Sign Builder September 2021

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THE HOW-TO MAGAZINE

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

SIGN BUILDER

ILLUSTRATED

LIGHTING: A SIGN WITH SUGAR ON TOP

EPS FOAM: LIFE-SIZED FOOSBALL GAME

DIGITAL SIGNS:

OPPORTUNITIES TO UPSELL


Black Perforated Film

for Dual-Color Signage Applications

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Key features: This 80/20 film gives greater night-time light output than other lower transparency products, meaning signage will stand-out to passers-by due to its vibrancy. Available in 54” wide rolls for one-piece application onto large lettering.

built-up channel letters and during the day, when it is not backlit, the sign appears black.

For medium-term, largescale backlit external signage where close viewing is not required.

When the sign is backlit at night, it takes on the color of the translucent sign face used.

Also available in white on black. This 80/20 printable material can be used to produce colored-by-day, white-by-night channel lettering.

Contact us for more information about how our competitively priced dual-color signage films can transform your backlit signage!

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CONTENTS

SEPTEMBER 2021

VOL. 35

NO. 314

HOW-TO COLUMNS

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HOW TO AMP UP VISUAL IDENTITY

By Narine Daveyan The magic wand of small business branding.

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GOING BEYOND THE BOARD

By Ashley Bray Three digital signage upsell opportunities.

PLANNING FOR ON-PREMISE LEGALITY

By David Hickey Austin, Texas is home for a new sign code case.

DEPARTMENTS

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Cover Photo: Roger Katzenburg.

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EDITOR’S COLUMN

Editor Jeff Wooten previews our latest Webinar devoted to maximizing all the square footage that’s found in your facility and fulfilling the potential of your shop.

IN THE INDUSTRY

The latest economic report shows a strong economic rebound for the sign industry, and transforming twentyplus transportation vehicles with large format out-of-home media.

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SIGN SHOW

The newest products and services from sign manufacturers.

SBI MARKETPLACE

Advertisements and announcements from the sign trade.

FEATURES

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SHOP TALK

Chris Biscuitti speaks with a fifty-year print shop veteran about his longevity in the industry.

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FOOSBALL GOAL!

By Jeff Wooten A game MLS Sporting KC promotion features large-sized EPS players.

AHOY! RAISING THE DIGITAL SCREEN

By Jeff Wooten New pirate ship attraction at GKTW Village hauls in an LED sign treasure.

SUGAR ON TOP

By Emily Eckart The Domino Sugar sign shines brightly again.

PSPs AND RESIN PRINTERS

By Matt McCausland Three reasons why resin technology is poised to elevate the signage industry.

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September 2021, Vol. 35, No. 314 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 Chris Biscuitti, Narine Daveyan, Emily Eckart, David Hickey, Matt McCausland

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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September 2021

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Two Options. Endless Possibilities. Expand the creative potential of ADA signage with Novacryl® White PETG and Black PETG from Nova Polymers. Learn more at novapolymers.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 6-8:

PRINTING United Alliance, which brings together the largest and most diverse audience in the printing industry, will be taking place in Orlando, Florida. (printingunited.com)

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)

Room to Grow

Our latest webinar tackles every inch of your shop.

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edition of the magazine, we encourage you to watch this presentation live on our Web site (signshop.com) on Tuesday, August 31 at 2 p.m. ET or view replays of it in our Industry Resources section. John will talk about the four components of work flow (task flow, material flow, management, and layout traffic) and how they impact the results you get out of your shop as well as what you can do to maximize every inch in your shop layout to boost profitability. Whether you are a full-service shop, a medium-size specialist, or a one-person operation, this manufacturing-oriented Webinar promises to answer a lot of your shop layout questions and make sure that you don’t run out of room to maximize your operations. We look forward to you joining us for it! Speaking of running out of room, I want to conclude this month’s column by reminding everyone that expanded versions of our articles this month (and every month) also appear on our web site. We have a lot of great, visually exciting projects this issue, and I encourage you to check out even more production and installation photos and behind-thescenes details about them. They’re well worth a look!

JEFF WOOTEN Editor, jwooten@sbpub.com

September 2021

NOVEMBER 2021 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)

MARCH 2022 MARCH 21-23:

Photo: Hackley Architectural Signage, Inc.

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ne trend I’ve taken notice of when it comes to questions sent my way from several readers over the past several months has been requests for advice about properly setting up one’s shop— whether we’re talking about only the production floor, the office area, or the entire facility. There are always going to be universal questions about this subject matter (no matter your shop’s physical size or specialty). Do you have your hardware set up in the right spot? Are your employees able to operate without resulting crowding or calamity? Can you improve how fast you can get projects out the door? In essence: What tips or advice can be provided to help reduce bottlenecking and/or improve workflow? It’s probably not an attention-grabbing headline or a spotlight-shining project, but shop layout is still an essential topic for sign professionals, and it’s one I’m looking forward to tackling more frequently in our magazine moving ahead, whenever possible. The ergonomics of your business are also at the heart of our latest On the Floor Webinar, “Your Shop Layout: Every Inch Has a Purpose,” with our guest presenter, John Hackley, founder of Hackley Architectural Signage, Inc. For this Webinar, John will be discussing re-engineering your facility to maximize throughput and efficiency. Depending on when you receive this

Digital Signage Expo, presented by Questex, is back and is bringing Digital Signage and DigitalOut-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)

signshop.com


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IN THE INDUSTRY

STRONG REBOUND

FOR SIGN INDUSTRY

A

lexandria, Virginia—The economic news gets even better for particular segments of the sign industry. Analysts have revised their economic outlook even higher than previously thought, thanks to a stronger than expected rebound. But commodity prices and supply shortages still pose a threat to the expected growth, according to the Sign Industry Quarterly Economic Report, produced by IHS Markit for the International Sign Association. The latest ISA Sign Industry Quarterly Economic Report covers the second quarter of 2021 and was prepared

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this past June. The quarterly report is sponsored by the National Association of Sign Supply Distributors (NASSD), and it assesses four segments of the industry: two supplier markets (printing and electrical/digital signage) and two end markets (electric/digital signage and architectural signage). It also forecasts commodities. Some highlights of the latest economic report include: • The four market segments all show improving outlooks for 2021, with 2022 a year of continued recovery, IHS says. Strong consumer de-

September 2021

mand will continue to drive supply side and end market electric/digital signage into 2022. • IHS Markit has increased its forecast for global GDP growth in 2021 and 2022. GDP is expected to grow 7.4 percent in 2021 and 4.8 percent in 2022. • Commodity prices are starting to moderate. Steel production is alleviating the supply shortages, which, in turn, will cause prices to fall during the second half of 2021. However the only exception is the United States, where steel capacity is idle and imports being suppressed by logistics problems. signshop.com


PEARL MEDIA EXPANDS IN NASHVILLE

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Photos (l-r): SNA Displays (https://bit.ly/3snuPBs), Just Fab Graphics, Brenda Velazquez.

ONTCLAIR, NEW JERSEY— Pearl Media announces its newest out-of-home advertising partnership with Old Town Trolley in Nashville, Tennessee. This new partnership provides Pearl Media and their clients the ability to transform over twenty transportation vehicles into large format out-of-home media assets throughout Nashville. “This relationship allows us to continue to offer clients amazing media coverage in one of the fastest growing and most visited cities in the United States,” said Josh Cohen, president and CEO of Pearl Media. Standing over thirteen feet tall, the Old Town Trolleys are the tallest street vehicles in Nashville. Advertisers can own the backs of each vehicle, providing a large canvas that can be seen by all nearby. The Trolleys run on a dedicated twelve-mile loop around Downtown Nashville, stopping at fourteen of the area’s most notable attractions—from the Country Music Hall of Fame to Honky Tonk Row to the Belmont Mansion.

• In 2022, both sides of the electric digital signage market—supply and end market—show an improved forecast as input prices return to normal levels and consumer demand remains strong. • The architectural signage end market remains once again the weakest segment surveyed, though IHS revised its forecast upward in 2021. The market is expected to decline in 2022 and 2023 however. • The supply side printing market is vulnerable to labor and raw materials issues. Analysts expect those to lessen over the next six months and that output will grow rapidly. signshop.com

If cursed by further disruptions, the potential will be far harder to achieve, or it will be partly deferred into 2022. The full Q2 Sign Industry Quarterly Economic Report is free to access at signs.org/quarterlyreport for ISA, ISA-Affiliated, and NASSD members. (Note: Non-members may purchase the economic report for $1,000 per quarterly forecast.) A recorded Webinar, in which IHS details the findings of this latest economic report, can be accessed and viewed at signs.org/recorded-webinars/industry-research. September 2021

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SIGN SHOW CHANNEL LETTERS

PAPERS

New Contra Vision Product Creates Impressive Dual-color Signage

HP Makes Quite a Splash with Its New Splashresistant Bond Paper!

One-way vision graphics film manufacturer Contra Vision is proud to present a great value product that makes signs stand out both day and night. Contra Vision® Performance™ Black Perforated Film in 20 percent transparency is a black-on-black perforated film intended for the production of dual-color backlit signage. The film is applied to the outside surface of built-up channel letters. During the day, when it is not backlit, the letters appear black; when the sign is backlit at night, it takes on the color of the translucent sign face used. This 20 percent transparency film gives greater night-time light output than other lower transparency products currently available on the market. This means signage will stand out to passers-by due to its vibrancy. This product is already being successfully used by sign makers in the United States with increasing use in other countries. Alternatively Contra Vision also offers a white-onblack perforated window film in 20 percent transparency, which can be printed to produce channel lettering that is colored by day and white at night. contravision.com

Original HP printing materials are designed to provide image quality, durability, and consistency you can rely on. The company’s breakthrough innovations give users real alternatives to traditional materials that, by nature, must trade off quality, durability, and even environmental considerations. With this in mind, HP has announced the availability of its HP Splash-resistant Bond Paper, a durable and splash-resistant paper that’s compatible with dye-based ink technology. This remarkable bond paper is perfect for applications in outdoor environments or conditions with excessive moisture. Graphics printed with dye-based inks will be protected when they are exposed to moderate moisture. HP Splash-resistant Bond Paper is a 21-pound (80gsm) bond paper designed to produce maps, plans, blueprints, and posters with striking color and crisp text and graphics. This recyclable paper also helps meet environmental objectives without sacrificing quality. Even better news is that there are many sizes and options available (including multi-packs to reduce shipping costs). (888) 893-4668; HPLFMedia.com

VINYL/VINYL FILMS Mactac Announces a New Distribution Partnership with LexJet Mactac®, a supplier of pressure-sensitive adhesives, and LexJet®, a division of S-One Holdings, have formed a new sales and distribution partnership that offers Mactac wide format graphics media to LexJet customers across the United States. The new partnership gives LexJet access to the full breadth of Mactac products and product lines for floor, window, wall, and sign mounting applications, such as the IMAGin ® , REBEL ® , PERMACOLOR®, PERMAHOLD™, and MACmark® lines. This includes customer-favorite products like IMAGin B-free Window Films, REBEL H high-tack marking and signage media, and IMAGin wallNOODLE® and ROODLE™ mural/poster solutions. In addition to product access, LexJet will be backed by the full support, knowledge, and resources of Mactac’s experienced distribution sales and customer service teams. “This partnership is key for both Mactac and LexJet,” says S-One Global Product Manager Shaun Jaycox. “Mactac’s portfolio of quality wide format print media, overlaminates, and mounting adhesives enhance our ability to provide LexJet’s customers with a wide array of options to meet growing application demands. We look forward to introducing these products to our customers and servicing their needs at the highest level.” mactac.com/graphics; LexJet.com

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SIGN SHOW LASER ENGRAVERS Trotec Launches Revolutionary New Laser Software and New Flagship Laser Model Trotec Laser, Inc., is pleased to announce the official launch of its Ruby® laser software and the new Speedy 400 Run on Ruby®. This new release combines the most intelligent laser software on the market with the industry's fastest laser machine, thereby making the work of every laser user (engravers, print shops, manufacturers, etc.) faster and easier than ever. Ruby software—whether used with the new Speedy 400 Run on Ruby or a different Speedy laser—includes all the graphics tools that laser users need. You can create graphic, photo, and text elements and make adjustments quickly with the integrated workflow, eliminating the need to purchase additional design software. It also allows the direct import of files such as PDF, SVG, PNG, AI, and more. The complicated process of printing out the laser job from the graphics program is no longer necessary. Ruby connects all laser machines in one network, locally or remotely. In this way, jobs can be distributed from multiple PCs or Macs to multiple machines. Thanks to the innovative workflow, jobs can be prepared by one user and produced by another, anytime and anywhere, whether in the office, at home, or in the workshop. The Speedy 400 Run on Ruby includes a touch panel on the machine that makes it possible to operate the laser in the network via Ethernet or WiFi without an additional PC. With the official release, all Speedy laser owners can upgrade their Speedy lasers to Ruby for free until October 31, 2021. ruby.troteclaser.com

High quality standoffs at an unbeatable price! It’s easy to see why sign makers and installers everywhere use Simply Standoffs from Gyford for a wide range of projects and budgets. Choose quality. Choose craftsmanship. CHOOSE GYFORD. To see the entire Simply Standoff line, visit standoffsystems.com. standoffsystems.com • 775.829.7272

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SIGN SHOW CUTTERS/PLOTTERS Next-generation Roland DGA Large Format Vinyl Cutters Offer Superior Cutting Accuracy and Downforce Roland DGA Corporation has announced the addition of new 64-inch GR2-640 and 54-inch GR2-540 large format vinyl cutters to the Roland DG CAMM-1 series. These next-generation machines are capable of cutting almost any shape quickly and cleanly from a broad range of materials, including everything from thin automotive films and heat transfer sheets to thick reflective sheets and sandblast masks. This makes the GR2-640 and GR2-540 ideal for applications such as signs, decals, window film, vehicle wraps, sports apparel, and more. The new GR2 series cutters, which are designed to integrate seamlessly with Roland DG’s large format inkjet printers, offer superior cutting versatility and accuracy, plus unmatched reliability, at affordable pricing. With a top cutting speed of 60.1 inches (1,530 mm) per second and a maximum downforce of 600 gf, the GR2-640 and GR2-540 provide the precision cutting quality and high-volume productivity required by professional users. GR2 series cutters pair perfectly with Roland DG’s large-format inkjets using the identical VersaWorkS® 6 RIP software for seamless Print-then-Cut production. Contour lines can be added and crop marks generated automatically to imported printing data from VersaWorks 6, ensuring that the outlines of graphics are cut accurately and eliminating the need to switch back from graphics software like Adobe® Illustrator® or CorelDRAW® to complete production. Users will also appreciate the included multi-crop mark function that allows for more precise contour cutting of large quantities of printed material, as well as the Roland DG AAS II plug-in software, which allows for easy pairing with other large format printers. rolanddga.com/gr2

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HOW TO BRANDING | BY NARINE DAVEYAN

How to Amp Up Visual Identity

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strong visual identity is the core of successful corporate branding. But how do you create a compelling and cohesive visual identity? What makes it recognizable? And will it drive attention to a small business? Most entrepreneurs have these questions in mind as they set out to transform their brand image. I don’t think branding is rocket science; but it does make a world of difference. There are key elements that create a powerful visual identity. For business owners, it can be overwhelming to think about them—which ones work and which ones don’t? Complex variables go into determining the best image for your brand but one thing’s certain—you have to know your audience to create a successful identity. Once you’ve got this foundation set, the

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rest will fall into place. To harness the power of visual marketing, my top piece of advice is this: don’t overdo it. You’ll be closer than ever to making it happen once you see that simplicity really is the ultimate sophistication. Here is how you can develop a strong visual identity for your brand (and your customers’ brands) based on my own years of experience in the field. #1. Create a Logo to Set You Apart. The logo is the most basic, but also the most critical, aspect of a strong visual identity. It’s more than just colors, fonts, and icons. It’s the first thing a customer notices about your business. My experience at Front Signs suggests that a logo is the start of positive associations with customers. It’s how you create the right impression with the

September 2021

right customers. At Front Signs, we’ve discovered that descriptive logos with a clear combination of texts and graphics are the most impactful for attracting new clients. When creating a logo for your business, it’s important to be original. Choose stylistic elements that distinguish your products, reflect your values, and deliver your brand’s ethos. Don’t forget to keep the logo simple. A simple logo is easy to remember and recognize. With a little refinement, simple will be the most sophisticated way to represent your brand image. Make the logo catchy, cohesive, and scalable. The design should be attractive, consistent with your brand, and clear in small or large print alike. A logo design with these characteristics indicates professionalism. signshop.com

Photo: Shutterstock.com/Rawpixel.com.

The magic wand of small business branding.


Step up your channel letter game.

ChannelBender® Series Automated Channel Letter Solutions

The equipment of choice for nearly every major sign manufacturer in America. sign.sdsautomation.com 303-710-8125


HOW TO BRANDING | BY NARINE DAVEYAN

Choose the right colors and font. Typography and colors are critical to conveying your brand message. They can add a sense of personality and familiarity. Colors, in particular, affect customer moods and decisions. #2. Enhance the Customer Experience. When you’re new in an industry, putting your business on the map takes hard work and lots of sleepless nights. You have to utilize every opportunity to ensure that customers enjoy your work in order to remember your name. I learned the significance of this by working with thousands of new and renowned brands for over a decade. But how do you create great experiences for visitors, customers, and employees? You don’t have to play by strict rules or invest in an expensive design or marketing budget to achieve success in this regard. Instead you can use timeless visual elements in strategic locations to make an impact on customers. Place dazzling signage in the interior and exterior of your business location. It’s the first step to making a positive impression. Well designed establishments can draw attention and create a unique experience for people. Especially in today’s visually driven market, a cool sign like a marquee can be the object of viral photos and a 14

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great marketing strategy. Meanwhile decals placed on windows, floors, walls, and other smooth surfaces can amp-up exposure and visual appeal exponentially. They’re ultraaffordable, attractive, and easy to apply and remove. They can be changed up periodically to announce special promotions and freshen up the atmosphere of your space. Artistic decals add a sense of luxury without the expense. #3. Use Quality Materials for Prominence. There is no question about it—visual components should be of the best quality you can attain on both online and offline marketing platforms. High-end products are a mark of authority. Whether it is your brochure, print ads, business cards, or graphics for online ads, marketing material should reflect the taste and quality of your business. Highdefinition prints and marketing materials ensure that customers can easily trust and distinguish your business from others. Our experience with prominent brands such as the Los Angeles Times, Coca-Cola, Burger King, FedEx, MGM, and others confirms this. Premium materials help your branding be more memorable, recognizable, and trustworthy. People can identify and connect with your business by the quality of your marketing materials.

September 2021

#5. Secure a Strong Digital Presence. Digital presence is a game changer. A digital presence with an engaged audience is extremely advantageous in today’s market.Your web site, social media pages, and customer support team should synergize to create an approachable ecosystem for customers. Most importantly, it’s my personal experience that your visual identity must be impressive in real life in order to translate properly online. In virtual spaces, like your web site and social media pages, it’s wise to incorporate images of your physical location, including its business signs. A boring venue design can be a blow to your overall branding, whereas an appealing one will be the reason people share it across their own media channels. An aesthetically pleasing physical space can be used to harness digital presence and elevate exposure. It’s the key to trending in the current market. Conclusion When I first heard the term “branding,” I assumed it was a kind of magic wand—a wand powerful and influential marketers signshop.com

Photo: Shutterstock.com/Rawpixel.com.

A simple logo is easy to remember and recognize.

#4. Be Consistent to Become Reliable. Consistency is the key to achieving significant results with branding. Your visual identity has a key role to play here. It should convey a coherent brand message across all channels. Avoid multiple designs; they can confuse and drive customers away. To maintain a clear message, use an identical logo, brand name, and tagline across all channels. Using it frequently in marketing campaigns will improve your business reputation and familiarize your audience with your brand. People are far more likely to buy from brands they know over new and unfamiliar ones. To become reliable, visual identity must be uniformly communicated. It must embrace a clear-cut style and values. While mostly aiming for minimalism and consistency, remember to also add a touch of creativity to your branding strategy.


HOW TO

BRANDING | BY NARINE DAVEYAN

used to drive millions in revenue each year. It was the wand that instantly hypnotized customers and compelled them to accept that their brand was simply the best, most authentic and trustworthy in existence. It was a complex and mysterious tool to me. And it worked. Thankfully I soon discovered a more realistic and attainable term for the magic wand of branding: visual identity. Your company is not only a name, logo, or tagline—it’s the window through which customers peek into your company’s image before they use your products and services. Make sure you give them a unique perspective—a window worth looking into.

Place dazzling signage in the interior and exterior of your business.

Narine Daveyan is the online marketing strategist at Front Signs Signage Solutions, a printing and sign-making company based in Los Angeles, California.

www.SignsByBenchmark.com 800-658-3444

Photo: Shutterstock.com/tandaVww.

Wholesale Foam-Core Sign Manufacturer

Monuments Bases Pole Covers Integrated EMC Projecting Pylons and much more •

Watch how it’s made at www.SignsByBenchmark.com/signs/media/video signshop.com

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HOW TO BRANDING SALES | BY ASHLEY | BY NARINE BRAYDAVEYAN

Custom fabrication is just one way sign shops can go the extra mile on a digital sign project.

Going Beyond the Board

A

t its most basic, a sign shop’s involvement in digital signage can be as simple as selling and installing a digital board. But there are many more opportunities to wow a client through custom sign work and stellar service. Here are three ways sign shops can go the extra mile in a digital signage sale. 1. Custom Fabrication In an effort to help signage stand out, many sign shops create custom structures to house the EMC/digital sign. “We get the boards in from an LED manufacturer, but we don’t just ship them out,” explains Trey Watts, vice president of sales for Springfield Sign in Springfield, Missouri. “A lot of stuff that I see on the market is just a board welded to a pole or vice versa. We

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spend a lot of time finishing it so it’s a complete product.” John Danio, vice president of Sales and Marketing for Indigo Signs in Fargo, North Dakota, says his company does the same and will often design unique structures around the EMCs with the customer’s branding on it in order to bring more attention to the display and differentiate the sign. “We’ll design a sketch, and often there’s some type of permanent structure built around the EMC,” he says. “It’s not often just a billboard box. They want something built around it.” Finishing and structures can include everything from custom framing the display, creating a video wall, or incorporating a display into a larger monument or pylon sign. “Our predominant business is in ei-

September 2021

ther a monument or a pylon sign,” says Watts. “That’s probably where we place about 70 to 80 percent of our units.” Danio sees a trend toward incorporating digital signage into monuments thanks to restrictive sign codes. “We hear a lot of issues with cities that are really trying to lock down the codes and lower the heights that signs can be. So there’s this trend toward more and more monuments,” he says. “You can’t put up as big of a sign as you could in the past, so how do you really create a more dynamic visual there? “Incorporating an EMC in creative ways into a monument sign, I think, will be a growing need and opportunity for us as cities try to lock down the type of signs, the size of signs that businesses can put up.” Ray Peters, managing owner of AAA signshop.com

Photos (this spread): Springfield Sign.

Three digital signage upsell opportunities.


HOW TO

SALES | BY ASHLEY BRAY

Signs with locations in Georgia and South Carolina, not only custom fabricates structures and frames for new digital signs but also recommends retrofits for existing ones. “We take existing structures that maybe had a marquee out on them and retrofit them with an electronic message center,” he says. “We do a lot of custom sign stuff.” 2. Content Creation A digital sign board is only as good as the content it shows, so content creation is an extremely important part of the process. To aid end-users in creating content, some digital sign manufacturers offer standard content and template options. Often larger companies and clients don’t need help, as they have an inhouse marketing professional or department to handle the content creation. But when it comes to smaller companies with no marketing resources or clients looking to customize their content beyond the standard, sign shops can offer some help. “If they want to customize their content, we’ll work with them on how that can be done. We do an initial training with every installation that we put out there. So it could be a local business owner or organization, they don’t have someone that’s maybe very tech savvy, but they can lean on us,” says Danio, who explains they help train the client on what their local code allows and how to use and update the content. Springfield Sign offers multiple tiers of content creation depending on what a client needs because they find more end-users don’t have the capabilities or the design skills to create content for these EMCs. “With any board we place, we offer as part of our selling package anywhere from three to five loops that we’ll create for the client. So when that board goes out the door, it’s got some custom content on it,” says Watts. “We do offer subscription service after the fact if the client wants that, or we just have flat fees. If someone wants one custom signshop.com

ad made, there’s a fee for that. If they want a package and they want us to create ten of them, we have a discounting schedule based on the number of loops that they would like. They can come to us any time and do that. “On the front side, we do offer some as part of our package. On the backside, we have follow-up services however the client wants to tailor what they want to do. What they want to spend, basically.” The client may not have the technical savvy to create content, but how does your sign shop get it? Danio says Indigo Signs worked with their manufacturing partner to learn more about content creation. “We’ve had a marketing and a digital marketing specialist who really had a little more technical savvy that engaged with Daktronics and understanding how their systems work and how we can go in and help customers manage their content and update their content, and it was useful for them,” he says. “If they have multiple sites, for example, how do they make sure you have messages across all sites at the right times and how often they change?”

3. Service & Support Maintenance and technical service are other ways sign shops can stay involved with a client long after the sign install is done. First and foremost, make sure you’re knowledgeable about the warranty the sign comes with, the ability for maintenance/service, and accessibility of repair parts. “If there are no parts available in the United States, or if no one has the schematics of how to work them, then you really don’t have a warranty,” says Mike Lewis, chief executive officer of Sign Store Macon in Georgia. “It’s a piece of machinery, sooner or later something will break. And we actually have the parts on our truck so that makes it easy to go out. Usually we can get the signs repaired with one service call versus going out and trying to determine the problem, calling the supplier and getting them to send the parts, and having to go back again. “Having that dedicated truck and repair person is a big factor in our business.” Springfield Sign touts the importance of keeping the support in-house.

Sign shops can offer content creation to clients who need extra help outfitting their display with custom images, text, and video.

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How-to Webinars and Resources for the Sign Industry SBI’s new webinar series—On the Floor—is your compass to all the challenges sign shops face. Our series provides actionable steps to help your sign shop thrive amidst the expanding digital signage landscape and everyday operational challenges.

www.signshop.com/resources

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Codes restricting sign height has led many shops to incorporate digital signage into monument signs.

“We have in-house technical support for troubleshooting that’s available seven days a week. Of course, the manufacturer has some of theirs too, but if we sell a unit to an end user, we want to be the company that supports them as the first line of defense,” says Watts. “We have inhouse tech support that we troubleshoot for, and then, if we have to go back to the manufacturer, we will; but we try to make it as easy and as seamless for the end-user as can be. “They’re making a sizeable investment, whether indoor or outdoor units, so we feel it’s our duty as provider of this product to stand behind it, service it, and make it as easy for them to use as possible.” Indigo Signs points to the benefits of remote troubleshooting as well. “What’s really nice is a lot of these systems today have cellular modems so we can remote in,” says Danio. “In the past, for years, we’d have to send somebody out to the site to replace and do some training with them. Now, with the remote modems, we can remotely log into their system and see what the issue is, do a reset, and help them. We log in, and we can help take care of some basic system issues. “Now say it’s a module that goes out. We’d have to send a crew out there, replace the module.” Whether it’s through custom fabrication, content creation, or maintenance, shops have much to offer clients looking for digital signs. signshop.com

Photo: Indigo Signs.

NAVIGATE A CHANGING SIGN LANDSCAPE



HOW TO BRANDING CODES | BY| DAVID BY NARINE HICKEY DAVEYAN

Planning for On-premise Legality

H

ere we go again! As the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) prepares to take up another sign code case—the second since 2015—we wait to see the impact it could have on our industry. If history is any indication, it could become a tremendous opportunity for the International Sign Association (ISA) and the industry to work closely with local officials and planners to develop reasonable sign codes. The current case, City of Austin v. Reagan National Advertising of Texas, explores the legality of regulatory distinctions between on-premise signs and off-premise signs (billboards). The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals found that Austin, Texas officials violated the 2015 Reed v. Town of Gilbert SCOTUS decision by allowing EMCs but prohibit-

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ing digital billboards, which prevented content-based distinctions. The International Sign Association has been involved in this case joining several organizations in filing a joint amicus brief detailing why we believe the distinction between the two types of signs is permissible. Interestingly enough, our partners in the brief included Scenic Texas and several Texas-based chambers of commerce. We have long partnered with chambers of commerce in pursuing our joint interests; on the other hand, we almost always have found ourselves on the opposite sides with Scenic groups. But in this case, the alliance made sense. Ever since the Reed ruling, ISA has argued that the traditional regulatory distinction between on-premise signs and billboards is location-based and not

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content-based. A ruling overturning Austin v. Reagan would leave intact these important distinctions between on- and off-premise signs. However if the Court upholds the 5th Circuit’s decision, every state Department of Transportation regulation and local sign ordinance that differentiates between these two kinds of signs will have to be brought into compliance. We’ve been down this road before. In 2015, when SCOTUS delivered the Reed v. Town of Gilbert ruling, there were concerns that communities might take a knee-jerk approach to limiting all signs to meet the new standards. What we have found couldn’t be further from the truth. The International Sign Association, working alongside the Sign Research Foundation, has taken a collaborative signshop.com

Photo: Shutterstock.com/VDB Photos.

Austin, Texas is home for a new sign code case.


HOW TO

CODES | BY DAVID HICKEY

approach. We have trained thousands of planners and local officials on Reed, helping them not only understand how to apply it in a way that meets the legal requirements but also that helps their business communities. In some ways, it has been a gift that has enhanced something ISA has long been working for: a relationship with the planning community based on trust and credibility. Planners consider ISA a resource and often reach out when beginning a local sign code revamp. What a luxury to not only be able to offer assistance but also to point them to SRF research that can show exactly why we recommend what we’re recommending. Some communities have opened up to electronic message centers after previously forbidding them. Others have used ISA and SRF research to increase sign heights, allow for more window signage, and streamline their local permitting process. It’s never wise to try to read the tea leaves out of SCOTUS, but there are a few things worth noting. In the 2015 Reed ruling, the court unanimously decided that the Town of Gilbert could not distinguish between temporary signs. In a concurring opinion, Justice Samuel Alito specifically called out the distinction between onpremise and off-premise signs, noting, “I will not attempt to provide anything like a comprehensive list, but here are some rules that would not be content-based… [r]ules distinguishing between on-premises and off-premises signs.” Alito’s opinion was co-signed by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has since retired, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who remains on the court. Six of the nine justices who affirmed Reed remain on the court. While Reed provides the most recent example, ISA has long believed cities should have the ability to distinguish between on- and off-premise signs. Each type of sign has very distinct capabilities and purposes, each targets a specific audience, and each has traditionally been signshop.com

treated under separate legal and regulatory regimes. As far back as 1981, the Supreme Court allowed for differences between these two types of signs in Metromedia v. San Diego. The Metromedia distinction is still a well-accepted legal principle, and Reed did not overturn any aspect of Metromedia. The International Sign Association believes that sign codes that regulate location, as those involving on-premise versus off-premise signs, are not content-based restrictions; they are placebased restrictions. Regulations singling out off-premise signs, for example, don’t apply to any particular ideas or viewpoints; they just regulate the locations of these signs generally. Locational restrictions fall under the traditional “Time, Place and Manner” regulations that have been accepted for

decades and that were spoken of favorably in the Reed decision. Because of these rulings from the United States’ highest court and the practical and traditional considerations that have governed these kinds of signs for generations, ISA believes communities should be able to enact and enforce distinctions between how they treat onpremise signs and off-premise signs if they so choose—including EMCs and digital billboards. As we move toward arguments sometime this fall or early winter, this is a case that will definitely be worth paying attention to. David Hickey is vice president of Government Affairs at the International Sign Association. You can contact him with questions about this or any other sign code issue at David.Hickey@signs.org.

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FEATURE EPS FOAMNAME BY JEFF AUTHOR WOOTEN

FOOSBALL

T

his past April, transit riders at eight stops along the KC Streetcar line in Kansas City, Missouri were greeted by lifesized foosball figures representing Major League Soccer’s Sporting KC Club. These colorful sculptures were part of a promotion ahead of the soccer team’s first home match with full-capacity spectators at Children’s Mercy Park. Fans were encouraged to visit all the host locations along the KC Streetcar 22

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line the day before the big game to scan a photo of the QR Code located on the base of each Sporting KC foosball player in order to redeem exclusive offers from Club partners. These eleven figures are also a part of Sporting KC’s season-long Fountain City Foosball campaign (celebrating the long-time table-based game). Each foosball player-inspired sculpt is decorated with a specific uniform from the club’s twenty-six-year history.

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Midtown Signs, a full-service sign company in Kansas City, Kansas, took the field to fulfill this sporting project. This sign shop was an ideal choice here since they are always on the lookout to try out new techniques and outside-thebox ideas, plus they have worked with Sporting KC for several years already. “Sporting KC is always looking for us to make cool signs for their stadium, and they knew we could do something unique for them [with this promotion],” signshop.com

All Photos: Midtown Signs.

GOAL!


A game MLS Sporting KC promotion features large-sized EPS.

says Dennis Baughman, co-owner of Midtown Signs. According to Baughman, this project came about because Sporting KC was making foosball beer taps for a new beer they were releasing. Club officials thought that placing these foosball figures all around town would be a way to generate buzz for not only the beverage but also the opening day game. Sporting KC provided Midtown Signs with concept art featuring the foosball signshop.com

players wearing eleven different jersey styles that had been used since the team’s inception in 1995. The player number on each figure’s back represents the year that the jersey was used. Midtown Signs Designer/Sign Engineer Jeremy Cadero came up with a 3D model of these figures using Fusion 360 CAD/CAM software. “I designed the sculpted body with a steel pipe through the arms and down through the body into a steel base,” he says. “We needed

to make sure all the pipes fit snug and were freestanding, if they couldn’t be bolted down.” During the project’s planning stages, Midtown Signs had to be cognizant of the fact that these figures had to be movable around the city, as needed, by one or two people. Since Sporting KC already wanted the figures to be somewhat lightweight, Midtown Signs knew expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam would be the best substrate here. The company

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Each of the six-foot-tall Sporting KC foosball figures was placed at various stops along the KC Streetcar line.

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has enjoyed a working relationship with EPS foam supplier and fabricator Signs By Benchmark out of Watertown, South Dakota for many years now and brought them onboard their fabrication team. Eleven unique foosball figures were made out of one-pound-density EPS foam for this promotion. Each one stands six feet tall and measures twenty inches wide. Midtown Signs was responsible for the base plate and supporting pole, while Signs By Benchmark fabricated the remainder. “We collaborated with Midtown Signs on the body and structure of the foosball figures,” says Jamie Kakacek, lead designer at Signs By Benchmark. “Luckily both of us have the ability to work in a 3D environment, so that made creating much easier.” Once Midtown Signs got approvals from Sporting KC, they worked up the 3D models of the upper portion of the foosball figures in Fusion 360 and sent it

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to Signs By Benchmark for fabrication. Signs By Benchmark used a combination of CNC hotwire equipment and their MultiCam CNC router. “The head of the figures needed to match existing pieces,” says Kakacek. “We were fortunate enough to get a model of the existing piece, which made scaling and cutting much easier.” To help secure the figure onto the pole, Signs By Benchmark pre-drilled holes on the backside of their sleeve so they could be bolted in place. Kakacek says one idea proposed was maybe later putting the figures together in groups elsewhere, so they pitched installing additional sleeves through the chest in order to connect them like foosball players. “Whether they’re used or not, this leaves options open for future installations,” he says. After assembly, Signs By Benchmark coated each figure with their polyurea hard coat and primed it for later painting.

Each foosball figure ended up weighing approximately fifty pounds. “Having to embed a steel sleeve into the body of each figure affected their weight considerably,” says Kakacek. Signs By Benchmark managed to nest all eleven figures into one crate for shipping. Upon arrival, Midtown Signs produced paint masks for them and applied custom-mixed Sherwin-Williams Resilience® Exterior Acrylic Latex paint to decorate the figures. They also added vinyl decals and QR codes to them. Midtown Signs added mounting holes on the base plates they created so that the figures could be permanently mounted, if needed. Officials from Sporting KC picked up the eight freestanding foosball figures and delivered them to each location for installation. As mentioned, a central steel sleeve ran up through the center of the body. “All that was needed was to put the base down and slip the Sporting KC

foosball figure over the support pole and bolt it to the base plate,” says Cadero. The Sporting KC foosball figures are standing throughout the current MLS season as part of this Fountain City Foosball campaign and are a testament to the creative playbooks that shops can employ to make these types of projects a reality. Baughman says this was a fun project for his company to be involved with from concept to 3D to paint. “We would love to make more things like this,” he says. Kakacek adds that this unique installation was one of his favorite projects to work on this year. “These figures embody what’s capable with our medium, and I would love to see more of these projects come across our table,” he says. “Granted there are some limitations, due to the material and coating process, but many times those limitations can be worked around with minimal changes. “It’s our job to help coach things along so they turn out as intended.”

INCREASE PRODUCTION UP TO 2X

WIRELESS POWER IS NOW A REALITY CALL: 800.793.4793 EMAIL: sales@sfeg.com signshop.com

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FEATURE LED DISPLAY NAME BY JEFF AUTHOR WOOTEN

AHOY! RAISE THE

DIGITAL SCREEN

G

ive Kids The World Village in Kissimmee, Florida is an eighty-nine-acre ADA-accessible, storybook-themed destination that, ever since its opening in 1986, provides critically ill children and their families from all over the world with joy-filled, weeklong wish vacations at no cost. On-site theming found throughout this whimsical park includes a host of colorful characters that interact with the children, snoring trees, oversized mushroom architecture, an enchanting castle, and the world’s largest game of Candy Land. For many years, the Park of Dreams Pool section at GKTW Village also had a pirate ship called Serendipity that provided lots of buccaneer-themed fun and hosted a projector-based screen. However time had not only taken its toll on this playground vessel, but the screen was very hard to see during daytime hours. Shiver me timbers! GKTW Village 26

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officials knew it was time for an overhaul and rebuild (a kinder, gentler keelhaul, if you will). This past July, after a year of planning, redesign, and construction, GKTW Village celebrated the christening of a newly constructed, ninetyplus-foot pirate ship called Serendipity II, taking anchor in the pool area in an effort to spread more hope and happiness to the children and their families. This new buccaneer-themed build was made possible by a $1.5 million grant from the Don and Lorraine Freeberg Foundation, a nonprofit that supports organizations focused on education, healthcare, children, and veterans. Despite its meaning, the Serendipity II project actually did not happen by chance; all the crew members brought onboard were vetted and chosen based on their levels of skill and expertise. Built to withstand the humid subtropical climate of Central Florida, the ADA-accessible Serendipity II was constructed by SteamLabs Design Group

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and Icarus Exhibits Orlando using a 100 percent aluminum frame and cladding, while Poly Gem coating was added to replicate the look of real wood. The Serendipity II ship was built offsite using a labor-intensive process and took almost a year to complete. Once finished, it was then disassembled and delivered to GKTW Village for a twoday installation with the use of a crane. The colorful ship includes an animated parrot, an interactive ship’s wheel, and a masthead “sea-quine” figure designed off the seahorses found on GKTW’s ADA-accessible Enchanted Carousel. Impressively its towering seventy-four-foot masts had to be approved by the FAA, due to the park’s proximity to the nearby Kissimmee Gateway Airport. However the main attraction aboard the new pirate ship is the brand-new 16-foot-5-inch-wide-by-9-foot-10inch-high SNA Displays EMPIRE™ Exterior LED screen situated near its center in an open deck area for everysignshop.com

All Photos: Give Kids the World.

New pirate ship attraction hauls in an LED sign treasure.


one sitting or swimming in the Park of Dreams Pool area to clearly see. Management and integration of this state-of-the-art solution was overseen by audiovisual and technology services company Electrosonic AV Design out of Orlando, Florida, while the SNA Displays team was present throughout the project to assist and troubleshoot any issues that arose. The 3.9mm pixel pitch screen measures 1,280-by-768 pixels and outputs content at a resolution of 720p. With this digital screen adornment, the Serendipity II ship is now able to present feature film screenings, “divein” movies, sports broadcasts, special events promotions, and more at all times of the day to the visitors spending time at the Park of Dreams Pool. “One of the priorities for this LED display was to provide a medium for the Village’s ‘dive-in’ movie events for their guests,” says Thursby Pierce, project manager at Electrosonic. “I think the screen fits the scale of Serendipity II well. It doesn’t feel intrusive to the whimsical nature of the space, [and] it is large enough to give guests a great seat to the show no matter how close they are.” The GKTW Village team and their designers requested a size and design for the direct-view SNA Displays LED screen that was best determined by the measurements of the Serendipity II ship and its accompanying architectural elements. They also desired a style that would be conducive to movie watching at any time of the day, which necessitated a basic 16:9 aspect ratio. “They wanted a screen bright enough to provide viewing on it at all times of the day. The previous ship used projection-based technology, which made daytime viewing impossible,” says Jason Helton, executive vice president of SNA Displays. “Given the size limitations, we proposed 3.9-milimeter pixel spacing, which is a very tight pixel pitch for exterior LED displays.” “It’s rare to have a sub-4mm exterior LED display,” says Nicole Rotyliano, project manager at SNA Displays. “Thanks to [our] R&D team, we were able to provide this client with a product signshop.com

that fit their use-case for the technology, showing movies to visitors of the Village at relatively close viewing distances.” According to Helton, “The resulting screen looks great!” Construction on the pirate ship’s structure was mostly finished before the LED display was installed on-site. Icarus Exhibits Orlando provided the mounting structure for it, per specifications from Electrosonic and SNA Displays. “Once the mounting structure was in place, the installation was fairly typical,” says Pierce. “We were really happy with the results.” Programming on the SNA Displays screen is initiated from a small watchtower-style building located across from the ship. “They’re set up with a fairly typical front-end system, allowing for various input types like cable, Blu-ray discs, and other content,” says Pierce. Although the LED display is outdoor-rated like other digital billboards, the Give Kids the World Village team wanted to make sure it would still be protected from extreme tropical storms that take place in the Florida area. So Electrosonic, SNA Displays, and the Serendipity II structural engineer collaborated and implemented a storm-

shutter solution to it. “It provides adequate protection without impacting the viewer experience,” says Rotyliano. Delivery of the SNA Displays product to the site took place this past March. A substantial amount of ship construction had to be completed before it could be installed though. The ship was finished in May, with the digital screen attached a month later. All the parties involved were happy to complete work on a new pirate ship attraction that is bringing so much joy to children and their families. “We are very excited to have this display technology as a dynamic communications piece visible at all of times of the day and are very appreciative to SNA Displays and Electrosonic,” said Give Kids The World President & CEO Pam Landwirth. “[And] we cannot begin to thank our wonderful friends at the Don & Lorraine Freeberg Foundation for their gift. “This is just the latest in a series of incredible gifts they have given us, helping to create a Village where happiness truly inspires hope.” Note: Portions of this article appeared in a press release.

The design of the new directview 720p LED display was determined by the size of the ship and its accompanying architectural elements.

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FEATURE NAME LIGHTING BY EMILY AUTHOR ECKART

SUGAR ON TOP

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signshop.com


T

Photos: (Opposite Page) Roger Katzenburg; (This Page) Gable.

he Domino Sugar sign, perched high over the Baltimore Harbor, is an iconic part of the city’s history. The original sign was constructed by Artkraft Strauss Co., of New York. It was installed on top of the Domino Sugar refinery in 1951, and its neon lights have illuminated the skyline ever since. But after seventy years of exposure to the elements, the sign was starting to show its age. Domino (ASR Group) turned to Gable, a visual solutions and sign company in Baltimore, to give the sign a refresh. “The ASR Group originally thought they just wanted to replace the lighting on the sign,” says Paul Gable, president of Gable. “They had us go through an exercise of doing a complete survey of the sign to determine if the neon could be replaced with LED tubing.” After a full analysis, it was discovered that the situation was actually more dire than had been anticipated. Significant portions of the steel letters were found to be rusted and eroding. The steel frame also needed repairs. “The ASR Group knew it was time to rethink the sign,” says Paul Gable. “We were given the opportunity to find another way to replicate the sign as close to the original as possible, while employing modern-day fabrication, lighting techniques, and materials.” Pre-Fabrication Gable started with a series of technical surveys, taking detailed measurements of the letters and their positions. Workers physically measured the height, width, and girth of every letter segment—no small task, with the sign measuring 120 feet long and 70 feet tall. “Not only did all the letters have to be measured but [so too] the spaces in-between all the letters, to make sure the layout was visually exact,” says Bill Sackmann, vice president of Construction Services and Quality Management at Gable, noting the company also used a drone to shoot footage of the front of the sign layout. These measurements were crucial for replicating the look of the original sign. “One of our major goals for the client

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was to maintain the integrity of their typestyle,” says Paul Gable. “The original typestyle was hand drawn because there was no technology in the making of patterns back then. Everything had to be mechanically reproduced by hand on large paper patterns.” In the next phase, Gable worked as a consultant and collaborator with a Domino Sugar contractor to remove the old letters, taking them down in pieces. For example, the letter “D,” standing at more than thirty feet tall, came down in six sections.

The Domino Sugar sign shines brightly again. During this process, Gable’s expertise as a sign company proved essential. “Being in this industry for over forty years, I knew that a lot of people who climbed high in the air on a sign frame didn’t always bring that transformer back to the ground when servicing the sign—and transformers were quite heavy back in the day,” explains Sackmann. “They had to be super careful when starting

to remove letters, as the sections came apart, that the transformers didn’t fall out and hurt anyone.” The contractor planned to remove the letter pieces via a freight elevator that opened onto the tenth floor, the same level as the roof. However, because the letter pieces were so large, the contractor first needed to remove a window and part of the wall to access the elevator. Even with this modification, some of the old letters still had to be cut into pieces. (Note: Domino Sugar donated the old letters to Second Chance, an architectural salvage nonprofit in Baltimore.) Domino Sugar’s contractor removed old electrical cables and coordinated with Gable on which parts to reuse. The contractor also handled structural repairs on the steel sign frame, including re-engineering the frame’s connections to the building and repainting the frame a medium gray. On Gable’s suggestion, the contractor added two continuous catwalks that extended across the frame to make it easier and safer for workers to service the sign. “In the past, when someone had to service that sign, they had to hook onto the steel structure, climb around, and do everything from planks. They had to try to change transformers and neon from the planks, which was very unsafe,” says Sackmann.

Bill Sackmann, VP of Construction Services and Quality Management at Gable, looks over the giant “S” letter form that his company built at their Baltimore facility.

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Gable sign installers used two hoists attached to the top of the sign frame to lift the letters into position.

Design + Build When it came to designing new letters for Domino Sugar, Gable had to contend with several logistical challenges. The original letters had been brought in on a barge and hoisted up the side of the building. This installation strategy meant there were few limitations on the size of the letter forms. “They split their ‘O’ down the center. It was twenty-two feet tall,” says Sackmann. However, since then, the footprint of the Domino Sugar refinery had changed, making current access points an important factor in how Gable designed its letter forms. To get the new letter forms onto the roof, Gable was going to have to fit pieces through an 11-foot-wide set of bay doors in the refined sugar warehouse, then down a narrow 12-footwide aisle, and finally into a freight elevator measuring 14-1/2-feet-deep and 12-1/2-feet-wide. This influenced Gable’s design of each segment of the sign. For example, Sackmann says, unlike the original vertically split ‘O,’ Gable’s version was split horizontally. This would allow the workers transporting the letters to hook it through the opening of the bay door. “We had to measure the elevators at least three times,” he says. “We had a couple of the letter forms that were right up against the edge. We maximized it.” The new letters have an aluminum 30

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frame, aluminum faces and backs (sheet goods), and aluminum returns (coil stock). “Our goal was to lift every letter as a whole letter. In order to do that, we had to keep our weight down,” says Sackmann, noting why they decided to use aluminum rather than steel. The original letters had porcelain enamel faces with exposed skeleton neon tubes for the lighting. To match the color of the original, Gable used Sherwin-Williams’ ColorSnap technology. They cleaned off a segment of the original porcelain enamel and took a photograph, which sent the color to a smart phone. Gable primed the new aluminum letters and applied four coats of Matthews Paint—two in a high-solid yellow and two in a transparent yellow. For the new lighting, Gable used SloanLED’s FlexiBRITE Citrus Orange flexible LED tubing. The company assembled the letters in its shop and connected and tested the LED lights to make sure everything was functional before shipping. They then disassembled the letters into segments for transportation, wrapping the lengths of LED tubing around the letter forms. Installation Using CAD software to visualize layouts of the letter forms, access points, and rooftop, Gable coordinated a process whereby completed letter forms were transported via flatbed trailer to the

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Domino Sugar refinery. Once there, workers lifted individual letter forms onto specialized dollies and reviewed their strategy for maneuvering the letter form into the building. “We did a couple of diagrams showing the door and showing the letter, as well as a video of how they had to orient,” explains Sackmann. “When we were offloading the trucks, we took a minute and looked at that before we started to move anything, so we knew what we were doing.” Even with aluminum construction, the segments were still large and heavy enough that it took four or five people to move each one. When assembled, the “O” weighed in at 1,200 pounds total, making each of its segments 600 pounds. The “D” was 2,200 pounds in total, with each of its five segments weighing more than 400 pounds. The sugar refinery was an active environment, and to avoid disrupting the factory schedule, Gable’s workers started early in the morning. They maneuvered letter forms on dollies through the bay doors and down the aisle to the first freight elevator, which went up to the ninth floor. After that, they moved the letters across the ninth floor and into a second identical freight elevator, which opened onto the tenth floor, level with the back roof behind the sign. On the roof, though, workers faced another space limitation. signshop.com


Photos (this spread): Gable.

The area where they could store letter forms measured approximately 93by-32 feet, which was enough room for only four to five letters. Gable preplanned how to lay the letter segments on the roof using CAD. This also influenced the order in which the letters were manufactured. Gable manufactured the first set of letters based on what would be installed first and then continued to manufacture the others while the first set was being installed. Once letter forms were delivered onto the roof, workers lifted the pieces onto saw horses to get them into position and bolted segments together to form complete letters. After test-lighting each letter, they used two hoists attached to the top of the sign frame to lift the letters into position. Having two hoists allowed for proper adjustment of the slant of the italicized letters, giving enough control to adjust the right- and left-hand side of each letter. According to Sackmann, the “D” required its own choreography. “Our team members pre-assembled sections of the ‘D’ on two levels of the roof, because it was too large to fit on the portion of the upper roof perpendicular to the sign frame,” he says. “We temporarily installed the bottom portion of the letter onto the lower portion of the frame, aligning the seam with the lower catwalk. The upper section, which was preassembled on the upper roof, was then signshop.com

married to the lower section, internally bolted together, prewired, and erected as one piece. “We orientated the letters and sections underneath the backside of the frame, so our pick points were directly underneath our hoist, and crisscrossed the lines to spin the letter forms so they would face outwards.” Careful measurements were key to making sure the rectangular border around the letters fit properly. The top and bottom horizontal lengths of the border were offset by twoand-a-half inches, making it necessary to adjust to that difference while installing the vertical segments. After installing the first forty feet of the upper left hand corner, Gable’s workers paused to take a measurement and ended up making a half-inch adjustment. “Overall the installation went very well,” says Sackmann. “The last piece that we installed was a perfect fit.” Other Challenges Gable faced further install challenges— from water to wind. Shortly before the installation of the “O,” a rain forecast prompted Sackmann to purchase a thirty-foot tarp to cover the letter. Returning to the site after the storm, he found that some thirty gallons of water had pooled in the center of the tarp-covered “O.” The Gable team had to remove the water so the let-

ter would not be damaged. Due to the building’s height and location, wind was also a significant factor. “Not many people realize when you’re this high up on a building, next to the inner harbor, it’s a very windy job site,” says Sackmann. “When you’re trying to lift large, heavy letters up on an open frame, you have to be very careful.” Because the wind picked up in the afternoon, usually starting around noon, Gable began each day at 6:00 a.m. Conclusion The new sign has greater brightness and clarity. It also consumes significantly less energy. Whereas the old sign consumed 25,000 kilowatts of power per hour, the new one only uses 1,300 kW. After a few test lightings, the sign publicly debuted its new look at Domino Sugar’s Fourth of July celebration with more than 300 people in attendance. Its illumination coincided with the refinery’s one-hundredth anniversary. A Domino Sugar employee of more than fifty years had the honor of pushing the button to light the sign. And the residents of Baltimore were thrilled to have their favorite landmark back. “We’ve had amazing feedback and a lot of positive support and ‘thank you’s.’ I’m very proud of the sign and the way it turned out,” says Paul Gable. “Every little step we took to be as accurate and precise as we were was worth it.”

September 2021

Sign Builder Illustrated

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FEATUREPRINTING DIGITAL NAME BY MATT AUTHOR MCCAUSLAND

PSPs AND

RESIN

PRINTERS

esin ink is a new signage-focused, water-based solution that includes both resin and pigment color in the formulation. When working with the right hardware, resin ink is compatible with a variety of media types and is an ideal solution for printing on wallpapers, fabrics, and uncoated papers, in addition to 32

Sign Builder Illustrated

traditional signage materials. The following dives into what resin ink is and its benefits for the signage and digital printing industry. #1. It’s a water-based ink. Resin ink is multi-purpose ink comprised of a waterbased liquid, resin, and pigment ink colors

September 2021

within the formulation. Unlike solvent ink, resin ink is odorless when printing and does not require an off-gassing period before lamination. Its ability to instantly dry allows for immediate lamination and quicker project turnaround times. Without the need to off-gas for six to twenty-four-plus hours signshop.com

Photos: Epson America.

R

Three reasons why resin technology is poised to elevate the signage industry.


or lamination on select media types, print shops can finalize projects quicker, saving valuable time for incoming projects and increasing revenue. The instant-dry ink delivers scratchresistant output, ideal for indoor/outdoor applications and installations that are being installed for an extended period of time and in high-traffic areas that often succumb to markings due to weather, animals, or general wear and tear. In addition, wallpaper tends to work especially well with resin ink due to the high scratch resistance and low odor. Digitally printed wallpaper has become a popular trend among designers and is an ideal output for resin ink. 2. Color consistency is key. Print shops oftentimes have difficulties reproducing color for panel applications. Color consistency can be critical for larger, longer print jobs with multiple wall panels or multiple panel installations as well as repeat jobs that need to be replicated completely. For example, if a customer orders a hundred posters with specific red and blue colors for a project in February, and returns to re-order the same posters in July, many print shops will have difficulties reproducing identical copies months later. A few months after any project is completed, printers have been recalibrated, printheads have been changed, ink packs have been swapped, and maintenance has occurred—all of which can have significant effects on the final output. Another common order for sign shops is multiple panel wall graphics. This type of order can stem from a large retail customer who is looking to order graphics that require twenty four-by-eight-foot panels to cover an entire wall in the company’s solid colored logo. It is critical that the color, such as a unique red, is identical on panel two and panel twenty, so the image and logo color is consistent throughout. Resin technology today has the ability to deliver consistent, repeatable color guaranteed to meet client expectations. When looking at resin-based printers, it’s beneficial to identify hardware that also leverages optimizer in unison with the ink technology. Some printers will offer separate optimizer and color ink printing by laying the optimizer first and then color signshop.com

ink, so color consistency is easily achieved. 3. Impressive versatility. It’s critical that a print shop is able to produce the output clients are looking for, whether that’s on traditional media, vinyl, canvas, textile, wallpaper, or more. Print shops are oftentimes looking to use the same printer for various customer requests and print full campaigns for larger customer orders consisting of multiple printed pieces. For example, a retail customer may request and order a “Now Open” banner for their outdoor signage, as well as an adhesive vinyl P-O-P display and floor graphics to advertise a sale inside the store. That same customer may also be interested in ordering custom fabric for interior décor pillows and canvas prints to hang around the store. A printer that leverages resin ink can handle all these projects. Today the majority of printing technology is limited to one or very few media types, based on ink compatibility or the temperature the ink requires on select media. Resin ink can cure on an incredibly wide range of media types from fabrics and wallpapers to uncoated papers and adhesive vinyl. Low curing temperatures allow for printing on even difficult medias, like thin wall coverings and gift wrapping. This can further increase a shop’s versatility and

output scope to generate additional revenue through new products and SKUs that can attract new and returning customers. Considering the Next Purchase If looking to add new ink technology like resin, consider current and future trends to ensure the shop will keep up with present and forthcoming projects and demands—such as the increase in printing panel applications like wallpaper. This is a unique area for print shops and an ideal situation for resin ink. Wallpaper is an adhesive application that can be created with a variety of textured media types that can be easily produced with multi-purpose resin ink technology. The market for custom wallpaper and textiles has massive growth potential, especially with designers working directly with large corporate clients looking to create unique designs. This can help propel a print shop to success with the appropriate technology, clientele, and projects. With the appropriate planning and forecasting, introducing resin ink technology into a sign shop can help further expand applications and provide customers with high-quality, color-consistent output to meet evolving trends. Matt McCausland is senior product manager, Professional Imaging, at Epson America, Inc.

September 2021

Sign Builder Illustrated

33


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Sign Builder Illustrated

September 2021

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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

InfoDirect #

PAGE 34

2

AP Lazer

www.aplazer.com

3

Contra Vision Supplies Ltd.

www.contravision.com

C2

4

Duxbury Systems Inc.

www.duxburysystems.com

34

5

Epilog Laser

www.epiloglaser.com

19

6

France Lighting Solutions

www.francelighting.com

25

7

Gyford

www.standoffsystems.com

10

8

Keystone Technologies

www.KeystoneTech.com

5

9

Nova Polymers

www.novapolymers.com

3

10

SAi

www.thinksai.com

11

SDS Automation

www.sdsautomation.com

13

12

Signs By Benchmark

www.SignsByBenchmark.com

15

13

Signs365.com

www.signs365.com

14

SinaLite

www.sinalite.com

15

Southern Stud Weld

www.studweld.com

16

TCM Signs

www.tcmsigns.com

34

17

Wilkie Mfg. LLC

www.wilkiemfg.com

C3

11

24

C4 9 21

COMPANIES IN SIGN SHOW 18

Contra Vision Supplies Ltd.

www.contravision.com

8

19

HP

www.HPLFmedia.com

8

20

LexJet

www.LexJet.com

8

21

Mactac

www.mactac.com

8

22

Roland DGA

www.rolanddga.com

11

23

Trotec Laser

www.troteclaser.com

10

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

signshop.com

2.Find the category of products or services you need

September 2021

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

Sign Builder Illustrated

35


SHOP TALK MINUTEMAN PRESS OF SYOSSET, NEW YORK | BY CHRIS BISCUITTI

An incredible story of longevity in the industry.

T

odd Brown began his print career back in 1971, earning paid work at his school district’s print shop. Six years later, he joined Minuteman Press in Syosset as an integral employee, and it’s where he is still employed today, working hand-inand with their graphic designer to make sure jobs are fit to print. Brown acknowledges the printing industry has evolved over the years. “Digital printing is constantly changing, as is technology,” he says. When computers became more prevalent, Brown made it a point to learn graphic design on his own with whatever programs were available. “I’ve been a musician my entire life so I would use different programs like Adobe PageMaker, Photoshop, and Print Shop Deluxe for passion projects but also to learn more about graphics from a printing standpoint,” he says.

Even with progress, Brown says the printing side of this business still remains about paper. “Paper is the one thing that has remained consistent no matter what else has changed,” he says. “Paper has certain characteristics, and when you do a job, even digitally, you have to know the intricacies of the process. “As a professional printer, you know what’s required in order to print, cut, bind, and assemble a job. If you want a button pusher, go to Staples.” One of the biggest differences between printing for clients forty years ago versus today is how the artwork is provided. Brown explains, “Back when I first started, you essentially made the artwork for clients. Today you are given the artwork, and a lot of the job is educating customers on print specifications. It goes back to the fact that paper is different than a smartphone or computer screen. A little knowledge can be dan-

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

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Sign Builder Illustrated

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.

September 2021

“You can’t work in this [field] and say, ‘That’s not my job.’ That will get you and the business nowhere.”

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: Minuteman Press of Syosset, New York.

Fifty Years of Printing

gerous when you need the bigger picture to really get the job done right. So that’s where we come in. “For example, we open up files from phones that are low resolution. We go back to the customer as early as we can in the process to make sure they are informed and to make sure the job goes out correctly. The quality of the finished product justifies the extra time in educating them and reaching out, so it’s important to stay on top of customer-supplied artwork. It comes with experience.” Brown says that customers have really changed dramatically. “The eighty-year-old lady that comes in probably knows more than the younger customers about printing. It’s important to educate all of our clients with the knowledge we have, so we can produce the best finished products for them. Most of the time, they do come back and say how much they appreciate our work. Once they see the high-quality work we have done for them, they are thankful,” he says. What are the key lessons that Todd has learned during his fifty years in printing? “Care! That’s the most important thing,” he answers. “Also stay one step ahead of the customer and lead them in the right direction. You’re the professional, so use that experience to help 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