Sign Builder October 2021

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THE HOW-TO MAGAZINE

O C TO B E R 2021 | S I G N S H O P.CO M

REFLECTIVE SIGN BUILDER

ILLUSTRATED

VINYL: THE STORY OF A WRAP

CUSTOM SIGNAGE: MAJOR LEAGUE RUBGY FINAL

ELECTRIFYING IDENTITY:

INNOVATIVE DIGITAL SIGNAGE



CONTENTS OCTOBER 2021

VOL. 35

NO. 315

HOW-TO COLUMNS

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PLANNING FOR PLANNERS

By David Hickey Connect with planners to discuss sign codes.

DEPARTMENTS

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Cover Photo: Jim Call/Queen City Photography.

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EDITOR’S COLUMN

Editor Jeff Wooten has noticed reader questions have lately trended in the areas of design and digital signage, and he presents some observations in these fields.

IN THE INDUSTRY

YESCO fabricates and installs signage at the Las Vegas Raiders’ home stadium, PRINTING United 2021 is cancelled, and FASTSIGNS forms a diversity and inclusion committee.

SIGN SHOW

The newest products and services from sign manufacturers.

SBI MARKETPLACE

Advertisements and announcements from the sign trade.

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SHOP TALK

Ginny Mumm profiles Zach Jones, owner of Z7GFX, to learn how vibrant prints are fueling his shop’s growth.

FEATURES

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A CHAMPIONSHIP EFFORT

By Jeff Wooten Building a custom desk for the Major League Rugby Final broadcast.

PLANNING A POP-UP

By Ashley Bray A design and fabrication studio brings a hard kombucha pop-up to life.

PERSONAL TOUCH

By Jeff Wooten A sign company owner tells his story through a truck wrap.

QUICK GUIDE: CUSTOMIZATION

By SBI Staff Making your specialty mark with customers.

DIGITAL SIGNAGE SMILES BRIGHTLY

ByJeff Wooten An interior digital sign investment with exterior value for a new dental facility.

October 2021

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October 2021, Vol. 35, No. 315 Sign Builder Illustrated (ISSN 0895-0555) print, (ISSN 2161-0709) digital is published by Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation

Subscriptions: 402-346-4740

EXECUTIVE OFFICES

President and Chairman Arthur J. McGinnis, Jr. Group Publisher Gary Lynch 88 Pine Street, 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10005 Office: 212-620-7247; Cell 646-637-5206

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 David Hickey, Ginny Mumm

ART

Art Director Nicole D’Antona Graphic Designer Hillary Coleman

PRODUCTION

Corporate Production Director Mary Conyers

CIRCULATION

Circulation Director Maureen Cooney signbuilder@omeda.com

ADVERTISING SALES Sales Manager 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 Gary Lynch at 212-620-7247 or e-mail glynch@sbpub.com.

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EDITOR’S COLUMN

AGENDA

BY JEFF WOOTEN

Note: Due to COVID-19 concerns, all events listed below are subject to change. Please check each show’s Web site for any cancellations or reschedulings that may have taken place after press time.

OCTOBER 2021 OCTOBER 25-29:

The 2021 LightFair architectural and commercial lighting conference and tradeshow, which will be incorporating new safety protocols and specific mitigration measures, will be happening at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City, New York. (lightfair.com)

Designs on Shop Improvement

NOVEMBER 2021

Trending with customization and digital signs.

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tomer possibilities. We’re covering several projects in this field (even paying close attention to how design played a role in their completion), as well as presenting a handy quick guide to customization for you on page 32. This special section is intended to give you an at-a-glance reference to the hardware, product offerings, and markets that can aid your shop in these opportunities. Meanwhile another area of interest I have noticed from readers has been in the field of digital signage—particularly when it comes to pinpointing and addressing markets with big growth potential for sign shops. I still want to point you to our signshop.com web site where you can subscribe to our free, twice-a-month SBI Dynamic Digital newsletter. While there, definitely check out our new “Digital Signage 101: How to Grow Revenue with Digital” webinar that’s available for viewing. Over the course of its thirty-minute runtime, this presentation will help those of you interested in selling and installing digital signage be able to get started in this field. We speak with Dave Warns, vice-president of OnPremise Sales at Watchfire Signs, on all aspects of incorporating indoor/outdoor signage into your shop’s sales strategy.

JEFF WOOTEN Editor, jwooten@sbpub.com

MARCH 2022 MARCH 21-23:

Digital Signage Expo, presented by Questex, is bringing Digital Signage and Digital-Out-Of-Home Buyers and Sellers to the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. This returning event will be taking place concurrently with the Bar & Restaurant Expo. (questex.com)

MAY 2022 MAY 4-6:

Photo: Watchfire Signs.

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here are a couple of specific items I wanted to touch on this month, especially when it comes to apparent trends I’ve noticed in many of the questions and requests recently sent my way. For starters, it really feels like readers are hungry for more information about design. While the sign industry has always involved the more-artistic working-class spirits, the role of design in the shop has really evolved over the past several years. It feels like more design specialists are being brought onboard shop staffs (not surprising considering advances being made in software, as well as a more computersavvy generation). But design questions today aren’t limited to just appearance or color schemes. One heightened area of concern is protecting one’s design concepts, especially between customers. How can shops avoid scenarios where customers take their design ideas and shop them around to competitors, possibly even looking to start a bidding war? Shop owners taking a more proactive stance by using watermarks or controlling client online access can come out ahead in this area. Some are even charging for their design ideas upfront before proceeding with projects. And design work is no longer limited to solely large format graphics and vehicle wraps. The evolution and expansion of print technologies has increased interest in personalization and customization, opening up a whole new market of cus-

NOVEMBER 4-6:

Reconnect, Rethink, and Recharge, in-person, at the 2021 SEGD Conference Experience Philadelphia. This gathering is the only conference specifically created for the experiential design community. The three-day event will focus on inspiration and education, with a combination of hands-on workshops, design tours, summits, networking socials, thought leadership sessions, and the NEXPO show floor. (segd.org)

The ISA International Sign Expo 2022 is scheduled to take place in Atlanta, Georgia. Registration for the event will start this fall. (signexpo.org)

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IN THE INDUSTRY

YESCO FABRICATES,

INSTALLS NEARLY 4,000 SIGNS AT ALLEGIANT STADIUM

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as Vegas, Nevada—YESCO, the 101-year-old company known for creating, repairing, and maintaining internationally recognizable signs and award-winning displays for some of the most prestigious brands, is a proud partner of the National Football League’s Las Vegas Raiders and the team’s new home, Allegiant Stadium. Located adjacent to the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, Allegiant Stadium is a global events destination, highlighted by the arrival of the NFL’s iconic Raiders in 2020. Allegiant Sta-

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dium, which won “Best Venue” honors at the 2020 World Football Summit Industry Awards, is ideally located for both visitors and locals, fully enclosed and climate-controlled with a capacity of 65,000. The technologically advanced stadium will host world-class entertainment including concerts and sporting events (such as the Pac-12 Championship Game, the Las Vegas Bowl, and the Concacaf Gold Cup Final) and serves as the home of the UNLV football team. When Allegiant Stadium opened on

August 14 for the Raiders’ first home game of 2021, YESCO welcomed fans with nearly 4,000 signs including all stadium naming signage, pylon signs, and interior and exterior directional signs to enable guests to navigate the new stadium. “As a proud partner of the Raiders and a valued building partner of Allegiant Stadium, we are excited for fans to enjoy the 2021 season in the stadium,” said Jeff Young, executive vice president, YESCO. “It’s enormously gratifying to be such a visible part of signshop.com


PRINTING UNITED 2021 CANCELLED

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AIRFAX, VIRGINIA—PRINTING United, scheduled to have taken place October 6-8, 2021 in Orlando, Florida, has been cancelled. The PRINTING United Alliance board of directors felt the ability to deliver a successful tradeshow event for all involved became significantly hampered recently with the growing uncertainty and spike in cases resulting from the COVID-19 Delta variant and its depressing effect on registration and exhibitor participation. Ford Bowers, CEO of PRINTING United Alliance, said they conferred with dozens of exhibitors and monitored attendee sentiment in making this decision. “One of our contributions to the industry is providing a best-in-class tradeshow,” added Mark J. Subers, president of PRINTING United. “In an instance such as this, we set aside our own financial considerations when we cannot be sure that the ROI for the exhibitors and the attendee experience is exceptional. “In 2022, we will continue to execute nothing short of an exemplary event experience for all involved.” PRINTING United Expo 2022 takes place October 19-21, 2022 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Las Vegas’ newest landmark structure.” Encompassing nearly 50,000 manhours of work, the Allegiant Stadium project included the installation of notable exterior signage such as the two rooftop signs spanning an impressive 564 feet each for a combined total of 115,056 square feet and comprising nearly two miles of outline lighting. Meanwhile another sign, the stadium’s freestanding pylon digital sign, measures 124 feet in height and 44 feet in width, with the electronics portion measuring 80-by-36 feet. signshop.com

To accentuate the dramatic architecture of the stadium, YESCO installed white light ribbons comprising oneand-a-half total miles of light band. Massive individual illuminated letters reading “Allegiant Stadium” on the interior and exterior of the facility range from twenty to thirty-one feet in height. At the Raiders’ nearby headquarters, the Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center, YESCO also installed all the building and directional signs, including the pinnacle, outdoor Raiders’ shield sign measuring 27-by-25 feet. October 2021

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IN THE INDUSTRY BRINGING THE OUTSIDE TO THE INDOORS

FASTSIGNS

FORMS DIVERSITY & INCLUSION COMMITTEE

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ARROLLTON, TEXAS—FASTSIGNS International, Inc., has announced the formation of its Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Comprised of a diverse group of FASTSIGNS franchisees selected from the brand’s global network, the committee was created to foster an environment that promotes and prioritizes diversity and inclusion within not only the FASTSIGNS system but also the broader signage and franchising industries. “Over the years, the signage and franchising industries have become more diverse and inclusive, but there’s more we can do, and...FASTSIGNS is proud to lead the way,” said Catherine Monson, CEO of FASTSIGNS International, Inc., CEO of Propelled Brands, and chair of the International Franchise Association. “Diversity and inclusion needs to extend beyond personalities, professional backgrounds, and other life experiences and encompass all of an individual’s unique characteristics and experiences, including race, gender, ethnicity, age, religion, disability, national origin, and sexual orientation. We look forward to expanding this initiative across Propelled Brands.” The eight committee members will

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tackle subjects such as increasing the number of minority franchisees within the FASTSIGNS system, promoting more open dialogue and collaboration, workplace environments, training protocols, education, and other topics with the goal of creating more inclusive initiatives. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee members include: Kevin Jones, franchisee at FASTSIGNS of Santa Rosa and Petaluma, California; Howard James, franchisee at FASTSIGNS of Washington, D.C. (“The Art of the Start Up,” August 2020); Carmen Ruiz, franchisee at FASTSIGNS of Daytona, Florida; Jose Corujo, franchisee at FASTSIGNS of Puerto Rico; Sarosh Nayar, franchisee at FASTSIGNS of Dallas, Texas; Denise Acquaye, franchisee at FASTSIGNS of Newark, New Jersey; Shu Yang, franchisee at FASTSIGNS of Burnaby, British Columbia; and Shimon Osibel, franchisee at FASTSIGNS of Brooklyn, New York. “I’m extremely proud to leverage my experience working for an LGBTQ-focused non-profit and serving on several boards to assist FASTSIGNS in furthering its diversity and inclusion initiatives to build a stronger brand and promote change in our industry,” said Kevin Jones.

signshop.com

Photo: Howard James/FASTSIGNS of Washington, D.C.

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RISTOL, UK— Sign and disp l a y b u s i n ess S i g n M a x brought elements of the natural world into an indoor environment by using Drytac ReTac Smooth polymeric PVC film to produce a series of eye-catching interior wall graphics, The company was tasked with producing a design that created a natural and calming atmosphere for visitors to its client, local neurosurgeon Dr. Francois van Niekerk. The company printed the colorful and calming design onto Drytac ReTac Smooth 75 using its HP Latex 335 printer, before installing the graphics at the facility to give the inside of the building a completely new feel. Such has been the success of SignMax’s use of Drytac materials that the company is now exploring how the products can help it expand into new areas, in particular, the wallpaper segment of the interior design market. Aside from wallpapers, SignMax has also begun to explore other areas such as floor and countertop graphics, as well as architectural films. “The prospects for this market are looking great,” said SignMax Managing Director NJ Vermaak. “By combining Drytac films with our HP Latex printers, we are able to print vivid colors quickly at a high quality, which is ideal for the decorative and retail market.”


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SIGN SHOW LED MODULES/ TUBES/STRIPS Principal LED Adds Montroy as a Distributor

DIGITAL PRINTING EQUIPMENT/SUPPLIES New ProCare After-sales Service Program Tailored for Canon Colorado Customers The new ProCare after-sales service program designed and launched by Canon Solutions America, Inc., enables owners of Canon Colorado series roll-to-roll wide format printers powered by UVgel technology to benefit from maximizing uptime through access to highly trained technicians and nationwide coverage for increased productivity from minimal downtime. Colorado series printers are designed for optimal productivity with minimal operator intervention and manual maintenance, and the ProCare service program reflects this philosophy, giving customers the added confidence they need to always deliver. Due to its diverse, userfriendly service features, this program allows print service providers to focus on what matters most—exceeding client expectations on quality, delivering within tight turnaround times, growing their business, and increasing profits. ProCare contracts are available for three, four, or five years, with the option to extend support after the initial contract has ended. csa.canon.com

Principal LED is proud to announce Montroy as their newest partner in distribution. Montroy has been providing material and supplies for more than eighty years to the sign and graphics industry. With Montroy branches in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado, the company’s eleven locations will grow P-LED’s market presence in those western states. Montroy will carry P-LED’s complete lighting solutions, including product series such as Patriot™, Pinnacle Stik™, and P-LED’s full range of Class 2 Power Supplies. “We are very excited and honored to have been selected to become a distributor of Principal LED,” said Montroy President Jim Wilson. “With their highquality and innovative LED products and Montroy’s footprint of eleven branch locations in the west, this is sure to be a success for both companies. The resources available from Principal are second to none, and their continuous product improvements were a driving force for our decision to come on board. With our knowledgeable sales and customer service representatives, we are anxious to help bring your vision to light.” p-led.com/where-to-buy/

VINYL/VINYL FILMS Mactac Graphics’ Sustainable Films Product Line Celebrates Responsible Innovation and Added Value IMAGin® Simply Sustainable™ is a new sustainable films product line introduced to the graphics industry by Mactac®. This new line is PVC-free and consists of polyester (PET) and polypropylene (PP) films that meet current regulatory standards of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety and Improvement Act (CPSIA). With guidance and support from Mactac’s parent company, LINTEC, Mactac follows a Simply Sustainable culture of environmental responsibility that encompasses environmental best practices and development of environmentally friendly products, while aiming to reduce the company’s footprint, inspire employees, and provide added value to customers. IMAGin Simply Sustainable products are available in fifty-four-inch widths. They are primarily designed for window or glass surfaces yet versatile for other applications as well. The films are created with a unique polymer technology that delivers notable benefits over traditional static cling products or similar PVC-based products. The product line offers removable and permanent products include Crystal Cling (SS299), a 4.0-mil gloss clear removable PET film that is intended for short- to medium-term advertising on glass surfaces such as windows, displays, and signboards; Print Friendly Opaque (SS219), designed for medium-term advertising on glass surfaces such as windows, displays, and signboards; and White Magic Cling (SS99) and Clear Magic Cling (SS29), made to cling to any smooth glass surface, including windows, office doors, display cases, or beverage coolers. IMAGin Simply Sustainable products can be applied using wet or dry application methods and function well at a wide range of temperatures. mactac.com/Graphic-Sustainability

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SIGN SHOW DIGITAL PRINTING EQUIPMENT/SUPPLIES MUTOH America Launches the Next Generation of UV-LED Printers The new VJ-1638UH Mark II and VJ-1638UR Mark II UV-LED printers from MUTOH America combine with the company’s new genuine RIP software, VerteLith™, to create dynamic output and produce the best-possible gradients, skin tones, and vivid colors. VerteLith optimizes the performance of the VJ-1638UH Mark II and VJ-1638UR Mark II printers and features i-WeaveUVEX 2 Intelligent Interweave Print Technology, MUTOH Clear Tone half tone technology, MUTOH CMYK wide color gamut ICC profile, and auto-generation of Pantone© coated/uncoated spot colors. These state-of-the-art MUTOH technologies streamline workflow, increase productivity, and deliver high-quality output at faster production speeds. The VJ-1638UH/VJ-1638UR Mark II printers include staggered dual printheads with UV-LED lamps on both sides, MUTOH UV-LED inks (which allow printing on transparent/colored media with a six-color CMYK+White+Varnish configuration), and multi-layer printing capability. The VJ-1638UH Mark II is a hybrid printer with the capability to print on rigid substrates as well as roll media, while the VJ-1638UR Mark II prints on roll media only. A 66lb take-up system is standard on the VJ-1638UR Mark II; the 66lb and 88lb take-up systems are optional. The VJ-1638UH Mark II 66lb, 88lb, and 220lb take-up systems are all options on this printer model. VerteLith is bundled with FlexiDESIGNER MUTOH Edition 21 and is included free of charge with VJ-1638UH Mark II and VJ-1638UR Mark II printers. MUTOH.com

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SIGN SHOW PAINTS/COATINGS/FINISHES AkzoNobel Re-brands Its Sign Finishes Business to Grip-Gard AkzoNobel Automotive and Specialty Coatings has refreshed and renamed its sign finishing business from Sign Finishes by AkzoNobel to Grip-Gard®, which will be rolled out over the coming months. Grip-Gard is the longstanding name of AkzoNobel’s sign finishing product line, and this brand refresh reflects the evolution and growth of their products. The new branding is expressed through a new visual identity, color palette, typography, and more. Customers will immediately notice a big change in the appearance of Grip-Gard cans on product shelves. The redesigned labels enable easier and faster identification of product categories through a distinctive color-coding system. As part of a comprehensive refresh of its Grip-Gard brand, AkzoNobel has also launched a totally redesigned and rebuilt GripGard web site offering improved functionality and communication, via both desktop and mobile devices. “Grip-Gard provides sign manufacturers, architects, and brand experts a long-lasting finish that stands the test of time—this is what we want to bring to life through our refreshed branding, packaging, and promotional materials,” said AkzoNobel Senior Regional Sales Manager Lacey Meer. “At the same time, the new branding makes a strong connection with AkzoNobel, whose centuries-long heritage, technological leadership, and global resources have helped build a strong and successful Grip-Gard brand.” grip-gard.com

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HOW TO PLANNERS | BY DAVID HICKEY

Planning for Planners

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e all know the role that professional city planners play in developing sign regulations, but what about planning commissioners? Planning commissioners are (usually) not trained professionals. In fact, they are mostly ordinary citizens with “regular” jobs and perspectives—and often include folks whose knowledge of planning issues is limited. But many communities use planning commissions as part of the community’s planning development process to get more localized, communityfocused input. Planning commissioners have such an impact on the work that we do. They review and approve sign regulations written by planning departments and often hear requests for variances. And yet, so many of them have little un-

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derstanding of our industry and the impact that quality signage and reasonable sign codes can have on their communities. By now, you may be thinking of times in which a planning commissioner just didn’t get it and advocated for unreasonable regulations. Of course, those examples exist, but I believe there will be fewer of them as the International Sign Association and the industry continue to work to educate this important group. As an industry, we sometimes just have to guide this audience to connect the dots between the two. Our advocacy team shares research and resources on the importance of our industry. We work with planning commissioners to help them understand that signs mean business and healthy businesses help their communities thrive. More and more, planning commis-

sioners are turning to the ISA for help. Let me share two recent examples. In one Wisconsin city, a planning commissioner—by profession, an architect— reached out to an ISA member company to ask for assistance with a sign code. The commissioner was concerned that proposed electronic message center regulations were unreasonable. The member company connected him with a member of ISA’s Planner Outreach Subcommittee and ISA’s advocacy team. James Carpentier, ISA’s Director of State and Local Government Affairs, reviewed the code and agreed with the commissioner. These codes were not reasonable and needed to be changed. James was able to share research produced by ISA and the Sign Research Foundation (signresearch.org) that bolstered recommended changes. He also signshop.com

Photo: Shutterstock.com/Lucian Milasan.

Connect with planners to discuss sign codes.



HOW TO PLANNERS | BY DAVID HICKEY

was able to identify some areas of the code that violated Supreme Court rulings on content-based regulations. Because the one planning commissioner was able to persuade his colleagues, the proposed changes were tabled until improvements could be made. It’s an ongoing process, but one which shows the benefits of working together. Here’s another recent case came from Georgia. A planning commissioner who works in a small business had concerns

about proposed updates in his community. He reached out and James reviewed the code, which proposed a sixty-minute hold time for EMCs. Again James was able to provide resources from the Sign Research Foundation. One key piece of research from Texas A&M University showed that EMCs do not contribute to traffic distractions. The end result: The commission adopted a revised sign code with a ten-second hold time, something much more busi-

ness friendly for that community. ISA members devote their time to the Planner Outreach Subcommittee, which has developed a strategy to reach out to planning commissioners. It follows our successful model of reaching out to planners through our Planning for Sign Code Success™ events and other strategies. One piece of low-hanging fruit involved placing articles in a magazine aimed at planning commissioners. Sure there is more work to be done, but we’re still starting to see an impact. Get to know the planning commissioners in your communities and, as they begin to explore sign code changes, let them know that ISA is here to help. David Hickey is vice president of Government Affairs at the International Sign Association. You can contact him at David.Hickey@signs.org.

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EFFORT

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Building a custom desk for the Major League Rugby Final broadcast.

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All Photos: Signs By Veterans.

he expert team at Signs By Veterans in North Charleston, South Carolina recently collaborated with KEPsake Kreations of Spring Hill, Tennessee to build and decorate a customized broadcast desk with easy-to-changeout signage that was seen by millions. The desk was featured on the CBS Sports Network during pre-game and half-time segments of the Major League Rugby (MLR) Final between the L.A. Giltinis (Los Angeles) and Rugby ATL (Atlanta) teams on August 1. Signs By Veterans Owner Justin Myers focuses on hiring and guiding U.S. Armed Forces veterans at his shop in the art and business-side of sign making (“Young Sign Makers,” January 2021), and it was his company’s marketing director, Bradley Yandle, who connected with friends in his network and was able to gain the advantage in securing this project. Yandle is not only a U.S. Marine veteran, but he was also team captain for the Ole Miss University rugby team and played for the Austin Blacks rugby club in Texas. On Air! The gray-framed desk used for the MLR Final was made from solid wood. It measured twelve feet long, thirty-six inches tall, and thirty inches deep. Translucent, non-glare, frosted acrylic face panels with internally backlit white LEDs were positioned on the right and left front sides of the desk. “I think frosted acrylic gave a better broadcast appearance with its cleaner, easier look,” says Myers. “And using non-glare acrylic meant that the studio lighting or the sun wouldn’t affect the image we were trying to portray.” The black background centerpiece signshop.com

sign was made from three-mil aluminum composite material (ACM) and attached to the front center of the desk via standoffs. It hosted a Velcro®-removable sponsor panel (with the name of the particular company sponsoring that portion of the telecast), brushed aluminum DIBOND® letters, and a raised direct print DIBOND MLR shield emblem. Myers is a huge fan of DIBOND. “It’s American-made and twice as thick as Chinese ‘knock-off’ products,” he says. “We’re an American-led and Veteranowned company. American-made products are extremely important to us and what we provide to our clients.” Signs By Veterans worked with The Sign Chef to print onto the brushed aluminum. They used Vanguard Digital Printing’s VK300D flatbed to achieve this in a short amount of time and with exceptional adhesion. “I want to thank Dave Pich of Vanguard Digital Printing for coming through for us here,” says Myers. According to Myers, the main reason his shop used brushed aluminum ACM for this panel is that they are able to achieve a metallic-looking effect when printing directly onto the brushed aluminum. “We leave it as a spotlight print so that we can capture the translucency of the inks against the metallic material,” he says. “It reflects in the sun and creates

a beautiful, shimmering sheen.” Signs By Veterans printed up separate sponsor logos for the pre-game show (sponsored by Guaranteed Rates) and the halftime show (sponsored by Geico). “We made multiple panels so they could easily swap out the images as needed,” says Myers. Putting the Desk Together The finished desk design was actually one of three options drawn up by Nikki Newsome, creative design director at Signs By Veterans, to show CBS and MLR officials. Other desk conceptualizations included one featuring mixed wood with metal frames and another with a light wood accent and a clear Lexan® backer. “Drawing up the concepts for the MLR Final broadcast desk not only pushed my boundaries as a designer but reaffirmed my belief that every new project you encounter is a chance to grow your mind and skillset,” says Newsome. Once CBS and MLR officials made their design selection, Myers reached out to Andrew Polinski, owner of KEPsake Kreations, a retail shop that works with metals and wood, to engineer the desk. (Note: Myers and Polinski previously met up through mutual connections involving projects needing both wood and acrylic.) Myers and Polinski spent a lot of time

Myers says frosted, non-glare acrylic panels on the front of the desk meant the imagery wouldn’t be affected by the sun.

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already had the certain grade of colors that they wanted for it, and it was up to us to keep this color match all the way around—which we were able to do.”

Carrying the desk into The Coliseum so it could be placed on the stage and any additional touch-ups could be made.

together during the drawing stage using Adobe software and narrowing down what they were going to do and what materials they were going to need. Myers and Signs By Veterans would handle all the signage and decorative portions, and KEPsake Kreations would build the desk. Both men acknowledge that this project wasn’t really about production challenges but instead being perfect in their trade—in other words, first figuring out how to make the desk look its best and proceeding from there. This meant making certain the measurements were correct and everything was symmetrical all the way around. “So where we were planning on using 1x4s for the top portion,” says Polinski, 22

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“we instead had to use 1x6s so we could have a two-inch cover and give us a fourinch gap in between.” There were some physical challenges. Polinski’s shop typically builds six-foot desks. “However, due to COVID-19, [the client] needed this desk to be twelve feet,” he says, “and our wood-making shop is only ten feet in length! So two feet of the desk were hanging out while we were trying to work around it.” Polinski was excited to work on this project because it really pushed his shop outside their comfort zone. “Typically the customer will tell us that they want a brown color for their desk, and we’ll show them the brown that we can do for them,” he says. “In this case, the client

The Clock Was Ticking! It was imperative that the finished custom desk be delivered to the site of MLR Final by July 30 in time for the August 1 game. Even though Signs By Veterans had two full weeks to put this entire project together, because the playoffs were still ongoing at the time, Myers and his team weren’t quite sure where the Final was going to be held—in this case, either Atlanta or Los Angeles. “Since the [number-one seed] L.A. Giltinis won at the last second against Utah, that pretty much sealed the deal that they were taking the game to The Coliseum in Los Angeles,” says Myers. Because of the tight timeline, Myers and Polinski had to work quickly on production so that the desk could be driven from Tennessee to Los Angeles in time. The two fabricators actually treated the deadline from the beginning as if the desk was going to end up in Los Angeles. “If it was going to Atlanta, we would have five extra days of production time for it and still drive it down the same day,” says Myers. “But since we worked up our production schedule for Los Angeles, we just dove straight into working on everything.” Polinski was impressed they were able to complete such a quick turnaround, noting his three-person shop worked extra hours each night. “Typically, in our market, we’re four to six weeks out for completion,” he says. “But we had to finish this desk in four days, so [Myers] could deliver it.” Signs By Veterans rented a box truck, packaged the removable panels, and loaded up the wood desk at the KEPsake Kreations shop. Myers and Yandle made the crosscountry trip together. “We met up with another Marine I know in Pasadena and borrowed tools from him so we could put everything together in The Coliseum’s parking lot,” says Myers, noting that the translucent face panels slid straight into wooden tracks Polinski had signshop.com


built into the desk. When Myers and Yandle arrived at The Coliseum, the stage set had already been put together and all the wiring work finished. “We just wheeled in the desk from the parking lot and then lifted and placed it into its intended spot for any final touches,” says Myers. Conclusion Signs By Veterans ended up delivering an immaculate custom desk for the MLR Final—on time and on budget. “My biggest concern wasn’t completing the project, because anything can be done in a day,” says Myers. “It was more about the logistics of getting it from Tennessee to Los Angeles in time for the match and not costing $10,000.” Newsome says working on this project was an amazing opportunity. “It is always a delight, as a designer, to see an idea on the computer screen transform into a beautiful and tangible product,” she says. Impressed with the results, MLR is excited to continue working with Signs By Veterans in the future. “MLR Commissioner George Killebrew approached me personally and thanked us for putting together an amazing broadcast desk,” says Myers. The custom desk is not a one-off and is actually going to be re-used for Next Level Rugby broadcasts on Fox Sports channels. Because of this, Yandle packed it back into the box truck at The Coliseum and drove it down to the network’s broadcast studio in Austin, Texas. “A couple of his veteran buddies helped him unload it and put it up in the studio,” says Myers. Myers says it was an unbelievable honor for his company to be selected to work on this desk for MLR and CBS Sports. “They were highly responsive and supercommunicative and made the process extremely easy, despite the circumstances of the rushed timeline and all the logistics that had to take place to make this happen,” he says. “I was also honored to be a part of the rugby community and their great mindset warriors.” Polinski adds, “We want to thank Signs by Veterans for allowing us to be a part of the project and trusting us to be able to knock out this desk build in such a short time frame.” signshop.com

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October 2021

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FEATURE NAME BRANDING BY ASHLEY AUTHORBRAY

PLANNING A

A design and fabrication studio brings a hard kombucha pop-up to life.

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his past July, women-owned and Chicago-based hard kombucha company Luna Bay Booch opened a seasonal popup located at 160 N. Morgan in the Fulton Market area of Chicago. Luna Bay Booch is a naturally brewed hard kombucha (a fermented

black or green tea drink) with wholesome, ethically sourced ingredients. It is vegan, gluten free, low in sugar, and naturally fermented to 6 percent. The female-owned brand was started and is run by a team of women passionate about wellness, adventure, community, and fun—all of which can signshop.com

All Photos: Ian Vecchioti (ianacephoto.com).

POP-UP


A new pop-up features a custom bar, merch displays, photo ops, lounge areas, collaboration spaces, and events.

be found at the new pop-up. Officially dubbed the “Boochquarters,” the 2,600-square-foot pop-up space, scheduled to be open through the end of the year, includes a custom bar, merchandise displays, photo ops, lounge areas, working and collaboration spaces, and a variety of events on signshop.com

nights and weekends. To welcome guests to the new popup, the outside of the building is attention-grabbing as well, thanks to a giant, colorful mural painted on the exterior of the building. To make both the interior and exterior of the pop-up a reality, Chi-

cago-area experiential producers Groundswell Experiential brought on multidisciplinary design and fabrication studio AllKinds, which is also located in Chicago. AllKinds specializes in the creation of custom art installations for events, interiors, brands, and movements. As its name implies, the company uses all kinds of materials and techniques— from metals, clay, and paint to laser cutting, 3D printing, and more. “We thrive on creating unique and clean-looking, but technical, pieces of art,” explains Crystal Hodges, founder of AllKinds. Hodges’s company also values sustainability and makes every effort to use salvaged materials in its designs. At the completion of a project, it aims to repurpose, recycle, or donate as many materials as possible. “We value sustainability, and we are trying to improve our own environmental footprint and be more conscious every day while creating our beautiful and expanding portfolio of work,” says Hodges. Like Luna Bay, AllKinds is also a women-owned business, so Groundswell felt they were the perfect fit to take on this pop-up project. Groundswell had also worked with AllKinds pre-pandemic and liked the design work the studio did. AllKinds handled the entire buildout of the pop-up’s interior—designing and fabricating everything in-house— which included a number of visually interesting displays and elements. Visitors to the pop-up are welcomed by a number of vinyl features including window graphics and a large floor graphic at the entrance that says “Luna Bay” in white script on a light blue background. The floor graphic was created using ORACAL Oramask stencil vinyl. AllKinds also designed and built a custom bar for the pop-up that used simple materials like plywood and a faux-handmade terrazzo top. The front of the bar was handpainted with the words “Luna Bay.” AllKinds prides itself on taking everyday objects and transforming them

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The Luna Bay pop-up features a colorful exterior mural as well as interesting architectural design elements like an illuminated wall sign.

through extraordinary techniques to create custom works of art that are innovative, elevated, contemporary, and timeless. This technique was at work on the Luna Bay pop-up through a collection of interesting architectural design elements. Features include a swooping rope installation on the ceiling above the bar, an illuminated wall sign spelling

out “Luna Bay Booch” using LED rope, and a series of built millwork features highlighting the merch wall. For the mural on the exterior of the building, AllKinds created a design inspired by Luna Bay’s unique flavor profiles as well as its playful branding and company culture. “We aimed to mix all of these elements into the mural so passers-by

would know they are entering a playful, happy, and healthy space,” explains Hodges. AllKinds laid out the design in their Illustrator program, which incorporates green leaves, colorful fruits (like lemons, blueberries, and oranges), and the name “Luna Bay.” When the design was complete, AllKinds projected it onto the building at

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A floor graphic welcomes visitors to the pop-up, while a swooping rope installation on the ceiling above the bar adds visual interest.

night and traced the elements. They filled everything in by hand during the day using exterior latex paint. “We brought our scaffolding and a couple ladders on site to reach the highest points, [and we used] a mix of rollers and brushes and of course—the human eye!” comments Hodges. In total, it took about a week to complete the mural, as some rain delayed

the schedule a bit. “[It was] nothing we couldn’t work around,” says Hodges. The project was an especially important one for AllKinds as it was helping another women-owned business. “It is inspiring to meet other female identifying business leaders and minority-owned businesses,” states Hodges. “We will continue to find ways to support each other and grow these net-

works; it is truly a continual effort to put thought into how we can do better, be more supportive, and work towards a more equitable future for women, minorities, artists, and others. “It means a lot to me as a business owner, as a mother, and as a leader of a team of talented women to continually broaden our opportunities and keep growing together.”

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FEATURE WRAP DESIGN NAME BY JEFF AUTHOR WOOTEN

PERSONAL

I

f, as Rod Stewart once sang, every picture tells a story, then Converge Signs Plus is proof that a truck wrap can tell just as many stories through the use of one continuous design. Converge Signs Plus of Waynesboro, Virginia is a full-service sign shop and graphics provider in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley area that also specializes in creating impactful, eyecatching auto wraps for its clients’ business or personal needs. However Owner Evan Pettrey looked inward and recently decided to decorate his personal Ford F-150 pickup truck with a wrap that also helps tell

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stories about himself, his family, and his company. In turn, this dynamic wrap design has helped his company stand out amongst his competitors. Converge had worked on wraps for clients’ personal vehicles many times already, so Pettrey was pretty confident that his company could confidently tackle his F-150. Interestingly Pettrey had no idea he would ever be involved in the sign and vehicle graphics industry today when he started up Converge six years ago as an agency devoted exclusively to marketing and branding. However three-and-a-half years ago, Pettrey had the opportunity

to purchase the sign-making company of one of his clients and jumped at taking on those responsibilities. What started with Converge purely printing graphics has evolved now into fulfilling any type of sign request. “There was a learning curve when we first took over,” says Pettrey, “but as we’ve grown, I’ve been very fortunate to hire a mix of talented people who are new to the industry, alongside others with industry experience that have really expanded our capabilities.” Today Converge is comprised of a total of eight employees (counting Pettrey). This roster includes the chief signshop.com

All Photos: Jim Call/Queen City Photography.

TOUCH

A sign company owner tells his story through a truck wrap.



Names and dates from Pettrey’s life are interspersed throughout the finished metallic-inspired wrap design, as well as reflective vinyl.

convergence officer (who was Pettrey’s very first hire), a sales person, a designer, two installers, a production person, and a director of operations who handles all the scheduling and projects moving forward. The company uses contractors to fill in any process gaps, as needed. “We’ve grown over a thousand percent since the purchase,” says Pettrey. “It’s been a very fun journey, and I’m fortunate to have an amazing team. We’re really passionate about what we do.” When the pandemic hit last year, instead of laying people off (as happened at other shops across the country), Pettrey used his company’s marketing expertise to his advantage and successfully expanded ninety miles away into the much bigger Richmond market. “Right now, our jobs are split 50-50 between Richmond and the Shenandoah Valley,” he says. Converge already has a fleet of four wrapped and lettered vehicles lining their wheeled roster, but since the Ford F-150 was Pettrey’s personal vehicle, he wanted to bring a little more personal touch to its wrap. “We were looking to create something that was totally different from anything we’d seen before and get people talking,” says Pettrey. “I wanted a design that also would help build our brand.” Pettrey reached out to noted wrap specialist Daniel Nava of Travel Wraps 30

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Graphics/IBOW Training in Franklin, Indiana, for help, after being impressed by the unique designs he has created for vehicles over the years—for example, a custom truck wrapped to resemble a P-51 Mustang plane (“A Fighting Chance,” March 2019). Nava had already played a key role earlier in helping out Converge during the pandemic’s onset when one of their key employees left. Since none of Nava’s training classes for the eventual replacement were available at the time, he instead sent one of his trainers to Converge. “Since then, we’ve been through three different sessions of training with his team,” says Pettrey, “and built a nice relationship just through that.” Pettrey’s original vision for the truck wrap design involved some kind of older machinery theme. With visions of rivets and metal in his head, Nava suggested going a step further and personalizing it by adding a human touch to it—in particular, incorporating things that meant something special to Pettrey. Pettrey thought about meaningful dates in his life, so he embedded his marriage anniversary date, his children’s birthdates, and the date of his father’s passing twenty years ago and followed that with important names in his life. He next added Bible verses to the wrap to reflect his faith. His company’s logo is even spelled out in rivets. The green-tinted mechanical design

was created from scratch. Nava used a mix of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to work up the images into one cohesive front-to-back wrap from the bumpers, the hood, and the doors to the tailgate and the roof. Pettrey employed Photoshop to experiment with the idea of adding reflective vinyl as a second layer to the wrap and achieving a glowing effect at night. He was also able to test spacing out the faux-rivets to properly spell out his company’s logo. “Then we used Adobe Illustrator to set things up for the print process,” he says. However when one has a wrap design featuring this much detail in it, the print files needed to be huge. “It was designed in such a way that everything was printed at 300-dpi,” says Pettrey. “Typically you just work in Illustrator where everything is done with vectorbased artwork, and it’s not really a big deal; but with some of the level of detail here, we worked with huge pixel-based artwork. Because of that, it had to be sized as it actually appears on the truck. “It was a huge process to get the RIP software loaded up so that it would print correctly.” Nava could not be prouder of the work that Pettrey and his team put into making this wrap a memorable experience for everyone involved. “We worked so many hours on getting the smallest details right and the shadows to look as signshop.com


realistic as possible, along with the texture of the metal design, the rivets, and so on,” he says. Converge printed out the base layer as nine panels using its Mimaki JV150 eco-solvent printer onto Avery 1105 vinyl and Avery 1370z luster laminate, while it added two glowing panels for the top layer. This effect was achieved using 3M IJ680CR reflective vinyl with Avery 1360z glossy laminate. (Note: See the sidebox on this page for the application tools that were utilized for this project.) The vinyl wrap was installed inside the temperature-controlled install bay at Pettrey’s facility. Another reason Pettrey looked forward to working with Nava on this project was that he has a hard time taking his internal team off of revenue-generating work. Even though this personal truck wrap was going to be used for promotion, it was still going to be on their own dollar

and on their own time. “We complete our customers’ wraps as quickly as possible,” says Pettrey, “but my truck took a little bit longer, because we had to wait for slower periods around the shop to occur so we could work on it.” Reaction to the finished truck wrap has been overwhelmingly positive. As intended, it has proven to be a really effective conversation piece and a silent sales tool. “It’s pretty common that, when I’m out with [the F-150] at a gas station or a store, someone will ask me questions about its wrap,” says Pettrey. “When I’m driving up to a client meeting, they’ll see it and immediately notice that it’s something different. It immediately shows off our capabilities and lets them know we are a reputable company they can trust.” Pettrey says that when their work schedule lightens, they’ll begin rewrapping his other company vehicles with a similar design so that more of his story can be shared.

Application Tools Used: • Heat: Bernzomatic – TS4000 Trigger-Start Torch Head w/ Propane • Knife: Paint is Dead – ProKnife & ProBlade • Knifeless Tape: 3M – Knifeless Design Line Tape • Magnets: YelloTools – SpeedMag HD Magnets • Removal Tools (Interior Panel and Trim): ACUITY • Squeegee: Paint is Dead – ProSqueegee Elite Red • Tucking Tool: Paint is Dead – Pro Finisher • Wrap Gloves: Paint is Dead White – ProGlove HD

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FEATURE NAME CUSTOMIZATION BY SBI AUTHOR STAFF

QUICK GUIDE: CUSTOMIZATION Making your specialty mark with customers.

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HARDWARE POSSIBILITIES: Equipment that can be used for customization and personalization include:

• 3D Printers

(Custom Props, Jewelry, Letters, Special Dimensional Requests)

• CNC Routers

(3-D Carvings, Custom Molds, Residential Signage)

• Inkjet Printers

(Business Cards, Vehicle Graphics, Vinyl Decoration (Headphones, Posters, Stationary), Pet Products, Wall Coverings)

• DTG (Direct to Garment) Printers (Activewear, Banners, Custom T-Shirts, Garments, Soft Signage)

• Dye Sublimation

(Apparel, Cellphone Cases, Coffee

Mugs, Giveaways, License Plates)

• Engravers (Laser)

(Awards, Business Cards, Etched Wood and Metal, Jewelry, Key Chains, Luggage Tags (Leather or Acrylic), Phonecase Personalization, Smaller One-Off Signs)

• Flatbed Printers

(Product Personalization—Blanks, Dimensional Substrates, Heavy Boards, Panels, Tabletops, Window Blinds)

• Pad Printers

(Promotional Products with Limited Colors, Apparel, Coffee Mugs, Electronics, Pens)

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Photos: (Clockwise from Top) Mactac, Corel Corp., Trotec Laser, Roland DGA, Direction Tour, Kern Lasers.

A

s personalization and customization continue to be favored items by consumer (and even commercial) clients looking to further express their identity, sign shops and graphics providers are in a prime position to utilize their equipment, materials, and know-how and tap into these markets. Emerging technologies continue to be released and upgraded to help you serve this potential client base. And web sites are allowing better customer interaction when it comes to uploading designs, text, and photos. This piece is intended to be a handy, at-aglance guide to help give you ideas for some of the customized and personalized products you can offer clients, the technologies you can employ to create these products, and the markets you can explore to sell these items.


• Giftware

(Ceramics, Frames, Jewelry, Plates)

• Personal Use

(Cellphone Coverings, Headphone Decorations, License Plates, Vehicle Wraps)

• Promotional Items

(Coasters, Mousepads, Mugs, Pens, Water Bottles)

MARKETS:

Customers and markets looking for customization and/or personalization include:

• General Public

(Ceramics, Coffee Mugs, Earbuds, Jewelry, Personalized Apparel, Pet Products, Specialty Items, Vehicle Graphics)

• Hospitality

(On-property Experience, Promotional Giveaways, Modular Room Signs, Birthday & Anniversary Signage)

• Residential

(Interior Décor, Vinyl Wallcoverings, Yard Signs)

PRODUCTS:

• Retail/Restaurants

• Apparel

• Schools

• Artwork (Personal)

• Tourism

Products that can be offered via customization and personalization include: (Activewear, Hoodies, Sweatshirts, T-Shirts) (Apparel, Postcards, Posters, Vinyl Coverings)

(Personalized Wares, Promotionals, Unique Prints & Graphics) (Activewear & T-Shirts, Photo Engravings, Sublimation, Supplies) (Apparel, Giveaway Products, Promotionals, Unique Souvenirs)

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FEATURESIGNAGE DIGITAL NAME BY JEFF AUTHOR WOOTEN

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T

he brand-new Innovative Dental facility in Springfield, Missouri is all about patient comfort. In front of the two-story, U-shaped building is a relaxing water garden featuring fountains, ponds, and fish. Inside suites with their own balconies (resembling luxury hotel rooms) help make dental surgeries more relaxing. Because he knows the dental office is a destination, Dr. Grant Olson wanted to make sure his new office was one that could not be missed along the busy Highway 44 between Springfield and Branson, Missouri. In addition to noticeable architecture, Dr. Olson turned to digital signage to achieve this. Dr. Olson is not only using a pair of

new cost into his building’s construction budget. Full-service Springfield Sign handled the installation of both the exterior and interior signage. This was the first time that Springfield Sign had worked with Innovative Dental. “The building’s architect is a client of ours, so they referred us when the [dental practice] was accepting bids from multiple sign companies,” says Trey Watts, vice president of Sales for Springfield Sign. However Springfield Sign ended up looking at this as two separate projects, as they were originally contracted to handle only the exterior signage. When they looked at the dental practice’s renderings, Watts told them that they could

the building faces a major freeway, and its entire front was purposefully made out of glass. “Of course, if you’re sitting in the lobby, you can look at it,” says Watts. “But those driving down the highway in either direction can see it too because the entire front of the building is glass.” The facility faces east and west, which played another critical role in opting for a seamless digital display. “In the morning, when the sun comes up, direct sunlight shines through the windows and onto that unit,” says Watts. “This would cause major glare problems on a TV. We already fight that a lot on exterior digital displays. You want to make sure you have a high enough Nit rating that you can basically overpower the sun while still being able to

DIGITAL SIGNAGE SMILES BRIGHTLY

Photo: Springfield Sign.

An interior digital sign investment with exterior value.

strategically angled 16-feet-tall-by-9feet-wide Watchfire 8mm signs mounted onto a 40-foot-tall pylon in his parking lot, but he also outfitted the front of his building with a two-story, all-glass front lobby that houses a 27-foot-tall-by-16foot-wide, 2.4mm Watchfire display. During the day, the huge vertical sign is devoted to emotional videos of smiling people doing fun things. At the bottom third of the display is a scroll of social media messages. At night, when it is most visible from Highway 44, the sign is used for eye-catching videos. For example, at Christmas, it featured a giant image of a tree with snow falling! When Dr. Olson first considered this option, his investment into digital would’ve been about $500,000 alone; but since the price of LEDs have dropped considerably, he was able to factor this signshop.com

handle the interior as well. “Watchfire had been working with them as well, so we kind of partnered up and did a sales pitch,” he says. “They looked at it as kind of a package deal.” The original concepts drawn up by Innovative Dental involved putting together multiple high-definition TV screens in the lobby. “We told them we could instead provide one big, seamless video display,” says Watts, who showed them examples of dental practices using similar displays in Chicago and Miami. “There was nothing this size or resolution close by us in the Midwest.” The interior Watchfire digital display is one large unit comprised of a large volume of little tiles (modules). This display stands in Innovative Dental’s main lobby, but its visual impact isn’t limited to just those inside. As mentioned,

see that board, and you can do that with this Watchfire display. “So while TVs would be less expensive, we told Dr. Olson that he wouldn’t have the same impact from the street with the sun beating onto them through those windows.” Another item to keep in mind is that Dr. Olson does a lot of cosmetic dentistry. “Cosmetic dentists are very detailoriented,” says Watts, “almost painfully so. So one of his big things was ‘borderless’—he didn’t want a frame all the way around, which you would have with a TV display. You can get them pretty close to the edge, but you’ll always have a border. “The digital display is basically a frameless module all the way around from top to bottom with no bezel.” The crisp 2.4mm resolution means that its picture looks just as great seeing it from the highway as it does standing

October 2021

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five feet away from it. Dr. Olson wanted a very high-resolution board, and just like his office in general, he didn’t spare any expense on the signage side. “We gave him a choice between 2.4 and 3.8mm, and he plainly asked which would look better,” says Watts. “We gave him our opinion, and that’s the one he went with. It was more like, since he was already making this investment, there was no reason to cheap out and then not be happy with it down the line.” This interior digital display made up of individual tiles sits flush back into a wall to make it look flat. Springfield Sign worked with the architect and construction crew ahead of time to set the necessary depth. “They built around it,” says Watts. “So you have the drywall, then it goes to our screen. Then you go across our screen, and it goes back to drywall.” Springfield Sign used a lift to install the interior display during the early part of the construction process when the building was much more of an open area.

Since this is a modular-based frame system, it arrived on-site in pieces. “We installed the frame to create a grid,” says Watts. “Then we built up, attaching the tiles one at a time to this grid.” One of the biggest challenges Springfield Sign encountered was keeping the tiles flush and even across the 16-by-27foot frame. “If you don’t seat those panels exactly right, your modules might wave a little bit, as you start building,” says Watts. “So when the modules catch up to each other, if one is cocked out (about 1/16-inch or even less), you’ll see lines when a full-color image is shown across a big board like this.” The sign makers worked hand-inhand with Watchfire to make sure it was smooth by assessing the position of tiles as they were put on, which, although time consuming, was necessary. Since the digital display is inside the building, there was actually no need for special permits or regulatory ordinances. “Even though the total point of that ap-

plication is for people on the freeway to see it,” says Watts, “it’s inside a building, and technically the city doesn’t have any regulations on it.” Watts says his company offers in-house content management packages whenever they sell a digital display, but here, they showed them how to use it and the dental practice took it from there.” In addition to the outdoor pylon sign featuring a double-faced 8mm Watchfire display, Springfield Sign also fabricated and installed flat, cut-out lettering and reverse-lit LED channel letters on the building’s exterior at a couple of different elevations. Inside they installed accent wall signs and other such signage. “This is an amazing facility. Dr. Olson is well known for what he does, and people fly in from the coasts to visit him,” says Watts. “Quite honestly it’s nothing like anything I’d ever signed for a dentist.” Note: Portions of this article appeared in a prior written press release.

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SIGN BUILDER’S

BUYER’S GUIDE

Your Direct Source for Products & Services Get access to vital product and service information from manufacturers and distributors by visiting www.signbuilderdirectory.com

COMPANY

URL

1

All4Sign

www.all4sign.com

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InfoDirect #

PAGE

2

AP Lazer

www.aplazer.com

3

Coastal Enterprises/Precision Board

www.PrecisionBoard.com

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4

Duxbury Systems Inc.

www.duxburysystems.com

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5

Echod Graphics

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FDC Graphic Films Inc.

www.fdcfilms.com

33

7

France Lighting Solutions

www.francelighting.com

18

8

Gyford

www.standoffsystems.com

27

9

HP

www.HPLFmedia.com

19

10

International Sign Association

www.SignResearch.org

37

11

J Freeman Inc.

www.jfreeman.com

23

12

Mactac North America

www.mactac.com

14

13

Mimaki USA

www.mimakiusa.com

17

14

MultiCam

www.multicam.com

15

MUTOH America

www.MUTOH.com

16

Nova Polymers

www.novapolymers.com

10

17

Nova Polymers

www.novapolymers.com

11

18

Rowmark

www.rowmark.com

31

19

SDS Automation

www.sdsautomation.com

20

Signs365

www.signs365.com

21

SinaLite

www.sinalite.com

13

22

Southern Stud Weld

www.studweld.com

36

23

Stimpson

www.stimpson.com

15

24

TCM Signs

www.tcmsigns.com

38

25

Trotec Laser Inc.

www.troteclaser.com

26

Watchfire Signs

go.watchfiresigns.com

29

27

Wilkie Mfg.

www.wilkiemfg.com

C3

15

C2 5

3 C4

9

COMPANIES IN SIGN SHOW 28

AkzoNobel

www.akzonobel.com

29

Canon Solutions America, Inc.

www.csa.canon.com

12

30

Grip-Gard

www.grip-gard.com

15

31

Mactac North America

www.mactac.com

12

32

Montroy

www.montroy.com

12

33

MUTOH America

wwww.MUTOH.com

14

34

Principal LED

www.p-led.com

12

3 EASY STEPS 1. Go to www.signbuilderdirectory.com

signshop.com

3. Select among dozens of companies in each category to find the best solution for your business.

2.Find the category of products or services you need

October 2021

Sign Builder Illustrated

39


SHOP TALK Z7GFX OF HAZEL AL | GINNY MUMM

The road to opening up a graphics shop.

Z

ach Jones, owner of Z7GFX, has always taught himself what he needed to know to run his bu s i n e s s , m a i n l y, h e s ay s , because “I didn’t have the money to pay anyone else to do it.” A long-time fan of graphic design, Jones learned Adobe® Photoshop® and InDesign® so he could run an online business while in college. After graduation, he freelanced as a racing engine builder and then followed that up by working as an iron door manufacturer. One day, his boss asked him to wrap a work trailer. “I’d never done a wrap before,” he said. “That’s when I discovered I really enjoy wrapping.” Jones enrolled in a Roland DGA Born-to-Wrap class back in 2015 and learned how to design effective vehicle graphics, produce quality prints, and quickly wrap a vehicle. After that, he bought a Roland DG SOLJET 64-

inch printer/cutter and, in 2016, started Z7GFX in his parents’ garage. “I’ve always been into drag racing and my family has roots there, so those connections really paid off when I opened my wrap business,” he says. “In addition to racing teams, I do work for racing industry manufacturers and lots of jobs for several big names in the industry.” Jones ending up building his current 4,000-square-foot facility (complete with a climate-controlled installation bay) on some family-owned land. “I like owning a graphics shop because there’s always a lot to do,” he says. The Z7GFX shop is located in the Huntsville, Alabama metro area. “We wrap fleets for some local universities,” says Jones. “We also do food trucks, utility trucks, delivery trucks, catering vans, transit busses, and just about anything else on wheels. We’ve done work for the fire and police departments in

Sign Builder Illustrated Magazine (Print ISSN 895-0555, Digital ISSN 21614709) (USPS#0015-805) (Canada Post Cust. #7204564; Agreement #40612608; IMEX Po Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2, Canada) is published monthly by Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, 88 Pine St. 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10005. Printed in the U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and Additional mailing offices.

for in U.S. funds only. 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 Subscriptions, & address changes, Please call 1 (402) 346-4740, Fax (847) 291-4816, e-mail signbuilder@omeda.com, or write to: Sign Builder Illustrated, Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, PO Box 239, Lincolnshire IL 60069-0239 USA.

40

Sign Builder Illustrated

October 2021

COPYRIGHT © Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation 2021. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without permission. For reprint information, contact: Gary Lynch, Publisher (212) 620-7247 or glynch@sbpub.com.

To read more details about Z7GFX and view additional photos of their projects, please visit https://bit.ly/3kcsPtl. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sign Builder Illustrated, PO Box 239, Lincolnshire IL 60069-0239 USA. Instructional information provided in this magazine should only be performed by skilled crafts people with the proper equipment. The publisher and authors of information provided herein advise all readers to exercise care when engaging in any of the how-to-activities published in the magazine. Further, the publisher and authors assume no liability for damages or injuries resulting from projects contained herein.

signshop.com

Photo: Z7GFX.

Vibrant Prints Fuel Growth

the area.” Jones also provides a lot of custom wraps and color change-outs for clients looking to personalize their ride. “We saw a significant increase in auto restyling requests during 2020,” he says. “Currently we offer more than 400 color options, as well as unlimited ways to customize one’s car or truck.” Huntsville also happens to be a big military town, so Z7GFX also does work with charities for the families of military service members or first responders. “We will also help out if a local church or charity needs graphics,” says Jones. In addition to vehicle wraps, Z7GFX also offers custom decals, printed banners, and posters. “We don’t do signage in the industry sense of the word,” says Jones, “but we will help out any of our clients who need four-by-eight-foot signs printed.” To attract new clients, Jones does a lot of outreach by posting their work on Facebook and Instagram. “That really amplifies our word-of-mouth referrals and brings in a lot of clients,” he says. “We’ve also focused on requesting additional Google reviews because we’ve noticed that the more five-star reviews we have then the more traffic we get.” Jones believes that his shop is on a good trajectory, aided with quality production equipment needed to continue to grow his business. He has one employee now and hires others when needed. Currently Jones is excited to be opening an online store. “We’re also working on streamlining our ordering process overall,” he says. “It’s amazing how quickly you can knock out a thousand decals, so we want to make it easy for our clients to order them.”


All Wilkie equipment is designed for the Sign and Lighting industry with almost 50 years experience

BIG SERVICE, SMALLER PACKAGE Non CDL truck set up 2 man power level power rotate basket standard Basket mounted jib winch that stores behind basket when not in use Easy to use controls at base and basket Mainline winch rated at 1000 pounds fully extended Full 360 degree working radius Independently controlled out and down hydraulic outriggers (no under body counter balance weight) Wide range of bed and storage box options to fit your needs 3500 pound carrying capacity on a 19,500 GVW truck

WILKIE MFG. L.L.C 2640 NW 2nd Street Oklahoma City, OK 73107

www.wilkiemfg.com 405-235-0920