Sign Builder Illustrated September 2019

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The How-To Magazine

S e p t e m ber 2019 | signs h o p.co m

SIGN BUILDER

illustrated

LED Shaping Up

Interior Lighting

S e e o u r a d o n pag e 5

Color Management: Creating the Perfect Match

Vinyl Branding: A Solid Approach



Contents

September 2019

Vol. 33

No. 291

How-To Columns

14

MAKING THE FIRST IMPRESSION

By Adam Brown New signage enhances branding and increases efficiency.

15

GOING AGAINST THE WIND

By David Hickey This year’s Sign Code Champion does things the Chicago Right Way.

departments

4 6

​Cover Photo: iLight Technologies, Inc.

8 38 40

EDITOR’S COLUMN

Do you see what I see? Editor Jeff Wooten points out the important role of color in brand recognition and how it has a lasting impact.

IN THE INDUSTRY

Digital signage makes a showtime statement at a new movie theatre complex, and a bank takes pride in a massive sidewalk graphic.

SIGN SHOW

The newest products and services from sign manufacturers.

SBI Marketplace

Advertisements and announcements from the sign trade.

Shop Talk

Eric Hawkinson shows print is still appreciated, especially with direct mail marketing.

20 Features

20 25 30

35 signshop.com

33 35

A SOLID BRANDING APPROACH

By Jeff Wooten Experience the vinyl coverage at the 3M Open PGA golf tournament.

CREATING A PERFECT MATCH

By Jim Cirigliano Color management across different printing systems.

DYNAMIC INTERIOR OPTIONS

By Ashley Bray Opening the door to interior digital display installs.

LED-ING ARTISTIC ASPIRATIONS

By SBi Staff LED lighting fixtures enhance interior environments.

HAND AND BRUSH TO THE WALL

By Lori Shridhare Creating murals for the twenty-first century. September 2019

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September 2019, Vol. 33, No. 291 Sign Builder Illustrated (ISSN 0895-0555) print, (ISSN 2161-0709) digital is published by Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation

Subscriptions: 800-895-4389

executive offices

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

editorial

Editor Jeff Wooten 323 Clifton Street, Suite #7, Greenville, NC 27858 212-620-7244 jwooten@sbpub.com Managing Editor Ashley Bray 212-620-7220 abray@sbpub.com Contributing Writers Adam Brown, Jim Cirigliano, Eric Hawkinson, David Hickey, Lori Shridhare

art

Art Director Nicole D’Antona Graphic Designer Hillary Coleman

production

Corporate Production Director Mary Conyers Digital Ad Operations Associate Kevin Fuhrmann kfuhrmann@sbpub.com

circulation

Circulation Director Maureen Cooney mcooney@sbpub.com Circulation Analyst Brandy Wilson bwilson@sbpub.com

advertising sales

Publisher/West Coast Sales Arthur J. Sutley 212-620-7247 asutley@sbpub.com Associate Publisher/Mid-West Sales Jeff Sutley 212-620-7233 jsutley@sbpub.com Integrated Account Manager/East Coast & Canada David Harkey 212-620-7223​ dharkey@sbpub.com Sign Builder Illustrated is published monthly. All rights reserved. Nothing herein may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher. To purchase PDF files of cover and layouts or hard copy reprints, please call Art Sutley at 212-620-7247 or e-mail asutley@sbpub.com.

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September 2019

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Editor’s Column

AGENDA

By Jeff Wooten

September 2019 SEPTEMBER 12:

The Project Peacock Print Fair, showcasing innovations and opportunities in print marketing, lands at Sony Pictures Plaza in Los Angeles, California. (projectpeacock.printmediacentr.com)

SEPTEMBER 20-21:

The Sign Association of Canada’s national tradeshow Sign Expo Canada 2019 takes place at the International Centre – Entrance 1 in Mississauga, Ontario. (sac-ace.ca/sign-expo-canada)

Brand Recognition

October 2019 OCTOBER 23-25:

In branding, image (and color) is everything.

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all means, and see why my heart is slightly broken, visit http://bit.ly/2Mg1mHI. Honestly the demise of Sugar Bear’s appeal can be attributed to “out of sight, out of mind.” And when it comes to branding, I’m not certain color isn’t just as important as character today when it comes to recognition. Even if you don’t recognize the Starbucks mermaid, I’ll bet you know the color of green that is used with it. And the same goes for the hues Best Buy Blue, Coca-Cola Red, and Home Depot Orange. In this regard, Elyria Kemp, assistant professor of Marketing at the University of New Orleans, once coined color as “the silent salesperson” because “color association generates those feelings and allows you to visualize those brand colors.” It was a point brought up by Jim Raffel of ColorCasters at his seminar last spring at ISA International Sign Expo on the importance of color management. That why it’s important to hit those specific colors as a print provider or sign maker for your client’s branding. Check out “Creating a Perfect Match” on page 25 to find out how to appropriately replicate color across a variety of different devices. In the meantime, I’m setting out a bowl of Sugar Crisp to mourn my long-lost animated pal.

Jeff Wooten Editor, jwooten@sbpub.com

September 2019

November 2019 NOVEMBER 22-23:

Join the USSC Foundation at Harrah’s Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey for The Sign Exchange tradeshow. (usscfoundation.org)

February 2020 FEBRUARY 26-28:

The Midwest Sign Association Winter Meeting takes place at the downtown Renaissance Hotel in Toledo, Ohio. (msassn.org)

FEBRUARY 27-29:

Photo: Shutterstock/ Jiri Vaclavek.

I

know, at heart, I’m an old-school kind of guy—one who prefers print over digital, physical media to streaming, and practical effects over CGI, but even I was caught off-guard by the results of a study recently released by Crestline Promotional Products. The company conducted an online survey—“Mascot and Brand Recognition”—polling 1,630 U.S. consumers to find “America’s Most Memorable Mascots.” They showed pictures of mascots to people and asked them if they could name the brand associated with it. The results yielded fascinating insights into mascot marketing successes (and failures) and responses by different generations. It should come as no surprise that the Starbucks green mermaid would come in at number one as the most recognizable today, followed by KFC’s Colonel Sanders and the Geico Gecko. What shook me to my core was that Sugar Bear (from Post Sugar Crisp/ Golden Crisp Cereal) would rank in the bottom three. Sugar Bear! One of the coolest, hippest, happenin’ TV commercial cereal characters when I was growing up has now been relegated to animation obsolescence and replaced by some imposter more known for raising Honey Boo Boo. I guess people really have gotten enough of that Sugar Crisp and no longer care if it keeps him going strong? (Our managing editor just informed me that I’m old.) Note: To read the full results and analysis of this Crestline study, find out what this

The inaugural Printing United, formerly SGIA Expo, converges at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention in Dallas, Texas. (printingunited.com)

Graphics of the Americas 2020 returns to the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Florida. (goaexpo.com)

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In The Industry

Digital Signage Makes

a Showtime Statement

S

an Diego, California—Last fall, TCL Chinese Theatre announced plans for Theatre Box, an all-new, state-of-theart, luxury movie theatre complex in San Diego’s Gaslight District. The new facility features dine-in restaurants, bars, and entertainment, as well as an expansive lobby that houses the worldrenowned Sugar Factory. To fully immerse guests, TCL Chinese Theatre sought to create an exciting and inviting environment within Theatre Box, one that would include the use of digital signage to wow customers even from outside the venue. To do this, the company sought to create an enticing video wall display 6

Sign Builder Illustrated

that would provide entertainment and information (movie times, trailers, advertisements, etc.). The digital display would need to be visible from anywhere in the lobby of the venue, as well as through the windows to the street. The selected location was directly above the escalators, as this spot can be seen far and wide. In addition to the video wall display, TCL Chinese Theatre wanted Theatre Box to offer a sleek, sophisticated environment for customers as they walked into each theatre. In November 2018, the theatre’s San Diego-based management group reached out to AV design-build company Fluid Sound based on its experience in working with high-end theatres and specialization

September 2019

in the design-build process for AV system solutions. They tasked Fluid Sound with creating custom solutions for Theatre Box that would meet the aggressive grand opening date in a mere four weeks. The idea set forth by TCL Chinese Theatre was to create a video wall comprised of the largest displays possible to be hung at a 45-degree angle and installed directly over the escalators. While most video walls do not standardly utilize very large displays, Fluid Sound selected NEC’s 75-inch Professional Series Displays, and to stream content, Fluid Sound chose a tvONE® CORIOmaster mini-Modular 4K MultiWindow 1RU Video Processor. To support the weight capacity of the signshop.com


Wrap Inspires Pride

S

the display had to be visible anywhere in the lobby, as well as through the windows to the street. large displays, provide the flexibility and adjustability needed for this install, and meet the fast-approaching deadline, Fluid Sound chose Peerless-AV’s Special Purpose Video Wall Mount (DSVWM770). In addition, Fluid Sound selected Peerless-AV’s Wall Kiosk Enclosure (KIP643) for the individual 43-inch NEC displays showcasing the current movie title in the specified theatre outside each auditorium. Theatre Box’s installation began right away. To complete the video wall installation, Fluid Sound relied on lift baskets to reach the area above the escalator. Placing a ladder on the elevator was not only too unsafe, but it also would not allow them to reach the wall. signshop.com

Fluid Sound’s next focus was on the installation of the wall kiosk enclosures at each auditorium. Originally TCL Chinese Theatre wanted to install the screen directly on the wall. However Fluid Sound suggested a wall kiosk enclosure that would provide safety and offer a finished, polished look. Through the use of reliable solutions, Fluid Sound was able to complete both installations within the allotted time and meet the grand re-opening date. Since the completion, Theatre Box patrons have commented on the beautiful presentation of the video wall, and the theatre has been able to entice many outside visitors with views of the stunning displays.

tow, Ohio—To show its support for Toronto Pride, TorontoDominion (TD) Bank wanted to install a large, circular rainbow graphic on the ground of the courtyard by its headquarters. The chosen graphic needed to be cost-effective but also durable enough to withstand five weeks of heavy foot traffic and outdoor weather conditions. TD Bank sought the expertise of AIP Media, which has worked closely with national brands to execute graphic installations ranging from vinyl graphics to 2D and 3D national marketing campaigns. AIP Media came up with a plan to design/print 36, 49-inch-by-11.5-foot rainbowcolored panels that, when installed, would form a 48-foot circle of pride. To complete the project, AIP M e d i a O w n e r To ny I a c o b e l l i selected Mactac’s StreetTRAX™ Outdoor Floor Graphics (STX1528P), a print-and-apply media that delivers sharp images while maintaining slip resistance. It is textured, which eliminates the need for an overlaminate, resulting in a faster and more cost-effective installation. The finished graphics were created using an HP Latex 360 printer. AIP Media printed and installed the graphic then cleanly removed it following the celebration.

September 2019

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Sign Show BANNERS/MATERIAL/EQUIPMENT Banner Ups Announces Its New Distributor Network for SEGDesign Frames

ADA/WAYFINDING Turnkey ADA-compliant Wall Frames are Available from Orbus’ SignPro Systems Orbus Exhibit & Display Group announces that SignPro Systems®, the company’s wayfinding signage division, now offers graphic inserts and ADA-compliant lenses with all of its Curved and Flat wall frames. Graphics and ADA lenses are an addition to SignPro Systems’ already extensive line of wayfinding solutions that includes wall signs, projecting signs, triangular signs, pylons, sign stands, and much more. Wayfinding sign solutions provide directional guidance for guests and staff in offices, hospitals, retail environments, schools, and more. SignPro Systems provides professionally designed brochures showcasing the exceptional wayfinding solutions in use in various environments including healthcare, educational institutions, office/corporate, and more. All sign systems, graphics, and lenses from SignPro Systems are made in the U.S.A. orbus.com/signprosystems

E. L. Hatton Sales Co./Banner Ups has unveiled the launch distributor network for its innovative SEGDesign Modular SEG Frames. The initial network of SEGDesign distributors includes Graphics Solutions Group, Harbor Sales, JDS Industries, Outwater Plastics, Reece Supply, and Regional Supply Inc, while other companies are being added. SEGDesign is a modular, non-aluminum SEG (textile) frame system that combines molded plastic corners, T-connectors, and side rails to make unlimited sizes and shapes easily and quickly in-house. The SEGDesign frame system is stocked through distributors in a silver color; however it also accepts spray paint, so creating imagepopping color frames turns out to be fast, easy, and inexpensive. SEGDesign works with Banner Ups KederTape, a peel-and-stick, no-sew keder; the frames will also work with all standard keder and SEG graphics. KederTape is also available through the network of premium distributors. (800) 869-9601; bannerups.com/segdesign

LED MODULES/TUBES/StripS The VL Plus 3 Product Line from SloanLED Expands! Lighting technology provider SloanLED has broadened its VL Plus 3 product line with a full spectrum of quality channel letter lighting solutions that are available in duolens Standard (6500 K, 5000 K, 4000 K, 3000 K, Red, Green, and Blue), tri-lens High Output (6500 K and 5000 K), and single-lens Mini-modules (6500 K, 5000 K, and 4000 K). VL Plus 3 delivers fast installations and lower cost per sign with 1.4 modules per foot and up to 103 lm/W. “We’ve expanded the VL Plus 3 product line to deliver exceptional performance at the lowest cost possible so sign makers don’t have to sacrifice quality on their most price-sensitive projects,” said Michael Bluhm, director of Sign Product Solutions at SloanLED. VL Plus 3 comes with a ten-year product and five-year labor warranty. (877) 314-3390; sloanled.com

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Sign Show ROUTERS/ENGRAVERS Techno CNC Introduces its Cabinet-nested Venture Plus CNC Router The powerful and versatile cabinet-nested Venture Plus Series CNC router from Techno CNC Systems features a moving gantry design, which saves valuable floor space. Using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software, the machine frame is designed and analyzed in the computer, assuring the build is capable of handling high speeds with the loads applied to the mechanics. This engineering results in a construction build of all tubular steel that is stress relieved and precision machined, so that the foundation of the machine remains true over the life of the machine. The Venture Plus rides on precision THK rails and bearings, providing ultra-smooth, highspeed routing results. The Venture Plus is powered by 850-watt Digital Yaskowa AC servo motors and drives powered by a PC-based Osai controller, with an easy-to-use custom Techno interface. All operations are pre-programmed macros so that the user does not need to be concerned with complex machining knowledge. The Venture Plus comes standard with a 16HP HSD Automatic tool changer spindle, eight-tool rotary carousel with HSK63F tool holders, nine-spindle drill bank, pneumatically operated dust hoods with CNC-controlled gate valves directing debris though a central vacuum manifold, and pneumatic pop-up pins for easy sheet alignment. (877) 314-3390; technocnc.com

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Sign Show SOFTWARE-DESIGN/PRINT/ROUTER/ESTIMATING Significant Upgrade Made to EnRoute Subscription Offering SAi EnRoute 6.1 CAD/CAM software meets the various needs and budgets of users across multiple industries and is accessible to existing subscribers of EnRoute software. EnRoute 6.1 includes half a dozen new efficiency-enhancing tools to boost CNC routing capabilities for CNC woodworking, sign making, and mill working companies, as well as nested-based manufacturing users. These new features span improved previewing options, comprehensive job statistics, and greater cutting control. The newly introduced Backplot tool simultaneously generates four preview angles and contains detailed cut statistics. It now also incorporates color code for the text in the file, making it easier to identify what is included on the output file. The Group Order function allows subscribers to not only select the order in which they want the objects to be cut but saves this to a group that can be copied. This allows users to dramatically reduce their design time and maximize throughput. Job Statistics deliver improved information of cutting time. By providing realistic production times and job estimates, users can optimize throughput. (Note: Some tools are not available on all packages.) The ability for CNC users to purchase EnRoute software via monthly subscription offers greater flexibility and cost control to their business and ensures they always have the most up-to-date versions. thinksai.com

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How To

engraving By MONUMENTS Byashley ADAM BROWN bray

Making the First Impression New signage enhances branding and increases efficiency.

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Several ACI employees took the initiative to create new logo design concepts. With the help of a marketing firm, they established a brand-new blue-and-green logo that was, most importantly, fresh. They also wanted us to build and install a new monument sign, as well as other exterior signage, based off this new logo. A Monumental Building Process During early consultations with them, we determined that their number-one priority was making a good first impression. We recommended sizes, materials, and locations for their new signage, which included a seven-foot-wide monument sign mounted onto a twenty-four-inch base, as well as face-lit channel letters installed above the front door of their building. The monument sign is a dimensional cabinet of the client’s exact logo. Each of the signs in their package falls in line with the appropriate logo variation specified in the ACI Industries branding require-

September 2019

ments. This is critical in representing their new branding throughout the facility. The illuminated monument sign cabinet was formed from 17-inch extruded aluminum with 0.125-inch-thick routed faces painted to match the client’s PMS colors with Matthews Paint Satin White. We also used 0.118-inch-thick white acrylic and 3M translucent vinyl film on its exterior. Both faces are backlit with white LED modules installed in our shop.

All Photos: Sign Effectz, Inc.

H

ere at Sign Effectz, Inc., my employees often get asked, “So how do you know when it’s time for a new sign?” Sometimes the answer is obvious, but other times it’s not. In the case of one of our customers, ACI Industries, LLC, the need was very obvious to the company’s new owners. ACI is a growth-oriented custom machine shop in Saukville, Wisconsin with a strong customer base and good name recognition. Its new owners recently remodeled the facility’s exterior and interior. This process consisted of new landscaping, paint, carpeting, lighting, HVAC, and shop equipment. The owners also took this opportunity to update their existing signage, which was based on a then-already thirty-yearold logo. Not only was their logo design outdated, but the colors were muted. It featured what most people would consider an ugly shade of brown.

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September 2019

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How To MONUMENTS

By ADAM BROWN

The installation crew for the seven-foot-wide monument consisted of two Sign Effectz team members and a Sponko SR62 mounted onto a Freightliner truck.

The monument sign is supported by a steel tube set in 3000-psi concrete footing. Its base was fabricated from aluminum tubing and painted with a green band. We routed the street address numerals out of 1-1/4-inch flat cut-out aluminum and painted them blue. A locally licensed electrician performed the 120-volt primary electrical connection to the existing power and hook up. We verified and dug five feet for the foundation of the monument sign. Our crew was two installers and a Sponko SR62 mounted on a Freightliner truck. Directional Signs Enhance Efficiency ACI is situated on a corner lot in a busy industrial park. “Because we’re on a corner, there are driveways on both sides of our facility,” says Conrad. “The front door, which is for visitors and employee, is our main physical address. Our loading docks are off the other street. We needed to direct 14

Sign Builder Illustrated

all that traffic to the right area.” We created three new directional postand-panel signs for them. These were formed from three-by-three-inch aluminum tubes and 0.125-inch-thick routed aluminum faces with reflective white vinyl film and vinyl film that matches the client’s blue and green colors. We sized the directional signs with space for future copy. We called Diggers Hotline to flag the areas.The final locations and elevations were verified prior to installation with the client. The signs are set in concrete footing. “The new signs direct suppliers and pick-ups efficiently,” says Conrad. “Otherwise the steady traffic of delivery trucks is pulling into the employee and visitor parking lot.” The location and verbiage on the three directional signs have worked well. Conrad tells us that they’ve received comments from truck drivers that his new signs make it easier for them to know where they’re supposed to go.

September 2019

The new logo and updated appearance has proven important to ACI.

The Bottom Line Prior to the new signs, some people driving by hadn’t even noticed the building. ACI employees heard that some people even thought the building was new! “Our new look completely changed the way people noticed the building,” says Conrad. “The new sign and new colors were definitely key to that. The back-lit feature is really well accepted. People notice it much more now that it’s lit up at night.” ACI’s logo and appearance are important as they grow the business. They even intend to double their shop space and add office space in the near future. It’s very gratifying for me to hear that ACI gets so much value from their new signs and that they partnered with my company on this important initiative. Adam Brown is president of Sign Effectz, Inc., a full-service custom signage specialist based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. signshop.com


How To engraving

How To

PERMITTING

By ashley bray

BY DAVID HICKEY

Going Against the Wind This year’s Sign Code Champion does things the Chicago Right Way.

Photo: Shutterstock/MaxyM

W

hen it comes to cities with a reputation for roughand-tumble politics, few outpace Chicago. Sign permitting troubles in the Windy City are legendary. A lengthy permitting process meant that businesses often waited months for a permit. Too much power lay in the hands of its aldermen, who had considerable control over what happened in their wards. One Chicago alderman was indicted back in June on racketeering, bribery, and attempted extortion charges over a sign permit, seeking business for his law firm in exchange for his approval. (Note: The alderman has pleaded not guilty.) This signals just how problematic it can be to get a sign permit in Chicago. It’s something Alex Perry of Right Way Signs of Chicago knows all too well. “We have fifty members of city council who act like mini mayors,” he said. “You’ve got fifty opinions about signage,

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and there’s nothing consistent. Why have the sign code if the alderman can prevent a sign he or she doesn’t like?” For nearly three years now, Perry has worked with the International Sign Association (ISA) and the Illinois Sign Association as part of the Small Business Advisory Council (SBAC). Initially the coalition was successful in streamlining the permitting process somewhat by removing the public comment period. But the pace of progress has since been slow, as decades of the “Chicago Way” have been difficult to overcome. “Our first reform efforts knocked off thirty to forty-five days,” said Perry. The lengthy process often meant the sign wasn’t approved before the business was ready to open. Even if everything was done in advance, Chicago was much slower than other cities when it came to getting business done. One of Perry’s clients was opening a chain of retail stores across the coun-

try. “He told us that he opened up two stores in the time it took to get the Chicago permits,” said Perry. “You feel like

September 2019

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How To PERMITTING

BY DAVID HICKEY

you’re a crazy person. Those reforms had an impact, but it wasn’t enough.” After Rahm Emmanuel unexpectedly announced he would not run for re-election, the coalition determined to make sign codes—and the impact on small businesses—an issue in the 2019 mayor’s race. To set the stage a bit: Chicago has only had two mayors in the last thirty years. “When either of these administrations would get any hint that anything bad was

ous issue. To a lot of people, it’s just sign permitting, but it completely kills businesses.’” One candidate, Lori Lightfoot, showed promise. Lightfoot, a political outsider, ended up in a runoff with another candidate who had spent her career at city hall. The coalition hosted a mayoral forum for the two finalists, but only Lightfoot showed up. Perry was impressed, so much so that he went “all in” on her candidacy. He be-

Advertisement going on with the permitting process, everyone at city hall would go into defense mode,” Perry said. “They’d point fingers. We’d meet and leave with a positive feeling, and three or four months later, it was back at the beginning, ground zero.” With Mayor Emmanuel out of the picture, the field was wide open. With twenty candidates running, Perry noted, “The coalition zeroed in on the five people who we thought could become mayor. We started sending them the same message: ‘The sign code is a seri18

Sign Builder Illustrated

gan communicating with her campaign and put up a billboard supporting her candidacy. “She actually saw it on her way home from a campaign event,” Perry said. “Her campaign manager told me she didn’t have a budget for billboards. We did it to say, ‘We’re here. We’re raising the flag to say, ‘Help! SOS! We need someone to pay attention to us.’” Lightfoot won the runoff decisively, garnering almost three-fourths of the votes cast. The SBAC played a role in the mayor-elect’s transition team, focusing on

September 2019

business concerns. Once in office, Perry was able to meet with Mayor Lightfoot’s deputy mayor, a former small business owner of a manufacturing company. “The guy’s extremely bright, heading up economic development,” said Perry. “He understands the issue with sign permitting. We’ve had multiple conversations about the time it takes to get a permit. I feel extremely optimistic that change is going to happen.” Within hours of being sworn in, Mayor Lightfoot signed an executive order limiting the power that aldermen have over permitting issues—including sign permits. Mayor Lightfoot said at the time that the order would end “the unilateral, unchecked power that aldermen have to control virtually every aspect of business in community life that interacts with the city.” While it was an important step forward, “headaches” still remain. Perry and the coalition are in the fight to the finish. “I’m in way too deep to stop doing this,” he said. Change comes slowly—and not just in Chicago. For Perry, staying in the fray is important, if not for Right Way and the sign industry, then for his customers. “I don’t have a tolerance for nonsense, and I think our sign permitting is complete nonsense,” he said. “It’s impacting my bottom line and our clients’ bottom line. Someone needs to be held accountable. We would get in trouble if we put up a sign without a permit, but no one in city hall gets in trouble for failing to do their job in issuing the permit.” It’s clear why Alex was named the ISA Sign Code Champion in 2018 for his early work on the permitting issue. He certainly serves as an inspiration for what can happen when a sign, graphics, and visual communications professional is willing to get involved at city hall. If I had my way, we’d have hundreds of people like Alex working at the local level on issues that build strong business communities, who can bring in ISA and Affiliated Associations for added strength. David Hickey is vice president of Government Affairs at the International Sign Association (ISA). signshop.com


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VINYL BRANDING CNC ROUTER By JEFF BradWOOTEN Burnett

A Solid

Experience the vinyl coverage at the 3M Open PGA golf tournament.

T

he inaugural 3M Open PGA Tour event took place this past July 4-7 at the TPC Twin Cities course in Blaine, Minnesota. About 150 of the world’s best golfers participated in the tournament, which is part of the PGA’s season-long FedEx Cup (a points system culminating with the bigmoney FedEx Cup Playoffs in August). As a Minnesota-based commercial solutions provider, 3M welcomed the 20

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opportunity to be the tournament’s title sponsor. During the early planning stages, the company first focused on reasons for hosting this PGA Tour stop, asking themselves questions about what 3M represented, why they would want to sponsor this tournament, and what good they could do with this event. “This was a huge opportunity for us to [not only] show our continued commitment to improving and enriching com-

September 2019

munities where we live and work,” says 3M Senior Experience Manager Collin Hummel, “but also allow fans to feel the power of community and be inspired by the idea that when we come together to support a greater cause, our impact can reach far beyond ourselves.” The event was also an opportunity to showcase the 3M brand on a global stage. Hosting the golf tournament meant they would be afforded sponsor-branded actisignshop.com

All Photos: 3M.

Branding Approach


vation elements throughout the course, an even more important consideration thanks to the ensuing TV coverage. “It was imperative that anything we did on that course was going to show up on TV in a vibrant, clean, crisp, and cohesive way,” says Hummel. “We wanted the bright-red 3M logo to really ‘pop.’” The company ventured to a number of different PGA Tour tournaments across the country and asked title sponsors about what worked, what didn’t work, and what they would repeat. Hummel cites the PGA as a huge help too. “The PGA works hand-in-hand with title sponsors to ensure the brand is reflected well and that the event runs smoothly,” he says. But how does one showcase a company that is made up of 93,000 people and sells 55,000 products all under the umbrella of “3M Science. Applied to Life.” in a way that means something to people who are coming to a golf tournament, first and foremost, to, well, see golf? “This was an effort that was more than just building signage in a pretty way,” says Hummel. “It was more so enhancing the guest experience.” One of the first things the company decided to do was create was the 3M Open Fund that would benefit several local charities using proceeds from the tournament. They came up with the “Golf That Matters” slogan to guide their efforts throughout the golf course. Next they had to devise a branding theme. Nine months before the tournament was set to commence, 3M worked with the PGA, the city, business partners, and volunteers to map out the course to figure out how they were going to bring their message to life through signage and branding. Since Blaine, Minnesota was going to be the most northern stop on the PGA Tour, 3M knew they had to play up, in some form or fashion, the Minnesota summer life and what people like to do at cabins. “That’s why you saw things like the big swings and Adirondack chairs we set up on the course,” says Hummel. “We wanted to take advantage of there being water on the course because we knew the cameras would pick it up.” 3M knew that, regardless of where signshop.com

they were going to place items on the course, they had to hold up in all weather conditions. “We also knew that the day after the tournament was over, this all had to be removed, packed up, and stored away,” says Hummel. “We have a seven-year commitment with the PGA, and we don’t want to reinvent the wheel every time with these structures. Where it makes sense, we plan to bring them back and reinstall them next year, so they have to hold up and the vinyl has to hold up. “For graphics that were applied to existing structures and substrates on the golf course, we made sure to use films that would be easily removed and not leave damage behind, all the while creating a rich and vibrant visual appearance.” On Par With a Production Partner Installation of the 3M-branded elements at the golf course took a couple of weeks prior to the tournament kicking off. Prior to that, 3M worked for months to plan and build a variety of the unique installations. On this project, 3M once again utilized the services of Brand Ink, a nearby graphics shop that the company has teamed with on multiple other projects. Hummel cites that one big reason for this continued relationship is that Owner Nick Lowry and his team can dream up unique, big ideas and make them a real-

ity in a way that isn’t cost-prohibitive. “They’re willing to do things that aren’t typical or traditional—like figuring out a way to build frameworks as part of our activations that we can then wrap,” he says. “[Lowry] helps develop ways to make things reusable and leverages materials that are not going to be wasteful or harmful.” A Floating Cube In addition to windows, walls, floors, and other vinyl-covered surfaces featuring the 3M ethos, the team found some fun and creative ways to use their short-term promotional and removable graphic films. One of the hobbies that Minnesotans are famous for is yearlong lake fishing, so it made immediate sense for 3M to find a way to use one of the water hazards on the course for branding. Their idea was a sixteen-foot-tall cube covered with vinyl featuring 3M Open branding and a golf ball background sitting atop the water. Keep in mind that this is a fully dimensional object and not a flat wall graphic. “It had to be big enough where it could be caught on TV from the top and from the sides yet not so big that it would interfere with the sightlines of the golfers,” says Hummel. “We also had to consider how it would hold up to all the elements and not sink.” The forty-foot-deep water hazard

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Materials Used @ PGA Event FOR THE 3M OPEN PGA TOUR EVENT, the graphics solution provider needed vinyl materials that could cover a variety of substrates—walls, windows, course signage, flooring, decking, etc. “With the swath of these canvases, we needed materials that could hold up to the abuse they would take in the hot July sun and withstand hundreds of thousands of footsteps,” says Collin Hummel, senior experience manager at 3M. “No tournament stop is better positioned to leverage their own materials than 3M; through 3M Science, we were able to bring our brand to life authentically.” • 3M™ Print Wrap Film IJ180mC-10UR

This vinyl-wrapped swing set proved to be a popular spot.

support it. They welded steel frames to hold the weight of the sandbags, which kept the platform in place. They created custom anchor baskets and sunk them near the shoreline in four points to keep the cube in place in case of high winds. Lowry and his team however had to figure out how the anchors for the cube would be submerged and hidden, so all viewers would see was a beautiful floating cube. “We painted the frames black to hide them under the waterline,” says Lowry.

also cover up all of the PVC panel seams. This wall also fits the Minnesota branding theme 3M was trying to achieve. “Minnesota has a huge golf community,” says Hummel. “Minnesotans are passionate about golf, which can be witnessed in attendance at the local golf events like the Ryder Cup or PGA Championship, as well as the number of golf courses in the state. “This ended up being a popular backdrop for photographs.”

The Golf Ball Wall The golf ball wall inside the welcome center was another standout custom solution at the 3M Open. “This was a golf tournament,” says Hummel, “so where it made sense, we were going to lean in on golf and have some fun with it. The golf ball wall was one of those activations. It was a cool mixed medium that played off of golf and was event relevant.” This piece contains a custom acrylic box that is the depth of a single row of golf balls. It takes about 520 golf balls to fill the box and create the molecular matrix pattern. The individual golf balls were backlit in red LEDs to form the 3M logo. The wall itself is simple. It contains the space for the acrylic box and skinned with extruded PVC panels that have been cut to the shape of the 3M logo. “The back panel of the acrylic box is also a white diffuser panel to spread out the 3M red LED lighting behind it,” explains Lowry. Once assembled, Brand Ink wrapped the wall in IJ180Cv3 with 8520 matte overlaminate to finish the graphic and

Adhering to a Swing Set One of the more whimsical pieces was a 3M-branded vinyl-covered swing set strategically set on the golf course next to wrapped giant Adirondack chairs (keeping with the Minnesota theme). Keep in mind that the swings actually had to work and stand up to the crowds. “Obviously, we couldn’t have an event where people swing on the swings and they break,” says Hummel. This installation provided an opportunity to use the company’s 3M™ ScotchWeld™ Structural Adhesives and showcase its strength. Brand Ink built the mechanisms that the swings would be hung from, and then 3M took them to their lab to exhaustively test their actual breaking point and make sure the swings wouldn’t fall apart. “When people are actually physically experiencing your brand, it has to happen in a safe way,” says Hummel, “and all that takes time and testing.”

• 3M™ Controltac™ Graphic Film with Comply™ IJ180Cv3 • 3M™ Contraltac™ Print Film 40C-10R • 3M™ Scotchcal™ Graphic Film with Comply™ Adhesive IJ35C • 3M™ Controltac™ Print Film 40C-114R • 3M™ Scotchcal™ Clear View Graphic Film IJ8150 • 3M™ Print Wrap Film IJ180mC-10LSE

meant that the cube would need to float. Brand Ink designed a custom aluminum skeleton to create the cube shape and to support composite aluminum panels for the outer skin. “We wrapped the panels in IJ35C with 8510 matte overlaminate, which makes for a nice look but is also fairly durable when the cube is in transit or being redeployed in the future,” says Lowry. The final weight of the cube ended up being about 1,200 pounds. “We added 3,000 pounds of ballast at the base to keep things as we intended in case of inclement weather,” says Lowry. Brand Ink also custom-designed the floating platform underneath the cube to 22

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September 2019

Conclusion Professional golfer Matthew Wolff won this year’s inaugural edition of the 3M signshop.com


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

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The golf ball wall features 520 golf balls that make up the 3M logo.

Open by one stroke (shooting a twentyone below par). One can also say that 3M was a winner too, as they successfully brought all the experiential branding to life to a huge audience. Early estimates indicate that approxi-

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mately 120,000 visitors attended the event over the four-day period, while an estimated 18 million people around the world watched it on television. According to Hummel, at the end of the day, sponsoring an event such as this is all about communicating one’s brand.

September 2019

“Whomever you are, that needs to manifest itself in an authentic way but also in a way that gets seen,” he says. “Once we figure out who we’re talking to and what we’re trying to say, the use of graphics can help amplify that, regardless of what is going on.”

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DIGITAL CNCPRINTING ROUTER

By ByJIM Brad CIRIGLIANO Burnett

Creating a

Perfect Match Color management across printing systems.

Photo: Shutterstock/ pogonici

B

eing able to maintain consistent color reproduction across multiple printing systems can be a challenge that threatens to frustrate both print provider and client alike. Clients have an expectation that their shade of red is going to look exactly the same on every printed piece (regardless of the media and print technology used) and will often be surprised at the slightest variation. The problem only intensifies when you’re working with bigger brand names that maintain strict standards for their logos and brand colors. “Large corporations are very brand specific and need to be in a variance or delta range that needs to be approved,” says Ryan Yates, director of Support and Vendor Relations at SpeedPro Imaging. “They will test the color output and verify that you are printing correctly before signshop.com

offering you the job.” Erik Schmitt, director of Sales Canada and Wide Format Subject Matter Expert at GMG Americas, adds, “Point-of-purchase advertising and product standees— where the colors on the graphics must match the brands and products on display themselves—are a common application that requires precise color matching across multiple printing systems.” Jim Raffel, Color Management Consultant/Trainer and CEO of ColorCasters, LLC, states, “Most industrial applications are far more exacting than sign printing applications. This would include printing items that are component parts of a larger assembly. The trick is to make sure that the component part is a close match to any adjacent parts with which it is assembled. This is most common with UV LED printing.

“Vehicle wraps can also be a challenge when damage occurs a year or more after the original wrap, and only one or two panels need to be reprinted to match the original work.” Color Reproduction Variances Several factors contribute to the way colors reproduce on different print technologies and to the variances in color reproduction seen across printing systems. “The main difference is how the [various] kinds of inks are applied and cured to the media,” says Yates. “When using latex printers, the ink is cured by evaporating water from the ink. When using eco-solvent printers, the solvent evaporates over time (usually four to sixteen hours), which allows it to penetrate the media. The UV LED uses lamps to cure the ink. Once the ink drops on the me-

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dia, the light will cure it. “Essentially the ink sits on top of the media, rather than becoming embedded in it like other methods. The UV LED can also have more of a matte finish.” Schmitt states, “The density of pigment particles used in a given ink type will create varying gamuts of the maximum amount of color that can be achieved. This combined with the dif-

Schmitt adds that the software used to drive the printer can also have a huge impact. “If a shop is using a different platform for each device—say the printer manufacturer-supplied product—and is expecting to achieve match across the different technologies, this will be very difficult,” he says. “Different RIP products use different file rendering and CMM (Color Management Module) technolo-

Printers must be calibrated to the media, whether it is banner or vinyl.

plications to view what their files would look like once printed,” says Schmitt. Raffel says, for the most part, designers will need to use the correct source profiles in their design platforms. “This means changing from the defaults provided by companies like Adobe to larger, more gray-balanced CMYK profiles like GRACoL2006,” he says. “In addition, it’s beneficial to work in RGB with the

Clients have an expectation that their shade of red is going to look exactly the same on every printed piece (regardless of the media and print technology used). fering amounts of ink a given printing system/material combination is able to print without issues—such as ink bleed or mottle [an irregular arrangement of spots or patches of color]—will determine the size of the gamut achievable.” Raffel says that eco-solvent printers typically produce the largest gamut, with Latex next and UV LED last. “Certain spot colors (Pantone®) will match better with a fan deck on the larger-gamut printers than the smaller ones,” he explains. 26

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gies. To be able to obtain a match between devices, a common color management platform and strategy is critical.” In order to avoid color reproduction issues, print providers can instruct clients to build and retouch files with the correct color settings in place. “Many designers create their projects without changing the color settings to the print service provider’s desired standard condition, nor do they soft proof their files within their graphic ap-

September 2019

Adobe1998 profile selected to provide for the largest color gamut available. “Finally spot colors should be named using either the Pantone libraries (if available) or named brand colors.” Yates says that using PMS colors is the best way to achieve a consistent match. “The Pantone matching system uses ink pre-mixed to make their color, versus the more common method of printers using CMYK colors to achieve the PMS,” he remarks. signshop.com

Photos (Clockwise L-R): FUJIFILM Americas, BPGraphics, ORAFOL Americas.

Given the differences in media and ink, it’s critical to profile the printers to a standard viewing condition (i.e., D50) to even begin matching colors across all platforms.


Giving the Client What They Need On the print provider’s side, there are several steps one can take to ensure that the client receives the colors they expect, such as calibrating to the media and properly profiling all devices. “Printers must be calibrated to the media, whether vinyl or banner,” says Yates. “This ensures that it’s curing properly and will produce color consistently and repeatedly over time. There are devices that you can use to calibrate and create an ICC profile, which ensures it meets a specific color criterion. “It’s also important that you maintain the equipment. Make sure the nozzles are clean and the carriage is lubricated.” Given the differences in media and ink, Schmitt stresses that it’s critical to profile the devices to a standard viewing condition (i.e., D50) to even begin matching colors across all platforms. “From there, a standard color space needs to be chosen so that all printer types have a chance of obtaining common appearance across material types,” he says. “Using canned or media vendor-supplied profiles are simply a starting point to be able to print to a given substrate.” Raffel suggests, “Honor the client’s embedded profiles, if you’re dealing with a client who understands color well enough to have changed them from the defaults. Also learn how to manage named spot colors in your RIP. This is the most misunderstood and underutilized feature in RIP software today.”

not be expired, and the device should be warmed up to production heat levels by printing a few test forms or jobs before the profiling process begins.” Raffel suggests not building your profile using the onboard software/firmware. “In order to achieve a gray-balanced profile, better results will be obtained by building the profile with a third-party

color management solution such as those available in most RIP software.” UV LED. “UV LED printers must use an external I1 device to profile,” says Yates. “However printing can be done very quickly because of the UV lamp curing.” Raffel adds, “Keep in mind that UV inks contain light absorbing particles that can make it difficult to accurately meas-

Profiling and Managing Colors There are a couple of pointers to keep in mind when profiling and managing colors with popular printing systems. Latex. “The predominant latex device in the market (HP) uses thermal printhead technology as opposed to piezo electric,” says Schmitt. “Thermal printheads, while easy for end-users to replace and maintain minimal downtime, are more prone to color variation. This is why this platform has an onboard spectrophotometer. “It is crucial that all color profiling be completed with the device stabilized in its peak performing condition, meaning that printheads should not be past their expected duty cycle, inks should signshop.com

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In today’s printing environment, color management is a deep and complicated subject.

ure the characterization charts. “It’s wise to use an instrument with a large aperture and that illuminates from multiple angles. The appropriate measurement condition to select is probably M2.” Eco-solvent. Raffel states that these

devices are typically the easiest of the three ink technologies to profile. “A moderately priced instrument capable of M0 or M1 measurements is typically sufficient to build a profile with a very large gamut,” he says.

Yates cautions, “You must use an external I1 device to profile, and there needs to be an out-gassing period. Once the ink is cured—usually four to sixteen hours for the solvent to evaporate—you can then scan the values.” “With eco-solvent, the additional issue of drying time needs to be compared to the amount of ink a material can handle,” says Schmitt. “Effects such as ink bleed, mottle, or window-boxing [a dark edge around the solid printed color caused by the puddle of ink] can also be issues where ink limits aren’t correctly set.” Conclusion The reality of today’s printing environment is that color management is a deep and complicated subject. “Some software removes much of the complexity, which is good,” says Raffel, “but an understanding of color theory and color management fundamentals is still highly desirable, which is best achieved through hands-on education.”

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Sign Builder Illustrated

September 2019

Photo: Shutterstock/Jiri Vaclavek

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WORLD’S

MIGHTIEST

SIGNAGE MAGAZINE! Sign Builder Illustrated is the “how-to magazine” of the sign industry. Each issue includes SBI’s signature “how-to” columns and features with detailed, step-by-step instructions covering a wide range of signage. SBI’s website (signshop.com), newsletters, Buyer’s Guide, and digital edition keep you updated with timely news, recent projects, and upcoming industry events.

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@SBIMag

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ILLUSTRATED


DIGITAL SIGNAGE CNC ROUTER BYBrad ASHLEY BRAY By Burnett

Dynamic

Opening the door to interior digital display installs.

F

ueled by price drops and consumer demand for dynamic displays, the digital signage market continues to grow. While EMCs and digital displays are fairly ubiquitous outdoors, they’re now becoming more widespread in interior applications as well. “It is something that is being asked for all the time,” says Josh Brasher, president of EBSCO, which recently started

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offering interior digital signs in addition to its line of outdoor products. William Kurtzer, president of Gallery Digital Signage Solutions, a division of VCom IMC, agrees. He says the sign shops with the greatest understanding of the technology stand to do well, “If they understand the applications, the benefits, and the content management system, they can make it a very attractive financial proposition.”

September 2019

Deciding on a Display EBSCO’s indoor LED digital displays come in three pixel pitches: 1-1/2, 2-1/2, and 4 mm. Customers can choose between a coated product for displays that are closer to the ground and could be bumped or touched or an uncoated product for those signs that are safely out of reach. Choosing the best pixel pitch is closely tied to the viewing distance. Brasher says signshop.com

Photos (this spread): EBSCO.

Interior Options


mercial grade and have an average expected running life of over 50,000 hours, plus the content can be distributed and managed across signs at hundreds of locations from one central location. The products are characterized by unique all-in-one hardware systems where the proprietary BrightShow content management system is embedded in the display. Products include a rugged, durable line of displays for high-traffic applications, thin bezel wall mount displays, stand-up kiosk displays, and video walls. Gallery recently rolled out a number of new products, including thin bezel hanging single-sided digital signage, doublesided displays, mobile signs that run on fourteen- to sixteen-hour battery packs, and stretched display signage for shelves.

for larger viewing distances, the 4mm works well. He says the majority of what EBSCO will sell will be the 4 and 2-1/2 mm products, with the 1-1/2 mm serving as a premium product reserved for very close viewing where a higher resolution is needed (such as in a conference room). Gallery offers a wide range of LCD, LED-backlit interior digital signage products. These LCD products are not to be confused with televisions; they are comsignshop.com

Applications & Uses The uses for interior digital signage vary. “Advertising is number one. Number two is wayfinding. Informational is third,” says Brasher. Popular applications for interior digital signage can be found in multiple verticals. “The ones that people are most familiar with are menu boards associated with the restaurants, foodservice, hospitality, and directories associated with education, libraries, real estate, healthcare, corporate, and hospitality,” says Kurtzer. “Sales and promotions are very, very big, and that’s primarily in the restaurants, retail, grocery, and convenience store world. Branding is very popular for video walls as well as big digital signs in the corporate, retail, healthcare, and hospitality verticals.” Kurtzer says hotels also use digital dis-

plays for schedule and travel information. Brasher has seen a growing demand from car dealerships. “Because the price is starting to come down, you’re also starting to see dealerships use them in place of LCD televisions,” he says. “[With LED digital displays], you get a lot longer life and a lot better quality of the picture itself. And obviously, if people are paying for advertisement, it’s important that you’re portraying that in the best way possible.” Digital displays have also become a cost-viable option for large churches looking for an informational display to replace their high-end projectors. Brasher says competing area churches will even try to outdo each other by buying a better pixel pitch. “Sometimes 1-1/2 mm becomes the ability to one up the guy down the street,” he explains. Install Know-How When it comes to installing interior digital signage, placement is key, especially if the displays are used for wayfinding. “Walk the property with them and look at what they currently have,” says Brasher, who says to also look out for places to mount the displays as well as power sources. “What’s existing, what walls are where, and what makes sense for what they’re trying to accomplish?” For places without walls for mounting or for clients who want something more portable, freestanding products may be an option, however, most people don’t prefer them. “Rarely do we see them wanting to do a portable version,” says Brasher. “They really want something that looks mounted, affixed, and permanent.”

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Since most signs will be placed in high-traffic areas, Brasher says to look for high mounting points—eight feet or higher—to avoid people touching or bumping into the display. Kurtzer says there are also other things to consider. “One, the access to connectivity issues associated with WiFi or just wiring,” he says. “Number two, the lighting impact within the location. Maybe you need a higher brightness type product. “Number three, which may be the most important (especially in banks and healthcare), you have to understand the potential needs for a non-wired solution.” (Note: This relates to customers who deal with sensitive information and need a more secure solution.) Both EBSCO and Gallery will work with the installer to ensure that the installation runs smoothly. “We work very closely with the sign companies, especially ones that may not be as expert in that field, and assist them on anything associated with the portal instal-

lation, the wiring on the installation, etc.,” says Kurtzer. “A key thing the installer needs to understand is what is the wiring situation like in the field, how are they going to work with the facilities manager to make sure everything is put in place at the right time, and that there are no surprises when they’re putting that thing in from an internet connectivity standpoint.” EBSCO provides a mounting solution with its displays. “It can’t be mounted

directly against the wall; there’s got to be a space between the back of the LED and the wall because we do need airflow back there,” explains Brasher, who cautions to also be aware of what’s behind the wall and what you’ll be mounting to. On a final note, teaming up with a company that offers support—online, over the phone, or both—will ensure that the sign shop and its customer have peace of mind and a place to go for answers.

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Photo: Gallery Digital Signage Solutions.

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Feature LED LIGHTING Name

By BySBI Author STAFF

LED-ING Artistic Aspirations Photo: Balmer Architectural Group.

L

LED lighting components enhance interior environments.

ED lighting fixtures are not only being used to enhance interior environments, but when they’re creatively used, they manage to colorfully transform surroundings and make them stand out even more. So get your lighting palette ready as we take a look at a couple of recent interior LED enhancement projects that also bend more toward an artistic slant. Bringing the Ocean to the Desert Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, the Knox Company manufactures rapid-entry systems—products that allow emergency services personnel to enter buildings safely, quickly, and easily in time-sensitive situations. Recently the company wanted to resignshop.com

model half of its 80,000-square-foot facility to be more contemporary. Since Knox Company had been founded in the coastal town of Newport Beach, California, management looked to the ocean as a source of inspiration. In designing the new interior, Balmer Architectural Group of Phoenix, Arizona proposed adding waves of light to the building’s main hallway and into a cafeteria/break room. To make the plan a reality, they used iLight Plexineon LED fixtures—including a shade of blue, just as the design team envisioned. Plexineon was bent to form just the right amount of curve needed to replicate ocean waves. Wesley Balmer, president of Balmer Architectural Group, says the possibilities were exciting. “We saw an oppor-

tunity to have some three-dimensional fun by installing the fixtures along the ceiling around soffits and other existing structures—creating blue curves that replicate ocean waves,” he says. At this headquarters in the desert, the resulting fingers of light along the hallway are not only dramatic but also practical—providing wayfinding to a training room where fire chiefs and heads of other governmental agencies nationwide learn to use Knox Company products. The fixtures then spill out into the break room, mimicking the flow of water and adding a “wow” factor that exceeded all expectations. The design did have complexities. “Going into the break room, there’s a thirty-foot-high exposed structure

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Plexineon was bent to form just the right amount of curve needed to replicate ocean waves.

Game On at the Hotel Zeppelin The Hotel Zeppelin in San Francisco, California is a boutique hotel that also acts as a cool hotspot for its guests and wannabe-guests to check in to. Its sophisticated rooms feature vintage turntables, vinyl records, and “funky” artwork. The venue bills itself as a “meeting and event space for ground breakers” and its interior design is a sight to behold. The open game room on the first floor of the Hotel Zeppelin features pool tables, an arcade, a lounge area, tabletop games, and Pop Art-inspired ceiling graphics. The owners wanted to enhance this area and include colorful fixtures on the ceiling to complement the playfulness of the environment. 34

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Lighting Designs, Inc., a Seattle, Washington-based manufacturer of track, accent, display, and LED lighting systems, collaborated with Dawson Design Associates, an artistic studio also based out of Seattle, Washington that specializes in hospitality design, to outfit Amber, Blue, Green, Magenta, Red, and Teal Plexineon throughout the Game Room. The creative use of Plexineon LED fixtures helps embody a living story of revolutionary attitude within the space. In the hotel’s Peace meeting room, a

giant, open-space peace sign is a focal point, with a splash of Green Plexineon adding vibrancy. The contemporary vibe carries over to the pool table area, where the glow of Plexineon adds interest. Magenta Plexineon was shaped to resemble word balloons on the ceiling above, while other Plexineon colors were used to reflect the boutique hotel’s celebration of the avante-garde. Note: Portions of this article appeared in previously written press releases.

Magenta Plexineon was shaped like word balloons one would find in a comic book and attached to the ceiling to complement the Pop Art-inspired graphics.

September 2019

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Photos: (Top) Balmer Architectural Group; (Bottom) Lighting Designs, Inc.

that the fixtures needed to be installed around,” says Balmer. “As a result, they’re suspended from the ceiling at varying heights overhead—ranging from about 10.5 feet to 16 feet from the floor.” In the end, 909 linear feet of Plexineon Blue was installed across the ceilings for this project. The LED fixtures added a signature element to the project. “We could visualize the space before, but the fixture’s flowing design is definitely the icing on the cake—an element that brings a whole different experience to the space,” says Balmer.


CNCPAINTING ROUTER

BY ByLORI Brad SHRIDHARE Burnett

Hand & Brush

All Photos: TreeTown Murals.

to the Wall I

Creating murals for the twenty-first century.

n a digital-focused world, muralists find themselves in an ideal position. They can enjoy the benefits of technology and design software, while still investing in their most valuable assets—talent and skill, which is channeled through an old-fashioned paintbrush. As Mary Thiefels, founder of Ann Arbor-based TreeTown Murals (treetownmurals.com) tells us, the spirit of creating art is what drives the work behind her company that she runs in partnership

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with her husband Danijel Matanic, who serves as creative director. This year has been their biggest season yet. They have contracts to produce outdoor murals for the Google Ann Arbor, Glacier Hills, the Ann Arbor Visitors and Convention Bureau, and the City of Dearborn. For Ann Arbor, they are focusing on creativity, innovation, and education as the theme, while the Dearborn mural will celebrate the diverse Arab cultures that thrive in southeastern Michigan.

SBI: When did you first begin offering signs and murals professionally? What is it about murals you find appealing? Mary Thiefels: When I was a teenager, a group of artist friends and I were working on a mural after dark on one of the local railroad underpasses near our neighborhood when we were stopped by the police and fined with malicious destruction of private property. We felt that the mural we were creating was justifiable and positive. We showed up at our court hearing

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collaboration, an exchange of ideas, and a transfer of information. The work is engaging communities in ways that is transforming blighted areas to adding growth to entire economies. Please describe your process and materials. Do you work in different media, i.e, digital, or just paint? MT: Our materials and process can change from project to project. For example, the use of a digital projector has taken the place of a pounce pattern for most of our signs, or we choose to paint a design digitally as opposed to using vellum paper and design markers. Digital media has elevated our practice, making the process for designing and laying out an image much more efficient. Every once and a while we fall back on the analog and traditional methods for transferring an image such as the grid or pounce pattern technique. Having many tricks up one’s sleeve never hurts. All of our work is then handpainted. We believe strongly in putting a hand and brush to the wall. with signatures from the neighborhood showing support for the mural and had also reached out to the Ann Arbor Railroad [AARR] for permission to keep painting. At our court hearing, the charges were dropped, and we proceeded to paint murals for the AARR on four of their eight underpasses. That same year, after the malicious destruction of property charges were dropped, the city of Ann Arbor gave us an award called the Golden Paint Brush for public art excellance. I knew I had my calling now. What is your philosophy as a muralist? MT: Murals can be any sort of expression. For me, working with clients— whether they’re small businesses or big companies—to determine a creative direction that best sutes their brand has been the most rewarding. Our mission is to create opportunities for art to be transformative. We believe mural art helps foster unique connections between people and places, in addition to encouraging community involvement and economic development. I want 36

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to give people a reason to look around and discover their surroundings, to be amazed, to feel uplifted and connected. What is your business model? MT: My husband and I are a creative team and the core artists for TreeTown Murals. He is the head of creative and works each design first as a digital painting. The process of digital painting allows us to sketch, paint, and develop a concept in various stages until we—and the client— are happy with the final outcome. We are often designing and painting at the same time. We are trained in the ways of the true Letterheads and also have traditional painting backgrounds that apply towards the murals. Our work spans many different settings and environments—from parks and teen centers to corporate brands and downtown city centers. One of our core niches is to involve the community in the making of the mural itself, and we have adopted many different and unique ways of doing this. Each time we do, the mural becomes much more than just a painting; it becomes a catalyst for change and

September 2019

How do you preserve outdoor murals and protect them from the elements? MT: Materials and surface prep are next in line of importance to a solid design and great partnership with a client. We work with high-quality paints and materials that are suited for either interior or exterior surfaces. A protective clear or antivandal coating may be applied as well. What equipment is needed for creating and installing murals? MT: Since we are only so tall, we often require ladders, scaffolding, and lifts of various types to paint our commissions. Our favorite to date is a Max Climber lift system. Used primarily by masons, it is comprised of a large gated platform that runs the width of the wall, and the platform is attached to a central mast that runs the length of the mural surface. It is, not kidding, like a moving studio elevator system. What other non-profit/cultural/historical projects stand out for you? MT: We finished a project for the Museum of Natural History in Ann Arbor that had signshop.com


an immense impact on the local community. We designed the mural to initially be painted by community members in a paint-by-number fashion. More than 400 people made their mark on the mural before we went in and polished [it]. Even though you can’t see the marks the individuals made, most still feel deeply connected to the project as if they themselves were the artists’ collaborators. The mural depicts the Huron River watershed, a 130-mile river system spanning the distance of southeastern Michigan. It is a treasure to all the counties it flows through, providing wildlife refuge, drinking water, recreation, and scientific study. We painted a scene that celebrates this river and provides a learning experience for all who view it. The mural also brings a message of conservancy and responsibility that we have to it. We look forward to inspiring new generations to tap into the vast potential we are capable of as thinking and innovative human beings. Large murals and handpainted “anything” reminds people of the possibilities and potential we all have as doers and makers. The fact that we get to share that with others makes this job not a job but a lifestyle that keeps giving. What are the basic criteria that makes a good mural? MT: Mural artists who have a solid process of materials and surfaces stand out to me. Being a good representational painter [is] also a strength. A mural incorporating both lettering and imagery should complement each other. Brush stroke and line quality should

be consistent and precise. Understanding good composition and incorporating the right design elements is paramount. What are some tips you have for painting or installing a mural? MT: Knowing your surface and the elements that it will be exposed to is of the highest importance. Prepping the surface properly by consulting with other contractors such as masons and commercial painters is very helpful. Using a consistent and compatible product line is important. Don’t skimp on prep! A solid surface will add years to your mural or sign’s longevity. Every three to five years, check on your work. Walk up to it and inspect the paint. Look for buckling, peeling, and water damage and address these issues immediately. Budget an extra five to ten percent in each bid for maintenance.

How has technology changed the work you do with murals? MT: We are thankful for computer illustration and painting. Danijel is a concept artist and proficient in digital painting. Before we started creating together, I designed everything by hand. Each time a client would want to make a change, I would have to change vast areas of the design and redraw the concept. Now we can go in and make needed changes on a platform that is much more forgiving. We can also scale the design to the exact dimensions of the wall or surface. This pre-planning allows for us to transfer the image using digital projectors of various luminous strengths onto the wall or surface with great ease. For the clients, it’s great for them too; what they see when we present the design to them is basically what they’ll get—and often better!

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Shop Talk

BY ERIC HAWKINSON, SR. DIRECTOR, CANON U.S.A, INC.

The Printed Word

Optimizing the influence of direct mail for today.

W

hen we think of the evolving technological landscape available, some people are quick to count out key mediums like print. However, contrary to popular belief, Americans have proven the value and necessity for print, claiming it still has skin in the game and is oftentimes preferred to newer mediums. Despite the ongoing flow of communication and readily available information at our fingertips, the recently released Canon Print for Action survey unveiled that 69 percent of Americans reported feeling overwhelmed by the constant barrage of digital information. So how can print service providers effectively communicate their clients’ message to their customers? With digital platforms overwhelming Americans, printed communications such as direct mail continue to be invaluable in today’s climate.

Direct mail is evolving in the digital age—expanding from text-based promotional letters to digitally tailored printed materials featuring both text and images. Given these advances, print providers need to keep up with the pace and maximize opportunities by continuing to play to print’s strengths and utilize the proper tools and technologies available. But exactly how can print providers remain on top of their game? Here are key points to keep in mind when looking to enhance direct mail pieces that not only meet customers’ needs but surpass them. Think Digital. High-quality, colorful print materials, especially direct mail pieces, married with intuitive digital components through augmented reality (AR) or artificial intelligence (AI) technology can help clients’ marketing and advertising materials stand out in a world that is becoming increasingly on demand and in the moment.

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

Prices are subject to change.

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

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

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COPYRIGHT © Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation 2019. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without permission. For reprint information, contact: Arthur Sutley, Publisher (212) 620-7247 or asutley@sbpub.com

September 2019

Additionally, to better resonate with recipients, direct mail communications are often personalized. In order to better reflect a reader’s preferences, standard personalization (such as altering text to address someone by name or including a photo from an event) goes a long way—but only if done right. This is why it is vital to have the right digital printers that are engineered to produce vividly detailed text and maintain the high resolution of professionally shot photos. Finish in Style. Once the printed piece is done, adding the right level of enhancements through specialty finishing effects can help elevate a PSP’s final product by providing customers with a high-quality look and feel. Finishes such as UV and soft touch coating, gold foiling, and other specialty techniques can take a printed piece to the next level by incorporating tactile elements. A Step Further. Given print’s influential power and digital communications’s advanced capabilities, both mediums would benefit from co-existing. With advanced printing technologies on deck, print providers can also tap into solutions that allow for innovative features such as AR or AI to propel print projects into the future. By using these emerging technologies to one’s advantage, direct mail pieces can remain ahead of the curve by incorporating applications that optimize print experiences, ultimately catapulting a recipient from paper to interactive experiences.

Printed communications continue to be invaluable today.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sign Builder Illustrated, PO Box 1407, Cedar Rapids, IA. 52406-1407. Instructional information provided in this magazine should only be performed by skilled crafts people with the proper equipment. The publisher and authors of information provided herein advise all readers to exercise care when engaging in any of the how-to-activities published in the magazine. Further, the publisher and authors assume no liability for damages or injuries resulting from projects contained herein.

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