’s willingness to share knowledge is embedded in the company’s culture. In face-to-face meetings with architects, designers, and sign fabricators Nova’s

technical sales reps provide one-on-one training not just about broad strokes of the technology but how to get the most out of NovAcryl photopolymer material and Nova’s processing systems. “We want all our customers to know how to provide the best possible signs,” says Greenberger. “It’s not just a matter of a customer ordering from us. We want to make sure they have all the knowledge they need—from specifying materials to proper handling. Details matter, and we believe in doing all we can to share every detail that can make a job go more smoothly.” Some details can be as simple as saving a little time. For instance, the latest version of NovAcryl saves about one minute in processing time per sheet of NovAcryl. A minute doesn’t seem like much until it is added up over the course of a week of shifts, along with all the fully loaded costs of labor, materials, and processing time. Then the value of a minute goes directly to the bottom line. “The sign business is very competitive, and even small differences like that can make a big difference,” notes Miller. “At Nova we always strive to find ways to help our customers be successful, and we believe that helping them understand every aspect of photopolymer technology is a key to their success.” For more information about Nova Polymers, visit novapolymers.com.

We know the challenge architects and designers face with every project.

Putting Software to Work “About a decade ago, we developed signshop.com

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Voices 2019: Sublimation

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ign makers have lots of technologies to choose from when they’re looking to add to their business. Vinyl cutting, laser engraving, solvent printing, and sand blasting are among popular choices. Sawgrass sublimation systems, however, offer one digital print technology

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that gives sign shops the most versatility and opportunity to grow their businesses with a single investment. Sawgrass’ fully integrated Virtuoso HD Product Decorating Systems are a perfect fit for sign businesses that are looking to diversify their product offering. Designed to be turnkey solutions for those getting into sublimation printing, Virtuoso systems offer everything a signage business needs to create full-color, highresolution products for its customers.

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The centerpiece of the Sawgrass Virtuoso solution is the only desktop printers engineered for sublimation printing—the SG400, the SG800, and the VJ 628—coupled with SubliJet-HD high-density and application-specific ink sets in four- and eight-color options. Also included in the Virtuoso solution is Virtuoso Print Manager, the print and color management software tailor made to account for every component of the fully integrated system. signshop.com


textures—and are designed to withstand environmental wear, graffiti, chemicals, and even direct exposure to light for up to five years or more, in some cases. Outdoor sublimation applications for these substrates center on photo installations, artistic decoration, outdoor exhibitions, landmark placards, point-ofinterest or educational signs, branded signage for businesses/organizations, and other signage or decorative purposes.

Jimmy Lamb, Manager of Education, Sawgrass Add in CreativeStudio™, the online graphic design software built specifically for sublimation and its continually updated library of thousands of product templates, images, fonts, and print-ready designs, and you have the most complete desktop product decorating system on the market built and supported by the industry-leading experts at Sawgrass. Need help selling and marketing sublimation products or understanding more about the science of sublimation? Sawgrass has that covered, too, with a master collection of sales, marketing, production and educational tools available to all Virtuoso customers. Here’s a look at some of the ways you can make money with a Sawgrass Virtuoso sublimation system in your shop. Interior Signage Every organization—from cafes and offices to schools, hospitals, government agencies, nonprofits, and beyond—has a need for interior signage, making it an ideal market for sublimation. Sign shops can make everything from small directional signs and full tabletops with menu options to large wall murals or hanging panels with important information, banners welcoming visitors, and more. Outdoor Signage There are several substrate manufacturers that offer hard panels for photographic reproduction and exterior signage. These panels offer a variety of finishes—from matte and high gloss to signshop.com

P-O-P Signage Sublimation is the ideal imprinting technology for point-of-purchase (P-O-P) signage because of the detail, color, and graphic capabilities that it offers. Point-ofpurchase signage can be anything that is placed within a business that helps drive a customer toward a sale. These signs need to grab attention, delight the eyes, create affinity, and entice the viewer into action. Sign makers find that sublimation’s extreme color, photographic reproduction, incredible definition, and clarity result in signs that demand attention— as well as the higher prices customers are willing to pay. Specialty ink sets that offer true fluorescents and expanded gamut are also available and give sign makers the ability to make signs really “pop,” no pun intended. Soft Signage Sublimation applications for soft signage tend to run toward larger substrates, as

fabric makes the most visual impact when there is a lot of surface area shown. Banners, flags, and stretched fabric displays all offer different advantages for a variety of different types of customers. Colleges, malls, convention centers, museums, government buildings, corporate headquarters, fitness centers, restaurants, and more can all use pop-up fabric signs, wall hangings and flags, and pole or rally banners to draw attention to lots of things. A strong selling point for sublimated soft signage is the ability to add photographic elements, as well as generate bright, on-brand colors. Upselling Opportunities Finally, because you can sublimate onto hundreds of different kinds of products, you can become a one-stop shop for many of your customers’ needs. Suppose a new restaurant owner hires you for interior and promotional signage. With sublimation capabilities, you can also offer to make name tags and uniforms for the staff, drinkware, and linens with logos, promotional items, and more—resulting in a much larger sale. Ready to learn more? Contact sales@sawgrassink.com for more information about adding sublimation to your sign shop. To learn more about Sawgrass, visit www.SawgrassInk.com.

Grow your business with a single investment in Sawgrass’ virtuoso sublimation system. December 2018

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Voices 2019: Soft Signage

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ide format, dye-sublimation printing remains one of the fastest growing categories in the sign industry—is your sign company taking advantage of this opportunity for

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new revenue? You don’t have to make it, to make money on it. Showdown Displays, the industry’s only true trade-only supplier partner, wants to help you capitalize on this growing market without the need for investment in capital equipment. Showdown Displays has made, and continues to make, substantial investments to ensure we provide cuttingedge print technology at the speed of business. Our investments enable our reseller partners to leverage the quality

December 2018

and capacity of one of the largest North American print facilities of its kind to provide the products their customers desire. The Showdown Displays brand may be new to you, but it’s not new to wide format printing. On January 1, 2019, Showdown Displays will integrate its sister company, Creative Banner Displays, officially becoming a unified brand, Showdown Displays. Showdown Displays and Creative Banner Displays have operated under the same management signshop.com


Kevin Walsh, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, Showdown Displays team—sharing product, pricing, and service—since 2013. This merger brings together two like-minded brands to serve a broader reseller audience. Our reseller partners will continue to receive the same high-quality products, award-winning service, and competitive prices they love along with the enhanced services, speed, and personal attention they expect. Best of all, the unified Showdown Displays brand remains committed to our “neverdirect,” trade-only market strategy. Showdown Displays combines evolving wide format print technologies with innovative product design to deliver unparalleled products at competitive prices. With the deepest inventory available in North America, we offer everything from banners & flags, retractable banners, and table coverings to signage, tents & events, and floor displays. Each of these product types help comprise the soft signage category, which continues to evolve at a rapid pace with products and categories being constantly created and adopted. Showdown Displays has an extensive internal product development department that annually releases more than fifty new products.The majority of these releases are exclusive to, and patented by, Showdown Displays. We serve as the product category expert to help you easily sell soft signage while looking good to your customers through education, marketing resources, and our legendary On-Target Guarantee. Our commitment to our reseller partners is in writing, it includes five essential components, and it is the signshop.com

industry’s boldest “no fault” promise: 1. On Time Guarantee • Once we’ve committed to a delivery date for an approved order, that product will arrive on time or that product is free. 2. 100% Satisfaction guaranteed. Period. • If for any reason you, or your client, are not satisfied with our product, you may return it for a replacement, alternative product, or refund. 3. Your Call will be answered in 60 seconds or less. • Time is money. You’ll speak with a real person in less than 60 seconds or we’ll give you a $5 gift card for your time. 4. Commitment to Quality & Safety • We’re commited to providing products that meet or exceed industry standards for quality and safety. 5. Marketing support • The industry’s largest marketing toolbox to help you grow. Showdown Displays has a menu of marketing content available to our reseller partners, including catalogs, Web sites, educational videos, graphic templates, set-up instructions, and category and market segment flyers. All of these can be customized with your brand and contact information by utilizing a feature in our password-protected distributor site called “Brand a Flyer.” We also provide offers to our reseller partners to assist in creating awareness, interest, adoption, and sales. These include self-promotion incentives that

enable partners to purchase self-branded products at below list price. Showdown Displays also offers partners the ability to create a self-branded, customizable website to assist in presenting and marketing soft signage products. Showdown Displays is best known for award-winning service and the industry’s largest team of local, knowledgeable sales experts available to reseller partners as subject matter experts and/or for customer presentations. All of these resources enable partners the opportunity to significantly grow their soft signage business, regardless of their level of expertise in the category. Once you’ve secured your clients’ sale, our password-protected, resellerfacing features make placing orders a breeze, with enhanced online services, including search, online proof approval, ordering, and checkout. Ordering online also translates into savings for you with discounts off every order placed. Ready to start earning in the field of soft signage? Join our network of reseller partners who leverage our innovative products, print technologies, marketing tools, local sales expertise, and On-Target Guarantee to grow their business. Remember, you don’t have to make it, to make money on it! —Kevin Walsh, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, Showdown Displays For more on how to partner with Showdown Displays, visit showdowndisplays.com.

Showdown Displays is committed to being your “silent partner” as you grow your business.

December 2018

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?? INNOVATIONS OF SIGN BUILDER ILLUSTRATED

THE HOW-TO MAGAZINE

Sign Builder Illustrated provides sign shops of all sizes with the tools and resources needed to innovate in the industry and grow their businesses. Our signature “how-to” articles offer solutions and inspiration for sign shop owners in all aspects of the sign industry from lighting to dimensional to printing and beyond. With a rich tradition of journalistic excellence, we’re dedicated to informing, educating, and inspiring sign professionals.

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Island Spread: Easy-to-read, trendy layout designs optimize your reading experience

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Trendsetters of 2019 New and Improved Voices Of The Industry!

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How To

engraving HDU By ByJEFF ashley WOOTEN bray

A Tale of Two Engravers Two sign shops share their experiences with laser engravers.

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Photo: Trotec Laser.

aser engravers are a great way to expand a sign shop’s business into new products and applications. Today’s machines are faster with greater capabilities for fine details and finished edges. They can cut and engrave on a variety of both rigid and flexible materials, including acrylic, wood, textiles, and even certain plastics. We spoke to two sign companies about how they use their laser engravers. ADA Visual Products Joe Drucker, owner of ADA Visual Products in Costa Mesa, California, has been engraving since he opened his business in 1985. Currently he has two laser engravers in his shop—a Trotec Speedy 300 and a Trotec Speedy 100—which he found at a sign industry tradeshow. “I went to a tradeshow and actually brought material with me because I knew what I was looking for,” he says. “I had all the manufacturers do the same job on signshop.com

the same material. I examined the material very closely and timed the job, and Trotec came out on top.” In addition to his two laser engravers, Drucker also has a vinyl cutter and does wraps and cut vinyl work—everything from wrapping cars and boats to applying vinyl names to ring buoys for charter boat weddings. “That seems to be the trick— when one part of the business slides down a little bit, you’re always busy doing something else anyway,” he says. Drucker uses his Trotec machines to make everything from awards and gifts to Braille and tactile lettering on ADA signage to engravings on glass bottles. Drucker finds custom-engraved labels on wine bottles are popular as gifts, especially with car companies like Lexus and Porsche who give the bottles as gifts to their dealers (shown, page 32). Drucker uses a combination of laser engraving and sandblasting processes to make the labels. “They make a really nice film that

you put over the bottle and then laser it using a rotary device and a laser,” he explains. “Then you can go straight to sandblasting and paint spray the bottle. It’s gorgeous.” Acrylic awards are also popular, and Drucker recently made a set of awards for a car show with a piece of curved acrylic from supplier JDS Industries. “It’s a really lightweight, 1/4-inch-thick piece of acrylic with curved edges,” he says. “It can have blue, green, or whatever color you want on the bottom. It’s kind of lightweight so I laser cut a custom piece of acrylic underneath it to give it some weight.” “For a more dramatic look, I cut some notches on the back of the plate and added a vertical plate behind it so you’d have a black background and then their plate.” Drucker says his machines paid for themselves in six to eight months. “It actually makes a lot of money very quickly. The dollars per hour is really crazy. You really can’t charge by the hour

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How To engraving

By ashley bray

because things go very fast,” he says. “A laser machine is such an advantage because you don’t have to lock pieces down on the table. You just lay a piece of flat material down and it just goes.” Jumbie Industries Owner Jay Selway and his father John opened Jumbie Industries three years ago in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The design and fabrication company makes custom signs, wood accessories, awards, furniture, and more out of wood, plastic, and metal. The company started as an altruistic effort to raise money for a family friend’s son diagnosed with brain cancer. “We ended up raising $100,000 for them. One of the things that we did is we had a silent auction where we auctioned off some laser-engraved skateboards that had the logo for the fundraiser, and it fetched a good bit of money,” explains Selway. “So that got me thinking, I should buy a laser. The first month I had the laser, I made about $4000 selling Christmas ornaments on Etsy for that family. And it just took off from there.” Selway ended up leaving his job in advertising and started Jumbie primarily as a laser engraving business initially, but now they’re more of a full-fledged design and fabrication shop. “We focus on working with interior designers and architects as their one-stop shop for fabrication. If they’re opening up a restaurant or something, we can build pretty much anything to go into that building as well as do all of their interior and exterior signage, promotional products, printing graphics, etc. We’ve even built furniture for places. We’re basically a shop of makers,” he says. 32

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Selway recently upgraded his laser engraver to a 400-watt, 52-by-100-inch Kern HSE Laser System with a metal cutting option to help handle the demand for large format, wooden signs his shop was receiving. “We were getting a lot of people asking us for laser-engraved wood signs,” he says. “We were outsourcing it to another company, but it got to the point where it made more sense for us to just buy our own machine. “When I first got it, I was amazed at how many different parameters you could adjust on it. You can adjust everything from laser ramp-ups, start percentages, pierce time, delays. It allows you to really speed things up and dial in your cutting and your engraving so that you’re more efficient and you can get better work.” Selway also likes the versatility of his laser engraver. “The thing that I like about the CO2 lasers is you can process a wide variety of materials from acrylic to paper to leather. We just got a laser engraving job on some burlap for Marriott Hotels,” he says. “So the ability to switch from cutting steel one minute to laser etching burlap the next is pretty awesome. If you know what you’re doing with the machines, you can really push them and do stuff that’s really creative.” Some of the creative projects Jumbie has recently completed include laser-engraved signs on reclaimed wood for the WWE. “The thing that’s cool about it is, with those projects, we can mill up the wood, laser etch the artwork right into it, and cut the wood blanks directly to the size that we need them,” says Selway. “And the wood that we cut is pretty thick—it’s about an 1-1/4-inch, 1-1/2-inch thick of old, reclaimed pine. So we don’t have to take it

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Advice Both owners had plenty of advice for other sign shops on operating a laser engraver. Selway says the number-one thing to remember is safety. “You’ve got to make sure you’re cutting the right materials and not cutting PVC or something that’s going to release toxic gasses,” he says. “As far as best practices go, it’s like any other tool—you need to have a mastery of the creative process and design first, and then mastering the tool comes second.” Mastering the machine requires practice. “Take your time and practice with the machine,” says Selway. “Learn all the ins and outs of the different settings.” Drucker agrees that practice through trial and error is important. “Every machine has its quirks. It takes a little bit of patience,” he says. “Slow it down, speed it up, and add power until you get the results that you want. And then you store it, and you adjust it as needed. “You want to go as fast as you can because time is money, but you also don’t want to exceed the speed of the machine because funny things can happen if you try to go too fast. It’s a matter of just testing, constantly seeing what works best. Don’t use the slowest speed possible because you’re going to waste a lot of time.” It’s also important to be sure your laser engraver manufacturer provides the support you need. “The longest our machine has ever been down was two days,” says Selway, who explains that Kern overnighted the necessary parts and the shop had the machine up and running the next day. “When that’s your moneymaker, you’ve got to have that support.” If a shop is looking to invest in a laser engraver, Drucker says it’s all about looking at the ROI—keeping in mind all of the new profit avenues the machine will open up. “Where’s your payback on this machine?” he says. “Where do you break even on a machine like that knowing you can be faster and better and create more and different products?” signshop.com

Photos (l-r): Jumbie Industries, ADA Visual Products.

off and cut it on a table saw or router—we can just do it all at once [on the laser engraver], which is really nice.”


Photos (l-r): Jumbie Industries, ADA Visual Products.

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Sign Shops W

elcome to our inaugural SBi Sign Shops of the Year. This article recognizes shops we’ve selected that have stood out over the past twelve months through innovation, sales, and ownership. Some shops are new to our pages; some we’ve covered over the past year.Yet we feel that all have made a mark. Innovation: Poyant Signs Poyant Signs in New Bedford, Massachusetts has been in business since 1938. You could say a few things have changed for the now full-service sign company over its eighty-year history—sign-making processes, business size, and even its 34

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methods of energy production. Looking for a way to reduce its high monthly electric bill, Poyant Signs began researching solar energy options back in March 2016 with the goal of determining the overall feasibility of installing a solar system that would provide all the company’s electrical demand. “[We] began researching panels, systems, and solar installation companies. We also met with building owners who have had systems in place for several years,” says Richard Poyant, president of Poyant Signs. “After reviewing the costs and benefits of this investment for our own company, we realized that this system would eliminate our large electric bill each

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month and decided to move forward.” The shop found that the solar system had additional benefits, as well. “We saw financial feasibility due to subsidies provided by the federal and state governments, which are designed to meet renewable energy goals and policies. The state offers SREC’s, which are credits we receive based on the green energy our solar system produces,” explains Poyant. “Most importantly, we knew that, by installing this solar system, we would be doing our part in reducing our carbon footprint.” Poyant Signs chose to work with Beaumont Solar in New Bedford, based on the company’s reputation, to install the solar panels on their roof. “Shortly signshop.com

Photos (this spread): Poyant Signs.

of the year


the sign shops that caught our attention this past year.

before installing our solar panels, we installed a brand-new roof with a twentyfive-year warranty. Our solar system also had a twenty-five-year warranty, matching the projected roof lifespan with the solar lifespan,” says Poyant. “In addition, the solar panels protect the roof membrane from UV degradation, extending the life of the roof under the panels.” Before installation of the panels could begin, Poyant Signs had to obtain permission from the local Conservation Commission to remove approximately 10,000 square feet of trees that bordered the building and shaded 30 percent of the roof. “We also had to prove that the area we were impacting was not wetlands,” signshop.com

says Poyant. “After removing the trees, we replaced them with flowering shrubs that are suitable for our environment. All engineering for the system also had to be approved by Eversource, our electric utility.” The solar panels were installed on a frame system with a 22-degree pitch. The frames are weighted down by cinder blocks, and the system is designed to withstand up to 120-mile-per-hour winds. The overall installation process took about three months. Thanks to the system, all of the electric in Poyant Signs’ 50,000-square-foot facility is now powered through solar energy. “We would highly recommend implementing a solar system as ours has been nothing but beneficial to our company and to the environment,” says Poyant. “Our system overproduces our needs from May through mid-October, and the overproduction is then credited to us to cover our needs during the winter season when the system will underproduce. “This system results in the use of much less energy, the elimination of our monthly electric bill, and an overall payback of just five years.” Poyant encourages any sign shops interested in solar energy to do their due diligence before investing in it. “If you are thinking of moving forward with a solar system specifically, make sure you research and consider all your possible options for panels, systems, and solar installation companies,” says Poyant. “It is important to find what works best for your company and to make sure you aren’t being sold much more than you realistically need.” Poyant Signs’ green initiatives go beyond solar energy. The sign company is also committed to recycling. “We pre-separate scrap materials to reduce our impact on the landfill. We also have dedicated collection containers for each material we breakdown, including raw aluminum, cardboard, painted aluminum, wood, steel, acrylic, and paper,” explains Poyant, who also says the shop’s fluorescent lamps, paint, chemicals, and motor oil are collected and disposed of by a hazardous waste company. New initiatives this year included changing over the paint system to further the company’s VOC output by more than

50 percent. The sign company is also converting over all the lighting in its facility to LED to further reduce the electricity demand and eliminate the need to dispose of used fluorescent lamps. This effort may also provide capacity to begin converting some of the company’s gas heat to electric, powered by its solar system. “We credit much of our success in our manufacturing facility to the green efforts that we practice on a day-to-day basis,” says Poyant. Sales: FASTSIGNS of Appleton and Green Bay, Wisconsin Doug Brauer has led quite a varied, productive professional life—yet one that has led him to finding sign-making success. He first worked at a publishing company for fifteen years before moving into sales at an auto dealership for three years. However he yearned to venture back into the graphics industry while still being able to fine-tune the art of salesmanship he was crafting. Brauer decided his best option would be to join a sign-making franchise that would give him the support to get up and running. So after researching and analyzing business models, he opened a FASTSIGNS location in Appleton, Wisconsin. That was twenty-two years ago. Flashforward to today and Brauer now owns and operates two FASTSIGNS (the other located in Green Bay, which he purchased four years ago). Both shops are G7 Certified, a 3M Certified Printer, and a 3M Certified Installer, and according to corporate headquarters, they are some of the

Four generations of the Poyant family celebrate the completion of the shop’s rooftop solar system.

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Brauer’s shop makes it a point to listen to and hear what the customer is telling them.

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FASTSIGNS of Appleton Photos: Donna Gehl at Image Studios Inc.

Doug Brauer has surrounded himself with quality employees at both of his FASTSIGNS locations.

leading sales generators in their system. They currently have nineteen employees in Appleton and six in Green Bay. “We have long-tenured people here. In fact, I have one employee who has been with us since day one,” says Brauer. “If you get a good employee, treat them well and pay them well, and they’ll be happy and take care of you.” Although overseeing two sign shops might seem like a daunting task, Brauer finds advantages. “You can share employees and equipment back-and-forth, when needed. It’s also important to have a good manager in our Green Bay location whom I can rely on day in and day out—Amanda Pahl who started up with us in Appleton,” he says. Speaking of equipment, Brauer doesn’t purchase hardware just to have it; instead he picks pieces out based on his customers’ needs. The Appleton location features HP Latex 850 and 360 roll-to-roll printers, an Epson SureColor F-6200 roll-toroll printer, an HP 750 flatbed, a Zünd cutter, a Gerber 408 router, as well as laminators and plotters. The Green Bay shop runs with an HP 500 roll-to-roll printer, an Epson SureColor F-600, and laminators and plotters. “I try to grow our business with our customers,” he says. One new piece of hardware that will soon be implemented at their Appleton location is the new SwissQ flatbed printer. In fact, they’ll be the first FASTSIGNS in the country to own one. “We’re excited because it offers great speed and quality, and it has features we don’t have right now,” says Brauer. “It will be the most expensive piece of equipment we have in our shop, but we will have enough projects for it to make a quicker return-oninvestment, especially since we’re doing more work with ad agencies.” Brauer’s FASTSIGNS centers have produced a lot of ADA signage, fleet graphics, and point-of-purchase displays. They cater to a lot of construction companies as well, and because of expansion taking place in the area, Brauer has noticed an increase in wayfinding projects, which they’ve ridden to sales success over the past year(s). One of the biggest projects both of Brauer’s FASTSIGNS locations worked on recently was coming up with


Humble Sign Co. of Humble, Texas, has evolved from a small attic over a vehicle repair shop seven years ago to its brand-new 20,000-square-foot facility today.

products and all-inclusive services. (To see photos, visit https://bit.ly/2PE5VNV.) The project ended up taking a whole year to complete, but it has led to a suc-

cessful ongoing relationship. Today Brauer’s FASTSIGNS produce signs and graphics for all of Faith Technologies’ job sites—construction site signs, hard

Photo: Humble Sign Co.

multi-faceted branding signage solutions for Faith Technologies, a national leader in electrical planning, engineering, design, and installation, at their new, soon-to-open headquarters. Since this project was going to be a blank canvas, Brauer’s FASTSIGNS could really show off the amount of signage they could create. They met face-toface with Faith Technologies executives to find out their challenges and concerns and then started working on developing “broad-scope” visual communications solutions, both inside and outside the box, making an emphasis on constantly showing these executives how everything would come together. They came up with a combination of dimensional letters and multi-layered acrylic displays featuring Faith Technologies’ core values. Dimensional wall murals and canvas artwork were created that emphasized the company’s focus on investing in and building an experienced team, as well as providing comprehensive

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hat certification decals, electrical hazard awareness magnets, dry erase boards, etc. Overall Brauer has found that the most satisfying thing about working in the sign industry is solving problems and creating solutions for his customers, and the sales generated at his FASTSIGNS locations back this reflection. “All businesses need sign-making services,” he says. “We can all listen, but how many of us actually hear what the customer is actually telling us? We take pride in being able to do this and give the customer what he or she wants.” And appearance plays a key role in attracting customers and retaining employees. Brauer makes sure both his shops are spic-and-span from the front door to the back door. “We don’t believe in any clutter,” he says. “I want our shop tour-ready every day, so if a client or customer wants to walk through our shop and see what we’re doing, we have no problems at all. And our employees also find it easier to work this way.” The future looks even brighter for

Brauer’s FASTSIGNS over the coming months and years, and that’s a big selling point when attracting projects. Owner: Humble Sign Co. When it came time to identify a “Sign Shop of the Year” from the shops we profiled this past year, we considered a number of factors—projects, customer service, sales, etc. In the end, we selected Humble Sign Company of Humble,Texas because of their emphasis on employee relations (“Bigger in Texas,” June 2018). Owner Bart Peterschick took over this struggling business seven years ago and turned it into a full-service custom sign company that does $5 million annually in business and recently moved into a brand-new 20,000-square-foot facility. Peterschick owes all his success to his employees, and he recognizes how keeping them happy is instrumental to their volume of success. “You have to let your workers know that they’re appreciated and give them recognition for their

effort and do it every day,” he told us. “Because in the end, it’s not about your equipment, your facility, or your logo. It’s about your people.” Peterschick and his team always look for someone with a professional attitude and who is open to doing things the right way. And one of the interesting business management techniques Peterschick utilizes that really caught our attention is that he writes a personal letter to someone on his team every week—calling it the “play of the week.” In it, he points out their efforts, thanks them, and gives them a $50 gift card. No one ever feels left out at Humble Sign Co., as everyone is kept in the loop on all projects. Production meetings with every department are held every week where they analyze budgets, review spreadsheets, and discuss project progression. This prevents one person from having to figure everything out and instead invites everyone to contribute ideas and possible solutions.

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installation

By Jeff Wooten

Standoff! Photo: Metomic Corporation.

I

A very heroic sign component.

f you were putting together a Justice League-type team of important signmaking components, then standoffs would surely secure a spot on this roster. These small-sized heroes are not only essential for mounting signage, but they’re more frequently in the spotlight these days as being incorporated into the design of the finished sign display. There really are a multiverse of opportunities where you can use these “off the wall” heroes. Standoffs are sized in diameters as small as one-quarter-of-an-inch upwards to as large as twelve inches. “Al-

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ways make sure that you are using the properly proportioned size of standoffs in relation to the size of your media,” advises Paul Bernstein, vice president of Metomic Corporation (metomic.com). There are several types of standoffs available—caps, barrels (or “spacers”), hubs (installed between the cap and barrel), grippers, and the link and traveler (which add the attachment points)—but the cap-and-barrel system is the most basic and (probably) most used. “A promotional sign with complicated graphics might warrant edge-grip mounting so that more of the artwork is visible,” sug-

gests Bernstein. This diminutive-sized team of aluminum, chrome, and stainless standoffs “stand” heroic in defeating the Legion of Sign Failures, and they’re here to save your projects from disaster. But they need your help at times too. For instance, employing proper mounting hardware is paramount when using standoffs. “While in some cases, a stud epoxied into a stone or masonry surface is the only way to go, there are many options for solid, professional mounting hardware that will keep your barrels secured

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own manufacturing can provide those lengths needed.” “When using standoff barrels to layer signs, installers need to make sure they are doing their due diligence regarding the dimensions and weight of the media they are mounting,” adds Bernstein.

to the wall or other surface,” says Robert Borden, tech lead and customer service manager at Gyford StandOff Systems (standoffsystems.com). “From solid concrete to drywall and everything in-between, there are specific products made to be both secure and easy to install.” Speaking of drywall, Borden says that the diameter of the standoff barrel is an often-overlooked factor, but it can be critical. “Be sure your barrel diameter is sufficient to hold the weight of your sign to avoid barrels ‘sagging’ or drooping,” he states. Bernstein also notices that some sign makers are using too-small diameter caps for larger signs. “It’s important to adjust the diameter of the standoffs to the dimensions of the sign,” he says. “Keep in mind that the longer the barrel then the more leverage it will add to the weight on the wall,” adds Borden. Another issue that Gyford comes across are sign makers and installers who fail to use enough attachment points in order to keep thin materials flat on the wall and avoid curving along a long edge. “Acrylic as thick as 3/8-inch will start to show a deflection over a few feet,” says Borden. “Placing a standoff every twenty-four inches or so will help keep panels flat.” Decorating As noted earlier, standoffs are being 40

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employed more as actual decorative components, as they add a “richer” and “more valuable” look to signage panels. “We are seeing an increase in customers using standoffs for donor wall projects, and many architects and interior designers are using them as decorative accents,” says Bernstein, noting it’s still important the project is adequately secured to the surface being mounted. When used visibly in the finished design, Bernstein advises, “Make sure that the quality and appearance of the standoffs you are using match with the media that you are securing.” Layering signs is another such decorative option, and standoff barrels are ideal here. However there are some challenges—both from a design and installation standpoint. “Ensuring you have enough attachment points for each panel without interfering with your graphics requires careful layout,” says Borden. “For a solid installation, you’ll have standoff barrels stacked to attach to the wall each place you have a cap. Your material thickness has to be accounted for in the lengths of standoffs that reach back to the wall from an upper level layer. “Choosing a product line that has a large selection of lengths can help, but you’ll often need custom length barrels for these locations. Fortunately suppliers that do custom work as well as their

December 2018

Standoff kits with mounting hardware make for a quick solution to a wide range of signage projects. signshop.com

Photos: Gyford StandOff Systems.

As standoffs become more a part of the actual sign display, it’s important that they match the quality and appearance of the media to which you are securing them.

Trending Borden mentions that his company’s LED components for standoffs have been very popular. “Customers are looking for a way to really make their project ‘shine,’ pun intended,” he says. “Laser etching has become much more economical in recent years and using an etched— or a router-cut—LED-lit panel definitely adds sophistication to signage.” Borden feels that his company’s new Designer Series of Standoff Caps are sure to be a big hit. “We are offering laser-etched custom logo work, graphics, and lettering on our caps to make an eye-catching, one-of-a-kind installation available to anyone who is looking for something special on a graphics or signage project,” he says. “This is an opportunity to enhance your client’s installation with a specific graphic or even your company logo engraved onto the cap face.” Borden points out that another “new” trend ironically is hanging “old” things using standoffs. “We’ve seen record collages installed on the wall, engraved saw blades, and quick, decorative signs of painted pallet wood mounted with standoffs,” he says.


MAGNETS

By JEFF WOOTEN

Getting Graphic About

All Photos: Master Magnetics, Inc.

MAGNETS Get attracted to using magnets for interior transformations.

A

ccording to recent research conducted by I.T. Strategies, a custom consultant firm that serves and focuses on the digital print vendor community, the wallcoverings market saw over $100 million in revenue in the last year, citing this mesignshop.com

dium as one of the many fast-growing sectors within industrial printing. But many sign shops and print providers have already figured out that wallcovering and environmental graphic design applications are already one of the hottest trends going today, especially amongst their corporate, medical, retail, and hospitality clients. While a majority of discussions concerning wallcoverings usually revolves around wallpapers, vinyl, and lately, fabrics, savvy sign makers and print providers should also be considering flexible magnet sheets for use in these

types of interior projects, as they are ideal on both flat and curved surfaces. These magnet systems—which combine a flexible magnetic sheeting base with a printable magnetic-receptive sheeting for the graphics—are proving cost-effective for potential clients and attention-grabbers for onlookers. Here’s how it works: The wall or base surface hosts the magnet with an adhesive on its top side then the changeable, printable layers would be added to it. The end-result is that they can be used as either the graphic source or complement the vinyl being used.

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One way to break through the daily distractions is by putting your message in places people might not expect—like wraps on walls. When it comes to printing onto both the magnet and the magnetic-receptive sheeting, experts advise that a wide format inkjet printer equipped with UV, solvent, eco-solvent, or latex ink systems is needed.

The Attractive Advantages of Magnets “The primary advantages of using a flexible magnetic system for wallcoverings are their ease of installation and the simplicity in being able to change and reposition the different layers of printed

graphics,” says Mike Gertz, marketing manager at Master Magnetics, Inc., in Castle Rock, Colorado, noting that some vinyl wallcovering pressure-sensitive adhesives feature formulations for adhering the base that are permanent and

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OSHA Crane Operator Certification is Now in Effect AFTER eight years of delays concerning language, the OSHA Crane Operator Certification finally went into effect on November 10, 2018 and now appears in the Federal Register. Last month, just before the Final Rule was finally adopted, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) did issue guidance to its compliance officers that will direct them to accept accredited crane operator certifications that are based on type alone, rather than type and capacity. OSHA is clarifying the status of the certifications that have been issued under different criteria than those in the original rule.

Effective December 9, 2018, operators of most cranes used in construction activity will have to be certified by an accredited certification body. Additionally the deadline for employers to evaluate each operator on the equipment used (“Employer Responsibility to Evaluate Operator Competency”) has now been extended 90 days until February 7, 2019. The International Sign Association (ISA) has released information detailing all the changes that have been made to the Final Rules since May 2018: • Removed certification by “Capacity” from certification requirements.

Operators must be certified by “Type” (e.g., Mobile, Tower, Gantry), but Capacity certifications (e.g., “Under 21 tons,” “21-75 tons,” and “Over 75 tons”) are now optional. • Added requirements for ongoing comprehensive training of operators, both formal and practical instruction. • Clarified and permanently extended the employer duty to evaluate potential operators for their ability to safely operate equipment covered by the Final Rule. • Required documentation of that employer evaluation. For more information about the OSHA Crane Operator Certification, visit signs.org/cranes.

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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. fb.com/SBIMag

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therefore not repositionable at all. “Users of various print technologies can not only change out their spaces as often as they want without the muss and fuss of a pressure-sensitive adhesive, but it can give them an added dimension to be able to populate the wall coverings as well,” says Shane Colvin, director of Business Development at Magnum

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Sign Builder Illustrated

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Magnetics in Marietta, Ohio. “Imagine a wall covering that required no adhesive, no peeling, no spray bottles, or no heat—just a print that can be simply transitioned anywhere all over the wall.” Of course, there are even more advantages to using flexible magnet systems in interior wall applications, compared to using a vinyl wrap. “The main advantage is the ability to layer and change out graphics quickly and easily,” says Gertz. “Since the graphics can be layered, the entire graphic doesn’t have to be changed, just the frequently changing information or graphic that can be printed on a separate layer.” “Simply print, cut, apply, and repeat!” confirms Colvin. Colvin brings up his company’s Engage Magnetic Receptive System and its ease of use. “Customers have the ability to use rolls with adhesive as the base layer or a double-magnetized material also,” he says. Preparation Techniques with Pull “To prepare the wall or sign base to adhere the adhesive, use a non-oil-based cleaner to ensure that the surface is clean, dust-free, and without any residue from cleaners,” says Gertz. Depending on the surface and application style, Colvin adds that the user could need to use a magnetic-receptive paint prior to magnetic application. “If using an adhesive system, the user would only need to ensure the wall was free of oils or lubricants and ensure that the adhesive would bond well before applying the magnetic materials,” he explains. “Once the magnetic materials are in place, only the receptive would need to be cut into place, similar to wallpaper.” Gertz adds, “Another option for a more mobile display is to mount the magnetic base with adhesive to a thin, rigid sign base, such as Sintra®, which can then be either mounted onto a wall or used as a freestanding display or sign.” Who is Attracted to Magnets? So what markets should sign makers try to address when trying to sell customers on using flexible magnets for interior EGD projects? Fortunately signshop.com


there are a wide range of opportunities to target here. “Environments for magnetic graphic systems include lobbies for businesses and hotels, retail store environments, restaurants menu boards, museum exhibits, banks, and more,” says Gertz, adding that magnetic-receptive graphics were used for a sports arena display featuring the University of Michigan’s tennis team (shown, pages 41-42). Colvin states that retailers are ideal candidates because attracting their customer base in this age of ever-changing messaging is vital to them. “They need to be able to grab their attention at every opportunity, which flexible magnet systems can do frequently,” he says. “The versatility of the product and capability to impact the store’s overall feel and appearance with minimal upkeep can be found at any retail point-of-purchase level small or large.” Magnetic graphics systems work anywhere there is a need for a display with graphics and changing information, and Gertz agrees that retail proves an excellent opportunity here, especially when combined with vinyl. “A good example for use of a magnetic system is in a sporting goods or an outdoor gear retail store,” explains Gertz. “Whether it’s a full wall graphic or a P-O-P display, the main engaging background graphic of mountains and trails can stay in place and the variable graphics promoting sales for hiking boots, backpacks or tents, can be changed out as needed instead of having to reprint and change the entire graphic.”

signshop.com

December 2018

Sign Builder Illustrated

45


Marketplace For Advertising Options contact: JEFF SUTLEY (212) 620-7233 MONICA BOUTROS (212) 620-7225

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46

Sign Builder Illustrated

Sign Substrate

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10/29/12 10:26 PM

December 2018

signshop.com


InfoDirect InfoDirect #

Your Direct Source for Sign Information Receive vital product and service information from manufacturers and distributors by visiting www.signshop.com/infodirect

COMPANY

URL

PAGE

1

3M Commercial Solutions

www.3M.com/IlluminatedSigns

2

Acolyte LED

www.Agilight.com

3

Brooklyn Hardware

www.panelclips.com

46

4

Coastal Enterprises/Precision Board

www.PrecisionBoard.com

46

5

DUNA-USA, Inc.

www.dunagroup.com

37

6

Duxbury Systems Inc.

www.duxburysystems.com

46

17 3

7

FASTSIGNS International

www.fastsigns.com

20

8

FASTSIGNS International

www.fastsigns.com

21

9

International Sign Association

www.signexpo.org

5

10

J. Freeman Inc.

www.jfreeman.com

45

11

JDS Industries

www.jdssignsupply.com

C2

12

Keystone Technologies

www.KeystoneTech.com

7

13

Keystone Technologies

www.KeystoneTech.com

22

14

Keystone Technologies

www.KeystoneTech.com

23

15

Lidco

www.lidcoproducts.com

46

16

Magnum Magnetics

www.MagnumMagnetics.com

44

17

Master Magnetics

www.magnetsource.com/thinforce

42

18

Nova Polymers

www.novapolymers.com

24

19

Nova Polymers

www.novapolymers.com

25

20

Orbus

www.orbus.com

46

21

Orbus

www.orbus.com

46

22

Ornamental Post Panel & Traffic

www.ornamentalpost.com

46

23

Sawgrass

www.sawgrassink.com

26

24

Sawgrass

www.sawgrassink.com

27

25

SDS Automation

www.sdsautomation.com

12

26

Showdown Displays

www.showdowndisplays.com

28

27

Showdown Displays

www.showdowndisplays.com

29

28

Sign America Inc.

www.signamericainc.com

46 C4

29

Signs365.com

www.signs365.com

30

SinaLite

www.sinalite.com

31

Small Balls Inc.

www.brailleballs.com

46

32

Southern Stud Weld

www.studweld.com

45

33

Stamm Manufacturing

www.stamm-mfg.com

15

34

Trotec Laser

www.troteclaser.com

38

1

COMPANIES IN SIGN SHOW 35

3M Commercial Solutions

www.3m.com/graphicshub

11

36

Avery Dennison

www.graphics.averydennison.com

12

37

France Lighting Solutions

www.sfeg.com/france

11

38

Watchfire Signs

www.watchfiresigns.com

11

3 EASY

STEPS

signshop.com

1. Go to our website at, signshop.com

2. Click on our InfoDirect box on the website

December 2018

3. Request info about advertisers & products

Sign Builder Illustrated

47


Shop Talk By ED GUEDES

HTTP://ADA.101

ADA compliance disputes are bad for business.

W

hen the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted by Congress in 1990, it was intended to alter the way commercial establishments interacted with individuals with disabilities. Title III of the ADA required places of public accommodation to make their services and facilities accessible to these individuals. This includes companies like sign shops. Congress provided a two-year grace period for businesses to make the necessary changes. Not surprisingly, many businesses were simply unaware of the requirements or ignored them. As a result, lawsuits by individuals with disabilities began flooding the courts, claiming that commercial establishments had not removed barriers that interfered with the ability of individuals with disabilities to participate in services or products offered.

Of course, in 1990, e-commerce was still years into the future, and the concept of Web sites was merely a theoretical business concept. Today there are fewer and fewer businesses that do not have an online presence. As of the end of 2017, online commerce in the United States approached $500 billion and represented approximately 13 percent of all retail sales in the country, not taking into account those who visit a website without making a purchase. Naturally, included in that group are individuals with disabilities who have a legal expectation that the Web sites will be accessible to them. With the advent of software designed to facilitate the use of Web sites by individuals with disabilities—especially those with visual impairments—and the promulgation of standards for website accessibility such as Web Content

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.

Prices are subject to change.

Pricing, Qualified individual working in the sign industry may request a free subscription. Non-qualified subscriptions Print version, Digital version, Both Print & Digital versions: 1 year US/Canada/Mexico $50.00; foreign $99.00. Single Copies are $15.00 ea. Subscriptions must be paid for in U.S. funds only.

For Subscriptions, & address changes, Please call (US Only) 1-800-553-8878 (CANADA/INTL) 1-319-364-6167, Fax 1-319-364-4278, e-mail signbuilder@ stamats.com, or write to: Sign Builder Illustrated, Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, PO Box 1407, Cedar Rapids, IA. 52406-1407.

48

Sign Builder Illustrated

COPYRIGHT © Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation 2018. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without permission. For reprint information, contact: Arthur Sutley, Publisher (212) 620-7247 or asutley@sbpub.com

December 2018

Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, individuals with disabilities are seeking enforcement of Title III’s requirements through lawsuits. What does this mean for your business? The lesson learned from these lawsuits is generally that prompt compliance is needed to avoid time and expense in court. If you have a Web site or social media platform, take a look at your content. Do your videos have captions for the hearing-impaired to follow along? If not, you’re likely not in compliance. Does your Web site rely on intricate designs? This might cause a problem for visually impaired users. Font, color, and text size need to sometimes be manipulated by the user, depending on their vision status. Your Web page needs to be coded to allow this to happen. Is your Web site compatible with software that reads content for the visually impaired? This is virtually a non-negotiable issue. If you’ve faced legal action, have you taken the necessary steps to comply in a timely fashion? Test your Web site before launching it and don’t hesitate to ask for help. Consider asking for feedback from those who are affected by or are familiar with ADA compliance. Professional Web designers should have a basic understanding of these guidelines, and ADA agencies should be fully aware. Once your Web site is up to code, stay up-to-date with any new guidelines to help keep you on the right side of the law. Remember your business online is an extension of, and just as important as, your physical establishment. Ed Guedes is a member at Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman and chair of the Appellate Practice Group.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sign Builder Illustrated, PO Box 1407, Cedar Rapids, IA. 52406-1407. 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.

signshop.com

Photo: Shutterstock/totojang1977.

ADA


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 (signshop.com), newsletters, Buyer’s Guide, and digital edition keep you updated with timely news, recent projects, and upcoming industry events.

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Profile for Sign Builder Illustrated

Sign Builder Illustrated December 2018  

This issue features stories on digital signage, HDU, laser engraving, standoffs, magnets, and a special section on the sign shops of the yea...

Sign Builder Illustrated December 2018  

This issue features stories on digital signage, HDU, laser engraving, standoffs, magnets, and a special section on the sign shops of the yea...