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Fast and easy to install with no special tools required, SignBOX II creates the perfect grid of light for optimal even illumination. Watch our time-lapse video at and see how simple it is to install versus a fluorescent system.

Vinyl Removal & Replacement


Festival Signage Goes to the Birds





The Race: SignBOX II vs. Fluorescent


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Command Performance


The 2014 SGIA EXPO Booth #2849



ER 22


., INC.

Experience the power of Seiko Instruments’ leading-edge print technology unfolding right before your eyes. You’ll be amazed as we transform our booth into a vibrant storefront using splashy, saturated graphics that set the new standard in print technology.


S. A U.

Where Will Color Take You?




READY FOR THE FUTURE, HERE TODAY. Designed specifically for higher production runs onto rigid substrates, Océ Arizona ® 6100 series printers deliver outstanding image quality but at speeds of up to 1,668 square feet per hour. With an accommodating 8 x 10 foot image area, Océ Arizona 6100 series printers can easily handle oversized boards or speed through standard-sized boards by utilizing the two independent 4 x 8 foot print zones complete with their own pneumatic registration pins and vacuum pumps. While one board prints, the second board can be prepped so the printer never has to stop. EXPERIENCE THE NEW SPEED OF QUALITY. CONTACT US TODAY! COME SEE US AT THE SGIA EXPO IN LAS VEGAS, NV! VISIT OUR BOOTH #2613, OCTOBER 22–24, 2014.

1-800-714-4427 | US.INFO@CSA.CANON.COM Canon is a registered trademark of Canon Inc. in the United States and elsewhere. “Océ” is a trademark or registered trademark of Océ-Technologies B.V. in the United States and elsewhere. Océ Arizona is a registered trademark of Océ Display Graphics Systems, Inc. in the United States and elsewhere. All other referenced product names and marks are trademarks of their respective owners and are hereby acknowledged. The absence of product or service mark names and logos anywhere in the text does not constitute a waiver of any trademark or other intellectual property rights pertaining to that name, mark or logo. © 2014 Canon Solutions America, Inc. All rights reserved.



October 2014

67 34

40 28

The Elements of Safety BY LORI SHRIDHARE

Vehicle graphics design for first responders.

34 40


Site-enhancing Chive Fest BY JEFF WOOTEN

Big Cs, a fourteen-foot-tall ostrich, and the biggest Operation ever.

Find Your Wayfind Design BY MIKE ANTONIAK

Navigating wayfaring challenges. Plus, digital wayfinding guides patients.


Tracing Typography Codes BY CRAIG BERGER & SAPNA BUDEV

Typography codes in the new ADA. Plus, elements of ADA sign fabrication.

Sign Builder Illustrated (Print ISSN 895-0555, Digital ISSN 2161-4709) (USPS#0015-805) (Canada Post Cust. #7204564) (Bluechip Int’l, Po Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2, Agreement # 41094515) is published monthly by Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, 55 Broad Street, 26th Floor, New York, NY 10004. Printed in the U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and Additional mailing offices. Pricing, Qualified individual working in the sign industry may request a free subscription. Non-qualified subscriptions printed or digital version: 1 year US $48.00; foreign $96.00; foreign, air mail $196.00. 2 years US $75.00; foreign $150.00; foreign, air mail $350.00. BOTH Print & Digital Versions: 1 year US $75.00; foreign $150.00; foreign, air mail $250.00. 2 years US $102.00; foreign $204.00; foreign, air mail $404.00. Single copies are $36.00 ea. Subscriptions must be paid for in U.S. funds only. Copyright Š Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation 2014. All rights reserved. Contents may not be


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

The Details on Dye Sublimation BY ASHLEY BRAY

A print provider finds sublimation success. Plus, explaining the dye sublimation process.

67 70


How sign shops can get into the business of branding.

Sign Ballast Ruling DOE Fluorescent-sign-ballast regulation goes into effect November 14.

76 82

Building a Better Brand

Downloading a Monument Sign BY ASHLEY BRAY

A good network leads to a quality identity sign.

Ground Rule Graphics Renovation BY SARAH MALPELI

Pittsburgh Pirates honor past achievements with new look for Legacy Square.

reproduced without permission. For reprint information contact: Arthur Sutley, Publisher (212) 620-7247 or For Subscriptions, & address changes, please call (800) 895-4389, (402) 346-4740, Fax (402) 346-3670, e-mail or write to: Sign Builder Illustrated, Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, PO Box 1172, Skokie, IL 60076-8172. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sign Builder Illustrated, PO Box 1172, Skokie, IL 60076-8172. Instructional information provided in this magazine should only be performed by skilled crafts people with the proper equipment. The publisher and authors of information provided herein advise all readers to exercise care when engaging in any of the how-to activities published in the magazine. Further, the publisher and authors assume no liability for damages or injuries resulting from projects contained herein.


How-To Columns




Digital Signage: The Educated Customer

The Semi Side of Vehicle Graphics


19 Digital Signage:

The Educated Customer



Digital signage & DOOH network lessons learned.

22 The Semi Side of Vehicle Graphics BY MARK K. ROBERTS

Creating and installing large aluminum signs to a tractor-trailer truck.


When it comes to branding, Editor Jeff Wooten presents information about why image is indeed everything for you and your clients.




Sign Show


SBI Marketplace


Shop Talk

The latest news from around the industry.

The newest products and services from sign manufacturers.

Advertisements and announcements from the sign trade. GRAPHICS JOBS

Vinyl Removal & Replacement




Festival Signage Goes to the Birds



Jeff Wooten speaks with an industry expert to get grand designs on large format printing.

On the Cover A police car vinyl-decorated for the Colorado Sheriff’s Convention held earlier this year. Photo: Artworks Unlimited, LLC.

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

OCTOBER 8-9: The National Signage Research & Education Conference (NSREC), sponsored by the Signage Foundation, Inc. (SFI), will be at the Kingsgate Marriott in Cincinnati, Ohio. (www. OCTOBER 9-11: USSC Sign World International 2014 takes place at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (www.ussc. org/main_signworld.html) OCTOBER 21: DSE ONE, an education and networking program for digital communications and interactive technology solutions, runs at the New York Conference Center. (www.









OCTOBER 22-24: SGIA Expo is headed back to the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. ( OCTOBER 30-31: The Western States Sign Council (WSSC) 2014 Sign Show will be held at the Phoenix Airport Marriott in Phoenix, ArIzona. (

NOVEMBER 2014 NOVEMBER 4-7: The automotive SEMA Show, featuring 2,300+ exhibiting companies, rolls in to the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. (


Fast and easy to install with no special tools required, SignBOX II creates the perfect grid of light for optimal even illumination. Watch our time-lapse video at and see how simple it is to install versus a fluorescent system.

The Race: SignBOX II vs. Fluorescent



October 2014, Vol. 28, No. 232

Brand Name Signage

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

President and Chairman ARTHUR J. McGINNIS, JR.

Image is the most important thing.

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; fax: 212/633-1863



ometimes the story behind a company’s logo can be just as visually arresting— particularly when it comes to using the simplest imagery to deliver the most complete branding. It’s like using the height of artistic prowess to trumpet that less can mean more (than meets the eye, that is). For example, have you ever noticed the use of negative space in the FedEx® logo that creates a forward-moving arrow? Or have you caught the hidden-in-plain-view “31” in the BaskinRobbins® logo (representing the chain’s thirtyone flavors)? Or have you ever considered that the smiling, curved arrow under the Amazon® name starts at “A” and ends its trajectory at “Z” (reemphasizing the company’s testament to offering everything from “A to Z”). “Image is everything” was a famous Canon® tagline that accompanied its print and media campaigns for cameras. This mindset still rings true for a lot of your customers, thus the need for a signage presentation that best suits their needs. Let’s get serious. Getting down to brass tacks, it’s really all about the branding. And it’s something that sign shops with their talented designers should consider offering any of their customers in need here. I’m not saying that everyone needs to be the next Saul Bass or Paul Rand (two legendary names in the logo design field), but there are more opportunities out there to create or improve upon your client’s brand than just signage. On page 67 (“Building a Better Brand”), we interview Dan Antonelli, president and CEO of Graphic D-Signs ( in Washington, New Jersey, about how he has branded about one thousand businesses and written three books about building a brand. His advice will help you get a better grasp of



how to handle your clients’ branding needs. In his recent book, Building a Big Small Business Brand, Antonelli explains the importance of a good brand and how to build one. But what about the less-than-stellar branding that’s already out there? How can sign shops identify bad branding and offer to do a revamp? Antonelli lays out the characteristics of a second-rate brand. Some of these characteristics include: + The logo has a swoosh, beveled Photoshop effect, etc. “Photoshop effects are a clear sign of an amateur brand created by an amateur designer,” he says. + The logo contains a photo. “It means that the logo is bitmap-based rather than vector-based,” he explains. + The logo uses Clip Art. “The logo can never be trademarked,” he says, “and there is nothing preventing a competitor from using the same exact Clip Art in their logo.” + The logo was created using a template. “It typically will deploy generic clip art,” he remarks, “and there may not be any logic about how to carry it into all required media.” + The logo looks dated. “The typography or the illustrative style and graphics seem outdated,” he explains. + The logo doesn’t convert to blackand-white or grayscale. “The foundation of a good brand is one that works well in both color and black-and-white,” he says. In branding, image is indeed everything. It’s what people remember about a company. So if you become more involved in this design process for your customers, aim to give them something that not only works but also gets more of their message across in a special way.

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

Ashley Bray

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

Butch “Superfrog” Anton, Mike Antoniak, Craig Berger, Sapna Budev, Jim Hingst, David Kaszycki, Sarah Malpeli, Mark Roberts, Lori Shridhare, Randy Wright ART

Corporate Art Director Wendy Williams Designer Emily Cocheo PRODUCTION

Corporate Production Director Mary Conyers CIRCULATION


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

Kim Noa

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

Visit us at SGIA booth #1800!

Photos courtesy of 144th Marketing Group.

Day and Night! ORALITE® 5650RA

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Top Left and Above: "Best in Show" and First Place "Sign Systems" (House of Signs); Top Right: First Place "Monument Sign, Internal Illumination" (Danthonia Designs).


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

Bristol, Pennsylvania— The judging is in, and once again, the 2014 USSC Sign Design Competition demonstrates that the members of the United States Sign Council (USSC) are highly creative designers—coming up with some of the most innovative ideas in sign design throughout the country. The thirteen First Place winners are featured in the organization’s 2015 USSC Sign Design Calendar, which was mailed to all USSC members (and available this month at the USSC Sign World International event in Atlantic City, New Jersey). The USSC Sign Design Contest is one that judges real signs— signs that have been ordered by a customer and built to specification and signs that are being viewed by the general public day after day. Judges this year were Ron Maletich from Effective Sign Works in Burlington, New Jersey, and Richard Crawford of Mercer Sign Consultants in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. This year’s “Best in Show” was awarded to Roger Cox and Bonnie Norling, designers at House of Signs in Frisco, California, for Trout Creek Ranch (who also claimed First Place for the “Sign Systems” category). Other First Place winners included: “Banners, Murals, or Supergraphics” – DeNyse Companies of Douglasville, Georgia (company and location)/Richard Swartz (designer) (Plainview Apartments) (project); “Building Sign, External or NonIlluminated” – House of Signs/Roger Cox and Periandros Damoulis (Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters); “Building Sign, Internal Illumination” – Barlo Signs of Hudson, New Hampshire/ Matt Oddy (Teresa’s Prime); and “Carved/Dimensional, Affixed to a Building” – House of Signs/Bruce Holisky (Potter’s Fire). Also: “Carved/Dimensional, Monument or Freestanding” – House of Signs/Roger Cox and Periandros Damoulis (Munn

Architecture); “Electronic Message Center Sign” – Strickler Signs of New Oxford, Pennsylvania/Ray Wissman (Bay City Restaurant); “Freestanding Sign, External or Non-illuminated” – House of Signs/Roger Cox (Wilderness Sports); and “Freestanding Sign, Internal Illumination” – Green Sign Co., of Greensburg, Indiana/Shawn Green (Family Dental Care). And: “Monument Sign, External or Non-illuminated” – Gable Signs & Graphics, Inc., of Baltimore, Maryland/Curtis Arbaugh & Scott Russell (Church on the Rock); “Monument Sign, Internal Illumination” – Danthonia Designs of Inverell, New South Wales, Australia/Nancy Kaiser (Grace Lutheran Church-Rothwell Campus); “Multimedia” – Danthonia Designs/Geordie McKernan (Shalom College); and “Vehicles” – Green Sign Co./ Robert Brancamp (Enneking Pressure Wash). To view photos of all the First Place award winners, visit

First Place Winners (clockwise from top left): "Freestanding Sign, Internal Illumination" (Green Sign Co.); "Mounument Sign, External or NonIlluminated" (Gable Signs & Graphics, Inc.); "Carved/Dimensional, Affixed to a Building" (House of Signs); and "Vehicles" (Green Sign Co.).

October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


Dispatches + Eagle-themed Public Artwork Takes Flight


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

Inspired Wayfinding Mendon, Massachusetts—Bethel Baptist Church in Valparaiso , Indiana needed a cost-effective solution for changing its interior wayfinding signage regularly for conferences, events, and church worship services. So the congregation hired Aion Solutions of Merrillville, Indiana to help develop a more flexible solution for its wayfinding needs. “We have a small facility, and we use different desks and rooms for different purposes,” says Fred Butson, worship director at Bethel Valparaiso. “Sometimes in one day, we need to switch out signage several times.” Aion developed a layered magneticreceptive wayfinding system using the Visual Magnetics Graphic System® that could be changed out easily by church staff. The team at Aion recommended VM-POLYmatte® and VM-InvisiLock® mounted onto Sintra® boards to make communicating to church visitors easier and more effective. For example, after church worship has wrapped up, the “Worship Hall” layer can be removed to reveal “Conference Hall,” if the church is also hosting a conference or event that day. “We looked at all kinds of different solutions for better communication,” says Butson. “We liked that Visual Magnetics’ print media was nice and clean, clear, and versatile. "And once we realized we could swap out signage to communicate different things, we were sold.”


Statesville, North Carolina— Community spirits soared at the June 7 unveiling of the new “Eagles in Flight” public artwork in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, as part of the city’s 2014 Pitt Meadows Day and Centennial celebration. The cubedshaped mural installed in the city’s Harris Road Park is a collaborative effort of Pitt Meadows’ resident and internationally recognized artist Brad Dinwoodie and members of the community. The idea for the mural came about as a way for the Pitt Meadows Public Art Steering Committee not only to educate local residents about public art but also to engage children at the Pitt Meadows Day celebration, according to Susann Sigmund, past chair of the Committee and a local photographer/designer. “For our little community [population: 18,200], this was a really big deal,” she said. Dinwoodie’s original mural design was printed by Port Coquitlam-based Epic Imaging, Inc. ( via their Fujifilm Acuity UV flatbed printer onto four, four-by-eight sheets of 3/16-inch-thick Bright White Gatorfoam® from 3A Composites USA ( The printed mural was cut into 288 eight-by-eight-inch tiles that were num-

bered on the reverse side for placement in the finished artwork. Local children, teens, and adults were asked to paint the tiles with exterior acrylic house paints in bright colors. The painted Gatorfoam tiles were then pieced together to create one mosaic image onto which Dinwoodie airbrushed an overlay of eagles in flight with mountains in the background to reinforce Pitt Meadows’ designation as “The Natural Place.” The completed mural measures 8 feet tall-by-16 feet wide, so Sigmund and Dinwoodie devised a plan to display the mural outdoors wrapped around a threedimensional aluminum frame containing cement-board walls. The sculpture features a rain-guard top and was secured to a poured concrete base. The painted Gatorfoam tiles were adhered to the cement board with LePage PL Premium construction adhesive. Any exposed edges or spaces between the tiles were sealed with clear silicone. The entire mural was sealed with four coats of a urethane-based UV clear acrylic, in order to protect it from the elements, UV sunlight (fading), and graffiti. “This mural turned out even better than the city council imagined,” said Dinwoodie, co-founder of WT Designs ( “Since children painted the majority of tiles, they [can] come back year after year to see it.” Detailed product, fabrication, and application information can be found at


BEAUTIFUL VERSATILITY Rowmark’s ADA Alternative ® and ColorHues™ engravable materials are the optimal choice of products for ADA compliant and wayfinding signs. Offering the industry’s largest selection of sheet materials in today’s most popular colors to create visually dynamic (yet compliant) signage. Visit today for more information or to request a FREE ColorHues™ sample chain.

F E AT U R E D P R O D U C T S ColorHues™ /// ADA Alternative ® LaserMax ® /// Stand-Offs

| 877.rowmark

Dispatches +

An Exotic Car Goes Green in Light Green Pearlescent SW 900-777-S and Gloss Black SW 900-190-O. Three installers worked on the wrap, which took eight days to complete due to the elaborate parts of the car. “All wraps take time, but exotic vehicles have very intricate parts,” says Carbon Wraps Owner Steve Carney. “The quarter panels took the longest due to the wing. The wing could not be removed at the time so we worked around it. The side vent areas, door jams, and door panels were all very intricate.” Due to these unique features, Carbon


Orlando, Florida—Carbon Wraps recently completed a full-color wrap on a McLaren MP4-12C car that has all who see it green with envy. The shop had previously worked with client Robert Himlers on his other exotic cars, and this time around, Himler wanted to change his McLaren from OEM white to a bright green that matched the OEM pearl green (Verde Faunus) of his Twin Turbo Lamborghini Gallardo. To match the color, Carbon Wraps used Avery Dennison’s Supreme Wrapping Film

Wraps also had to reconsider the tools it typically uses. “Most of the vehicle is carbon fiber and plastic, so we couldn't use our magnets during the install,” says Carney. “Knifeless tape played a big roll in this wrap install due to the fact that you can’t take any chances like cutting on an exotic vehicle.” One tool Carney always recommends to his clients once the wrap is complete is CroftgateUSA’s Wrap Care AFTER CARE-JP. “It's a spray-on or wipe-on liquid with wipe-off technology,” says Carney. “The best part is that the wrap care sets in immediately, and it contains anti-statics for dust repellent.” Before finishing, Carney went back in and lay Avery Dennison’s HV 1200 High Visibility Reflective vinyl in Kelly Green by hand to outline the McLaren. At night, the reflective vinyl shines when light hits it. The shop finished in time for the client to take the newly wrapped McLaren to the Italian Stampede Rally (a gathering of Italian cars in California). Carney credits his family for helping him complete this envious wrap job. “Without the support of family and great friends,” he says, “Carbon Wraps wouldn't be able to make this blank canvas come to life with Avery color.”

HEALING WITH WAYFINDING Woodridge, Illinois— Windber Medical Center in Pennsylvania recently found its wayfinding system to be outdated and ineffective, so it contacted Minahan Signs of Johnstown, Pennsylvania for an update. The full-service sign company walked through the facility and determined where and what type of signage was needed. The old signage was a flat, medium blue, so Sales Manager Ralph Lovette suggested using different, brighter hues of blue to “make people look at the signage.” Minahan Signs partnered with SignPro Systems to manufacture and develop an


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

interior wayfinding solution: a large main directory system; smaller subdirectories at key junctures and elevators; wall-mounted frames; freestanding pylons; projecting frames; and more. The signage was installed using screwed-in hooks along with 1/2-inch squares of double-sided tape on the bottom corners of the signs to keep them level and prevent shifting . Installers worked quietly and quickly to avoid any disturbance to staff or clients. About fifty signs were installed in phase one of the project, and twentyeight were added in phase two.


The New Mimaki JFX200-2513 flatbed UV-LED printer.

Smaller footprint. Bigger possibilities.

Featuring a space-saving 4' x 8' landscape bed




Versatile, Small Footprint Flatbed UV-LED Printer The new JFX200 printer introduces a smaller footprint flatbed design with a 4’ x 8’ landscape print mode and bed size small enough to fit in most sign and graphic print shops. All electronic controls, ink fill/delivery areas and vacuum adjustment panels are mounted and accessible from the front of the unit, allowing accessibility, even in tight spaces. The JFX200 is fitted with the latest LED UV lamp curing technology and features a unique ink delivery system that further increases the flexibility you expect in a next generation UV cure flatbed printer.

© 2014 Mimaki USA, Inc.


SignSHOW ACRYLICS/PLASTICS Rowmark Announces New LaserMax and FlexiColor Products Rowmark has introduced new designer-inspired patterned products as part of the LaserMax® and FlexiColor® product lines for producing creative award, recognition, and signage projects. A new collection of unique “Digicam” (or digital camouflage) patterns in Rowmark’s LaserMax line are constructed of a camouflage pattern popularized by the military over a durable black or white acrylic core, creating a unique visual effect. The new Digicam patterns are perfect for military award and recognition projects, as well as outdoor recreational and specialty applications. Meanwhile the new Harbor Grey (pictured) is also now available as a decorative pattern option in the LaserMax (in 1/16-inch thickness) and FlexiColor (in a thin, flexible .020-inch thickness) product lines to expand design options for a wide variety of award, recognition, and P-O-P projects.

A D H E S I V E S / TA P E S Mounting Applications are Simplified with MultiTac High Tack Double-sided Adhesive Drytac, an international manufacturer of adhesive-coated products, markets an extensive line of mounting adhesives for the sign and graphics industry. Most notable is its latest addition, MultiTac™ High Tack, a versatile double-sided mounting adhesive for a variety of applications. MultiTac High Tack is a permanent, high-tack acrylic adhesive available in clear or white. Due to its aggressive bond, MultiTac High Tack is an optimal choice for mounting to difficult or irregular substrates such as Gatorboard™ or Dibond®. The white version also aids in mounting to darker substrates because of its excellent opacity. This product is manufactured in Drytac’s new adhesive coating facility in Toronto, Canada and is distributed worldwide.

Unveiling New Duraco Red Film Tape Essentra Specialty Tapes (formerly Duraco Inc. and Duraco Express) introduces its new double-sided clear film tape, Duraco Red. Duraco Red’s release liner and permanent tape are both transparent, allowing the user to accurately position the tape while applying it to a surface with graphics or text. Once the red liner is removed, the graphics will show clearly through the remaining tape, and the adhesive will not yellow. A specially modified acrylic adhesive used in Duraco Red produces a strong bond with a wide variety of materials. It can also be used for applications that require a thicker film tape since its 8-mil thickness is nearly double that of other standard film tapes. The film tape has a service temperature range of -14°F to +300°F, and it is best applied in temperatures between +65°F and +100°F. Duraco Red is available as pre-cut pieces on a single roll or on continuous rolls.

A P PA R E L / P R I N T W E A R Fisher Textiles Adds Recycled Fabric to Digital Apparel Line Fisher Textiles has announced the availability of ET 2600 Jersey Spandex Knit, which is made with REPREVE yarns produced from recycled plastic bottles. ET 2600 is 10.5 oz/lin. yd and is comprised of 92 percent REPREVE Recycled Polyester and 8 percent Spandex. The material has been certified by Unifi, the manufacturer of REPREVE, through the U Trust™ verification program using Fiberprint™ technology. Compatible with dye-sublimation printing, this fabric is inherently treated with Sorbtek, Unifi’s moisture management system, which allows perspiration to move away from the body. This makes the fabric ideal for athletic apparel applications. ET 2600 Jersey Spandex Knit is stocked at sixty-one inches wide. 800/554-8886;

D I G I TA L P R I N T I N G E Q U I PM E N T/ S U P P L I E S GO! It’s the New GO X-24P Eco-solvent Twenty-four-inch Printer The GO X-24P (P model) from Graphics One (GO) is a twenty-four-inch eco-solvent printer targeted at garment decorators, display makers, and those looking to produce cost-effective decals. Following on the successful launch of the GO X-24PC (with integrated cutter), the printer-only version offers the same capabilities but without the cutting option. GO’s X-24P embraces a new technology that allows users to upgrade from a printer-only model to a complete printand-cut device. GO’s X-24P is a four-color printer offering imaging up to 1440-dpi with DX5 printhead technology. The GO EcoColor eco-solvent ink produces durable images for both indoor and outdoor applications and is geared for the targeted applications. The GO X-24 printer package includes the printer, a heavy-duty printer stand, four one-liter bottles of GO EcoColor Ink, and FlexiSign RIP.


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014



Photo courtesy: Serge Ferrai/Soltis 86

Signs are essential in branding retail locations so people can find their favorite coffee shop, lunch spot or grocery store. Signs should also complement the surrounding architecture and help tell the business’s brand story. Fabric—with its diverse array of colors, weaves and finishes—gives sign makers the ultimate versatility to achieve these goals for their customers. With eradicable vinyl fabrics, fabrics that take pressure-sensitive film and printable fabrics available today, there’s no limit on creativity. SIGNS THAT MARK THE SPOT Backlit signs are the ultimate location finder for passing motorists and pedestrians. Whether it’s a backlit sign raised high or an awning with a business name and logo, these signs work hard both day and night. Using a backlit fabric such as Eradi-Lite®, available in 13 colors, is the most economical way to create a branded sign. It has an eradicable surface for simple lettering and logos and a special blend of plasticizers and elastomers that maintain flexibility while resisting plasticizer migration, staining or abrasion. Or select Cooley Brite®, available in 20 colors, with an eradicable ink top surface; the White/White Cooley Brite is solvent, UV and latex printable. “Eradicable fabrics make it simple to create eye-catching designs and add logos to backlit signs and awnings,” said Steve Daegling, Awning Products Manager for Trivantage. “It’s durable, easy to handle and makes economic sense for many signage needs.” SIGNS THAT INFORM AND PROTECT Printable fabrics make awnings, canopies and shade structures into signage for hospitals, hotels, restaurants and nursing homes, where entrances may require weather protection and identification. Herculite® Natura™, a vinyl composite supported by a polyester substrate, has the look and feel of a woven cloth on both sides for a classy appearance, and it can be digitally printed. It features Rain-Kleen® II protective finish

that resists stains and mildew and with an eight-year warranty is a good choice where the application calls for durability. Cooley Weathertyte®, a polyester fabric with a vinyl/acrylic finish, also has the appearance of a textured decorative fabric and is digitally printable. It has an eight-year warranty and when used on awnings and canopies, provides weatherproof protection. CREATE A SOPHISTICATED LOOK Function drove the invention of the awning, but while today’s shade structures still offer practical benefits, they do so with sophistication thanks to technical advancements in fabric. For example, Sunbrella® awning fabrics create a stylish look while offering excellent fade and weather resistance. With a 10-year warranty, Sunbrella fabrics are durable against the elements, and graphics can be applied using Sunbrella Graphics System (SGS) Thermal Digital Film. Simply print the design on SGS film and using an SGS machine, apply it to the fabric for a clean, refined look. SGS film is also available in black for applying lettering to awnings, umbrellas and other shade creations. “Over the years, municipalities have restricted where backlit signs can be used, especially in downtown areas,” said Drew Nelson, Printable Fabrics Product Manager with Trivantage. “The Sunbrella Graphics System has a high-end appearance that helps businesses put their best foot forward and is ideal for installations that incorporate top lighting.” GET CREATIVE Printable premium mesh fabrics, such as Serge Ferrari Soltis® 86, Soltis, 92, Soltis 93 and Soltis 99 offer sign designers a method of shading a building while creating an immersive brand experience: print images, graphic designs, school colors or whatever your imagination conjures up to tell your customer’s story. Soltis fabrics are ideal for tension shade structures where you want to maintain a view from underneath the shade structure or inside a building but need to block some sunlight. From the outside, passersby see only the design printed on the fabric. “Signs can inform and inspire if you tap into the wide variety of fabrics available,” Nelson said. “And your creativity will help your customers’ businesses grow.”

SignSHOW Roland DGA Targets Professional Designers and Educators with Unique Combo Roland DGA Corporation’s monoFab™ series includes the company’s first additive 3D printer, the ARM-10, and a new compact 3D subtractive milling machine, the SRM-20. The ARM-10 3D printer is ideal for validating a design in the initial stages of prototyping or modeling a complex shape. Incorporating a Digital Light Processing (DLP) layered projection system, this rapid prototyping 3D printer builds models by sequentially curing layers of resin from a resin tray. Simultaneous production of multiple objects can be accomplished within the same work area to reduce modeling time. Meanwhile the SRM-20 desktop mill incorporates the latest subtractive rapid prototyping technologies. With its new milling spindle, independent collet, circuit board, and firmware, the SRM-20 delivers speed, precision, and ease of use in a compact desktop size. The SRM-20 can mill a variety of non-proprietary materials typically used for prototyping— including acrylic, ABS, wood, and modeling wax—making it possible to check the feel and weight of materials that are similar or the same as final deliverable.

Seiko Instruments Offers ColorPainter Wide Format Printers Seiko | Infotech’s ColorPainter wide format printers jet the world’s richest and glossiest colors on the widest range of substrates at the fastest real-world speeds. They are built to last and are extremely reliable. The industrial printheads and ink technologies provide customers unique advantages in terms of ink cost and time savings. They also provide opportunities to easily upgrade business capabilities and increase profits. Debuting at SGIA this year is the ColorPainter H3-104s grand format printer, which delivers unmatched speed and quality with low-smell SX inks perfect for odorsensitive print environments and applications. Also featured will be the versatile ColorPainter M-64s designed for mid- to high-volume digital print shops.


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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

LETTERS/LETTERING Gemini Incorporated Announces the Publication of Its New Professional Plaques Catalog The expanded fifty-six-page price list is Gemini’s most comprehensive plaque catalog to date with prices effective through October 2015. A new, improved feature to the price list this year is separate pricing tables and descriptions for cast and architectural precision-tooled plaques. Gemini precision-tooled plaques are available up to 40-by-64 inches in aluminum, bronze, or brass, and cast plaques are available up to ninety-six inches in diameter in bronze (and even greater dimensions for aluminum castings). Also new to the catalog this year is the addition of Square Post Side and Back Mounts. These square posts are made of steel and are designed to provide a freestanding plaque mount for either single- or double-sided plaques. To supplement the new Plaques Catalog, Gemini now offers the ability to generate an estimate for plaque orders online, which makes calculating prices for plaques easier than ever by helping Gemini customers generate cost estimates and better determine the materials, features, and options that match their budget. 877/877-2922;

POWER SUPPLIES/TRANSFORMERS Revolutionary Replacement Sign Ballasts That Wire Identically to Inefficient Magnetic Ballasts New, innovative SmartWire Electronic Sign Ballasts from Keystone Technologies wire exactly the same as traditional magnetic sign ballasts, however they are considerably lighter and deliver significant energy savings. Employing stateof-the-art design, SmartWire Electronic Sign Ballasts deliver all the advantages of electronic ballast technology, while still maintaining the familiar wiring pattern of standard magnetic sign ballasts. SmartWire Electronic Sign Ballasts wire in series (identical to magnetic sign ballasts) but are up to 50 percent lighter and deliver up to 15 percent energy savings. This provides seamless compatibility and easy installation for end-users. Additionally the entire product offering contains only 5 SKUs that support both T12HO and T8HO lamps, allowing customers to drastically reduce their stocking inventory. 800/793-4793;

October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


SignSHOW New France LED-1260EPS Driver is UL Listed SFEG (Scott Fetzer Electrical Group) introduces the France LED-1260EPS. This driver is UL Listed, which means it is tested by UL and found complete to be used by the purchaser as is, thus allowing for more versatility in the field. UL conducts continued inspections on UL Listed products to ensure their safety standards. The France LED-1260EPS is the first LED driver with a UL Type TL rating. This rating was created by UL to standardize driver considerations and allows the France LED-1260EPS to be used in new or existing LED luminaire products. 800/793-4793;

S O F T WA R E - D E S I G N / P R I N T/ R O U T E / E ST I M AT E XDtemplates Releases a Full Line of Sign Templates XDtemplates has released a full line of sign templates built for the iPad and Android devices. These templates cover basic and in-depth signs and displays. The thought behind the mobile templates was many years of seeing outside sales people bring back sketched drawings of what a customer would like for a sign, only to have it misunderstood. With the mobile templates, the salesperson or graphic designer can easily do a rough design of the customer's sign and show the customer a rendering, erasing the need for pencil and paper sketches. With the real-time communication between sales staff and production staff, there is no need to go to the office to drop off pictures and notes, which increases productivity of the sales staff. XDtemplates is currently offering four different template packages to its customers.

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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

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Digital Signs: The Educated Customer

Digital signage & DOOH network


lessons learned.


n educated customer is the best customer,” or so the saying goes at my office. At LGMRI, we have learned that having an educated customer is the key to success. Most of the opportunities we win occur when the client is educated about digital signage hardware, software, and content. Educated clients tend to spend more on the project, have more success in their signage deployment, and are therefore more likely to be repeat customers and advocates for your brand. The challenge arises in how you actually educate the customer. Education begins with in-depth product knowledge on the system integrators’ side. It’s impossible to know everything, which makes it important to rely on strong partners who can come in and speak intelligently about their piece

of the “signage puzzle,” when needed. The biggest asset that a partner can bring to the table is asking the right questions. For example, as a company experienced in outdoor LCD hardware, LG-MRI is able to ask the right questions about the external environment, required power on site, service access needed, display monitoring, etc., and to begin helping the client understand what questions they need to ask other companies pitching similar products. When the client starts asking questions and understands the reasons behind certain features, they begin to see what differentiates one product from another. Spec sheets and PowerPoint presentations don’t always leave much room for comparison, but getting the client to know what questions to ask can truly set you apart. We have seen many potential customers experience failed deployments because they were

Determining the end use of the digital sign system first will help you ask the right questions.

October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


Factors to help develop your digital sign questions: type of environment, content updates, remote monitoring, etc. unknowledgeable about the product they were purchasing and never asked the questions that were critical to success. These companies learn the hard way with digital signage, and once it fails, they are much less likely to give it another shot. It’s important to have the customer

ask the right questions and lead them away from a product that won’t meet their needs. Just because the price looks good on paper doesn’t mean it will look good in the long run. Determining the end use for the signage solution is a good first step towards


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asking the right questions. We see many customers that are focused on product, price, and brand, with little thought to the intended end use of these products, their expected lifetime, or the capabilities required. For example, is the project in an outdoor environment with heat extremes? Does it require real-time content updates? Does it need remote monitoring? Are the displays installed in a location that is difficult to service? It often happens that customers don’t understand all the pieces, which must come together to execute a successful deployment. They begin their signage process with a smaller budget and smaller team than is required to be successful because they only focus on the big budget items like the display hardware, player, and software. They often forget things like mounting brackets, software integration services, ambient light sensors, cover glass, etc. (which add up quickly). This results in under-funded projects and requires system integrators to purchase and use inferior products in their solution—all at the long-term expense of the client.



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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014


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Inferior products result in a solution that doesn’t meet the end use requirements, which means that the display won’t function as envisioned, will have a shorter life span than expected, and will ultimately cause more headaches and add unnecessary costs. We have seen countless customers go down this road, only to find out that they need to replace the entire signage solution because it stops working after a year or two. At this point, customers have learned the hard way and their options are to either purchase the right products or (more likely than not) give up on digital signage all together. Some of our best customers are the ones who chose the “inexpensive” route first but ended up paying much more in the long run. They now know the benefits of a solution designed with the end use in mind. It’s not always feasible to visit every client and educate them on the digital signage industry—especially if you need the expertise of one of your vendors in order to clearly present the product benefits. Even from the system integrator standpoint, you can’t take trips to all the hardware and software vendors to search out the best solution for the end-client. The good news is that there are many tradeshows, one-day workshops, and Webinars to learn more about the offerings in the market. Stay up-to-date on the shows that are happening and pay special attention to the speakers, seminars, and roundtable talks because these are the things that truly make the events well worth the investment. You also have the opportunity to speak to the leaders in each field in the industry, meet potential partners, and learn about new products—all of which lead to more business in the future. David Kaszycki is marketing coordinator at LG-MRI (, an Atlanta-based manufacturer of outdoor digital display hardware. He will be a panel participant at the full-day DSE ONE New York event on October 21 during Digital Signage Week. For more information or to register for DSE ONE, visit

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October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated




Vehicle Graphics

The Semi Side of Vehicle Graphics

Creating and installing large aluminum signs to a semi-trailer.


f I could choose one specialty in the sign industry, it would be vehicle graphics. I thoroughly enjoy working on eighteenwheel semi trailers, and we always strive to create and install the cleanest look for our client’s advertisement. For this project, we were furnished with a very used black-painted semi trailer. The trailer still had the original vinyl graphics welded to the trailer surface. The removal of these graphics was challenging to say the least. Our arsenal of removal techniques included an electric heat gun, several Lil’ Chizler plastic scrapers, a couple of gallons of mineral spirits, and fifteen rolls of paper towels. Seeing what was ahead of us, we began immediately by removing all the existing graphics

from both sides and the back doors of the trailer. Progress turned extremely slow, so we ended up changing our attack plan. Since we would be installing several four-byeight-foot aluminum panels to both sides—which would be covering a large portion of the unwanted, no longer applicable graphics—we left the original letters adhered to the trailer surface (as these would be covered by the aluminum panels). This shaved a few hours off the project and made me and my crew equally happy. We then attached 0.063 white aluminum sheets to each side of the trailer. Each sign consists of five aluminum panels. We began from the rear of the trailer and worked forward with our aluminum sheets and pop rivets.

The successfully completed trailer.


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

ty, without High quali

Proposal drawing showing the design of the finished trailer.


the high p UP TO



Removing the adhesive from the previous decals on the truck surface.

Taking the first panel up the side of the trailer, we drilled a hole in the upper left-hand corner. Carefully holding the panel in place, I inserted a pop rivet into the drilled hole, and after a few pumps on the handle, the first rivet was in place. The next rivet was installed forty-seven inches to the right of the left-installed rivet. From there, we drilled a 1/8-inch hole across and down each side of the fourby-eight panels, resulting in forty rivets per aluminum panel. After all five panels were securely fastened to the sides of the trailer, we applied 2-mil high-performance graphics printed and laminated in-house to both sides. We started with the full-color logo featuring the State of Texas image inside a globe. We positioned it in place and applied a horizontal tape hinge down the middle. From there, we folded the right-hand side of the decal over to the left and carefully cut

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Spacing and adhering the 2-mil vinyl letters and applying the Oracal 751 yellow vinyl to the installed aluminum sheets.

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

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Applying divider line between the logo and the copy.

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the liner paper with a sharp X-ACTO® knife. When this portion of the decal was exposed, we quickly squeegeed the decal down to the aluminum panel surface. Next we repeated the process for the other side of the decal and removed all transfer paper. We then installed a blue divider line to separate the TGE graphics and the “Industrial Services” letters, which were cut from Oracal 751C High Performance Cast yellow vinyl. To add some separation, we applied a 1.5-by-48-inch blue horizontal band that worked out great! The client was thrilled with the finished product. In fact, I was too. Now I have yet another product to offer similar industries that use aluminum panels covering the sides of their semi trailers. Mark K. Roberts has been creating commercial signs in Houston, Texas for a couple of decades.Visit his Web site at

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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

Removing the pre-mask from the lettering.

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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014


Vehicle graphics design for first responders.



Reflective materials are being added to door interiors, so approaching traffic can better see public safety personnel exiting the vehicle.

hile a police or fire department’s branding is paramount to establishing identity and recognition in a community, the shift to safety has recently become a priority when designing public safety graphics for vehicles. Across the U.S., emergency vehicle graphics appear to be brighter and more reflective than they were twenty years ago. This is not by accident— advances in aesthetically pleasing designs have developed alongside the push for increased safety for law enforcement personnel. Better visibility means safer communications, safer transport, and a stronger identity in the community. “The days of driving around in a vehicle without reflective materials on it are long gone,” says Dave Martine, current owner and general manager of Artworks Unlimited ( in Denver, Colorado. “Designs and materials used today not only offer a crisp, clean, and professional look for the agency but also include numerous safety elements—from the highly reflective Diamond Grade films for fire and EMS vehicles to more subdued safety [v-shaped] chevrons for police vehicles.” Thirty years since its founding, Artworks Unlimited is still specializing in safety-based reflective decals for public safety vehicles. Martine attributes this to their continued research in this area and their relationships within the industry. It also doesn’t hurt that Martine has twenty-five years of experience in law enforcement, bringing industry-best practices to the work. Artworks’s

October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


Vehicle graphics are the one thing the public sees daily. Because of this, highly reflective materials used on EMS vehicles offer not only a crisp, clean, and professional look, but they also provide another element of safety.

in-house design team includes an artist with sixteen years of experience in public safety graphics and a production management staff with over twenty years of experience in installation. When creating public safety graphics, one of the essential elements is a clear policy—although determining which body has final say on this is a challenge. Most law enforcement agencies distinguish between the authority a marked vehicle has versus an unmarked vehicle. Graphics requirements, however, can vary. “Some agencies prefer only a small, non-reflective door decal, while others require fully reflective decals,” says Martine. “Other agencies

allow for ‘stealth reflective’ or non-reflective decals (graphics that appear brighter at night than during the day), while some don’t allow it.” Artworks Unlimited has been adding more and more reflective material to the interior of the doors. “So when the public safety personnel open their door towards traffic, the reflective material helps the vehicles approaching from the rear see that there is a door extending into or near the traffic lane,” says Martine. One last variable is insurance. Since most agencies are selfinsured, their insurance carrier may also impose regulations

As an early adoptor of LED lighting, Kreuter found an opportunity to replace their standard T5HO fluorescent fixtures in sign boxes with LED linear fixtures. 30

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

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October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


When it comes to graphics and decals for law enforcement, most agencies distinguish between the authority a marked vehicle has versus an unmarked vehicle.

(adding more confusion to the mix). Currently the U.S. relies on standards set forth by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which require the use of reflective materials on the sides of the vehicle and the interior of any door, as well as on the chevrons on the rear of the vehicles. Martine notes that he is not aware of any standards put in place by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). A recent project with an out-of-state client reflects the “organic” process that often ensues in partnering with a law enforcement agency.

With no artwork in hand, the agency showed photos of their badge and a signature element from their patrol area for use as key imagery in the design of their vehicle. Martine also spoke quite a bit with them about reflectives, since their old design had none and was failing in car washes. “So we took the elements they sent us and recreated their badge,” says Martine. “We then traced the image of the key element to integrate it into their vehicle design.” Artworks Unlimited provided them with a fully reflective, custom decal package (including a specially designed “junior officer” badge to hand out to children within their patrol area) that included clear installation instructions for their local installer. One issue that often arises when working with an out-of-

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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

state client is how distance can impact communications. “There’s always some element of frustration and difficulty, since you aren’t there to explain things in person or read body language,” says Martine. “Texting and emailing can remove part of the ‘personal touch.’ “But everything worked out great. Since their first order, they’ve ordered several more packages to have installed at their facility in California.” Another project was for a sheriff ’s department that contracts with a small city within their county to provide law enforcement services. In this case, the city requested a specially designed vehicle for the officers assigned to this special program to distinguish the program vehicles from the standard sheriff ’s patrol units. “We kept in mind that these were the sheriff ’s officers working as police officers in this city, so we created a completely new graphics package and badge that has become a custom logo for them and used across their identity elements (letterhead, business cards, and envelopes),” says Martine. Artworks Unlimited started with an all-black vehicle, wrapped the doors white to give the look of a “standard black-and-white police vehicle,” and added reflective elements and bold “police” text that ended up producing a dramatic look. “Since budgets are always a concern, we wrapped the doors in white material to keep their costs low, rather than having them painted,” says Martine. “Additionally we added the stealth safety chevrons on the rear of the vehicles, which looked absolutely amazing.” When it comes to practical considerations in planning a public safety graphics project, budget is typically the first item on the list. However Martine warns that you shouldn’t skimp when it comes to safety. “Vehicle graphics are the one thing that the public sees daily,” he says. “So the organization’s reputation rests on their presentation. Added safety elements let the officers and public know that safety is paramount for them. “And budget concerns may be less intense these days, as we’ve recently seen a decrease in materials pricing. We’re able to do more for less than we did just a few years ago.”

SGIA Expo booth #3275



October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


D i m e n s i o n a l / By J e f f wo ot e n / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /


Blackout Signs has worked on a lot of signage for festivals, but none of these featured a fourteen-foot-tall ostrich or a large-sized game of Operation, which were set up for the Chive Fest stops across the country this past summer. 34

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014


Chive Fest T

PHOTOS: BLACKOUT SIGNS & METALWORKS. is a popular social Web site that mixes humorous videos with a touch of heart. Its dedicated community of “chivers” like to have a good time and donate to some very worthwhile charities. And thanks to their online success, site organizers this past summer launched Chive Fest, which traveled to four major cities—Chicago, Seattle, Denver, and Dallas. Billed as the “Best Little Festival in the World,” this day-long event featured an incredible mix of bands, food, charities, and games. Festival honchos knew they were going to need someone who understood their brand and could turn it into a quirky mix of on-site art pieces/signage, interactivity, and enhancements that reflected their sharp, offbeat sense of humor. Through hearing about their reputation for the creative in other projects, Chive officials hired Blackout Signs and MetalWorks ( of San Marcos, Texas, a small shop that uses traditional sign-making skills to specialize in designing, building, and installing custom signs and sculptures that push the boundaries of what signs are and can be. Even better, Blackout Signs boasts experience working on a variety of festival-type signage over the past ten years—Lollapalooza, South By Southwest, Austin City Limits Music Festival, etc. “We

October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated



To create the brightly-colored, fourteen-foot-tall “You Must Be This Tall to Ride” ostrich, Blackout Signs employed an old school can-style with an aluminum framing inside it that comes apart in three sections to help with breakdown and setup. Its face pieces were hand-painted and airbrushed using a lineup of 1-Shot and automotive-grade paints. were very impressed with their ongoing charitable work and support of the military,” says Blackout Signs Owner Jay Gordon, “and we liked that they didn’t take themselves too seriously.” Chive Fest organizers were pretty open for any sign and art design ideas. It was actually Blackout’s job to pull out elements from the branding that excited them most creatively. “And they wanted all of it to be fun,” says Gordon. Fortunately, Gordon says, already had strong branding and lots of good iconography and imagery (KCCO military shirts, ostrich logo, Chive green, etc.). Blackout Signs threw almost everything they had at this project. Here are three distinct signs/art pieces.

One Huge Ostrich

Blackout Signs hand-painted and airbrushed the ostrich using a lineup of 1-Shot and automotive paints. The arrow attached to the top backdrop of the ostrich structure features a four-circuit chaser, allowing for blinking and chasing lights. “The hardest part of this was finding a fourteen-foot-tall ostrich to stand still long enough so we could get our scale right,” jokes Gordon. (Note: At least we think he was joking.)

The Monster C A standalone monster-sized “C” letter served as the centerpiece at all four stops of the festival. At night, its vibrant green glow grabs attention. For Gordon, his only direction from Chive officials was that


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014


One distinctive icon featured in the Chive Fest logo is an ostrich. Because of this, event organizers asked Gordon about the possibility of creating a towering “You Must Be This Tall to Ride” ostrich that could also be used to show a map, lineup, and sponsorships dedicated to each of the four sides. (A supersized yardstick next to the ostrich’s beak allows for funny “too small to ride” photo opportunities.) The fourteen-foot-tall ostrich was an old school can-style with a little aluminum framing inside that came apart in three pieces for breakdown and buildup. Blackout Signs ended up fabricating the frame to “clamp” to scaffold structures. “We use cheeseboros that clamp on the pipe and have a swivel in the middle. These are strong but temporary swivel clamps, and vary from 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches,” he says. “They allow for different mounting points and a good degree of offset on different scaffold structures.” For Gordon, this permitted a lot of mounting options. “We’ll weld some two-inch pipe to the back of our stuff. That way everything goes up quickly and clamps on tight,” he says.


Chive Fest organizers stopped by Blackout Signs and checked out their work. Gordon and his team also used their GoPro® camera to film and edit a fourminute video detailing their build work. To view, visit they wanted something people could stand and pose in for photo opportunities. So Blackout Signs ended up building a ten-foot-tall, two-foot-wide “C” that could be climbed in, over, and under. This piece was built in two sections that bolt together in the middle. “This has a roll-formed, welded oneby-two-inch aluminum frame inside of it with .080 aluminum faces,” says Gordon. “There’s a welded 3-by-3/8-inch lip all the way around it that protects the LED and neon and tightens everything up.” The bottom piece that people stand on is 1/4-inch aluminum plate engineered and built to be strong, light, and safe. “The faces are combination riveted-and-bonded to the trussed framework,” says Gordon. Blackout Signs applied PPG OMNI™ primer and a bright green enamel paint job and added a little sand mixed into the sitting/standing surface for grip.

A Large Operation Chive Fest organizers knew they wanted a “nostalgia tent” where festival goers could visit and play some oversized games of their youth. But which game? Connect Four? Jenga? Toss Across? Gordon suggested Operation (the Milton Bradley® battery-operated game that requires steady hands to remove

jects from the “patient”). Not only would this be a fully functional, giant-sized version of the classic game (rebranded with risqué humor), but it would also serve as a photo op piece for festival-goers to stick their head through the opening and become the Operation patient. Gordon admits pre-planning was a headscratcher. “It had to work exactly like the original—just standing up,” he says, noting that the game is played horizontally on a surface. “Also when the tweezers touch the sides, it had to buzz and light up.” Because of time constraints, Blackout Signs bypassed building a concept model and instead scaled up measurements from the actual game and built from there. The final piece is all self-contained and functions like the original Operation. Aside from vinyl lettering, everything on it was hand-painted. The bone pieces inside the slots are sculpted EPS foam hard-coated with embedded magnets. They were sculpted by Oscar’s Foam in San Antonio, Texas and finished by Blackout’s Gabe Hedrick. The inner panel is galvanized steel (so the bone pieces would be able to stick on it), while the outside is aluminum wired to complete the circuit when the tweezers touch the sides of the opening. This trips an “obnoxious” LED light and buzzer that Blackout Signs sourced from

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A welded lip was attached all the way around the Monster C to protect the neon and LED.

Radio Shack®. “We used LED lights here, as they (along with the buzzer) could be run safely off of 12 volts,” says Gordon. Gordon and his shop took great care to protect all the wiring and connections, building a bulletproof “j box” enclosure for the power supply. “Even with the looming deadline, we cracked up more in the shop with this one then probably anything else we’ve ever built,” says Gordon.

Project Management Blackout Signs had a little over two weeks to build and deliver all this signage, but since this wasn’t their first site enhancement rodeo, they met all the deadlines. (Note: In fact, they’ve yet to miss

a deadline for any project.) They even helped out local installers with set-up at the first two stops in Chicago and Seattle. Blackout Signs leans pretty heavily on its local sign suppliers N. Glantz, Tuttle Lumber, and Hoffmann’s Supply. “They’re great about getting us what we need material-wise,” says Gordon, noting that his shop has also learned to keep in-stock some of the “funkier stuff” they need like HDU, flashers, bulbs, and sockets. Gordon’s mantra for these types of projects is to “work it out in the shop” before it’s on site. “Imagine you’re in a sea of 100,000 people and have to troubleshoot something with very basic tools and equipment that may be twenty feet in the air. What can you do in the shop to make that as easy as possible?” he explains.

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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014


“How quickly can this thing be erected or installed? “We usually have a couple riggers, a few climbers, and perhaps a crane, and you don’t want to tie those guys up for any longer than you have to.” Gordon also adds that, when it comes to festival signage, safety should be first and foremost on the mind of the sign builder and installer. “Some people at festivals have been drinking in the hot sun for hours and always surprise you with the creative ways they want to interact with your stuff!” he laughs.

Looking Back at the Good Times Gordon cites this project as one of the funnest festival sign packages his shop has worked on. “The whole point of this

festival site enhancement was to create a moment of discovery and interaction with the pieces,” says Gordon, “and to put a smile on people’s faces.” He credits his crew of Gabe Hedrick, Jason Elliot, Jathan Carter, Jason Mathis, Tammy Bingham, and Darcy Hanna with working together to achieve this “awesome success.” Gordon also praises the collaboration with Chive Fest organizers and their openness for creative ideas on this project— they even showed up one day to see how the signs were made and document it for their site. “They truly have a lust for life!” he says. And maybe more importantly, Gordon says, “We were able to finally check ‘Build a big-ass ostrich’ off our bucket list!”



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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014


Helping sign companies navigate wayfaring challenges.


n terms of complexity, wayfinding signage can be one of the more challenging projects a sign company accepts. Effectively implemented, these

solutions are actually systems of inter-related

Look at the project through the eyes of a first-time visitor to the facility and consider how that visitor should navigate through the property.

signage that must stand out yet blend in with their surroundings to guide pedestrians or motorists to their destination. If these sign systems are not your specialty, you’ll likely need help in some phase of the project. When designing these systems, the sign company must weigh factors that never enter into more simple installations: The scope of the facility, its physical setting, existing architectural and design themes, travel routes, and potential for expansion all impact


the practical value of these navigation aids.

October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


“They need to look at the project through the eyes of a first-time visitor to the facility or property,” advises Bill Freeman, vice president of architectural sales at Howard industries (, wholesale manufacturer of architectural signage. “How do they want this visitor to navigate though the facility or property? What kind of message do you want them to see?” Before you get that far, consider the sheer scope of the project and if it’s something the shop can realistically handle on its own. “They should know what they’re getting into,” says


Charles Kelly, Jr., president of Clarke Systems (www., manufacturer and supplier of architectural and wayfinding solutions. Kelly recommends thoroughly investigating all aspects of each project before taking it on: its size, complexity, deadlines, the types of signage required, relevant regulatory issues, the project, and the decision makers (as well as their chain of command). “Then they need to determine if they have the capabilities and resources—financial, equipment and staffing—to handle it,” he says.


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When designing a wayfinding system, consider the architectural elements in the building or the client’s logo design and colors. Interior wayfinding can also borrow from trim and carpet colors since they already complement interior wall colors.


Exterior wayfinding signage carries the added concern of combining vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Fortunately those who lack any of the required knowledge or skills will find suppliers who specialize in these systems are eager to partner with them. If they don’t sell direct to end-users, their success depends on the success of their sign shop customers. Some are wholesale providers to the industry of pre-cut sign panels, mounting brackets, and posts in popular sizes that can be incorporated into any navigation system. Others offer a comprehensive menu of products and support services (from consultation through system design and installation). Support from suppliers also takes the form of informa-

Suppliers of posts, brackets, and pre-cut sign panels can offer guidance and advice on wayfinding projects. tion and instruction. They are all there at the other end of the phone to provide advice on any project and to instruct how to adapt their products to the installation.

Design Advice and Expertise Some of the most valuable advice suppliers can provide is on how to plan and design a wayfinding system. Whether installed indoors or outside, they stress these signs must be readily identified by those who need help getting to their destination. Continued on page 46

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Continued from page 43 Consistency in size and shape, as well as the color scheme and choice of fonts, all contribute to effectiveness. “That relates to complementary colors, shapes, fonts, branding and more—even if the plan requires variation to identify specific departments or services,” says Kelly. “Keep in mind that less is often better than more and appreciate that you can always add elements later, if necessary.” John Iyoob, president of Ornamental

Post and Panels (, says there can be a tendency to “over design” these navigation aids, cluttering up or obscuring a message that should be immediately apparent. “Wayfinding signs can be too fancy to work,” he observes. “Designers sometimes tend to overdo it with type faces that are too small or the use of too many colors.” Always keep in mind the person for whom the sign is intended, and how he or she will view it.

“If someone is driving by at thirty miles an hour, there’s only so much they can read,” notes Iyoob. Freeman suggests taking design cues from the surroundings. “Try to design the signage using physical elements that exist on the site,” he says. “Focus on the architectural shapes of buildings, doorways, and windows. “Incorporate the form of the client’s logo, where available.” To convey the immediacy of the message, he recommends an easily read typeface with a contrasting color background for optimum legibility. When the sign shop is charged with designing the entire system, Kelly says most companies work from architectural elements in the building or the client’s logo design and colors. “Inside, trim and carpet colors are often used as they already complement the interior wall colors,” he notes.

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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

While these general principles apply for all wayfinding systems, some special considerations must be taken into account for interior and exterior installations. Freeman notes interior systems typically require ADA-compliant signage and sign placement. Outside, the installation of wayfinding signs in some locations around a facility can require local zoning permits. “Exterior wayfinding carries the added concern of combining vehicular and pedestrian traffic,” adds Kelly, “And extra consideration has to be given to exterior signs regarding ground wiring, window loads, lighting, site lines, and more.” Iyoob says those working on a wayfinding system for larger municipalities should be cognizant of federal standards that could come into play (http://1.usa. gov/YXwe2K). “They’re fairly new and complicated,” he notes. “For example, wayfinding signs destined for installation within the rightof-way along public roadways may be subject to break-away requirements.” “That’s the kind of situation where it makes senses to ask for [suppliers’] advice very early in a project to help you understand the requirements and provide solutions to meet them,” says Iyoob. “[Sign suppliers and manufacturers] can help them understand what the requirements are and provide solutions to meet them.”


New Tips for Wrapping Side-View Mirrors Even the most experienced graphics installer may find it challenging to wrap a vehicle’s side-view mirrors with their compound contours— especially forming a strong bond on the film’s edges. Here’s a solution you may not have tried: prestretching the film. With the pre-stretching technique, the entire film is heated and stretched before the application. This distributes the stress over the entire piece of film rather than concentrating it in one area. When the film is then reheated during installation, it shrinks to conform to the edge of the mirror, with low stress. How to pre-stretch the film: 1) When preparing the film for wrapping a mirror, first attach the length of film to a window pillar. 2) Heat the film uniformly. 3) When the film is hot, pull apart and down several inches. 4) Tack the bottom edge of the film to the door. Let it cool for a minute or so. Then you can apply the pre-stretched film to the mirror. Applying the pre-stretched film: 1) Prime all the edges—outside and inside the mirror’s frame—using a primer like 3M™ Tape Primer 94, which promotes adhesion. 2) Apply the pre-stretched film to the flat area of the mirror. 3) Heat and wrap the film around the mirror’s edge. Because the film has been pre-stretched, it shrinks when heated to conform to the edge of the mirror with low stress. Trim the film as necessary. For even greater durability, wrap the film around the edge and tuck it in about a half-inch, all the way around the inside of the mirror. Again use tape primer 94 for improved adhesion. In addition to the above tips, make sure you start with a clean, dry surface and follow other basic preand post-installation steps. Taking shortcuts at any stage increases the

likelihood of a wrap’s failure (for example, wrinkles forming around the mirror). —Marcio Oliveira, 3M Senior Technical Service Engineer To view a video of Oliveira using this technique to wrap a car’s mirror, visit

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Digital Wayfinding Guides Patients



or anyone who has been lost in a complex hospital system or campus, wayfinding can often provide only limited assistance. A directory or a directional sign can help the visitor navigate, but if a patient is under duress and needs a more integrated solution, very few options have been available besides in-person assistance. Enter digital wayfinding, which allows a visitor or patient to plan the navigation route in advance or utilize automated screens and kiosks while walking through the facility. In examining the benefits and the potential for wayfinding software that allows wayfinding “in the cloud,” designers from Beachwood, Ohiobased LogicJunction (www. understood that there is often tremendous anxiety among patients about becoming lost in a large campus. This technology seeks to improve patient flow throughout the facility and alleviate heavy infrastructure for technical staff as it functions “in the cloud.” In 2009, the company developed kiosks for two hospitals in the Cleveland area, Lake Health and Cleveland Clinic. Since that time, their applications have expanded to

both Web and mobile devices. Before heading out the door, visitors can start the process of navigating through the facility by printing a set of directions—including parking and internal hospital guidance. Using Google Maps, the software offers driving instructions and traffic information, along with “smart” guidance to the best parking area. Another feature is staff-assisted wayfinding, which allows hospital staff to direct patients and print detailed maps of directions. These directions can be accessed via desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and iPad devices. And for those clients who prefer to remain completely digital, kiosks serve as interactive landmarks and are set up as either an iPad kiosk or forty-two-inch touchscreen model (both are ADA-compliant). With QR-coded posters, visitors scan the code with a mobile phone, which gives them the opportunity to pick a specific destination or choose from a list of frequently traveled destinations within that facility. This versatility in wayfinding options is what makes digital the wave of the future. “Using our system, patients can obtain directions prior to coming to the hospital,” says Mike Drozda, chief operating officer at LogicJunction. “Most elderly patients and those not comfortable with technology still prefer to interact with the hospital staff. “Our solution can accommodate their needs by providing the staff with a Web-based interface to print up-to-date directions quickly.” Digital wayfinding is poised to expand the way hospitals communicate with visitors and patients. “We are developing mobile apps that will greatly enhance patient communications through push messaging,” says Drozda, “and open the door for some very interesting features such as turn-byturn navigation, automatic patient check-in, and emergency notifications.” —Lori Shridhare

October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated



A DA / B Y C R A I G B E R G E R & S A P N A B U D E V / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014




efore 1991, states developed their own versions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) based on guidelines established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in conjunction with the International Code Council (ICC). When the federal government came along with their own Justice Department Guidelines, it based much of it on the guidelines already developed, without a review of their effectiveness. In the twenty years since the ADA was passed, these groups worked to update the code based on a combination of advanced knowledge and ease of interpretation. States updated their codes multiple times based on these guidelines before the federal government was able to update its national code in 2011. This, of course, produced mass confusion with different states and even localities having different standards and enforcement approaches. Today the national code is “harmonized� with the International Building Code (IBC) but lingering confusion still exists. Effective accessibility designers are required to manage not only the moving target of the codes, but also their intent and interpretation. While most

How typography codes in the new ADA were developed and enforced.

October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated



states must adhere to the national ADA, some places still maintain their own specific code language (California being the most well known); there is still no international consensus on disability codes. The new ADA was the result of a number of different organizations hashing out issues that were seen as inefficient or confusing in the first code. The leading controversial areas were:

Sans Serif Versus Simple Serif The early ADA had a number of issues

with unclear language that made for difficult enforcement. The most damaging was language calling for sans serif or “simple” serif type. The word “simple” was meant to mean type with few flourishes as opposed to Ye Olde English, but a lack of specificity of the language resulted in the rule being nearly unenforceable. Over the course of a decade, the ANSI committee refined the guidelines to only include sans serif for tactile copy and eventually only a specific range of stroke widths,

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proportions, and heights could be used.

Dual Signs The ADA was originally developed as a one-size-fits-all code, with the needs of the blind and the visually impaired being covered by the same code. Since these two groups had such widely divergent needs, guidelines were developed to address both groups. Tactile letters would have restrictive code with very narrow standards for type selection, height, location, and spacing.

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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

The visually impaired would have a wide range of serif and sans serif typography to choose from as well as flexible location, height, and spacing. This greater flexibility has been a good thing. However many designers and code officials balk at the idea of “dual” signs that duplicate information to meet these standards. Most buildings today still follow the restrictive standards for the blind on all signs, even though the new language has made it easier to differentiate between wayfinding, directory, and identification signs.

Signs Rounded or Domed/Edged or Curved


The simple serif controversy has shown how one small change in language can produce enormous unintended effects. Another issue that is still lingering with us today is standards that allow Braille to be subtly “rounded” at the top and raised letters to be “edged” or sanded at the corners. While both of these standards have a worthwhile goal of making tactile signs easier for blind people to use, they have produced confusion that still exists today.

Color The ANSI committee that develops the guidelines for ADA has fought consistently over the last twenty years over the introduction of specific contrast criteria (70 percent or more contrast between foreground and background). In the most recent reiteration of the ADA, this guideline did not work its way into the final code, but since then, ANSI has revisited this restrictive contrast guideline. This means that states may slowly integrate the new guideline into their sign codes over the next few years, with activist states like California taking the lead. We do not know yet what impact this will have on enforcement, but if previous controversial issues are any guide, it will most likely result in confusion as code officials deal with issues like measurement procedures and materials that are difficult to measure.

Safety and Security The ADA is perhaps the best-known code standard for signs, but there are in fact a variety of guidelines and code standards governing safety information in the envi-

Most buildings follow the restrictive standards for the blind on signs, even though new language makes it easier to differientiate between wayfinding and identification signs.

October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated









ronment. From fire codes to specialized sign safety codes developed for building with specific hazards, they are becoming much more refined and sophisticated. Unlike wayfinding and commercial sign codes, building owners strive to comply with specific standards instead of focusing on creativity and originality. Organizations like the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) have responded by focusing on the adoption of globally harmonized standards so that safety information can be consistent around the world. Ironically though, while there is a greater designer desire for consistent standards, there are fewer interpretive and enforcement groups focusing on the requirements. Localities can make their own codes and these can be at odds with international or national guidelines. Egress codes, in particular, have produced a confusing array of guidelines on both the national and state level. This has impacted type standards in numerous ways, including:

Symbol or Type

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Around the world, there seems to be one universal standard for EXIT and that is a symbol—a person running through a door. Unfortunately that standard is not being used in most of the United States, which is still holding onto “EXIT” signs, producing a great deal of standards confusion. Some innovative cities have compromised by combining the symbol with the word “EXIT” for a hybrid approach.

Address Systems Any traveler to Europe is often confused by the elevators with the ground floor being called 0 and the floors above it starting with 1 (floors below start at -1). Even more confusing are city codes that require a letter and a number when below ground (B1, B2). This is one area where the design community seeks clarity over diversity.

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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

The ADA has very tight standards for signs, but these generally are not related to egress signs, which follow their own standards. This has created even greater confusion by trying to determine where the ADA and egress standards meet, particularly in regard to maps and stairwell signs.

Typography Harmonization

Excerpted from Typography, Placemaking and Signs, published by The Signage Foundation, Inc. Craig Berger is a management consultant and chair of the visual presentation and exhibition design department at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Sapna Budev is director of strategic initiatives for the International Sign Association. This article is based on a series of white papers they wrote and edited for The Signage Foundation, sponsored by Nova Polymers and Dixie Graphics. To download the complete series, visit


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014


While there is a broad movement toward use of symbols in safety and egress information, there is still a great deal of information that needs to be communicated through word messages. As of yet, there is little harmonization of these standards, either through color, type selection, height, or location. This will most likely be the next frontier of safety and egress standards. Safety information relies heavily on symbols, but effective typography is equally important, though difficult to legislate. Leading safety companies have responded by combining safety codes with internal best practices. As the world becomes a more complex and cluttered place, there will continue to be efforts to rationalize signs and messages in the environment without places becoming too similar and bland. The tension between these two ideals will most likely be the defining issue of twenty-first century environmental design, with the most creative responses balancing these two often-contradictory needs.

ADA INFORMATION The American Disabilities Act (ADA) makes sure that people with disabilities have access to buildings by providing signs with high contrast, tactile letters, and Braille for optimal readability. There are approximately 2.5 million Americans that are legally blind and millions of others who suffer from limited vision. In the coming years, as Baby Boomers age, the need for these signs will become even more important. When fabricating an ADA sign, there are four main elements: the base plate, tactile lettering, Braille, and a pictogram. BASE PLATE. This plate is what everything else is attached to. The thickness, shape, and size of the base plate are optional, as long as it is large enough to contain the necessary lettering, pictogram, and Braille. The

sign may be round, square, rectangular, or other shapes. TACTILE LETTERING. Tactile lettering is letters that are raised 1/32-inch above the background. Tactile lettering must be cut. This can be done using a laser or rotary engraver. A laser will be faster and always cut a straight or perpendicular edge. A rotary engraver will generally leave some bevel around the letters, depending on what type of cutter is being used. BRAILLE. After the tactile lettering has been applied to the base plate, it is time to apply the Braille. There are three types of Braille, but ADA requires Grade II Braille (which allows for contractions that greatly reduce the number of characters used). There are three methods that can be used to obtain the Grade II Braille: Rotary-engraved, raster dot application, or appliqué. The rotary-engraved Braille produces a recessed space, leaving the Braille dots raised to the surface layer of the

base plate; it is durable, inconspicuous, and inexpensive. The raster dot application uses a tiny plastic or metal ball to create the Braille. First the machine uses a drill bit to create the hole and then the dots are inserted. This method is faster and cleaner, allowing for easier production. The last method, by applique, is the easiest. This method involves someone making strips of embossed Braille with an adhesive back that you can just peel and stick to the sign. PICTOGRAM. A pictogram is an international symbol made in the same fashion as tactile lettering. These are not required on all signs. Office signs and room numbers do not require pictograms, but signs such as restroom, phone, and no smoking do require them. To read more, visit —Alexis Barry Alexis Barry is marketing coordinator at Creative Sign Designs in Tampa, Florida.

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ISA President and CEO Lori Anderson will discuss how the sign industry is sharing the important role signage plays in building successful businesses and communities. She’ll also detail the latest research into new business avenues and the overall outlook for the industry.

Dan Marx Specialty Graphic Imaging Association Vice PresidentMarkets & Technologies

Digital Sign Installation and Maintenance

This session addresses what sign makers need to know about planning, installing, and maintaining a digital communications network, as well as how to scale or enhance an existing installation.


D y e S u b l i m a t i o n / B Y A S H L E Y B R AY / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /


DYE SUBLIMATION Group Imaging of Mesa, Arizona came by its name quite literally—it started in 1996 as a niche photo printer of group pictures of kids at church camps. The shop kept its niche market of working with churches—only now the shop offers them dye-sublimated tradeshow displays, stage backdrops, banners, etc. The shop has been around long enough to witness the shift to digital printers, and its experience in the industry led it to foresee the inevitable inundation of the vinyl graphics market. “I think we saw the writing on the wall that everybody was going to have printers to [output] vinyl,” says Jeff Burris, owner of Group Imaging. “Everybody doesn’t know how or want to do dye sublimation, so we dove into that.” 60

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014


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Group Imaging’s niche is churches, and the shop has created everything from tradeshow exhibits to stage backdrops for this market.

Group Imaging bought a 64-inch heat press and started with a 62-inch Mimaki JV4 dye sublimation printer. Today the shop runs a 106-inch Mutoh ValueJet 2628TD and a 64-inch water-based Mutoh ValueJet 1638W. After working with dye sublimation for nearly seven years, the shop has acquired plenty of experience here. And Burris offers some tips and advice for those getting into the market.

START AT THE END. Burris says it’s important to know what products you want to sell before jumping into dye sublimation. The end application will determine everything. “Know what you’re going to end up with and what you want to put the fabric on and then work backwards from there,” he says. “The type of frame and how it goes together is going to dictate the kind of fabric you use and how you finish it.”

“You better be planning on keeping [your dye-sublimation printer] busy, or your return on investment will never occur.” —Jeff Burris

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Group Imaging builds its frames from aluminum tubing, which allows it to create custom shapes and sizes.

For one, profiling and color management are huge. “The profiling is so much different because you’re not throwing ink down on your finished subject,” says Burris. Things that affect the color include media, ink, and even the heat press’s temperature. “If the temperature’s down 15 to 20 degrees on your heat press, you’re PRINTING PROCESSES. Choosing the not going to get the same dark blue that hardware isn’t the only consideration you’re shooting for,” says Burris. “It’s goAnd1:28 while you you’ll haveVortex to make in relation to printing. ing to be a little1 lighter. Teaser SpecialtyFabrics ad Aug2014 FINAL.pdf 8/29/14 PM The type of fabric used will also determine the type of printer you should buy. For example, if you’re planning on sublimating any fabric that stretches (like the kind used for jerseys), the transfer process is your only option, since directto-fabric will not work on stretch fabrics.

may not see it, your customer will see it.” Things can also go wrong on the heat press in the transfer process. “Another hard thing about fabric is, when you print it on the paper, it’s stable and the right size. You put it through the heat press, and it comes out a different size,” says Burris. “When you’re running the heat press, and you put a roll of twenty prints in, you’re going to have a differContinued on page 66









October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

One of the strongest advantages is that the images are permanent. Images printed with dyesublimation will not peel or fade. The dyes do not build up on the fabric; instead they bond to the fabric. Vibrant colors can be achieved through bonding that is equivalent to photographs. Anything made with polyester can be used for dye sublimation. One hundred percent polyester materials work best for transfer of color and vibrancy, but a poly-blend of at least 60 percent is recommended. Synthetic fibers (such as nylon, rayon, spandex, and Kevlar) may also be used with dye sublimation, but these fibers would need to be PHOTOS: (TOP) SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; (BOTTOM) CONDÉ SYSTEMS.


ye sublimation is the process of transferring dye to polyester or other synthetic fabric by converting the solid of the ink into a gas using heat and pressure. Most often, the printer prints onto a specialty transfer paper, which is then transferred or sublimated onto the fabric in a heat press. During the process, the ink bonds with the fibers of the media. This process is unlike other inkjet printing technologies (where there is just a layer of ink on top of the media). Dye sublimation is becoming a growing industry of inkjet printing in North America. (Note: It already has a strong foothold in Europe and South America.) More and more countries are requiring dye sublimation for apparels—due to it being less harmful than solvents, as well as its eco-friendly and biodegradable properties. Dye sublimation has many advantages over other traditional inkjet printing technologies (low startup costs, ease of use, accessibility, etc.).

able to withstand the 400°F temperature of a heat press. Another feature to sublimating is the amount of time that it takes to sublimate. Sublimating time varies based on the type of material. The harder a substrate’s sublimation coating, the longer it takes for the substrate to sublimate. For example, a T-shirt will take less than one minute to sublimate, whereas a larger, harder surface could take over ten minutes. To get started with dye sublimation, you will first need a dye sublimation printer such as the Epson F-Series or Mimaki JV300 series printer. You will also need a polyester fabric or a rigid media with a polyester coating, sublimation transfer paper, a heat press, and finishing products like a hot knife, industrial sewing machine, sign frames, banner stands, and hanging frames. Below are a few examples of the different types of products and items that can be used for dye sublimation: + Apparel (shirts, hats, socks, sportswear, hoodies, scarfs, bandanas, towels, etc.); + Promotional items (mouse pads, beverage coolers, key chains, magnetics, coasters, clocks, license plate frames, phone cases, etc.); + Rigid boards (aluminum, steel, plastic, and wood may be printed on via the dye sublimation process, as long as the product or material has a polyester coating). Dye sublimation is a growing trend in the sign and graphics industry and becoming more popular as additional products are being added into the market. The good news is that just about anyone can get into dye sublimation and begin to expand their own product line. —Matt Wilson Matt Wilson is Product Development-Materials Specialist at Advantage Sign & Graphics Solutions (

October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


Continued from page 63 ent amount of tension on that first print than the second and the third and the rest of them, and you might have one print come out two inches longer than the next one. “So you end up having to print them all bleed and then cut them down to the size you need.” Tension isn’t the only thing that creates problems in the transfer process—incorrect feeding of the paper can cause issues too.

If the paper gets twisted or bunched up on one side as it feeds through, you get “tiger stripes” where no ink is transferred to the fabric. “Because the ink is moving as a gas in sublimation from the paper to the cloth, if the paper is in there with any kind of a wrinkle in it when in contact with the cloth, the ink doesn’t go straight across. They have to be touching,” says Burris. There are many more variables in dye sublimation than inkjet printing that

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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

can ruin an end product. A higher percentage for error leads to a higher price and is something you should work into your costs. FINISHING. When considering dye sublimation, it may be important to start at the end, but finishing options shouldn’t be forgotten after that. If you’re going to complete the finishing in-house, consider what sewing machine and what stitch will work for each fabric you’ll need. Caution: This may be harder than you think. “There really isn’t an industrial sewing machine store,” says Burris. “It’s a terrible market to try and get information about sewing machines.” (Note: Group Imaging had to talk to a sewing machine repairman to get advice on what machine to buy.) Hardware is another finishing consideration, which offers an opportunity to differentiate a shop. Group Imaging builds its frames in-house from aluminum tubing, which allows them to create custom shapes and sizes. “As important as being able to do dye sublimation is to us, having something to put it on is even more important,” says Burris. “I think a lot of competitors would offer a display in maybe three sizes or four sizes, but since we have a saw—we’ll cut it in any size you want. “The trick is being able to make it and put it back together. Anyone can bend a tube, but once you have it bent, you’ve now got to cut it into smaller pieces to ship it. And that’s a bit of a trick to be able to make them connect back to each other after you’ve cut them apart.” SALES. Hardware and frames are also important for showcasing fabric displays for customers. “The best tip is you’ve got to have a way to show it. Nobody wants to just buy a piece of fabric—that’s called a tablecloth,” says Burris. “So you need to have illustrations either in a step-bystep brochure or a frame setup without the graphic on it. You can also consider using videos—YouTube is amazing.” Making the sale is the ultimate goal since a dye sublimation printer can only be used for dye sublimation applications. “You better be planning on keeping it busy,” says Burris, “or your return on investment will never occur.”

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

Building a Better Brand How sign shops can get into the business of branding.



he saying “first impressions are everything” has been around for a long time, and it’s because there’s truth in the platitude—for people and for businesses. For a business, its first impression comes from its logo and branding, which is something sign shops are well positioned to offer. Dan Antonelli, CEO and creative director of Graphic D-Signs, Inc. (www., knows a lot about branding. His roots are in the sign industry, where he worked in a sign shop as a teen and learned the lettering and pinstriping trades from a second-generation sign painter. In college, Antonelli earned a degree in advertising/communications, and he worked as a graphic designer after graduating. However he still missed working with small companies as he had in the sign business, so he launched Graphic

D-Signs, a design company, out of his basement in 1995. Two years later, he had enough business to quit his day job and focus fully on the design firm. Today Graphic DSigns operates out of an office with fourteen employees. “When I started the company, I thought that businesses needed more than just signs,” says Antonelli. “I also felt that they needed things like branding, a logo, business cards, and stationery. “So I always had an idea, this concept, that a small business could really benefit from one source to keep everything coordinated.” Over the last twenty years, Antonelli has branded about one thousand businesses and written three books about building a brand. “One of the things that we talk about in the book [his most recent, Building a Big Small Business Brand] is this concept called the ‘brand promise.’ And in layman’s terms, that’s

basically what a brand communicates to the average viewer and what assumptions they make on that brand should they know nothing else about that particular company,” he says. “It’s all about building that image and giving the consumer a rationale to believe that the deliverable they’re going to get from one company is better than the next. “And a lot of that just drives from the brand.”

Getting Started So how can a sign shop get involved with branding?

October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


Branding should be integrated across all touch points the consumer may have with a company, including logos, business cards, stationery, and largescale signage and displays.

One of the first things a shop should consider is its own image. What type of message is it putting out to the public through its branding and logo? “What are you projecting? What are you putting out on the street that is going to make me, as a business owner, believe that you can take care of my brand?” asks Antonelli. “A lot of sign companies are so busy doing all their other clients’ work that they neglect their own. “But it’s really hard to sell branding when you don’t embrace the same philosophies.” If the outward appearance of the shop is projecting the right image, then it’s time to focus on the sale within the shop. Antonelli recommends shifting focus away from selling commodities and over to selling service-based design. He says shops should ask, “What can I give to that client at my shop that he can’t get somewhere else?” Oftentimes the answer is expertise. Design expertise is not something a customer can get from just anywhere, and shops should capitalize on their skills to build up new profits. Shops should also make sure customers know and understand what branding and logo design actually is. Illustrations and examples can go a long way in sealing the deal. “What I always try to recommend for sign companies is to really illustrate to the small business owner the concept of what a brand entails,” says Antonelli. 68

This illustration can include the use of case studies that demonstrate the importance of a logo or how branding is integrated into a business’ signage, car wraps, business cards, etc. “When they can visualize what a brand signifies, it’s easier to sell it,” says Antonelli.

Design Considerations Once the sale is made, the consultation and design process begins. There are a number of considerations a shop must keep in mind when designing. Know the audience. Consulting with the client on what they like is an important part of the design process. However shops should remember that the brand is being designed for the business’ audience, not the business itself. “You certainly want to get information about demographics. You want to find

Rebranding is another opportunity for shops. Here, an example of a logo redesign by Graphic D-Signs.

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

out who it is that you’re trying to appeal to with this branding,” says Antonelli. “But it’s also equally important to point out to them that you’re not really there to design a logo for them. You’re there to design a logo for who their audience is.” Media types. Part of the design process is making sure the brand is integrated and coordinated across all of the touch points a consumer may have with a company (which can include uniforms, business cards, vehicles, signs, and more). It’s important that all of these elements present a unified brand experience. When considering the different types of media the brand will touch, design the logo for the primary media type. “We always try to make sure that the brands we create are first going to work for the most important media that it’s intended in. For a lot of our clients, it’s actually their vehicles or an outdoor sign that may live in front of their business,” explains Antonelli. Distance legibility is a big factor, and designing for the primary media type can help resolve some of those issues. “You can design a great logo that works in an outdoor realm, and it will always work well on print and Web,” he says, “but the same isn’t true going the other way around.”

Rebranding Another sales opportunity comes in the form of redesigning existing branding and

logos. (Note: See “UpFront” on page 6 to learn how to identify subpar branding.) Companies may or may not be aware of the need for a change, and it is up to the sign shop to convince them of the need for a rebrand, which can be a tough sell as many companies become attached to their brand. “Old brands are like warm blankets to small business owners,” says Antonelli. “They’ve seen it for so long and feel comfortable with it, and they’re afraid of what’s around the corner.” Companies that have been successful even with bad branding are an especially hard sell. “Success in spite of a poor brand is not a valid reason to perpetuate it,” says Antonelli. “I say, ‘Imagine how much more success you might have had with a better brand.’” So how can a sign shop convince a business they need a branding revamp? Answer: The same way they sell their design capabilities to any customer— through examples. “Sometimes you have to get them over that fear, and we try to do that, again, by using case studies,” explains Antonelli. Explaining how a rebrand is rolled out can also put a business at ease about the process. Typically the things that are the easiest to replace—uniforms, Web sites, business cards, etc.—are rolled out with new branding. The other media types are replaced more slowly. “There’s going to be a period of time when you have the old brand and the new brand,” says Antonelli. “And as things get used or come out of service, you replace it.”

Pricing One of the big questions a sign shop faces in all aspects of the business is pricing, and branding is no different. At the very least, a shop should bill at its hourly rate for the time spent designing and creating files. But what about compensation for the worth of the brand itself—something that is hard to measure since it’s forward-looking? Depending on analysis of the competition, the brand integration, etc., a shop may choose to tack on additional costs to the price of the work. No matter what the price, branding, and logo design can be a lucrative avenue for a sign shop.

October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


Lighting ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////



he outdoor sign industry benefits from numerous lighting solutions. Although neon lighting is fading, fluorescents still stand strong. While LEDs are rising in popularity, fluorescent signs continue to play a major role in the sign industry. Because of their strong presence, governmental attention has examined their performance and energy efficiency.

In November 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued new rules to regulate the efficiency of fluorescent lamp ballasts, and these take effect November 14, 2014.

impacts many of today’s fluorescent T5, T8, and T12 ballasts. Ballasts that don’t comply will be prohibited from subsequent manufacture and import in the U.S., but existing inventories can be sold until they are exhausted. Outdoor, cold-weather ballasts were originally excluded from the energy-conservation standards (76 FR 20090 20117592 Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts). The DOE changed its perspective on how to calculate the efficiency requirement from a focus on light output (ballast efficacy factor) to ballast luminous efficiency. Light output is measured independently from the new metric. Both input and output power are now measured—ratios of output power are considered against input power. The following formula is used to calculate the efficiency of fluorescent-lamp sign ballasts, according to DOE standards, which are based on ballast luminous efficiency (BLE) calculations:

What is the DOE Federal Ballast Ruling? The DOE Energy Conservation Standards for Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts created a new metric for measuring ballast efficiency and established a higher standard of efficiency that 70

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

Where the total lamp-arc power is the sum of the lamp-arc powers for all lamps operated by the ballast measured


DOE fluorescent sign ballast regulation goes into effect November 14.

rently by a six-channel power analyzer, the input power to the ballast, measured by another power analyzer and β, equals the frequency-adjustment factor. β = 1 for high-frequency electronic ballasts, and β = 0.94 for low-frequency ferromagnetic ballasts, therefore devaluing ferromagnetic ballasts. Outdoor sign ballasts must also acquire a UL Type 2 rating and be designed, labeled, and marketed for use in this application.

How the DOE Ballast Ruling Affects Your Business Ballast manufacturers must now evaluate their existing products in terms of compliance. For products that don’t comply, they must be reengineered or discontinued. The required calculated BLE must be achieved. Sign shops and sign service must find suitable replacements. DOE-compliant electronic ballasts are much lighter than their ferromagnetic counterparts.

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Available Replacement Solutions Two replacement solutions for ferromagnetic ballasts are available: serieswired and parallel-wired electronic sign ballasts. Series-wired. This ballast is a direct replacement for the ferromagnetic ballasts. No rewiring is required. It features the efficiency of solid state with the convenience of conventional series wiring. This allows for “wire to wire” matching to any ferromagnetic ballast in the field. Parallel-wired. Also known as “instant start,” this ballast offers ease of wiring for new installs, which is favored by higher-volume production sign builders. They can absolutely be used as field replacements, but they will require rewiring of the lamp sockets. With only several weeks remaining for compliance to the DOE Federal Ballast Ruling, be prepared. Consider your solutions and make an educated buying decision. For example, not all ballasts are equivalent—some are actually higher in efficiency than others. This article was submitted by the engineering department of Allanson Lighting Components. This lighting solutions provider offers direct RSS series-wired electronic ballasts and EESB parallel wired electronic ballasts. For more information about the DOE regulation discussed, contact the company at 800/599-3659 or email may also visit

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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

LED Light Boxes Showcase Art Installation

LED Light Boxes from DSA Phototech ( were selected to showcase the groundbreaking “The Heart of Los Angeles” exhibition at Los Angeles Union Station. The exhibition was launched this past May as part of the station’s seventy-fifth anniversary celebration. “The Heart of Los Angeles” consists of thirty photographic artworks from five accomplished artists: Suzanne Adelman, Sam Comen, Kevin McCollister, Jim McHugh, and Catherine Opie. These photographs showcase Los Angeles Union Station’s role in the community in a variety of ways, ranging from the station’s cultural significance and architectural heritage to transit usage and the station’s social relationship with surrounding neighborhoods. As this art installation will be on prominent display for one year, it will be seen by thousands of visitors. Through DSA Phototech’s LED Light Boxes, visitors to the station will view the works of “The Heart of Los Angeles” in an optimal fashion thus enhancing the overall viewing experience. Heidi Zeller, creative services manager at LA Metro, noted, “We’ve found the light boxes [present] the artists’ work in a truly lovely manner and to be very userfriendly. They are an elegant and streamlined solution to enhancing a high profile public transit space.”







An Easier Way to get Your Message Across Advertise In Contact Jeff Sutley (East Coast) at or 212-620-7233 or Kim Noa (West, Central U.S.) at or 212-620-7221

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A good network leads to a quality


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014



The client wanted to do some value engineering, which led to the use of an alternative material that wouldn’t have a big foundation footprint.


identity sign.


ver his thirty years in the sign industry, Roger Brown has acquired a lot of data on signs and how to make them. So he took this information and started his one-man shop, A-B Sign Systems in Rembert, South Carolina, about a year ago. The shop doesn’t have a production facility, so Brown partners with other manufacturers, installers, and contractors to help him get jobs done. “I find out the budget, and I try to determine what their real need is and then match the two together,” he says. T5 Data Centers recently contacted

Brown through its contractor, Holder Construction Company, for help on a monument project for its entrance. In conjunction with Corgan (the architect on the project), A-B Sign Systems came up with a design for a system of walls with architectural lettering. The design originally called for real fieldstone, but the team soon realized the walls would require a large footer that would interfere with underground utilities. “They wanted to do some value engineering and try to come up with an alternative product that wouldn’t have such a big foundation footprint,” says

October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated



Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

the hand-sculpted stone. To finish the texture, they used their Poly-Armor™ Hard Coat and stuccoed with paint. “We utilize 100 percent acrylics that bind to our product and maintain their elasticity to maintain longevity,” says Fetter. One of the biggest challenges was the sheer size of the walls. “Large-volume jobs always present the challenge that, over a long length, the stone remains the same throughout the entire piece,” says Fetter. “We were able to overcome the challenges and get the job done.” In addition to creating the faux-stone accent, Peachtree also had to create an embedded substructure in the foam from two-by-ten wooden boards to support the heavy Lumux light fixtures. “I had gotten the light fixtures in right before Peachtree started fabrication of the walls,” says Brown. “So I brought the lighting fixtures to their shop because they’re heavy, and they had to figure out a way to build support inside the wall. “They made all these provisions in their fabrication process to make sure it was supported, that it lined up like it was supposed to, and all that.” To make the installation easier, Peachtree also created pass-throughs for the wiring from PVC tubing within the foam. “In this project, raceways were created in the foam with conduit during the manufacturing process, which enabled the installer to feed their wires through with little or no effort,” says Fetter. When fabrication was complete,


Using a cultured stone sample as a guide, Peachtree hand-carved the foamcore product to create a realistic fieldstone appearance for this monument.

Brown. “So I came up with working with Peachtree City Foamcraft. “All we ended up needing at each of our installation mounting points was just a twelve-inch-diameter hole three feet deep or two feet deep, depending on the wall height. So that meant we could hand dig each footing and make sure we weren’t disturbing any of the utilities.” With a solution found, Brown next secured architectural letters from A.R.K. Ramos for the T5 logo and to spell out “T5 @ Kings Mountain.” He also chose three, eight-foot-long uplighting LED fixtures from Lumux Architectural Lighting. Meanwhile Peachtree spent five weeks fabricating the foam walls. They started by converting the wall design file into plotter files. They programmed these files into their CNC router before cutting so that the radius of the wall’s curve was exactly as requested. Peachtree then switched to hand carving to create the realistic fieldstone appearance using a cultured stone sample from A-B Sign Systems as a guide. “One of our unique skills is our ability to easily match virtually any style of faux-brick or -stone and recreate it in a foamcore product,” says Michael Fetter, Sales & Marketing manager at Peachtree City Foamcraft ( “Samples are provided to ensure that our retail sign shop clients are fully satisfied with the final result before we even start the manufacturing process.” Once the faux-stonework sample was approved, Peachtree covered the wall in


Brown subbed out the installation to a local contractor, Chastain Fence Company. No service equipment was necessary since the walls were light enough for the installers to lift themselves. Holes were hand dug, and the posts were set. The walls were then lifted and set in place on the posts. The largest wall—22 feet-long-by-four feet, eight inches tall—required four people to handle it to keep the curve from flexing. Wood blocks were used to raise the walls

off the ground and make them appear taller and then concrete was poured. Installers returned the next day to remove the blocks and back-fill the ground around the base. Brown installed the letters and logo to the walls himself using push-in studs. He also attached the light fixtures using 5/16 bolts. “Everything was set up so that, when I mounted the fixtures, I could feed the wires right through the wall,” says

Brown. “Then when the electricians came up, everything was set up for them so all they had to do was put their watertight boxes on the back of the wall and then make their electrical connections.” The client “loved” the final product and couldn’t believe how realistic the stone looked. “To hear that the customer is just thrilled, that it looks better than his imagination would allow him to think, then you’re like, ‘OK, we scored!’” says Brown.

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1. Choose up to 10 categories of interest and check off on card. 2. Select up to 28 suppliers and record InfoDirect # on card. 3. Mail card to start getting info! InfoDirect #

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 80



Ability Plastics, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . 27 AdamsTech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Advantage Sign & Graphic Solutions . . . . . . . . . 24 Allwood Signblanks Ltd. . . . . . . . . 21 Alpina Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . 86 Alpina Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . 86 American Ultraviolet Coatings . . . 21 A.R.K. Ramos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 A.R.K. Ramos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Arris Signs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 AXYZ International . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Biesse America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Brinks Mfg. (Van Ladder) . . . . . . . 69 Brooklyn Hardware . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 CAB Signs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Canon Solutions America . . . . . . . . 1 CAO Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Central States Signs . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Clarke Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Clarke Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Clarke Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Coastal Enterprises/Precision Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Duxbury Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Epilog Laser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Epson America. . . . . . . . . . . . . 44-45 ER2 Image Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 EstiMate Software Corp. . . . . . . . . 87 FASTENation, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 FASTSIGNS International . . . . . . . 23 FDC Graphic Films . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Flexmag Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Formetco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Gemini, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 GH Imaging. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Gill Studios Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Graphics One . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Gravotech/Gravograph . . . . . . . . . 74


InfoDirect #

38 Gyford Productions . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 39 Hartlauer Bits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52


40 Howard Industries. . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 41 J Freeman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65


42 Kern Laser Systems . . . . . . . . . . . 39 43 Keystone Technologies . . . . . . . . . 71


InfoDirect #


76 78 80

44 LMT Onsrud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 45 Magnum Magnetics . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 81

48 Mimaki USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 49 M&T Displays LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17


50 MultiCam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 51 Mutoh America, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . 62


52 ORAFOL Americas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 53 Orbus Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75


54 Orbus Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 55 Orbus Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 56 Ornamental Post,


Panel & Traffic . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Outwater Plastics . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Presto Tape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Principal LED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Rapid Tac . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Roland DGA Corp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Rowmark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Seiko Instruments USA . . . . . . . . . C2 Sherwin-Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Sign America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Sign Bracket Store By Hooks and Lattice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Sign-Mart Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Sign-Mart Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C4 SloanLED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Small Balls, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Southern Stud Weld . . . . . . . . . . . 84 Stamm Mfg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Stimpson Company . . . . . . . . . . . . 38


58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014


Stouse Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Trivantage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Trotec . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 Ultraflex Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 US LED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 VKF Renzel USA Corp. . . . . . . . . . . 86

Companies in Sign Show

46 Marabu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 47 Master Magnetics . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32



82 84 86 88 90 91 93

3A Composites. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Drytac . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Essentra Specialty Tapes . . . . . . . 14 Fisher Textiles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Gemini, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Graphics One . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Keystone Technologies . . . . . . . . . 17 Roland DGA Corp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Rowmark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 SA International . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Scott Fetzer Electrical Group . . . . 18 Seiko Instruments . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 XDtemplates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

Misplaced your favorite issue of WE CAN HELP. Back issues are available.

CALL FOR AVAILABILITY: 1-800-895-4389 or 1-402-346-4740 Follow Us On: Sign Builder Illustrated




Architectural / BY SARAH MALPELI ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014


F Ground Rule Graphics Renovation Pittsburgh Pirates honor past achievements with new look for Legacy Square.

or Image360 - Pittsburgh West (, what started out as a makeover of Budweiser Bowtie Bar at PNC Park (home of the Pittsburgh Pirates) ended with a large-scale graphics renovation to the Pittsburgh Pirates Legacy Square. This area of the park is set aside to honor the past achievements of the organization as well as notable former Negro League Players. With Legacy Square not attracting the attention the Pirates organization felt it needed, and other graphics renovations being completed at PNC, the Pirates turned their attention to this important historical area. With the global sports industry worth between $480 to $620 billion, according to a recent A.T. Kearney study of sports teams, leagues, and federations, many teams are investing in visual makeovers inside their facilities to attract and entertain their park visitors. And PNC is no exception. “We were originally contacted by the agency for Budweiser looking for a local company to makeover the Budweiser Bowtie Bar at PNC Park,� explained Im-

October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


➄ ➀ The old information kiosks were too plain. ➁ Alumicolor material and aluminum footers help these kiosks better show history.

➂ The Legacy Theatre uses memorabilia and photography of past and present players to take fans through the history of the team. ➃ A PVC Timeline showing the team’s history is also at the theatre. It was wall-mounted using stainless steel standoffs. ➄ Image 360-Pittsburgh West became involved with PNC’s further makeover thanks to their Bowtie Bar graphics work.

Misplaced your favorite issue of ? WE CAN HELP. Back issues are available.

CALL FOR AVAILABILITY: 1-800-895-4389 or 1-402-346-4740 Log on to

Follow Us On: Sign Builder Illustrated


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014


age360 Owner Dave Jones. “After working with the Pirates in the past, we were quite familiar with the projects going on at the park and happy to assist. “As fate would have it, during the installation of the Bowtie Bar, another project needing immediate attention came into sight.” The Legacy Square area was in need of a new sponsor name and graphics reboot. Image360 - Pittsburgh West provides professional graphic solutions to regional businesses and organizations. From the simplest projects to the most complex, their trained graphics specialists work closely with clients to maximize the creativity and visual impact of environmental graphics, mobile graphics, wayfinding solutions, and promotional displays. To begin, Image360 removed a 30-inchby-30-foot aluminum panel, stripping off the old sponsor name and reinstalling a newly refurbished “Title Sign.” There were two one-foot-thick hardened steel I-beams containing these signs—one having individual LED backlit letters, the other dimensional lettering. The Image360 team then removed the existing letters and replaced them. (Note: See photos on previous page.) “The challenges, other than working around the Pirates home schedule, was to relocate the letters and drill through the one-foot-thick I beams, while eliminating all evidence of the former layout (including previous holes in the I beams),” explained Jones. Image360 was then tasked with providing concepts and solutions to give the “wow” factor the Pirates organization wanted. To restore old information kiosks that were used to tell a story and bios of the Negro League Players, Image360 used a weather-proof, graffiti-resistant, antiscratch material called Alumicolor. It is created with a process that directly embeds inks into the pores of thin aluminum sheets causing a near indestructible finish. Along with the Alumicolor panels, thin aluminum footers were placed on the baseplates to complete the transformation. The next part of the area needing signage was the Legacy Theatre within Legacy Square. This indoor theatre takes fans through the history of the team, showing various memorabilia

and photography of past and present Pirates players. “The Pirates wanted a display inside that showed the timeline of the team—from its establishment, to each logo change over the years, to all of the achievements throughout its history,” said Jones. To complete this part of the project, Image360 created a 4-by-16-foot, 1/2inch PVC Timeline mounted to the wall using stainless steel standoffs.

A large dimensional sign was mounted above the exterior entrance of the theatre, along with an illuminated blade sign and various window graphics and panels. “I was very proud of my team of consummate professionals after completing this project,” explained Jones. “All of the visual communications solutions [we] provided were met with continuous praise from all levels within the Pirates organization.”

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Steve uses a Trotec Speedy 300 laser engraving machine, one of the fastest in the market with engraving speeds up to 140 in/ sec. The 29” x 17” working bed allows for multiple items to be engraved in one job. With the CeramiCore laser source, he can achieve top quality results with a higher laser power, even with senstive materials.

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Available in 30w - 120w 29” x 17” working area CeramiCore ceramic laser source (40 watts and above) JobControl X InPack TechnologyTM Ready for flexx Increase your profits - Call us today!


October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated



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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014

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October 2014 // Sign Builder Illustrated


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Large Format Printing

Investigating a

Larger Canvas


hen one thinks about end-uses for large format printing, retail graphics seem to site at the top of the list. However Timothy Check, production manager, Professional Imaging, at Epson America, Inc. (, points out that there are other “under the radar” applications sign shops can consider here: + Technical drawings (architectural and engineering drawings and product renderings); + Photo enlargements (reproductions of photographic prints on various media); + Pop-up banners (portable display signage for events and point-of-purchase promotions); and + High school sports (player posters, community events, etc.) To achieve the best-quality photo-realistic prints, Check says that the resolution of the images you’re working with should be at 300-dpi. “Avoid scaling JPEG images in size over 200 percent,” he recommends, “as visual imperfections of the file format compression method will become very noticeable at close viewing distance.” He adds, “Vector-based content (text and graphic illustrations) is excellent for large format printing, as it can scale up in size without degradation of image quality.” When setting up set up a large format printer in shop, it turns out size truly does matter. “In

a large workspace environment with high-volume printing,” says Check, “consider adding a printer with an available print server. Print server features allow the printer to manage jobs from multiple users and keep the printer running at full speed.” In smaller workspaces where floor space is constrained, Check suggests a dual-roll printer. “It requires no additional space, while enabling printing onto different types of media without the need to unload and load paper,” he says. There are plenty of materials available for large format printing, and Check provides a checklist: + Plain and recycled bond paper (“that can be recycled in standard recycling bins after use”); + Adhesive-backed paper and synthetic papers. + Coated matte papers; + Photographic papers and canvas; + Polypropylene banner film; + Clear films; + Backlight film; + Rigid Posterboard; and + Tyvek While the company’s SureColor T-Series ink dries nearly instantaneously, if laminating or framing, it is important to allow the water used to carry the ink colorants to the paper to evaporate. “Allowing the prints to sit overnight will prevent moisture that cause bubbles to appear in the lamination,” says Check.


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2014


Large format printing means more than just posters and wraps.


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Profile for Sign Builder Illustrated

Sign Builder Illustrated October 2014  

This issue features stories on vehicle graphics, digital signage, identity signage, ADA/wayfinding signs, dye-sublimation printing, business...

Sign Builder Illustrated October 2014  

This issue features stories on vehicle graphics, digital signage, identity signage, ADA/wayfinding signs, dye-sublimation printing, business...