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Contents MAY 2018

Vol. 32

No. 275

How-To Columns




By Jim Hingst Breaking through the communication barrier.


6 8 12 42 44


Editor Jeff Wooten talks with this year’s ISA Sign Code Champion about how reasonable sign regulations help the industry.


An LED video wall modernizes a bank lobby, remembering Bill Trucksess, and announcing this year’s Watchfire Sign LED Awards winner.

Sign Show

The newest products and services from sign manufacturers.

SBI Marketplace

Advertisements and announcements from the sign trade.

Shop Talk

Jeff Wooten speaks with Chris Densten of Aerial Signs and Awnings about how he avoided intimidation when he started out in the industry.



36 2

Sign Builder Illustrated

May 2018

30 36


By Ashley Bray The signs are much brighter there.


By Jeff Wooten Philadelphia Sign Company puts national accounts in the spotlight.


By Jeff Wooten Design ideas for custom foam-core monuments.


By Jeff Wooten Classic Japanese iconography drives attention!

​Cover Photo: Philadelphia Sign Company.




May 2018, Vol. 32, No. 275 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

editorial Editor Jeff Wooten 323 Clifton Street, Suite #7 Greenville, NC 27858 212-620-7244 Managing Editor Ashley Bray 55 Broad Street, 26th Floor New York, NY 10004 212-620-7220 Contributing Writers Jim Hingst, Lori Shridhare

art Art Director Nicole Cassano Graphic Designer Aleza Leinwand

production Corporate Production Director Mary Conyers

circulation Circulation Director Maureen Cooney

advertising sales Associate Publisher/East Coast Sales Jeff Sutley 212-620-7233 Mid-West & West Coast Sales Monica Boutros 212-620-7225 Sign Builder Illustrated is published monthly. All rights reserved. Nothing herein may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher. To purchase PDF files of cover and layouts or hard copy reprints, please call Art Sutley at 212-620-7247 or e-mail


Sign Builder Illustrated

May 2018



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Editor’s Column


By Jeff Wooten

May 2018 MAY 7-11:

LIGHTFAIR International, the world’s largest architectural and commercial lighting tradeshow, happens at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. (

June 2018 JUNE 7-9:

The 2018 SEGD Conference— Experience Minneapolis—takes place in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (

Champion of Codes

JUNE 14-15:

The Midwest Sign Association’s Midwest Sign Show will be held at the Motor City Casino Hotel in Detroit, Michigan. (

Recognizing a voice for reasonable sign regulations.


Sign Builder Illustrated

May 2018

ISA and getting a lot of help from Kenneth Peskin and James Carpentier.” When asked the type of signage with the most unreasonable sign codes these days, Soday immediately cites electronic message centers. “They’re really kind of the black eye of the industry in a lot of places because people don’t like the brightness or don’t like the light,” he explains. “Many people don’t understand them and what they do. The biggest thing I’ve found with the communities and the jurisdictions is that they have no idea of the economic impact one of those signs can have on a business and even signage in general. “There’s a lot of misunderstanding out there. People say they don’t want their communities to look like Las Vegas, but they don’t realize there are ways to monitor that. There are brightness recommendations, and there are ways to automatically dim anything exceptionally bright.” Soday says the key to reasonable sign codes is educating planners, and it’s something that needs to start with the younger college graduates getting jobs in this field. “It’s important to train them to understand what signs are,” he says. “Once they understand and educate themselves, they have an entirely different opinion of the types of signage. The more information you put in front of them, the better.”

Jeff Wooten Editor,


The Texas Sign Association’s Sixty-Fifth Annual Conference happens at Moody Gardens in Thackerville, Oklahoma. (

July 2018 JULY 18-21:

The Mid South Sign Association’s Annual Meeting and Tradeshow takes place at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. (

August 2018 AUGUST 9-11:

The Tri-State Sign Expo commences at the Downstream Casino Resort in Joplin, Missouri. (

AUGUST 29-31:

Photo: Optec Displays.


ith thirty-two years of experience in the industry, Kevin Soday had no idea that his work would lead to the title of this year’s ISA Sign Code Champion, presented during ISA International Sign Expo 2018 this past March. This annual award goes to a sign professional who goes “above and beyond” advocating for improved sign regulations. Today Soday is president and CEO of full-service Stellar Signs & Designs in Winter Park, Florida, yet he has long dedicated his time and energy to assisting his peers, government officials, and city planners with sign code issues. Soday first got involved in this area by volunteering for the legislative committee of the Florida Sign Association back in the mid-1990s and then becoming head of legislation with the Southern States Sign Association (SSSA) seven years ago. According to a press release, tis recent work has led to positive outcomes on licensing issues in South Carolina and Georgia. He also works regularly with local officials in Florida, helping them understand how reasonable sign codes help businesses and improve communities. He also works alongside the ISA to bring educational events to planners. “Working in the Orlando area, I kept running into too many code issues that seemed ridiculous,” says Soday. “At first, I did this out of a need for information, but then I saw there was a lot of things that seriously needed to be changed with codes. So I started offering assistance through

The WSSC Sign Show/CSA Convention will be held at the Hyatt Regency Orange County in Garden Grove, California. (




Congratulations to the Watchfire Award Grand Prize Winner

Ace Sign Company, Springfield, Illinois Watchfire is proud to manufacture the best looking, most reliable signs in the industry, sold exclusively through our dealer network. Sales support services and demo trucks available.

In The Industry

LED Video Wall modernizes

Bank Lobby


onolulu, Hawaii—A new, high-end LED video wall from Sansi North America (SNA) Displays is the visual centerpiece of the newly renovated Bank of Hawaii main branch location in downtown Honolulu. The digital wall, a cutting-edge FINE PITCH Interior S|Video™ LED display with more than 2.4 million pixels, was designed into the sleek new lobby space as part of the bank’s “Branch of Tomorrow” twenty first-century banking experience makeover. Other renovations to the bank’s main branch included a sprawling, open floor plan; private transaction rooms; floorto-ceiling modern finishes; contemporary furnishings; upgraded easy-deposit 8

Sign Builder Illustrated

May 2018

ATMs; and tablets for more personal interactions and greater convenience. The vibrant lobby video wall spans the length of the bank’s entrancefacing wall, greeting customers with striking visuals. The display’s content rotates through bold, colorful imagery drawn from themes of the Hawaiian voyaging canoe. The screen also serves as a state-of-the-art canvas for showcasing bank promotions and other marketing campaigns. Measuring thirty-three feet long and seven feet high, the modern screen features a 3mm pixel pitch, meaning the center of each pixel is just 3 millimeters (0.19 inches) from the center of an adjacent pixel. With almost two and a half

million pixels (720 high-by-3,360 wide), the LED video wall is capable of displaying high-resolution video and images. SNA Displays partnered with Ford AV, one of the leading commercial AV integrators in the U.S., to install and integrate fourteen large subframe assemblies into one beautiful LED canvas. Ford AV designs, installs, and manages complex AV and lighting systems in a variety of verticals and is a member of SNA Displays’ channel program, a mutually beneficial partnership between SNA Displays and best-in-breed integrators, specialists, consultants, and other value-added solutions partners. Ford AV is known for installing some of the largest and most complex AV

Elvis davis Awarded

A new video wall spans the length of the bank’s lobby wall, greeting customers with striking visuals.


This project allowed us to extend our products and services to a new market in Hawaii. projects including ExxonMobil, AT&T, Houston Intercontinental Airport, State Farm, Fannie Mae, Apple Headquarters, Denver International Airport, Broncos Stadium, and the U.S. House of Representatives. Project management teams from both SNA Displays and Ford AV coordinated on the Bank of Hawaii project onsite. The project crews installed the lobby display in only two-and-a-half days. “The crew from Ford AV was nothing short of impressive,” said Jamin Johnson, field service manager for SNA Displays. “Their overall approach, mobilization, and efficiency throughout every step of the installation helped make this project a success.”

Rick Bortles, vice president of SNA Displays’ Channel Program, said partners like Ford AV are driving unprecedented growth in various markets for the company. “This was a very exciting project for us, allowing us to extend our products and services to a new market in Hawaii,” said Bortles. SNA Displays’ attention to detail, quality control, and teamwork was appreciated by the Ford AV crew. “We were excited to partner with SNA on this project and look forward to future projects,” said David Allen, Ford AV, EE, VP. “SNA has a great product and support to go along with it.” Discover more details at and

l e x a n d r i a , V i rg i n i a— Longtime Memphis sign industry professional Elvis Davis was presented the Kirk L. Brimley Distinguished Service Award at ISA International Sign Expo 2018. The International Sign Association (ISA) presents the award each year to a leader who has made significant contributions to the sign, graphics, and visual communications industry. Davis (pictured, center) was honored for his work with ISA and the Mid South Sign Association (MSSA), serving on both boards of directors. He also participated on ISA regional and government affairs committees. “[Elvis] made sure that other sign company owners could learn from his experience,” said ISA Chairman of the Board Mark Granberry (pictured, right). “He has presented training on business strategies for many years, helping others succeed as he has.” In addition to his work in the sign and graphics industry, Davis has volunteered countless hours to organizations in the Memphis area, including serving on the board of directors for AGAPE Child & Family Services and organizing fundraisers for HOPEWORKS.

May 2018

Sign Builder Illustrated


In The Industry Watchfire LED Sign Awards

D Remembering Bill Trucksess,



almyra, new jersey—A. William “Bill” Trucksess, an industrial engineer who took the helm of his family’s company from his father and built it into a national leader in the sign industry, passed away Thursday, March 1. He was eighty-seven years old. In the 1960s, when Trucksess was in his 30s, he became president of Philadelphia Sign Company. The company was founded in 1911 by his father, Andrew, who was 18 at the time and purchased a sign business for $500. Under the Trucksess family leadership, Philadelphia Sign has grown to be one of the largest, most influential sign companies in the nation. In fact, the company’s timeline mirrors the growth of the U.S., and at times, has reflected the history of the world. From the heyday of neon through wartime efforts to the rise of retail chains and multi-site conversions, Philadelphia Sign has been at the forefront over the decades. Bill Trucksess oversaw all corporate operations for Philadelphia Sign from the 1960s to 2012. During the 1970s and 80s—with the onset of banks mergers and more and more clients expanding nationally— Philadelphia Sign also grew by adding large-scale production capacity and


Sign Builder Illustrated

May 2018

computer technology to their repetoire. Bill transformed the business from a “custom sign shop” to a full-service national sign company that was extremely capable of handling a wide range of customer needs. Bob Mehmet, the current president and CEO of Philadelphia Sign, said Mr. Trucksess was the consummate entrepreneur. “I’d known [Bill] since 1973 and been working here full-time since 1980, and he’s been nothing but an inspiration to me,” he said. “His success was because he never gave up. He did whatever he had to do to get the job done while remaining competitive. He had a vision, and that’s why the company has and will remain successful.” As the country’s oldest turnkey national sign provider, Philadelphia Sign Company has earned the trust of the world’s top brands through their inspired design engineering, unlimited manufacturing capabilities, and world class program management. And the legacy of Bill Trucksess will continue to live on through the company’s ongoing success today.

anville, Illinois—Ace Sign Company in Springfield, Illinois, has a history of providing innovative signage with custom features. Its recent efforts for HSHS Medical Group at a family clinic in Chatham, Ill., earned Ace the Grand Prize in the 2018 Watchfire LED Sign Awards. The HSHS Medical sign features a vertical freestanding monolith showcasing a 16-by-16-foot, 16mm Watchfire edge wrap display. Custom content by Ace Sign Company incorporates an architectural dynamic that utilizes the capabilities of LED signage technology. Watchfire Signs established the awards program in 2014 to recognize Watchfire dealer partners who best showcase the capabilities of outdoor digital advertising. The fourth annual awards recognize onpremise signs installed in 2017 that display excellence in design, legibility of digital messages, and advertising effectiveness. “Watchfire believes strongly in supporting our dealer partners with high-quality digital signs that can be installed in many ways,” said David Warns, Watchfire’s vice president of On-Premise Sales. “The only limitations are their imaginations when it comes to sign designs that will have the greatest impact. We are proud to recognize our dealer partners who focus on promoting the strengths of digital advertising.”

To read more details about Philadelphia Sign Company’s work with national accounts, turn to the feature “Lights! Signage! Build!” on page 26.

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Sign Show ACRYLICS/PLASTICS Plaskolite Acquisition Transforms the North American Sheet Industry Acrylic sheet products manufacturer Plaskolite, LLC is acquiring the North American polycarbonate sheet manufacturing business of Covestro, a global leader in high-tech polymer materials. Plaskolite is acquiring sheet headquarters, production sites, and warehouse facilities in Sheffield, Massachusetts and will maintain the existing third-party distribution warehouse facility in Hebron, Ohio. With this acquisition, Plaskolite will employ 950 people. The closing is expected to be completed August 1, 2018. Plaskolite serves a diverse customer base, including distributors, OEMs, and retailers, and its customized products are used in a wide variety of applications (windows, doors, lighting, signs, and point-of-purchase displays).

DIGITAL PRINTING EQUIPMENT/SUPPLIES Canon ImagePROGRAF Devices are Now Compatible with ColorByte ImagePrint Software Continuing to collaborate with third-party business partners to provide end-users with tools to expand the possibilities for printing, Canon U.S.A., Inc., has announced that Canon’s imagePROGRAF large-format printers are now compatible with ColorByte’s two ImagePrint software products—ImagePrint BLACK and ImagePrint R.E.D. While ImagePrint BLACK is exclusive to the imagePROGRAF PRO Series, the cost-effective ImagePrint R.E.D. software can be used with all devices in Canon’s imagePROGRAF lineup. When used together, Canon’s imagePROGRAF devices and ImagePrint software enables end-users to maximize the efficiency of their color management process and achieve exceptional output.

Mimaki USA Announces the Product Expansion of Its UCJV300 Series Three new Mimaki USA UCJV Series printers—UCJV300-75, UCJV300-107, and UCJV300-130—offer a smaller footprint with the same operational features of the larger UCJV300-160. The new printers deliver a range of applications and versatility with layered print technology (including new four-layer and five-layer capabilities). Their integrated cut functionality enables volume production of decals, window clings, vehicle markings, and more in each unit. These UCJV300 printers also utilize flexible UV inks that cure instantly, allowing customers to quickly print and immediately laminate or deliver the finished product without waiting for drying. With the capability of layered printing, each printer can deliver dynamic backlit graphics or graphics that are transformed with different light sources. U.S. availability is expected mid-summer 2018.

Mutoh America Now Shipping Rotary Attachment for ValueJet 626UF UV/LED Flatbed Printer Responding to the increasing popularity of the specialty print market, the Mutoh Rotary unit can be added to the ValueJet 626UF printer for the ability to print on cylindrical pieces such as glasses, bottles, candles, cups, etc. The Rotary unit is an optional device for the Mutoh ValueJet 626UF UV Flatbed Printer. Using the included RIP supplied with the VJ626UF, varnish and white inks can be applied to the surface of the cylindrical objects for a custom effect. Requiring just two screws, Mutoh’s rotary attachment for the VJ626UF is easy to install. It is capable of printing on 1.2- to 4.7-inch-diameter objects using two roller pitch options. It has an adjustable media retainer to accurately place various-diameter objects on the roller for consistent printing. It is able to produce a high-gloss finish by applying varnish overcoat.

Roland DGA Launches the World’s First Laser Foil Decorator—the DGSHAPE LD-80 Engineered to enhance a vast array of items with text, logos, and graphics using a variety of metallized and holographic foils, Roland DGA’s DGSHAPE LD-80 laser foil decorator makes it easy to personalize and add value to small, off-the-shelf products such as fountain pens, cell phone covers, stationary, and more. A variety of attractive foils can be used with the LD-80, and users can choose from a selection of gold, silver, and other metallized foils or even holographic foils. The LD-80 comes bundled with a powerful, user-friendly software package that makes product personalization and customization simple. A wide selection of fonts are available, and settings like font size and spacing can be adjusted at the click of a mouse. Vector data can also be imported, including custom designs like illustrations and logos.


Sign Builder Illustrated

May 2018

Sign Show DIGITAL SIGNAGE/PROJECTORS Epson Introduces LightScene: A New Category of Laser Projection for Signage Epson's LightScene™ is designed to illuminate and project dynamic content on virtually any surface to provide an immersive experience for commercial signage applications. Two models are available—LightScene EV-100 in white and LightScene EV-105 in black—and the laser projectors blend in discreetly and offer an array of configuration, mounting, and programming options. Epson laser technology provides up to 20,000 hours of virtually maintenance-free operation. Templates, effects, color filters, and customizable options are included, and users can create playlists, control the projector, and schedule functions remotely. Users can daisy-chain LightScene projectors and utilize Edge Blending technology.

DIMENSIONAL SIGN equipment/supplies Massivit 3D’s New Printer Increases Accessibility into 3D Printing Market The Massivit 1500 Exploration 3D Printer from Massivit 3D Printing Technologies delivers an affordable, print shop-friendly solution to enter the world of large format 3D printing. By incorporating 3D-printed models or enhancements to existing 2D applications, print providers can expand their product portfolio. Based on the company’s unique proprietary Gel Dispensing Printing technology, the Massivit 1500 can quickly produce lightweight, hollow pieces up to 4.8 feet high, which can be joined together to make any size display. Beyond integrating perfectly in a print shop environment, the Massivit 1500 and 1800 address a growing demand for greater customization in traditional signage, like channel letters and soft signage structures.


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Sign Builder Illustrated

May 2018

Material this tough shouldn’t engrave this easily.

NEW Dura-Guard™ makes Duets® Laser XT even more durable. Introducing Dura-Guard, a new option for Duets Laser XT that dials up maximum durability. Ideal for high-traffic, high-contact signage, wayfinding and industrial labeling applications, Dura-Guard offers the perfect balance of wear resistance and easy cleaning. Try it yourself. Go to for a free test sample, or ask your Duets by Gemini distributor.



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Sign Show led modules/tubes/strips Get Your Signs on Fast with Qwik Boxes from Principal LED Option overload, confusing specs, and unreliable power supplies can be a thing of the past with Principal LED. The company has streamlined its lineup and has designed new Qwik Boxes to help you get your signs on and running with ease. Principal LED's single- and double-style Qwik Boxes ensure that your power supplies are protected from the elements—now with more configuration options. The new design includes convenient grounding plug location, a smaller size option for tight spaces, and updated clearance spacing. Find a distributor today!

service trucks/craneS Elliott Equipment Company Introduces the V60 Material Handling Aerial Work Platform The new V60 material handling aerial work platform from Elliott Equipment Company mounts on a non-CDL, 19,000-pound GVWR chassis for increased driver flexibility. In addition to its 63-foot working height, the new V60 provides 38 feet of working side reach and a 30-by-40-inch top-mounted platform with a 500-pound capacity material handling jib. The jib quickly converts into a boom tip winch with 1,000-pound capacity when operated from the ground controls, giving the V60 the best material handling capacity in its class. The V60 features Elliott’s new SMARTControl system that shortens set-up and tear-down time and improves operator control from the platform.


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Sign Builder Illustrated

May 2018

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Sign Show STANDOFFS/MOUNTING EQUIPMENT Gyford Standoff Systems Launches Three New Products The Gyford StructureLite Blade Sign Kit is a solution for interior sign mounting, including wayfinding, storefront signage, and departmental signs. The mounting components in this kit may be assembled ahead of time before arriving to a job site for quick installation. Gyford StructureLite Spider Mounts are a way to connect the corners of fours signs to a single mounting point or to mount partition panels to a post. The mounts are offered in four-hole and two-hole options for finishing off the end of partitions or signage runs. The Gyford Fin/Baffle System Components (pictured) are used to create light-diffusing and sound-suppressing baffles suspended from ceilings or to create vertical fins down an entire wall or hallway.

VINYL/VINYL FILMS/SUPPLIES New Coral Color for ORACAL 651 Intermediate Cal ORAFOL Americas Inc., is pleased to announce that the much-sought-after Coral color (#341) is now joining the industry fan-favorite ORACAL® Series 651 lineup. ORACAL 651 features a clear, solvent-based, permanent adhesive with excellent cutting and weeding properties, as well as one of the lowest shrinkage rates among economy films. Its proprietary formulation ensures optimized stability and resistance to UV degradation making this film the perfect solution for medium-term outdoor applications. Add a tropical oasis feel to your next project by combining the new Coral color with one of the many blues and greens that are available. (888) 672-2251;

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May 2018

Sign Builder Illustrated




Making the Sale Today


elling today is much more difficult than it was forty years ago, when I started as a salesman. Back then, people would actually answer their phones, and in some cases, even let you in their buildings before they booted you out. The business culture has dramatically changed since then. Now many companies have restricted their lines of communication. In some cases, it can be nearly impossible to talk to any of the key managers. Voicemail is a major screening device. Some companies have even replaced receptionists with automated phone systems. The dilemma is that many companies will not see salespeople without an appointment. And the salesperson cannot ask for the appointment when no one answers the phone. Buyers also have a misperception of salespeople as fast-talking, high-pressure flimflam artists, who really don’t know much about the customer’s needs but will say anything to make a sale. It’s not a very flattering image, and it’s one that 18

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you need to change. Here’s how to go about it. Becoming the Expert in your Field. This takes a commitment to improve your knowledge of the industry daily.

Make the effort to educate yourself and increase your competency, and you’ll move from a peddler to a consultant. You should get in the habit of reading industry-related literature at least one hour a day. If you make the effort to educate yourself, you will eclipse your peers in competency—not just in your

company but also in your industry. If you put in the time, you will eventually transition from a peddler to a consultant. What’s more, if you actively promote your expertise, people will call you; you won’t need to call them. Create a Newsletter. To promote any articles that you may write or to announce developments at your company, publish the information in a newsletter written for your audience of existing customers and prospective customers. This requires that you not only take the time to compose the newsletter, but you also need to build a database. Once you do that, you can use a service, such as Constant Contact®, to distribute your newsletters and email blasts. Develop a blog. Today I generate about 30,000 page views each month at my blog (www.hingstssignpost.blogspot. com). Building an audience takes time. If you want to build traffic, you must post articles regularly so that prospects continue to visit. Once you start a blog, you also must promote it. You can do this in many different ways. These include linking your newsletter to your blog. You can also make an agreement to link with other sites. You can provide content for other sites as a guest blogger. When you send out correspondence, include a link. I even put the site address on my business cards. Network. The friendships that you make in the graphics market can pay off in referrals from your contacts. When I was selling fleet graphics, I developed close relationships with the truck leasing people. I also joined a truck safety council. In the sign industry, you can volunteer for association committees. The relationships that you form with the leasing people can be especially invaluable. These salespeople will know long before you ever will when prospects are looking to lease vehicles. If

Photo: Shutterstock/ Alexey Boldin.

Breaking through the communication barrier.


you develop a graphics package for their customer, they can roll the price of the program into the terms of the lease. This can be a true win-win. The leasing company salesperson makes more commission when they put together a bigger package. The customer wins because he can finance a major program over the terms of the lease. You


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May 2018

win because you not only make the sale, but more importantly, the leasing company pays you before he turns the equipment over to the customer. Referrals. When was the last time you ever heard a salesman ask for a referral? It hardly ever happens. That doesn’t make any sense, because if you do it right, it can be one of the most effective

ways to get your foot in the door. In case you’re new to sales, a referral is usually defined as asking an existing customer for a lead. In today’s market, that does not get you too far. To my way of thinking, instead of just asking someone who you have just sold for a lead, ask him if he or she would make the introduction. Getting referrals from an existing customer can get you in the door in an otherwise inaccessible place. The referral also puts the prospect at ease and helps build confidence because it’s a recommendation from a trusted member in his industry. Most salespeople feel uncomfortable asking for a referral. These are usually the same people who find it painful to ask for the order. There are a number of suggestions to make the practice easier. When the customer asks you for a reasonable concession or a favor, ask him for a referral in return. It might go something like this: “I think we can do that. In return, I’m hoping that you might help me out. I’m having such a hard time getting an appointment with so-and-so. Since you’re friends with him, could you give him a call for me? Maybe the three of us can meet for lunch.” Giving a prospect a sales lead also affords you with an opportunity to ask for a referral. Ask immediately after giving the prospect something of value because he will feel obligated to give something back in return. Whether you follow up the referral with a phone call, letter, or e-mail, use your customer’s name immediately in the conversation or correspondence. “Joe Jones told me that I should give you a call. We just installed new graphics on the inside of their stores. He thought that you might be interested in hearing about our range of services.” If any of these techniques sound like something that you would be comfortable with, my suggestion is to put it in your own words and practice, practice, practice until the lines are second nature. Does that sound too canned for you? Remember that selling is like being

Photo: Shutterstock/ Alexey Boldin.


Photo: SNA Displays.

an actor. If you want your performance to shine, you have to own the role. Considering how valuable referrals can be in growing your business, you should make asking for referrals a routine in your sales calls. While “ask and you shall receive” may not produce business all of the time, not asking is guaranteed not to produce results. As a final note, when you get a referral, don’t forget to say thank you. YouTube. YouTube can help you break down barriers that prevent you from reaching your prospects. What’s important is that you use it to deliver useful information and not to do a chest-pounding hard sell. Your objective should be to build your credibility as an authority in your field by delivering sound advice or reporting pertinent and newsworthy industry stories in an entertaining yet professional manner. An effective tactic is to provide links from your Web site, blog, or email to short educational video clips that provide answers to the types of questions that your prospects most frequently ask. As these questions arise, add them to your list of topics to cover. If a question is about manufacturing or installing graphics, the video can give you an opportunity to show you or your people in action or to showcase your shop. A short video can also present a case study about a customer’s successfully implemented signage program. Using a problem-solution format, you can tell a story about an account that had a challenge or business objective and worked with your company to develop a program that satisfied their needs. With a cell phone or video camera and the assistance of a friend, you can produce these videos for very little time and expense. Once you produce the videos, then it is time to promote them in any way that you can. This includes posting your videos on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You could also embed your videos in your blog. And you could announce new videos in a newsletter as well as providing links to videos on your Web site.

May 2018

Sign Builder Illustrated


Feature sign program Name By ASHLEY AuthorBRAY

The signs are much brighter there.


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May 2018



as well as some other CAD programs. The project called for a variety of exterior and interior signage. For the exterior, Nova Sign Group fabricated and installed a large set of channel letters spelling out 1919 and a unique water-jetted granite inlay in the front of the building. In the parking garage, the sign company supplied the channel letters, flag signs, and wayfinding signage. On all the interior floors, the sign company supplied the apartment identification signs outside of the doorways, common area signage, lighted safety signage, and the ADA/wayfinding signage. Interior Nova Sign Group was tasked with supplying over 1,500 signs for the interior of the building, and all of them were created using thermoforming. First Nova Sign Group created a CNC-routed negative out of extruded acrylic using their five-by-ten MultiCam APEX3R CNC router. The shop then heated up a piece of acrylic to 350 degrees in a press for about five minutes. They exerted 5000-psi force down on the piece of acrylic and pushed it into the negative. The result was a solid piece

of acrylic where the beads of Braille and the letters could not be picked off. Following the thermoforming process, colors were painted onto the acrylic subsurface using both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams paints. The interior signs were installed in the apartment building using 3M VHB™ tape and silicone. Channel Letters On the exterior of 1919 Market Street, Nova Sign Group was tasked with creating a set of channel letters spelling out “1919,” which were installed over the top of the main building entrance. The challenge with this set of letters was providing structural support while still meeting design requirements. “They didn’t want any kickers or any supports back on that so basically we had to rely on doing more or less a butt weld to a bottom plate on there,” says Kennedy. “We had to think up how we were going to engineer this structure to basically hold a butt-welded piece of a letter directly from the bottom with no visible structure.” The solution was to waterjet the face and the back of the letters out of 1/2inch plate aluminum. The returns were

All Photos: Julia Lehman.

ocated in Center City Philadelphia, 1919 Market Street is a mixed-use luxury apartment building with a wealth of amenities and fantastic skyline views. The building wanted signage that reflected the luxury living it offered, and so the general contractor Hunter Roberts brought Nova Sign Group from Mount Holly, New Jersey onto the project. (Note: We covered another of Nova Sign Group’s projects in our March 2018 issue, “The Sign-Making Jackpot.”) Nova Sign Group joined developers LCOR & Brandywine Realty Trust as well as designers Poulin+ Morris on the project. The plans were about 90 percent complete for the signage package, but the design ideas were still pretty abstract. “They came to us with a lot of conceptual ideas, not necessarily engineered ideas, kind of an idea board,” says Corey Kennedy, COO of Nova Sign Group. “We took their idea board and went and visited several locations throughout the area, which were their basis of design.” From there, the sign company drew up the final designs using a variety of software, including Adobe Illustrator, AutoDesk® Inventor®, SOLIDWORKS,

May 2018

Sign Builder Illustrated


hand-formed out of .063 aluminum. Both the back, front, and returns of the letters were painted with Matthews Paint in Brushed Aluminum. In the center of the letters, the shop used 1/2-inch-thick clear polycarbonate. The letters were held together with countersunk screws in the returns, and Bitro LEDs were embedded in the returns so that they shined in on the inside of the letter and illuminated the polycarbonate from the edge. The letters were then butt-welded to one-inch solid plate on the bottom. A raceway fabricated from 3/16-inchthick aluminum housed the power supplies and secondary wiring, and it was painted with Matthews Paint in Brushed Aluminum to match the letters. For the installation, the 1919 letters (which were already welded to the plate) were taken to the job site on a flatbed trailer and lifted in one piece using the shop’s fifty-foot Elliott Equipment truck. The letters and raceway were attached to the existing structure using Hollo-Bolts. “What we ended up having to do is cut the roof away in certain locations and install stubs through the roof to accommodate our plate aluminum,” says Kennedy. “Then have the roofer come back after, flash over the top of the entire thing, close it back up, and accomplish what we needed to be done while still maintaining the warranty of the roof.” Nova Sign Group had to install the sign off-hours and worked from 10 pm through 7 am. “We had to basically close off one of the lanes of the road and ensure that none of the residents of the building were going to be coming in and out through that front door because

this is right over their main and pretty much only entrance into the building,” explains Kennedy. Parking Garage The parking garage required a variety of signage, including letters spelling out “Parking” at the entrance. These letters were fabricated in the

same way as the 1919 letters over the main entrance with a combination of aluminum fronts and backs and clear polycarbonate in the center of the letters. Bitro LEDs were also used to illuminate these letters. (Note: All the exterior signs are lit with RGB LEDs, and they are synced up to one controller that can create effects like

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Sign Builder Illustrated

May 2018

changing colors or fading in and out.) Nova Sign Group also fabricated a three-foot-diameter, round flag sign with a “P” in it. The circular sign was made from aluminum and the “P” is stainless steel. A whiteout backing made from white acrylic was sandwiched between two clear pieces of polycarbonate so that the sign was evenly lit by Bitro LEDs.

Nova Sign Group used its fifty-foot Elliott Equipment truck to install these two parking garage signs. The installation had to be completed off hours again and required the street to be shut down. The interior wayfinding and level identification parking garage signage, such as “P4” and “P5,” were plastic letters CNC-cut on the shop’s MultiCam

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router. They were then painted with AkzoNobel paints and installed on the walls or columns of the garage. Hanging signs were also provided, and they were fabricated from .080 painted aluminum. Reflective direct-UV prints were printed onto 3M reflective vinyl using the shop’s Mimaki four-by-eight flatbed UV printer and then applied to the aluminum. Inlay One of the final elements of this large signage job is a unique inlay at the main entrance, and it required Nova Sign Group to design it twice. Originally it was a glass inlay with stainless steel letters that was backlit with Bitro LEDs. “We unveiled it for about twenty-four hours, and they got a snowstorm, and it was a little more slippery than intended,” says Kennedy. “So they had us cover it back up.” After two months of re-engineering the inlay, Nova Sign Group decided to use granite on the redesign. They partnered with a stone manufacturer and used two different types of granite to create the inlay. The 1919 was waterjet-cut out of a solid white piece of granite, and then a darker granite was used in the cut lines. The glass inlay was removed, and the four-by-eight, roughly 600-pound granite inlay was brought to the site in one piece. “We carried it into place with two straps. Beneath it there’s sand under there to absorb the impact and to level it out,” says Kennedy. “We carefully lowered it into place and then removed the straps. We filled the gap that’s around the outside with a silicone mastic.”

Use your smart phone, tablet, or computer to: • View color chips • Retrieve RGB and CMYK values Register at


May 2018

Sign Builder Illustrated


branding By JEFF WOOTEN

LIGHTS! Signage!



Sign Builder Illustrated

May 2018

Putting the spotlight on national accounts.

All photos: Philadelphia Sign Company.


hiladelphia Sign Company has been in operation for over one hundred years now and is today headquartered in Palmyra, New Jersey. They have other plants in Pennsauken, New Jersey and Littleton, Massachusetts, as well as sales and project management offices in Chicago, Detroit, Knoxville, Long Island, Portland, and Virginia Beach. They do work all over the United States and have a global division doing work through The International Sign Alliance (TISA). They owe this growth to the vision of A. William “Bill” Trucksess, who from the 1960s to the 1990s served as president and CEO of the company that his father Andrew started way back in 1911 handpainting signs. Bill continued to be involved in the business operations to 2012. Sadly he passed away this past March at the age of eighty-seven. (Note: See “Remembering Bill Trucksess” on page 10.) But it was during his tenure that the company expanded internally and increased its output of signage projects and accounts. He transformed the business from a “custom sign shop” to a full-service, multifaceted national company, capable of servicing a wide range of customer needs on a national, regional, and local basis. Philadelphia Sign is now the country’s oldest turnkey national sign provider and has been recognized in the industry as a leader in signage design, fabrication, installation, maintenance, and lighting for branding and conversion programs. One recent high-rise project included collaborating and working for two years with contractors to build and install twenty-foot-tall red letters atop FMC Tower, Philadelphia’s first “vertical neighborhood” and the tallest building in the city. Today Bob Mehmet serves as president and CEO of Philadelphia Sign, and he continues to build upon Trucksess’s legacy. “[Bill] always believed in growing the company organically, and he wanted to do that through interior growth and he did a good job at that,” says Mehmet, noting that the good reputation they earned through the years helped their ability to grow. “He was a big believer in paying his vendors and subcontractors in a very timely manner. He always stood by what was right for the client. And doing so allowed us to grow bigger and bigger.” As Philadelphia Sign grew through the 1970s, adding large equipment and computer technology, they were able to venture more into national accounts, such as providing exterior signage for numerous Fortune 500 companies. However the concept of servicing national accounts evolved over the years and really took off in the 1980s, when Philadelphia Sign broke May 2018

Sign Builder Illustrated


tional accounts. For example, the company recently helped with the conversion of the Walker Theater into a new Target (the theater opened its doors back in 1926 before closing in 1988 in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn). Its new signage pays homage to the building’s past as a destination theater for the community.

Philadelphia Sign installed state-ofthe-art LED-illuminated units around the perimeter of the marquee and the underside that correspond with a hardwired chasing unit to create a multichannel flashing sequence. They used Sloan Prism 6500k LED modules for the Target logos and accent lighting on the faces of the sign.

through into the banking and financial industry (working on interior and exterior identity signage projects for clients like Beneficial, First Merit National Bank, First Republic Bank, Centura Bank, and more). According to Mehmet, bank programs have been their biggest sector over the past thirty years. “A lot of this has to do with bank mergers, of course,” he says. Mehmet says that banking is a highend industry in the signage market when it comes to national corporate accounts. “When you’re doing banking work, you’ve got to be doing something right,” he says. Of course, Mehmet comments his company was prepared for this work because Trucksess was always focused on providing a product that was top-notch. “So we expect the best of ourselves just as much; we’re our own worst enemy,” he says. “We would reject something through quality control for a tiny scratch that you might not see because it’s twenty feet in the air.” Another national account that Philadelphia Sign works with is Buffalo Wild Wings. They are one of three sign vendors the restaurant chain uses throughout the country, and Mehmet cites them as an enjoyable client because they are very “aggressive” in keeping up with state-of-the-art technology. “We will build identification signs and channel letters to their specifications,” he says. “And keeping with the trend of today, they are all internally illuminated with LEDs.” According to Mehmet, about 90 percent of the lighting-related projects they do today are LED-related. Mehmet notes that change has always remained fluid on the electrical/lighting side, explaining that the fluorescents and neons of yesteryear have given way to more LED, particularly when it comes to na28

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In addition, they installed a two-sided flag sign on the front elevation that incorporated these LED bulbs and chasing unit to coincide with the flashing sequence of the marquee sign below it. They had to pay special attention to detail when designing the mounting plates and installation protocol so as to protect the ornate masonry wall covering this building.

Philadelphia Sign has worked with a variety of corporate automobile companies and dealerships over the years as well, crafting everything from artistic neon signage for Pontiac in the ’50s to a wide rollout of signage for Subaru. And the styles of signs have evolved since their early years of hand-painted signs to neon then fluorescent and now LED. Mehmet reflects that the requests from automobile clients have evolved, much of this is due to the technology available at the time and the ways one can use machinery to fabricate signage. “A lot of it back in the day was taste and what designers thought looked cool back then,” he says. Through the company’s quality work at many of Subaru’s 600 dealerships across North America, Philadelphia Sign was recently awarded the chance to create a new sign for the future headquarters of the American subsidiary of the Japanese automaker in Camden, New Jersey. They created the Subaru company name and logo via new internally illuminated LED signage featuring thermoformed faces and installed them at the top of the five-story, 250,000-square-foot building. While traditional signage trends have remained stable under Mehmet’s watch, he does point out that paint finishes have improved tremendously over the years. “Now there are finishes that will last as long as a car will,” says Mehmet. Still Mehmet comments that Trucksess used to joke about how everything always seems to come a full 360 in terms of sign trends. “[Bill] used to say it because in the early 80s, everything was on round poles then everything went to square poles and then back in the late 80s, it went back to round poles,” he says. “And honestly it always seems to move back-and-forth between curved signs versus flat signs and radius corners versus square corners.” Through Trucksess’s leadership, the tenure of employees is close to twenty years on average, making the success of the company possible. His last words were to “keep it going, baby.” And for Mehmet, he plans to honor Trucksess’s legacy by continuing to grow the company.

May 2018

Sign Builder Illustrated




Musings S

ign maker Greg Kitzmiller tries to avoid cookie-cutter signs as much as possible, instead opting for the creativity and artistic freedom that one-off projects provide. This makes every sign a little different, and that’s what Kitzmiller loves most about the industry. “Every job has a whole new design element about it,” he says. “Today’s job will never be like yesterday’s, and tomorrow’s job will never be like today’s.” Kitzmiller is the owner of Great Impressions Signs and Designs, a full-service shop located in Columbus, Ohio that specializes in custom builds. They’ve been in business for twenty-one years, starting from humble origins. “The first thing we ever did was letter a carnival trailer in my grandmother’s driveway,” says Kitzmiller, noting that they’ve grown in employees (twelve) and equipment (digital printers, CNC routers, paint 30

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booths, etc.) over the past two decades. One area they excel at is monuments. They build brick monuments in-house (Kitzmiller dubs them “brick-and-mortars”) and outsource EPS foam-core monuments to wholesale provider Custom Foam Fabricators for fabrication. They’ve been using Custom Foam to build lighter weight EPS foam-core structures from their designs for the past fifteen-plus years. The largest foam-core monument they’ve installed measured sixteen feet wide and twelve feet tall. Their work may be custom, but they do follow a step-by-step plan to make sure their customers get the best monument. The first thing they do is help the customer decide whether they want a brickand-mortar or foam-core monument. Kitzmiller and his team begin by asking about their budget. “Foam monuments are always a little cheaper,” he says. One thing Kitzmiller likes about

foam-core monuments is that they sit on a floating foundation. “So when the ground moves, the sign will move with it,” he explains. “With real brick, everyone can see cracks where the monument has settled over time. “But with the floating foundation, as the ground freezes and thaws through the seasons, the monument will move with the ground and avoid those stress cracks.” Kitzmiller does find that brick-andmortar monuments are easier to transport because you can move them in pieces from the shop, as opposed to the entire structure. “However you’re still digging a couple of holes and setting the pipe with whichever type of monument the client selects,” he says. To start the design process, Kitzmiller ventures out to the customer’s site to observe their building—the structure style, door colors, gutters, shutters, etc. He also makes notes about the surrounding

Photos: Great Impressions Signs and Designs.

Design ideas for custom foam-core monuments.

Kitzmiller employed natural elements in this monument design to complement the surrounding scenery.

The client asked Great Impressions to add LED-illuminated external sconces to this monument.

environment. “Is it going to be located near a golf course or next to a freeway?” says Kitzmiller. “Are there lots of trees?” They also pay attention to the rules and regulations enforced by municipalities. “In the city of Columbus, for example, you’ve got a fifteen-foot setback from the right-of-way, so we have to observe what’s fifteen feet behind the right-ofway,” says Kitzmiller. “Is it going to be an easy dig, or are we going to have to bring somebody in to cut concrete? Is there another monument there that we’re going to have to dig up their foundation to put in a new one? Or can we use the old foundation?” If the client chooses foam-core for their monument, they’ll send their design over to Custom Foam for a four- to six-week build. “They rarely turn down any of our designs,” says Kitzmiller. Kitzmiller still tries to incorporate the element of natural materials. “With apartment communities and homeowner associations, we try to give them the ‘warm and fuzzies,’ so that it doesn’t feel commercial,” he says. “Residential locations want a monument sign that makes them feel comfortable and that they’re at home. They don’t want something that reminds them of the principal’s office.” For foam-core monument structures provided by Custom Foam, Great Im32

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pressions will still apply their own touches by adding sign panels and architectural letters that reflect and/or complement the surroundings (particularly since they have their own CNC routers and cutters). Speaking of surrounding scenery, Kitzmiller always guides his clients to consider placing big things (such as large bushes) on each end of the monument, to help make it appear bigger than it is. Flowers are another element Kitzmiller says work well with monuments. “We tell people that they want lots of color in front of their monument,” he says. “Color will bring people’s attention to the sign. Make sure they’re low so they don’t obstruct the face of the monument.” A sloped ground shouldn’t be a deterrent for monument placement. Kitzmiller says this just involves a little extra work for installation. “You have to grade off the uneven ground to make it flat before you pour the foundation,” he says. As for illumination, external spotlights shining onto the monument remain the big draw here. But there are still opportunities to get creative. For a country club, Kitzmiller added external sconces selected by the customer to the monuments for a lighting effect. “When they picked them out, I took their dimensions and made sure that there would be enough support in the

foam-core monument to be able to screw the sconces to it,” he says. “I also verified that the proper PVC pipe would go through it so that we could run wires through it. We ran the wires through the monument and then installed the LED bulbs inside the sconces after the monument had been set up and installed.” Speaking of LEDs, Kitzmiller says this technology has become a big component nowadays because of the power savings they provide (a big plus for end-users). LEDs are mainly used for internal illumination, although he has employed them as border lighting in some cases. Great Impressions also pulls the permits and variances for their projects. “Typically electronic message centers are harder to get approval in some locations,” he says, noting that he has worked on several monument projects where they’ve embedded full-color LED displays into brick and foam-core structures. “They’re usually approved in commercial areas but are really discouraged for businesses in residential locales because people are trying to sleep.” In the end, Kitzmiller and his shop always come in on time and on budget with the variety of artistic custom structures that they design while also managing to give their customers a one-of-akind, monumental experience.

Remembering Bill Riedel (1928-2018) Bill Riedel, the “de facto grandfather” of the Walldogs, and the owner of Reidel Sign Co. (Little Ferry, New Jersey) since its founding in 1957, died on February 20, 2018, three days before his ninetieth birthday. His lasting legacy to the American Sign Museum is his work on the “Signs on Main Street,” which was dedicated on June 23, 2012, following a week of work by twentyeight sign artisans from the U. S. and Canada. A fifteen-minute video captured that process, and in it, Bill said, “To see so many different projects being executed at the same time by the top people in both countries, I couldn’t ask for anything better.

People can have their special cruises and vacations and Super Bowls. This is my best. This is what I live for.” (Note: To view this video, visit Bill was a fixture at the annual Walldog meets, in which artisans go to different towns and paint huge murals on the blank walls of buildings. Typically the murals chronicle local history. At the Shipshewana (Indiana) Walldog meet in 2014, Riedel was honored when the several hundred artisans all wore t-shirts with Bill’s face on them. Additionally a special crockpot was given to him in which fellow artisans placed autographed sign brushes.

A U.S. Navy veteran from World War II, Bill painted his first sign while in the Navy. His last public appearance occurred at the United States Sign Council’s Sign World show in Atlantic City in the first week of December 2017. A fixture in that show’s annual “Bullpen,” Bill kept busy all three days painting a sign as a tribute to local firefighters. Even in his last week in the hospital, a Facebook post showed Bill drawing a Valentine’s Day greeting. In his obituary, the family wrote, “In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution to the American Sign Museum.” —Wade Swormstedt, writing for the American Sign Museum

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9/19/16 3:37 PM


Classic Japanese iconography drives attention!


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May 2018


dvances in today’s print hardware, software, and materials are opening up a wide (format) variety of options for clients interested in customization—particularly with vehicle wraps. Many of today’s car owner customers want something that not only reflects their interests but also want something that no one else has. One such customer recently switched out the vinyl graphics on his 2016 Corvette C7 Stingray for Japanese-inspired graphics, as one talented vinyl specialist followed the wrapper’s bushido (code) to

make this request happen. Steve Carney has been wrapping vehicles (cars, trucks, fleets, and even planes) for nearly fifteen years now, and he and his wife Jen have made an imprint in this field by winning accolades for their creative designs. The couple started up and owns Carbon Wraps in Winter Park, Florida. “We always like to make our wraps as artistic and original as possible,” says Steve Carney, “to keep art alive and continue to ‘wow’ people.” Carbon Wraps had already wrapped this Corvette C7 Stingray two years ago.

All Photos: Carbon Wraps.



on wheels

They designed and installed a artistic, collage-style Day of the Dead theme printed with white UV ink onto Matte Black vinyl. The liquid ink was cured with UV light, resulting in the white being raised on top of the wrap and giving it a mind-blowing, tattoo-like appearance. In fact, this wrap won Carney’ region in Avery Dennison’s Wrap Like a King contest in 2016. “He was ready for a change though,” says Carney. “He loved his original wrap so much that he still wanted to stay with the art collage style that we’d come up with for it but to make it more subtle.”

The customer requested something with a Japanese style, but at the time, all he knew he wanted was to incorporate a dragon into the new design. “While he felt the last full wrap was amazing, as a daily driver, he wanted something more discreet,” says Carney, noting that the client still wanted to keep some of the flair found in the Day of the Dead wrap. The Carneys ran with that idea and added more Japanese iconography. “Together we decided that, in addition to dragons, samurais were a ‘must’ for this wrap,” says Carney. “Then my wife and I

added geishas and ninjas, along with the other elements, into the wrap design.” The customer is a big fan of matte black and thought it would be cool to use black ink for these graphics. Fortunately the Carneys had already printed different shades of purple onto matte purple vinyl for a previous client (resulting in a purple camouflage appearance), so they were ahead-of-the-curve in figuring out how to achieve this. They felt a ghosted appearance for the graphics would work best. Carbon Wraps used the same Pro Vehicle Outline template they had created May 2018

Sign Builder Illustrated


The Japanese-style wrap features geishas, ninjas, dragons, and samurais.

for the Day of the Dead wrap. “Templates are more for reference, so we also always take our own photos and double-check all the measurements,” says Carney. “Going from a flat 2D appearance to a live 3D install is different. You have to have a good understanding of design and install to fit a wrap to a car.” Initial testing, however, showed that matte black vinyl and UV black ink wouldn’t work well. “We initially used a new textured laminate and discovered the contrast was no longer visible. We quickly realized that a laminate was not going to work for this project,” says Carney. Since cut graphics were not going to be a presentable option for this black-onblack wrap, Steve and Jen instead printed the Gloss Black designs onto twenty yards of 3M 1080 Matte Deep Black vinyl using a latex ink. Their detailer coated the vinyl instead of using a laminate. Every vehicle that Carbon Wraps applies vinyl to is detailed and taken apart (without a Katana sword) for installation. “We then hand-prep the vinyl panels with alcohol, knifeless tape, etc., prior to wrapping,” says Carney. “After we finish prep38

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ping the vehicle, I find that it’s helpful to have at least two installers and the rendering for reference.” Since this was a printed wrap, Carbon Wraps broke the panels up by sides, hood, hatch, and bumpers. The hood lined up to the bumper to create the samurai mask, the hatch lined up to the back bumper showing the ninjas and geisha with fan, and the sides were their own scenes with samurais, geisha, dragons, ninjas, and

towers. “Because each view is unique, we had to be sure each view of the vehicle was its own story,” says Carney. As a lover of Japanese martial arts and culture, Carney found this project especially fun. “The monochromatic style of this wrap displays that classic colors worked in an imaginative way can still give a powerful impact,” he says. “When we bring a client’s vision to life, and they’re happy with the results, it’s the greatest reward.”

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SDS/AdamsTech. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16


4over. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C3


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Sign America Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43


Brooklyn Hardware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

31 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C4


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Custom Foam Fabricators Inc.. . . . . . 31


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TRC Electronics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19


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Epson America Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5


Watchfire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7


Fastenation Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20


Wilkie Mfg., LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33


FASTSIGNS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28


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Canon USA, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12


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J. Freeman Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21


Elliott Equipment Company . . . . . . . . 16


JDS Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C2


Epson America Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14


Keystone Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . 11


Gyford Standoff Systems . . . . . . . . . . 17


Lidco. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42


Massivit 3D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14


Massivit 3D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13


Mimaki USA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12


Matthews Paint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24


Mutoh America. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12


Matthews Paint. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25


ORAFOL Americas, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . 17


Nova Polymers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3


Plaskolite, LLC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12


Orbus. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42


Principal LED. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16


Orbus. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42


Roland DGA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12


Ornamental Post Panel & Traffic. . . . 42

InfoDirect #


STEPS 1. Go to our website at,


2. Click on our InfoDirect box on the website

3. Request info about advertisers & products

May 2018

Sign Builder Illustrated




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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.

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Sign Builder Illustrated

May 2018

2/16/17 9:06 AM

Sign Builder Illustrated




Getting Over Intimidation

Young doesn’t equal naive in the sign industry.


ast month, Sign Builder Illustrated published a stor y about the younger generation of sign professionals and the challenges that they face pertaining to their role in the industry, as well as their general thoughts about working in signage. However, due to space limitations and some other factors, we were unable to include everyone who participated. This month, we would like to profile one such interviewee. Chris Densten (not pictured), 36, is a project manager at Aerial Signs and Awnings, a full-service sign company in Chester Township, Pennsylvania. Ten years ago, he started out looking for an entry-level position as a project manager in a construction-related industry. He landed a job with a national sign company where he found himself working on re-branding banks (thanks to the ’08 crash and many of the large banks buy-

ing up smaller regional banks). It was here he realized the importance of signage and branding for businesses. “This was somewhat of a boon to the sign industry,” he says. Densten found that his organizational and customer relationship skills helped him excel at his job, which, in turn, led to him managing more projects at one time—extending into various industries like health care, retail, petroleum, and convenience stores. “I can proudly say that I’ve been integral in helping to provide brand recognition for countless customers all the way from the beginning design stages through on-site installation,” says Densten. Densten admits that when he was starting out, he found it a “little intimidating” to deal with customers and subcontractors alike as a younger person with a limited knowledge of signs. “However I came from a construction

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 (800) 895-4389, (847) 7639686, Fax (847) 763-9544, e-mail, or write to: Sign Builder Illustrated, Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, PO Box 3135, Northbrook, IL 60062-3135.


Sign Builder Illustrated

May 2018

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

background, which I felt helped me overcome those challenges much quicker than someone else just starting out in the industry,” he says. “I personally feel that having earned a degree in business but coming from a construction background has helped me to excel in the sign industry. “There has to be a good mix of understanding your customers in the business world but also understanding how to fabricate and install signage from a practical field perspective.” Unfortunately he finds that many people seem to view signage as an afterthought. “I feel that a well designed sign is key to brand recognition and letting existing and new customers know where you are,” he says. “It’s our job, as sign professionals, to educate our clients on the importance of using signs to help distinguish their business from their competitors.” Densten agrees that one of the advantages today’s younger generation of sign makers has in the industry is their ease and acceptance of new technologies. “For a younger person, technology is just a part of everyday life,” says Densten. “It’s much easier for a younger person to use technology to their advantage—whether it be for design, communication, or most importantly, information sharing.

“I have been integral in helping to provide brand recognition for countless customers.”

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

Photo: Shutterstock/ By Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko.

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Sign Builder Illustrated May 2018  

This issue features stories on channel letters, sales, vehicle wraps, foam-core monuments, LED lighting, and more!

Sign Builder Illustrated May 2018  

This issue features stories on channel letters, sales, vehicle wraps, foam-core monuments, LED lighting, and more!