Page 1

Covering Fair Grounds




Fastening Portable Signs



Nu mb er 208

Num ber 208 | o c to ber 2 0 1 2


Sponsored by



S ig n Bu i l d er I l lustr ated

fast track to

Chrome Wraps

octobe r 2 01 2

> Installing Awnings > Project Management

Photography by Greg Gorman Š 2012


SOLVENT PRINTING HAS NEVER BEEN MORE BEAUTIFUL Introducing the SureColor® S-Series. With the all-new SureColor S-Series line of printers, Epson is ushering in a new era of performance, quality and reliability. Developed for high-performance printing and a low cost of ownership, this all-new suite of solvent printers delivers print speeds that are the fastest in their class and image quality that’s unmatched in the industry, at an unprecedented price. And, with three unique 64" models to choose from, including the SureColor S70670, there’s an S-Series printer that’s right for your business. Learn more about the way solvent printing should be at

SureColor S30670


Extreme Value


SureColor S50670


Extreme Performance


SureColor S70670


Extreme Image Quality


*MSRP, before rebates. Please check with an EPSON Professional Imaging Authorized Reseller for actual price as dealer prices may vary. EPSON and SureColor are registered trademarks and EPSON Exceed Your Vision is a registered logomark of Seiko Epson Corporation. All other product and brand names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Epson disclaims any and all rights in these marks. Copyright 2012 Epson America, Inc.

Powered by with

October 2012


42 32 SGIA Expo ’12 Preview

The products and materials at this month’s SGIA Expo in Las Vegas.

36 42

Revved Up for Chrome Wraps BY JEFF WOOTEN

Full-color chrome wraps for the high-end sportscar market.

Showcasing Texas and Digital Wraps BY MIKE ANTONIAK

Go to the State Fair with graphics and vinyl.


A Pride-Filled Welcome BY JEFF WOOTEN

Monumental results for a small sign shop and city.

Sign Builder Illustrated (Print ISSN 895-0555, Digital ISSN 2161-4709) (USPS#0015-805) (Canada Post Cust. #7204564) (Bluechip Int’l, Po Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2, Agreement # 41094515) is published monthly by Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, 345 Hudson Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10014. Printed in the U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and Additional mailing offices. Pricing, Qualified individual working in the sign industry may request a free subscription. Non-qualified subscriptions printed or digital version: 1 year US $105.00; foreign $197.00; foreign, air mail $297.00. 2 years US $149.00; foreign $267.00; foreign, air mail $497.00. BOTH Print & Digital Versions: 1 year US $158.00; foreign $296.00; foreign, air mail $396.00. 2 years US $224.00; foreign $400.00; foreign, air mail $600.00. Single copies are $36.00 ea. Subscriptions must be paid for in U.S. funds only. Copyright © Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation 2012. All rights reserved. Contents may not be


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

48 54


The timeless elegance of awnings.

62 69

Now Landing: A Comprehensive Sign Package BY JEFF WOOTEN

Interior and exterior signage for a new airport terminal.

A Champion Campaign BY ASHLEY BRAY

Sprinting through a challenging marketing campaign.

reproduced without permission. For reprint information contact: Art Sutley, Publisher 212-620-7247 or For Subscriptions, & address changes, please call (800) 895-4389, (402) 346-4740, Fax (402) 346-3670, e-mail or write to: Sign Builder Illustrated, Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, PO Box 10, Omaha, NE 68101-0010. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sign Builder Illustrated, PO Box 10, Omaha, NE 68101-0010. Instructional information provided in this magazine should only be performed by skilled crafts people with the proper equipment. The publisher and authors of information provided herein advise all readers to exercise care when engaging in any of the how-to activities published in the magazine. Further, the publisher and authors assume no liability for damages or injuries resulting from projects contained herein.


How-To Columns


The Gilder’s Toolbox

Agenda OCTOBER 2012 OctOber 12-13: The Midwest-ISA Sign Show features networking, education, and a tabletop exhibit hall at the Motor City Casino Hotel in Detroit. ( OctOber 18-20: SGIA Expo, featuring the industry’s most innovative imaging developments, returns to the Las Vegas Convention Center. (


Parking Signs 17 Wrapping in the Workplace BY BRUCE AMARO

Smaller wraps can lead to larger jobs. Plus: USSC Report!

22 Answering the Call: Parking Signs BY MARK K. ROBERTS

Building portable parking lot signage for a church.

26 The Gilder’s Toolbox BY JIM HINGST

The essential supplies for glass and surface gilding.

Departments 6 UpFront

Outrageous fine print in other industries leads Editor Jeff Wooten to wonder if these tactics should be implemented in sign shops.

8 Dispatches

The latest news from around the industry.

12 Sign Show

The newest products and services from sign manufacturers.

74 SBI Marketplace

Advertisements and announcements from the sign trade. COVERING




Portable Signs


76 Shop Talk


The “Yin and Yang” of Architectural Signage.


fast track to

Chrome Wraps

OC TOB E R 20 12


OctOber 30-NOvember 2: The automotive SEMA Show happens at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (



Fair Grounds


NU M BER 208 | OCTO BER 2012

NU MB ER 20 8



OctOber 19-20: The Mid South Sign Association (MSSA) presents the “New Ideas, New Possibilities” Conference in Birmingham, Alabama with host companies Faces and Eastern Metal Supply. (901/452-6444;

> Installing Awnings > Project Management

On the Cover It’s time to get in gear over the possibilities of fullcolored chrome wraps, in this photo taken by Javier Cruz Photography.

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

NOvember 29-December 1: The USSC Sign World International Tradeshow and Education Conference takes place at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (


by jeff wooten

October 2012, Vol. 26, No. 208

You Get What You Pay For (And More) How to get more value out of your services.


id you catch the recent comments made by Michael O’Leary, CEO of European airline Ryanair, that sent the blogosphere and morning news conversations into a bit of a tizzy after reports emerged that his airliner charged a passenger $380 to simply print out a boarding pass? O’Leary literally called his customers “idiots” because his company charges an arm-and-a-leg (and maybe another body part or two...or three) thanks to fliers not reading the “penalties” in the fine print—stating excessive costs for people not printing out their passes themselves before arriving at the airport. Now I’m not saying that it was right for O’Leary to call anyone “idiots,” but I’m sure that deep-down inside, after dealing with your fair share of always-haggling or non-paying clients, you can probably understand. It’s a not-so-dirty little secret that some companies and retailers resort to ridiculously overcharging on late fees and fine print legalese in order to offset coupons and discounts. Yes demanding $380 for a boarding pass sounds absurd, but I do wonder how many of you are salivating over the thought of employing your own “idiot clause?” Wow. That’s a lot of nodding I’m Spider-Sensing™ out there. This “overcharge outrage” closely followed the brouhaha that erupted last month when Stanford University released a research report detailing that higher priced organic foods aren’t any more nutritious than conventional foods. Now before the hipsters and Earth huggers send me hate mail, I totally get that the findings in the study didn’t address the lack of antibiotics, synthetic pesticides, and other artificial additives


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

President and Chairman Arthur J. McGinnis, Jr. Publisher Arthur J. sutley 345 Hudson Street, 12th floor New York, NY 10014 212/620-7247; fax: 212/633-1863 editorial editor

Jeff Wooten

323 Clifton Street, Suite #7 Greenville, NC 27858 252/355-5806; fax: 252/355-5690

used to produce conventional foods, nor does it touch on the higher costs farmers have to incur, so hold off on pressing “send” for a moment. However surveys conducted afterwards showed that consumers are still gladly opting to pay for the costlier organic foods. Is this still about healthier conceptions or maintaining a “green” image? But what about green products in our industry? I hear from shop owners debating about whether or not to offer green materials with their higher costs if customers are just going to reject it for a cheaper product. Customers might talk the green talk, but do you find them walking the green walk? Truth be told, we really do live in a twofaced society. It’s one that doesn’t mind breaking contracts and forking over big-time cash for the latest smart phones and tablets, yet one that demands their content for free. (Maybe they’re now cash-strapped because of having to constantly buy pricey devices?) And don’t get me started on the demand for that fivedollar cup of coffee. Is there a middle ground of responsible spending out there? Maybe society expectations are why some sign shops still insist on handing over their designs to customers for free? But why bend over backwards here to do something that could end up in their cut-price competitors’ hands? One solution is spending logically by investing in software that locks your designs from we-getaround customers. Or maybe this is one of those times to root for the “idiot clause”—making the customer sign a contract with some stiff penalties to protect the time and effort you’ve put in. It’s just something to think about while taking another bite out of your organic apple.

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

associate editor

Ashley Bray

345 Hudson Street, 12th Floor New York, NY 10014 401/722-5919; fax: 212/633-1863 contributing writers

Bruce Amaro, Butch “superfrog” Anton, Mike Antoniak, Jim hingst, Peter Perszyk, Mark roberts, lori shridhare, randy Wright art

Corporate Art Director Wendy Williams Associate Art Director Phil Desiere production

Corporate Production Director Mary Conyers circulation

Circulation Director Maureen Cooney advertising sales east coast regional sales director

Jeff sutley 212/620-7233; fax: 212/633-1863 west & midwest regional sales manager

Kim noa

212/620-7221; fax: 212/633-1863 buyer’s guide rep

Vanessa Distefano 212/620-7263; fax: 212/633-1863 For reprint information contact Art Sutley 345 Hudson St 12 Floor New York, NY 10014 212/620-7247; fax: 212/633-1863 Circulation Dept. 800/895-4389


Skiing Experience Montreal, Canada—The Åre ski resort in Sweden is situated close to the Arctic Circle and considered one of the top ski resorts in the world. Resort owner SkiStar recently decided to use light to extend its hours of operation. Swedish lighting designers Ljusarkitektur took inspiration from local folklore tales to create a dramatic and enchanting lighting scheme. The installation uses 240 color-changing Lumenpulse ( luminaires, including the Lumenbeam LBX, to cast an eerie blue/white moonlight glow over the slopes. Ljusarkitektur chose Lumenpulse fixtures for their high performance, ease of use, and ability to withstand high winds, sub-freezing temperatures, and heavy snow and ice loads. The new lighting enables the Åre Ski Resort to increase its revenue by creating a nighttime attraction for skiers. The LEDs also help the resort to save energy while making


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

Photo courtesy of LumenPuLse & mikeaL siLkeberg.

Lighting RecReates the

photo courtesy of global imaging.

Workflow Studio

an important feature of the design. A linear graze of warm light highlights the orange poles, which contrast against the deep-blue landscape and become an important wayfinding element. “This is both a landscape and an experience project. We have been able to use the best available technology both to continue and to reinvent the [long-time] tradition of storytelling from the area,” said Ljusarkitektur Creative Director Kai Piippo. In fact, the lighting project has helped to change the entire nighttime skiing experience. “The focus of lighting on other ski slopes is on skiing,” says SkiStar Destination Director Niclas Sjögren Berg, “but here, skiing is the way to enjoy the lighting.”

October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated

photo courtesy of global imaging.

maintenance easier, since the LEDs and its drivers are in separate compartments. With this set-up, the drivers are easy to access and can be changed without replacing the whole fixture. The luminaires are controlled via DMX using six Pharos controllers, and the light intensities and colors can be modified a l o n g t h e ro u t e o f t h e s k i s l o p e . Lumenpulse distributor Stockholm Lighting adapted a data enabler that could fit into each of the lighting poles, enabling the entire installation to be monitored and controlled remotely from its offices in Stockholm. Each lighting pole has three to six Lumenbeam fixtures (but can support up to eight, if required). The lighting poles themselves are also

Louisville, Colorado—Global Imaging (www.globalimaginginc. com) has opened its new 6,500-square foot Workflow Studio—the only showroom in the U.S. that features a full grand format printing workflow from pre-press to printing to finishing. “Typically customer demonstrations done at manufacturer facilities feature a limited product line,” said Tara Lamb, president of Global Imaging. “We recognized that it would help customers make better business decisions if they could see how the equipment all came together and worked in conjunction with each other in an effective workflow environment.” The Studio features equipment and products from companies that include Zünd, Novus Imaging, PrinterEvolution, HP, and Caldera. Most of the featured products have an eco-friendly aspect to them, as well. The product lineup will be everchanging as new technologies and products are introduced. Looking ahead to 2013, Global hopes to use the Workflow Studio not only as a demonstration showroom, but also to enhance the customer experience by offering educational seminars and events on a regular basis.


Dispatches +

For more news stori es, visit sign

ABI Achievement


A Custom Color Wrap Winter Park, Florida—Carbon Wraps is at the forefront of a trend in the vehicle wrap industry—full-color custom wraps. For a customer with a high-end vehicle that wants to change the look of their car without lowering its value, wraps are the way to go. Steve Carney, owner/founder of Carbon Wraps, recently completed a full-color wrap with detailing. His client, a military security guard, wanted a carbon fiber hood for his brand-new, red 2012 Nissan GT-R, but he wasn’t happy with the $3,000+ price. Nissan recommended he get in touch with Carney. Impressed by the wrap project Carney had in his shop at the time, the client ordered a clear bra for the hood, bumper, and fenders of his car, along with a complete tint job, smoked headlight film, and a fully custom wrap. The client decided on a black-and-orange wrap, so Carney took out some knifeless, fine line tape and finalized the design without the need for any software. On the day of install, Carney handprepped the vehicle for the wrap with an alcohol wash. He then removed and cleaned the headlights, tail lights, front bumper, back bumper, spoiler, mirrors, fog

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

lights, and grills. Carney completed the install by starting with the tint, clear bra, and then the matte black wrap. 3M™ Scotchprint® Wrap Film Series 1080-M12 Matte Black vinyl film was used to wrap the car. Next Carney used knifeless tape to create the shapes for the orange custom hood stripes and side details. “The knifeless tape was key in keeping the stripes and graphics flowing with the body lines and curves,” says Carney, who used 3M™ Scotchprint® Wrap Film Series 1080G14 Gloss Burnt Orange vinyl film for the stripes. The wrap was completed over two weeks, with two installers helping to complete the job at various points. The biggest challenge for Carney was the spoiler and back bumper. “The back bumper is one of the largest parts of the vehicle, and it has large openings for the tail lights that need to be wrapped separately,” he says. The customer was pleased with the final results. “The client was very impressed and happy to have a brand-new vehicle in the color he wanted without it losing value,” says Carney. —Ashley Bray

all photos courtesy of lafa photography.

Moorestown, New Jersey—American Biltrite Inc. ( has announced that it has achieved the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council’s (PSTC) Responsible Tape Manufacturer certification. PSTC is a North American trade association representing pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) tape manufacturers and their affiliate suppliers. This achievement is a result of meeting the necessary requirements and adhering to existing laws and regulations set forth by the U.S. government, ISO, ASTM, and the PSTC relative to environmental, workplace, and quality policies and practices. The Responsible Tape Manufacturer (RTM) Program acknowledges and raises the visibility of PSTC member tape companies that invest in being responsible manufacturers. PSTC’s RTM Program is uniquely comprehensive and recognizes good manufacturing practices as an integral part of the value that PSTC member tape companies bring to their customers. The program delivers quantifiable differentiation between RTMcertified tape companies and all other tape producers.

Capture new markets... ...with creative print solutions. Components for growth now lie in the ability to offer creative and customized applications – from indoor/outdoor signage to fashions to vehicle wraps to promotional items. Mimaki’s full range of competitively priced printers, cutters, software and ink options produce vivid, eye-catching images on an ever expanding variety of media. Let Mimaki broaden your service portfolio by giving you a distinctive edge for capturing new print markets.

Capture new markets with:

• Outdoor signage • Event & exhibit graphics • Vehicle wraps • Interior decor • Retail POP

Engineered with Mimaki’s Green Technology, the JV400LX utilizes the latest in latex ink formulation. u Features the industry’s only WHITE latex ink. u Low heat ink curing with no special electrical setup or installation. u Mimaki’s newest RIP – RasterLink6 – for ease of job setup and faster production.

Capture new markets with:

Capture new markets with:

• Promotionals • Indoor signage • ID badges • Plaques, awards, trophies • Electronics covers

• Soft signage • Production textiles • Apparel • Flags & advertising banners • Sportswear

The latest technology in super high speed directto-fabric printing, engineered to boost output and reduce ink costs. Maximum media width of 75”.

A versatile tabletop sized, multi-tasking UV LED flatbed printer that is ideal for one-offs, short run production and direct printing on actual items.

u Ultra high speed direct-to-fabric printing – 1614 sq.ft/hr. – facilitated by the unique print head array that prints a remarkable 6.25” in one pass!

u Prints on heat-sensitive and non-coated materials up to 5.9" thick; 11.8" x 16.5" max. u NEW expanded inks sets with low VOC flexible LF-140 & LF-200 and hard LH-100 UV inks.

u New MDM-20 ink degassing module and 2L ink delivery system reduces ink costs and provides more accurate ink dotplacement. u Stable media feeding and take-up with Mimaki’s Automatic Media Feeder (AMF) for optimum control.

u White and a new Primer ink underprinting capability along with Clear ink over-printing.

Focused on solutions.

Listen. Connect. Deliver.

See our printing solutions at ...

Booth 3439 Chicago | Oct. 7-10 Booth 2334 Las Vegas | Oct. 18-20 888-530-3985 LA 888-530-3987






© 2012 Mimaki USA, Inc.

SignSHOW A DA S I G N A G E /M AT E R I A L S Create One-piece ADA Signs with New Grimco SignForm Presses Grimco Presses, Inc., introduces three new hydraulic presses for thermoforming custom raised graphic and ADA sign making. The SignForm press series includes three standard formats: 13-inch-by-13-inch, 19-inch-by-19-inch, and 25-inch-by-25-inch. Each press features double daylights and will produce full-size sign panels in as little as six minutes each. With every press purchased, Grimco will supply the instruction manual, “Thermoforming and The New ADA, A Guide to Creative Compliance” by Sharon Toji. The manual includes new 2010 ADA code requirements and moldmaking recommendations for creating ADA-compliant thermoformed signage. Thermoforming allows sign makers to create “one-piece” custom raised graphic signage without adhesives, etching, or chemicals.

Aw N I N G S & V I N y L - CoAT E D fA b R I C S GF 3030 Fencing Fabric from Fisher Textiles Fisher Textiles introduces the all-new GF 3030 Fencing, which it has added to its line of Grand Format fabrics for dye sublimation and UV printing. This unique fabric is a thin, open fabric that is 3 oz/yd2, 126 inches wide, and 100 percent Polyester. Small holes in the fabric allow for some see-through and there is adequate space for printed colors and images. The material was created specifically for short-term construction barriers, eventing, and sports marketing markets. Free sample rolls are available for testing. 800/554-8886;




b A N N E R S /M AT E R I A L S / E Q U I PM E N T



Unfurling the Attractive RollUp 01 Banner Stand from Nimlok Nimlok announces the availability of a new and improved RollUp 01 banner stand, which is a staple in its line of portable tradeshow exhibit solutions. The improved, single-sided retractable banner stand features a sleek, new design with curvier edges and a lighter weight. New leveling feet add stability on any surface, and an improved universal rail has a new slider and grip rail. The RollUp 01 features the same graphic size, three-piece bungee cord pole, black finish, and lifetime warranty. Graphic options include standard anti-curl vinyl, premium dye-sublimated fabric, and supreme polyester film with a gloss finish.

D I G I TA L P R I N T I N G E Q U I PM E N T/ S U P P L I E S Boldly Go with the Next-generation Kodak Professional Inkjet Photo Papers Brand Management Group (BMG) introduces the next generation of KODAK PROFESSIONAL Inkjet Photo Papers: Glossy Finish and Lustre Finish. Glossy Finish weighs 255 gsm with a smooth, high-gloss finish for maximum impact. Lustre Finish weighs 255 gsm with a satin finish. Both papers have been updated to take advantage of the wide color gamut and improved ink technology of the latest generation wide format inkjet printers from Canon, Epson, and HP. These inkjet photo papers have been engineered to lay flat with little to no curl for smooth, trouble-free print production. They are instant-dry with a bright-white point and are compatible with dye and pigmented inks. Both papers are available in various sheet and roll sizes up to sixty inches wide.

It’s Magic® with New Epson and Mutoh Ink Offerings InteliCoat Technologies® has expanded its Magic® Brand Ink line with the addition of inks designed for Epson Stylus Pro GS6000 and Mutoh ValueJet printers. Magic Brand Inks deliver complete alternative solutions for highly accurate color reproduction and superior print longevity. Magic Inks are made in the United States and are compatible with all brands of inkjet media. In addition to Epson Stylus Pro GS6000 and Mutoh ValueJet printers, Magic Inks are available for Canon imagePROGRAF and Roland Eco-Solvent printers. Magic Inks are an exact match for existing Magic profiles and are compatible with all brands of inkjet media, delivering the flexibility to print on a wide range of coated and uncoated substrates. Additionally these inks demonstrate equivalent OEM performance to deliver a cost-effective solution without compromise, which allows users to simply plug and print. These water-resistant inks require no flushing and are simple to insert into printers.


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012




VL Plus from SloanLED

The popular channel letter solution • 3 Sizes – long, short, mini • 2 Colors – white 6500 K • Robust overmolded modules • Constant Current Technology • Great value

In the field? Get a “Quick Count” of product with SloanLED’s NEW mobile app

Offers a complete portfolio of products for the Sign Industry Contact us for product information or for free product estimating service Toll-Free 888-747-4533 Tel 805-676-3200

SignSHOW H E AT T R A N S f E R f I L M S / S U P P L I E S Earl Mich Company Now Offers FDC Graphic Films Heat Transfer Films The Earl Mich Company has partnered with FDC Graphic Films, Inc., to provide a new heat transfer solution for clothing. Thermal Advantage™ films are designed to be cut or printed and applied on 100 percent cotton, 100 percent polyester, cotton/poly blends, and other fabrics. Thermal Advantage films are easy to weed, have a quick press time, and feature a liner that comes off the fabric more easily than competitive products. The films are available in a wide range of colors and effects (including glitter, fluorescent, opaque, and printable).

RoUTERS/ENGR AVERS The New Techno HDS Series Offers a Freedom to Customers Never Offered Before Techno, Inc., has announced the availability of its new HDS Series CNC Router, an economical precision-cutting system. Developed by Techno’s engineering team and manufactured using global state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, this all-steel-constructed machine utilizes superior quality components such as THK rails and bearings. The HDS features an industrial Osai Servo controller with high-powered AC servo motors and drives, which provides smooth, powerful, fast, accurate motion and features the popular, user-friendly Techno CNC Interface that is easy to learn and operate. Techno’s HDS Series CNC Router is available in a range of sizes (from four-by-eight feet and up). It also features 12 HP HSD high frequency automatic tool changer spindles with multi-position tool holder rack, multi-zone vacuum t-slot table combination, and material pop-up location pins.


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

Trotec Introduces the new Speedy 400 Laser-engraving Machine The brand-new Speedy 400 laser engraver from Trotec offers a generously sized 39-by-24-inch work area that suits most standard material sizes of laminates, acrylic, and paper, among others. This size also increases efficiency, helps optimize the work sequence, and saves you time and money on pre-cutting. (Note: For larger items, a pass-through is also available.) The Speedy 400 can be equipped with a Co2, a fiber, or both types of lasers. Every Speedy 400 can subsequently be equipped with an additional laser source at any time to provide unlimited potential for business growth! 866/266-8505;

SIGN ACCESSoRIES Rowmark Adds a Variety of New Stand-offs and Mounting Fixtures to its Sign Supply Lineup Rowmark’s new Sign Supplies products offer more creative options for sign makers and designers. New mounting fixtures include the Zip® Dacapo™ grip strip bar for changing information, the Fisso® Button™ for connecting suspended panels, and the Fisso® Klipser™ hidden dimensional support system. Fisso® Pixfix™ is suited for quick, drill-free sign replacement, while Fisso® Flag™ is designed for flag- and ceiling-mounted signage in a variety of orientations. Rowmark also introduces two new, heavy-duty stand-off sizes for oversized signage projects: the 40 mm (1.57-inch) Fisso® Mix™ and the 50 mm (1.97-inch) Fisso® Steel™. New stand-off and mounting fixture accessories include the Fisso® Rosett™, designed to create a clean look for stand-offs on glass, and Fisso® Clamper Tappo™, which allows the Clamper™ to support vertically mounted substrates. Additions to the rod and cable systems line include Fly® Mira™, Arte™, and Asta™, which form one complete rod system, while the Fisso® Hook™ allows a simple solution for changeable hanging signage or artwork.

Stimpson Grommets & Washers

1515 SW 13th Court, Pompano Beach, FL 33069 • Phone: 954-946-3500 • Toll Free: 877-765-0748 (U.S. Only) • Fax: 954-545-7440 E-Mail: • Website:

October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated


SignSHOW S I G N B L A N K S / PA N E L S / S U B ST R AT E S Laminators Offers Updated Sign Panel Sample Kit and Sign Resource Guide to the Sign Industry Laminators Incorporated, a manufacturer of aluminum composite panels, has released a newly designed Sign Panel Sample Kit and Product Resource Guide for the sign industry. Featuring a new four-color display complete with attached product samples and an updated color chart, the free Sign Panel Sample Kit is designed to be displayed at any sign product distributor or sign shop. It also features a new QR code to access the company’s online Sign Selector Tool, allowing customers the ability to choose the most-recommended product for their needs. The new Sign Product Resource Guide offers an updated color chart, new application photos, and a comprehensive product matrix. The brochure is packed with product and installation information, including a helpful sign panel creation section. 877/OMEGA-77;

VersaFrame Offers an Easy Way to Change Displays VersaFrame displays are used by sign makers to build modular systems for customers, students, or teams to display certificates, employee photos, product info, and signage of many types. Aluminum tracks allow acrylic panes to slide into channels for easy change-out of display materials. The acrylic panes are hinged so that materials are sandwiched into the frames.

VINYL/VINYL FILMS/SUPPLIES Drytac launches Easy-to-install Window Film ViziPrint Drytac® has launched Viziprint®, a clear, UV printable, self-adhesive polyester window film that can be installed by anyone. Similar to Drytac’s WindowTac™ adhesive, ViziPrint utilizes a specially designed, embossed release liner that imparts micro grooves in the adhesive, allowing for air evacuation using just a felt burnishing pad. The proprietary adhesive is removable and repositionable, making installation simple and eliminating professional installation costs. ViziPrint® is printable on most UV flatbed printers. For opaque window graphics, it can be printed with white inks or backed with Drytac Spectrum, a white, printable vinyl with clear adhesive.

Eye-catching Film Attracts the Viewer’s Attention RTape has introduced an improved version of its Brite Overall Iridescent Silver film to the VinylEfx® metalized vinyl product line. Advances in tooling technology have rendered what normally is an unappealing shim line invisible. A second benefit of the new tooling is a clearer reproduction of the iridescent pattern, which improves the overall appearance of this holographic rainbow film. The exceptional clarity and radiant display of colors of the new film transforms the plain photographic image into something not so plain. The new Brite Overall film is available in both interior Decorative and exterior Durable series. Unlike silver polyesters, VinylEfx® films require no special top coating. The films are printable using thermal transfer, solvent, eco-solvent, and UV inkjet digital print technologies, as well as solvent-based and UV-curable screen print inks.

Call Signs By Benchmark today at 800.658.3444 with your next project details. 16

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012


By Bruce AmAro


Wrapping in the Workplace

Small wraps can lead to large jobs.


ou usually see wraps on cars, on boats, on buildings, and on walls. But did you know you can also scale down the visuals so that they’ll fit fax machines, office copiers, desktop computers, commercial coffee machines, and even iPads? It’s that same visual excitement— but one that colors the ordinary work place. “We do [these items] to show customers that there are other ways to do things,” says Brandon Clark, president of Wrapid Impressions (www. in Jacksonville, Florida, “and to let people know what more we can do for them.”

Clark likes to call this form of wrapping “alternative advertising.” “Customers can see [wraps] another way, in another size to build awareness or to simply add some excitement to their office,” says Clark. “As a whole, these types of machines are your standard, boring white and gray, so [these wraps] can help boost morale and improve the office atmosphere.” These smaller wraps aren’t necessarily used to sell or promote the objects or artwork they’re depicting; instead they enhance the workplace or display the owner’s personality. They’re more intended to serve as conversation starters, which in turn, can lead to bigger business down the

Wrap installers can find themselves wrestling a two-pound fax machine with an X-acto knife and a toothpick.

october 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated


An advantage of working on smaller wrap projects for offices, such as graphics for a fax machine or a coffee maker (pictured), is that they become conversation starters, and word-of-mouth can lead to more clients and bigger jobs.


SOLJET Pro 4 XR-640 64� printer/cutter

The new Pro 4. Production perfected. 64 inches, 2 in-line mirrored heads, new Eco-Sol MAX 2 ink with CMYKLcLm + Light Black, vibrant Metallic Silver and greater opacity White. Print and contour cut, fast, durable and under $30K. It’s epic.


Sign Builder Illustrated // october 2012

line. “They aren’t really made to ‘sell’ anything like wraps you’ll see on vending machines. They are more for looks,” says Clark. For this kind of “miniature” wrap work, Clark’s shop uses the same printer they use for their large-scale projects— an Epson Stylus® Pro GS6000 printer with a sixty-five-inch bed. Clark says his shop sticks with the Epson inks that go with his hardware for a number of reasons. For starters, even though sign builders can save money with aftermarket inks, those inks often void the printer warranty. Then if a shop changes ink manufacturers, they’ll need to recalibrate the color mixes, which could affect the color matches. “Plus you have to take into account that, if the shop has to return to a client’s project to repair or add on to a job and the shop has changed ink manufacturers, colors won’t match well,” says Clark. Although Clark uses the same printer for these “inter-office” wraps as he does to output large jobs, this doesn’t necessarily mean that these small gadgets are

simpler, quicker projects to design, create, and install. “Using the proper resolution, spending additional time clipping images and cleaning up edges, and verifying all your template measurements are imperative to the wrap being a hit,” says Clark. “They have to attend to the details in measurements and fit.” These wraps can sometimes frustrate the installers too, who have to punch small holes and carefully tuck small strips of vinyl onto a delicate machine. When taking measurements and installing, shops also have to account for a lot of moving parts like buttons, paper trays, handles, air vents, and maintenance doors. “We have to hand-measure and build all of our templates here from scratch,” says Clark. Wrapid Impressions recently wrapped a copy machine, a commercial coffee maker, and a fax machine. They used 3M™ Controltac™ Graphic Film with Comply Adhesive IJ180Cv3 premium cast vinyl and 3M™ Scotchcal™ Gloss Overlaminate 8518 for the coffee machine. For the fax machine and the copier, they employed 3M Controltac

Graphic Film IJ380 premium cast vinyl with 3M 8518 Overlaminate. “The IJ380 had a little better grip on the textured plastic surfaces,” says Clark. The good news is that, unlike vehicles and walls, there are no complicated surface washes and preps needed for this type of equipment; a simple alcohol rub and some soap and warm water usually leave their surfaces ready for vinyl application. Making money and earning a profit from miniature wrapping jobs takes as much attention to detail as the design and installation of these projects. Clark says that his shop bills the small jobs on an hourly rate. “Billing them out per square foot rate makes no sense and brings the project in too low to make it worth the effort,” he says. While the small wrap project probably isn’t going to close a sale, attract new business, or add to the black ink on your income statement, it’s not unfair to call these jobs placeholders. “These wraps get us noticed, and customers talk about us to other people,” says Clark.



We are in the business of helping your business, so allow us to prove that. Discover for yourself why Orbus is fast earning the reputation of being America’s Favorite Tradeshow Supplier.




october 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated


USSC Report: Communication in a Technological Age


lmost everyone uses email and the Internet these days, and we still use the regular postal service. (Come on! I like my mail person, and they need the work.) I recognize a lot of you also have Facebook and LinkedIn pages, Twitter accounts, and a whole host of other social media tools. But let’s be real: We can’t possibly keep up with all these outlets and still get actual work done during the day. And the philosophical question here is whether or not this is actual communication or just bragging. If you want to buy something, you can do a search for it on the Internet and find all sorts of prices and things to buy. If it’s a stock item like pens, paper for your copier, or ordinary office items, it’s easy to make your purchase and have it delivered right to your door. But what about all those purchases that aren’t everyday sundries? Sometimes you just have to touch and feel and ask questions and experience how it all works, in order to make an intelligent buying decision. That’s where oldfashioned, face-to-face communication comes in. You can find out all sorts of things when you talk to another human being—just like I found out about my level-headed, sixteen-year-old granddaughter’s blasé thoughts on social media by talking to her one-on-one. In many cases (and for many products), nothing can beat talking to an actual human being and seeing the actual product in person. It’s like the difference between seeing a photograph of the Eiffel Tower and actually standing smack dab in front of the Eiffel Tower. At a tradeshow, you can talk to a knowledgeable sales or tech person—not just an answering machine asking you to press “one” for yes or “two” for no. You can ask all the questions that come into your mind. You can look at


Sign Builder Illustrated // october 2012

the actual workings of the product or machine. And probably most importantly, you can get a feel for the company selling the product by talking to the people staffing their booth. At a tradeshow, you can also talk to other sign people who have bought the product or a competitor’s product. You can find out what they like or don’t like about it. That’s real-world experience you can only get from talking one-on-one with another sign person. I’m a firm believer that, when it comes to making a purchasing decision, we often are buying our confidence in the company and the sales or tech person rather than the actual product. And there’s only one way to develop that confidence—by standing there face-toface and talking. All too often, in this technological age we live in, we forget about the human factor, and that’s what real communication is all about. Posting on Facebook or LinkedIn won’t do it, tweeting won’t do it, emailing won’t do it, and even a phone conversation doesn’t come close to doing it. There’s just no substitute for personal communication. Now it’s time for the sales pitch. Sign World International will take place in Atlantic City, New Jersey, November 29, 30, and December 1. You can find out all about it by using the registration brochure in this magazine—or you can visit our Web site ( And when you get to the convention center, let’s spend some time chatting because, here at USSC, we really and truly do want to know what you’re thinking! — Nancy Maren Nancy Maren is executive director of the United States Sign Council. To read more, visit


By mArk roBerts


Answering the Call: Parking Signs Building portable parking lot signs for a church.


fter several years of planning and a couple of years of construction, the church I attend, Sagemont Church in Houston, Texas, finally moved into its new sanctuary. And with the recent move came new parking lots—with one being designated for “first time” guests. To adequately identify this particular parking lot to visitors, my shop, the Intersign Group (, was called upon to create two portable signs that could be rolled to the entrances of this new lot on Sunday mornings and then rolled back into their storage room after church services were over. The design layout supplied to us was fairly

1 22

Sign Builder Illustrated // october 2012

simple. After reviewing it, I determined that these portable sign carts could be constructed with basic two-by-four lumber. So I proceeded to the local Home Depot® to purchase the necessary lumber, paint, fasteners, and axles. We constructed the chassis as an a-frame design, which would measure the full length of the sign frame attached to it. We then bolted all the components of the chassis with 3/8inch carriage bolts for strength and rigidity. The sign panel measures 48-by-60 inches, and we framed it with 2-by-4-inch lumber. We cut the background of the sign from MDO board and sanded it smooth. We bolted the frame for the sign to the chas-

1. One of the completed rolling signs greets church visitors.

“Fastenation has always provided superior service. They are the experts when I need a VELCRO Brand fastener solution that is custom made for my project. Always fast, dependable and on time.” ®

Tyler, Project Manager-MI

Fasteners that every industry can depend on For more than 15 years FASTENation, Inc. has provided only industry leading fastener brands such as: VELCRO Brand Fasteners, 3M Family of Products, Glue Dots and FASTENfoam Adhesive Tapes. TM




Our in-house converting capabilities and extensive technical expertise allow us to custom match a fastener solution quickly to meet a customer’s requirement. If your product requires packaging, labeling or printing we have technology available to meet your needs.

Preferred Converter

Contact one of our representatives today to learn more.

Extensive Inventory Technical Expertise Quality Products


sis of the cart with 3/8-inch-by-6-inch carriage bolts. The axle on both carts is a piece of 5/8-inch-diameter all-thread rod. The cart wheels are pneumatic with ball bearings, which gives the cart a smooth trip up and down the driveway on Sunday mornings. We printed out the digital artwork for the sign on our Roland VP-540 digital

printer/cutter and mounted the prints to each side of the sign panels. (Note: These panels would be installed later in the construction phase.) To hold the signs in place, we ripped some pine stock to 3/4-inch-by-3/4-inchby-60-inch. From there, we mitered the corners and installed one set on one side of each sign frame with an air-powered


finishing nail gun. After each frame received the first trim retainer, we then joined the frames and carts together with 1/2-inch carriage bolts. After a once-over sanding of all the components and a blow down with compressed air, the frame and chassis units were ready for painting.


2. Assembling the chassis for a “first-time guest� parking sign. 3. Adding a vertical stabilizer to the sign cart.


5 4. Tightening a bolt on the rolling sign frame. 5. Two finished frames now ready for their final paint job.



6. Mark’s wife, Sherry, pulls transfer paper from the digital prints. 7. Securing the trim with a pneumatic nail gun.


Sign Builder Illustrated // october 2012

8. Signs secured and ready for the trip to their new home.

8 These two portable signs are stored six


days a week and are rolled out each Sunday morning in time for services.

We applied a special color latex paint to both the carts and the frames using a one-inch angular brush. Once they had dried, we installed the sign boards into the frames and added the second set of retainers, which we secured with our pneumatic finishing nail gun. The final step was to add a heavyduty cabinet handle to the front of each cart; this would make it easy to move the sign frames in and out. We discarded the small screws that came with the handles and replaced them with 1/4-inch lag bolts. Now they would never fall off! For the two-mile trip from our shop to the chuch, we placed the two signs on our trailer and secured them with poly foam sheets and ratchet tie downs. (Note: These held the signs extremely well.) When we arrived, we lowered the ramp to the trailer and rolled the signs off and onto the parking lot. The signs are stored six days a week, and on Sundays, around six-thirty in the morning, they make their appearance in their appointed place of service. Come twelve-thirty in the afternoon, they are returned to their storage spot. This was a nice project and a somewhat challenging one—but the end-result was a success.

Mother Nature can be cruel. Especially to your sensitive electronics. With over 27 years of experience, ITSENCLOSURES has the proven track record to guarantee LCDs will withstand any environment. Our line of ViewStation LCD enclosures protect against rain, snow, extreme heat, frigid temperatures, theft and even the teenage vandal. From stadium to transportation terminal to drive-thru, ViewStation offers customized solutions for any display – large or small, inside or out. And each unit is installed by trained experts, made in the USA and comes with unparalleled customer support. To learn how we can help you, call 1.800.423.9911 or visit

ITS_ViewStation_Water_4.5625x7.5.indd 1



october 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated


8/29/12 9:40 AM


By Jim Hingst


The Gilder’s Toolbox

Essential supplies for glass gilding and surface gilding.


or either glass or surface gilding, you don’t need very many specialized tools. In fact, some necessary supplies can probably be found around your shop. However, because cleanliness is critical in gilding, many veteran sign painters have a separate toolbox just for their tools and supplies. By segregating the gilding tools from the painting tools, contamination is minimized. This article will describe the essential equipment that you just cannot do without, along with a few special goodies that would be nice additions to your gilding toolbox. Some of these tools are available at sign supply distributors or at specialty distributors that carry products for painters and gilders.

Gilder’s Tools Gilder’s tip. A gilder’s tip is a very thin, flat brush that transfers loose sheets of gold leaf to the work surface. Traditionally the gilder will brush the hair of the gilder’s tip over his or her hair. The



brush hairs will pick up some of the oils from the gilder’s hair. This gives the gilder’s tip enough tack to pick up and transfer the sheet of gold leaf. An alternate technique recommended by Jill London of the Society of Gilders is to draw the hairs of the brush between the back of your hand and the side of your face. Your skin should have just enough oil to transfer sheets of gold leaf. Elsehwere the Smith Tip, designed by famed gilder David Smith, allows the novice to easier pick up and transfer full sheets of loose gold leaf. (Note: See a video of this at Gilder’s knife. A gilder’s knife features a long, flat blade used to cut the gold leaf into pieces. It should be sharp and smooth enough to cut the gold without snagging or tearing the leaf. Is a special knife absolutely necessary for cutting gold leaf into sections? Probably not, but it is nice to have. You could probably get away with using a pocket knife, but it must be sharp and without any burrs that will tear the leaf. Gilder’s cushion. This square or rectangular wooden board covered with soft suede leather

A gilder’s tip is used to transfer loose sheets of gold leaf to the work surface.

Sign Builder Illustrated // october 2012

2 3





It’s Easy to Print Magnets™ Discover Inkjet Printable Magnetic Media • Save Time & Money by Printing Directly on Magnet • Use with RubberSteel® to Make Interchangeable Graphics • Easy to Use — Die-cut, Shear or Punch It • Works With a Variety of Solvent, Eco-Solvent and Latex Inkjet Printers • Available in Matte and Gloss Finishes • Perfect for Car Signs and P.O.P. Displays • Download Printer Profiles From Our Website

800.258.0991 28

Sign Builder Illustrated // october 2012

8 2. A gilder’s knife should cut the gold without snagging or tearing the leaf. 3. The best-quality mop brushes are comprised of squirrel hair. 4. Chicago Brushmasters Founder Bob Behounek uses a powder puff to gently remove skewings from the gilded surface. 5. The cupped tip of The David Hightower Fitch allows you to feather the sizing or paint. 6. In using an engine turning tool, lightly press it into the gold leaf and give the tool a 1/4-turn. 7. For cleaning glass prior to gilding, use Bon Ami bar soap (if you can find it) or Gilder’s Gold Leaf Glass Soap. 8. Size bonds the leaf material to the substrate.

is used as a cutting board for gold leaf. Many commercial gilder’s cushions have a wind screen that prevents unexpected breezes from blowing the gold leaf away. Most gilders in the sign industry though work directly out of a book of gold leaf. Flat wash brush. Also called a “size brush,” this is used to apply water size when glass gilding. The ferrule is usually brass (to prevent rusting). Gilder’s surplus removal brush. After backing up water gilding with paint, wait for the paint to dry thoroughly. Then moisten the surface of the leaf with a damp rag. Gently brushing over the moistened leaf in a back-and-forth motion removes surplus material. Powder puff. A powder puff is a perfect tool for brushing away any excess metal leaf. Mop brush. This is an essential tool. A mop brush is used to tamp down gold leaf and composition leaf onto a surface that has been prepared with size. After the gold leaf is applied, the mop brush is also used to dust away excess gold particles (“skewings”). The best-quality

brushes are comprised of squirrel hair. Goat hair mop brushes and cosmetic brushes are also used, but their hair is much coarser (which is only acceptable when working with metal leaf). Lettering quills and outliners. For painting outlines and backing up the gold leaf, you’ll need a set of quills and outliners. The new Kafka Kwills and Script Liners are excellent brushes; you can easily pull long, straight lines with them. Many gilders use a lettering quill to apply the size. As an alternative, others prefer the “David Hightower Fitch” by the Andrew Mack & Son Brush Company. This white, hog bristle fitch has much shorter hair length than the standard fitch brush used for painting rough surfaces. Because of its shorter length, the hairs are stiffer than the standard fitch and much stiffer than the softer squirrel hairs used in making a quill. This stiffer brush does a better job of getting the size into any tight corners and brushing out any puddling. Engine turning tool. To impart an engine turn pattern into the gilded area, a

Walls + forms PRODUCT HIGHLIGHT: Double sided advertising FLOOR STAND • • • • • • •



Store Fixturing | P.O.P. | Signage | Components | Custom P. 972.745.0800 | | 204 airline Drive. Bldg.200 | Coppell, Texas 75019 doublesidedstand.indd 1

6/5/2012 8:11:15 AM

October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated


special turning tool covered with velvet is used. Lightly press it into the gold leaf and give the tool a 1/4-turn. Position the tool for the subsequent turn so that the outside edge of the tool slightly overlaps the outside edge of preceding turn. Razor scraper. Older windows often have very tiny paint specks that you will not see until you apply the gold leaf. Scraping the surface with a razor scraper will remove these paint specks and other stubborn particles. Make sure that the razor blade does not have any burrs or you will scratch the glass. Fine metal sieve. Filtering the water size through a fine metal sieve will catch any undissolved globs of gelatin that could blemish your gild.

An excellent answer to the question, “What’s New?”

Gilder’s supplies

Introducing InteriorArts HPL design laminates, new from Chemetal and Treefrog. 74 designs. Lots of texture and gloss and ideal for interior signage. GreenGuard-certified. 4’ x 8’ sheets. Available now. 800 807-7341 | ™

hpl design laminates


Loose gold leaf. Gold is generally sold in booklets of twenty-five pieces. Other metals are added to the real gold to alter its physical properties (such as coloration and hardness). The addition of copper, for example, can impart a warmer, reddish hue to the gold, while silver makes it more pale. Hospital cotton. After the leaf is positioned in place, some gilders will use a cotton ball to gently press the leaf into the size and then brush away any of the excess gold. Caution: Although the cotton feels soft, the cotton fibers are coarse enough to scratch the soft gold. Hospital cotton is much less abrasive and so less likely to scratch the gold leaf. Gelatin diamonds or capsules. Dissolved in distilled water, gelatin adheres the gold leaf to the glass. It is available in capsules or on sheets cut into diamondshaped pieces. Distilled water. If you have high contents of sulfur in your tap water, the contamination could cloud the size. RTape ProGrade™ Paint Mask. When cutting a higher grade of paint mask (for making a stencil for painting an outline on a window or for surface gilding), very light pressure on the blade is all that is needed. Oil size. When you absolutely, positively must get a gold leaf job done the same day as you start, use either 1-Shot Fast Dry Gold Size #4008 or Rolco “Artisan” Clear Oil Gilding Size. Generally fast size sets up in about an hour and has an open time of one to two hours. Although both water-based and oil-based

Sign Builder Illustrated // october 2012

size is available on the market, oil-based products are typically used for sign applications. Back-up paint. Black Japan paint and Nazdar 59000 Series Black Enamel Plus Gloss Screen Ink are used to back-up gold leaf work and to paint outlines and drop shadows. Window spar varnish. After backing up your work, protect it from abrasion or cleaning chemicals with a coating of varnish. Overlap the gilding by 1/4-inch. Liquid Joy® or Ivory® and an eye dropper. A drop or two of dishwashing liquid in a pint of water sized via an eye dropper will help the water wet out the surface of the glass. Gilder’s soap. To clean any glass before water gilding, moisten the cake with a damp cotton rag or damp sponge and rub the surface to produce a lather. Apply a thin coat of this soap to the glass surface and wait to dry. Using a dry cotton rag or pad of cotton wadding, buff off the dried residue until the surface is squeaky clean. DuPont™ Prep-Sol® 3919S™ Cleaning Solvent. Some contaminants are watersoluble and will wash off of the surface of the substrate with detergent and water; some are greasy and oily and can only be removed by cleaning with a solvent, such as DuPont Prepsol. Isopropyl alcohol (IPA). Seventy percent isopropyl alcohol is recommended for final cleaning of glass to remove any residue from any other cleaners. After saturating the surface with any solvent cleaner, dry it with a clean cotton cloth or paper towel before the solvent evaporates. Shadow Kaolin. To prevent gold leaf from sticking to parts of the sign where you don’t want it to, employ Shadow Kaolin (a powdered Welch clay) as a resist by lightly dusting the surface with it using a cosmetic brush. Be sure to visit Jim Hingst’s blog at

To view pinstripe artist Steve Kafka’s technique of creating an engine turn pattern in gold leaf, visit

EZ . S e E . – d E U FR IVERY in the Ma y a l isp DELwhere D d an Any g n i iz

net g a g, M n i t n Pri

! D E R DELIVE FlexCoat-EZ – engineered to eliminate the hassles associated with flexible magnetic printing and laminating – is now available at a special online price. Get a 50-foot roll of 0.030-inch x 24 5/16-inch FlexCoat-EZ for only $85, with FREE delivery anywhere in the U.S. Now you’ll be able to expand or create a new revenue stream with magnetic media, using your current printing technology. FlexCoat-EZ is compatible with inkjet, digital, flexo, offset, litho and screen printers. Thanks to FlexCoat-EZ’s revolutionary coating*, hassles like curling and gummed-up cutting blades are eliminated, so you can easily produce magnetized signs, posters, business cards, displays, calendars and more. It’s as easy as print, magnetize, display!

Go online now to take advantage of this offer at or scan our QR code below. Credit cards accepted, there’s no minimum order, and we’ll ship to you the next business day! *Patent Pending White Coating

Made in the USA

SGIA Preview //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

2012 SGIA Expo preview SGIA Expo 2012, billed as “the only place to see the imaging industry’s innovative and imaginative developments,” returns to the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada this October 18-20. New this year will be an

3M Commercial Graphics: Booth #2259

The next generation of wrap films has arrived, and it is about to change the industry. With 3M™ Envision™ Print Wrap Film 480Cv3 and 3M™ Envision™ Gloss Wrap Overlaminate 8548G, 3M Commercial Graphics is going beyond the world’s first high-performance non-PVC film. The company is delivering a performance boost to wrap films— all with a sustainability edge. This new release changes everything. 3M Commercial Graphics did not just invent non-PVC wraps films. In fact,

all-new Color Management Zone (highlighting the industry’s most innovative color management tools and techniques), the Printed Electronics & Membrane Switch Symposium, and Zone Education (dedicated educational sessions with industry experts). The following pages feature the latest products, media, and demonstrations from some of the manufacturers that will also be on display at booths situated on the floor of the exhibit hall. For more information about this event, visit For expanded coverage of these products (as well as an updated list of announcements made after going to press), check out our “SGIA Expo ‘12 Preview” link at And swing by SBI’s Booth #209 while you’re at the show!


Agfa Graphics: Booth #2059 The :Anapurna M2540 FB is an entrylevel, high-speed, UV-curable flatbed inkjet printer. The :Anapurna M2540

Arlon: Booth #3069 Arlon Graphics will feature several new digital removable and wall wrap films for interior and exterior use. The removable products include DPF 4300, DPF 206, and DPF 50WD

conVerd: Booth #3467

conVerd will be the official substrate provider for SGIA Expo ’12. All of the show’s aisle signage and meter boards will be printed on conVerd Board 6mm. Incorporating 10 percent post-consumer waste, conVerd Board is completely recyclable and renewable, while providing a price-comparable green alternative to foam and styrenebased products. conVerd will also be partnering with Mutoh and Zünd

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

they have revolutionized wrap films. Period. So be sure to check out these exciting, new materials that this global innovation company will be premiering at SGIA Expo 2012. ( FB provides high-quality printing on a wide variety of indoor, outdoor, and uncoated rigid media (corrugated boards, rigid plastics, Plexiglass, wood, aluminum, MDF, etc.). It addresses the growing demand for niche output, such as promotional goods and gifts. Also being shown will be the fieldupgradeable :Jeti 3020 Titan hybrid inkjet designed with a modular format. ( Clear and White. In addition, the company will have daily vehicle wrap demos using DPF 6000XRP and wall wrap demos with Arlon’s exterior wall graphic films featuring DPF 8000 and DPF 6700. ( to distribute promotional products that will be printed and cut out from conVerd Board 3mm during the show, such as hotel door hangers, promotional boxes, and other creative pieces. (


EFI: Booth #2413

Cooley Commercial Graphics: Booth #4613 Cooley will be showing a number of products, including CoolFlex® seamless, digital printing membranes that can be used in everything from banners to billboards to building wraps. CoolFlex products include Seamless Frontlit, Black/White, and Backlit materials (which are all recyclable through the Cooley RE-Flex™ Recycling Program). Also on display will be the lightweight, PE, PVC, and PP EnviroFlex® substrates and the two-sided CoolMesh® substrates. (

FLEXcon: Booth #3151

Release your inner green and learn about FLEXcon’s sustainable alternatives for large format graphic applications, such as WALLdeco™, COUNTERdeco™, WINDOWdeco™, and FLEXmark® floor art™ products. Novelty films such as SHIMMERcal™ and PRISMcal® to high-performance adhesives like FLEXmount®SELECT™ offer your customers more options for their brand/visual application needs. And check out the Industrial and Printed Electronics Zone Friday, October 19 to see Shirley Monte’s presentation “Product Development through Relationships and Solutions.” (

EFI is featuring its VUTEk®, EFI™ Wide Format, and Jetrion® lines of inkjet presses, together with the high-performance EFI Fiery® proServer. The new VUTEk HS100 Pro high-speed press and EFI R3225 UV roll-to-roll printer will be highlighted in the booth. The company also is showcasing its inkjet workflow integration that fully integrates Web-to-Print and Print MIS software with Fiery Wide Format RIPs and qualifying EFI inkjet printers. (

Epson America: Booth #2359 Epson America will be showcasing its revolutionary line of next-generation, sixtyfour-inch, solvent-based printers that are redefining what’s possible with a solvent printer today: the EPSON® SureColor® 30670, EPSON® SureColor® 50670, and EPSON® SureColor® 70670. These new printers incorporate Epson’s latest technological breakthroughs and use the EPSON MicroPiezo® TFP® printhead to bring previously unseen levels of quality, performance, and value to the signage, vehicle graphics, and fine art markets. Boasting groundbreaking, all-Epson engineering, each model in the SureColor S-Series integrates an entirely new print engine and introduces new convenience features that help automate previously time-consuming processes (such as nozzle checks, media feed adjustments and tensioning, and complicated media and printhead alignments). (

Gemini, Inc.: Booth #3272 Available in either opaque or translucent, Gemini’s Silver Chrome letters for Formed Plastic and GemLite letters are made using actual chrome film laminated to the company’s in-house manufactured sheets of recyclable CAB plastic. Letters are available in standard formed typestyles or can be manufactured to customer specifications for the ultimate chrome

Graphics One: Booth #121

Graphics One, LLC is launching two highperformance, high-speed printers using two unique types of ink—SEPIAX water-based resin “green” ink and GO’s Xtreme V dye sublimation ink. GO’s AquaMax SX and DX feature a wide print width of sixty-four inches and an advanced eight-color channel piezo printhead (for

finish in a deep dimensional letter. The addition of LED lighting in Gemini’s GemLite products made with translucent Silver Chrome gives them a brilliant chrome appearance by day and a dazzling glow by night. (

either dual CMYK or CMYK, Lc, Lm, Orange, and Blue). The GO AquaMax printers deliver impressive dye sub and indoor/outdoor printing performance. Both GO AquaMax SX and DX printers offer automatic maintenance and cleaning systems, automatic flush and anti-clog flush functions, and high-capacity 1 liter or 440ml ink pack cartridges. ( October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated


SGIA Preview //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

MACtac: Booth #427

Kern Lasers: Booth #7029

Kern Lasers will be demonstrating a large format HSE system equipped with i-cut Vision Pro. This optical registration system automatically adjusts cutting files to compensate for distortion and rotation of printed materials. Table sizes are available starting at 52-by-25 inches and as large as 80-by-120 inches. An easy-to-use printer driver allows users to send cutting files to the laser from graphics software such as CorelDRAW® and Illustrator®. (

bend me, shape me any way you want me.

In addition to presenting its trusted IMAGIN® ROODLE™, PERMACOLOR® DecoLam™, PERMACOLOR ColorGard™, and MACmark® 8900 Series Designer Colors, MACtac is introducing new mounting films for all your high-end applications, including PERMACOLOR® ColorTrans™ CT2200 and PERMACOLOR® ColorPrint PP2018. For an alternative to the traditional shop windows, P-O-P displays, and signage, MACtac will exhibit a new interactive technology that transforms ordinary surfaces into dynamic digital displays. Be the first to let MACtac Take You There with the best in graphics at SGIA 2012. (

Master Magnetics (The Magnet Source™): Booth #203

ImagInatIon comes In a wIld array of colors, styles and thIcknesses If you can imagine it, you can create it with LuciteLux® acrylic. Made by designers for designers, LuciteLux lets you express your inspirations in vivid color with style and flair. 10% brIghter 110% InnovatIve

Available in up to forty-two-inch widths, PrintMagnetVinyl™ allows for high-resolution printing directly onto flexible magnetic material with solvent, eco-solvent, UV, and latex ink systems. From vehicle signs to P-O-P retail signs, there are an endless amount of items that make printing on magnetic sheeting a very profitable segment of your business. Testing for compatibility and quality has been completed with many international printer manufacturers and brands. (

Mimaki: Booth #2334


white diffusion



continuous cast


museum grade



©2012 Lucite International, Inc. LuciteLux® is a registered trademark of Lucite International, Inc.


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

Mimaki will show a number of products, including the JV400LX Series of wide format latex printers. With the use of the industry’s only white latex ink and lower operating temperatures, a wider range of media choices is now available. The JV400LX only requires standard 110-volt electrical connections for operation. It features low-VOC latex inks as well as reusable 600ml ink cartridges. Mimaki will also be showing the UJF-3042HG, which is ideal for specialty and corporate printing. The UV LED printer has an expanded six-color, flexible UV ink set that includes both white and clear inks. (


Multicam: Booth #325

The Graph-X-Cutter™ and High-Speed Digital Express feature MultiVision™ digital registration, routing, and knife cutting. Use them to cut, crease, and perforate cardboard, foam, fabric, foamcore, vinyl, corrugated plastic, acrylic, wood, etc. Featuring a new 1-kW, 1.3-hp HSD spindle, the GraphX-Cutter is S1 rated with 100 percent duty cycle. The wide format sheet-fed or conveyorized Digital Express delivers speeds up to 7000 IPM. (

Oracal USA: Booth #1301 Watch ORACAL® Series 975 Premium Textured Cast Film and ORAJET® Series 3751RA Wrapping Cast Film with RapidAir® Technology handle the compound curves of Panther Racing’s race car. And also be sure to catch the expert installation skills of the Panther Graphics team wrap with the paint-alternative film, ORACAL® Series 970RA Wrapping Cast Film with RapidAir® Technology, now available in ninety-six vibrant gloss and matte colors. (

Orbus Exhibit & Display Group: Booth #3121 Orbus’ Hopup tension fabric displays are fast, simple, and versatile. The Backlit Hopup option helps make graphics “pop” and stand out. The lightweight, heavyduty frame supports an integrated fully fitted graphic mural. Orbus offers full kits with hardware and graphics as well as hardware-only and graphic-only options. (

Roland DGA: Booth #2659

The new 64-inch SOLJET Pro 4 XR-640 is engineered for production printing with a dual inline and mirrored printhead configuration that yields exceptional image quality and high print speeds. The XR-640 fires droplets of seven different sizes for beautifully smooth gradations, high-fidelity photographs, and flawless solid colors. Integrated contour cutting produces graphics of virtually any shape. With the Pro

4, Roland has introduced a new generation of eco-solvent ink, Eco-SOL MAX 2, in nine colors: CMYK, light cyan, light magenta, white, metallic silver, and light black (all fully optimized for its advanced print head technology). Also at their booth, check out VersaCAMM, VersaUV, VersaArt and VersaStudio models, as well as EGX engravers, GX cutters, the MPX-90 impact printer, and R-Wear custom apparel solutions. (

October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated


Vehicle Wraps / By Jeff Wooten ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

revved up for

Chrome Wraps Full-colored chrome wraps for the high-end sportscar market.


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

All photos courtesy of JAvier cruz photogrAphy.


hat would you do if you looked out in your shop’s parking lot and saw a 2008 Lamborghini Gallardo pull up? What would you do if the owner of said sportscar walked in and asked you for advice on how to make it stand out even more? What would you do, suggest a paint job or opt for a wrap? These were just some of the questions a graphics provider recently answered when the owner (Marc Cavallo) of this Verde Ithaca (lime green) Lamborghini stopped by with this request. To arrive at the appropriate solution, the shop looked at the trends that were popular overseas and decided it was time to start bringing them to our shores. Designer Wraps (www.designerwraps. com) in Millville, New Jersey is a full-service, seven-person custom wraps and graphics shop. In addition to wall murals and building wraps, the company specializes in graphics, stylings, and color changes for racing, commercial, and personal vehicles in the Greater Philadelphia area. Fortunately Designer Wraps has worked on its fair share of exotic-type cars


October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated


LASER CUT ACRYLIC LETTERS 32 Standard Pigmented Colors • Polished Laser Edge 1-800-538-8377


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

and wasn’t daunted when Cavallo brought this vehicle to their attention. (Note: The shop has also worked on vinyl color changes for a Nissan GT-R, an Audi R8 Spyder, and a Fisker Karma hybrid.) In fact, the business had already worked on some successful smaller jobs for some of this customer’s other luxury cars, so he had faith they could deliver here as well. However the answer took a little time to ponder. “We collaborated with this customer for several weeks on determining what to actually do with the car,” says Sean Tomlin, owner of Designer Wraps. “He knew he wanted something very unique.” (We know what you’re thinking: “Unique? This is a Lamborghini!” But practice some patience, and you will see how the company made all this magic happen.) Tomlin had noticed an increase in full-color wraps for high-end cars and brought up this possibility. And since this was a European car, Tomlin thought beyond just a full-color wrap and instead imagined a chrome wrap—a movement that was already very popular in Europe (and starting to pick up some traction here in the States). “[Cavallo] and I wanted to take it to the next level,” says Tomlin. “Though chrome vinyl is available here now, colored chrome had not yet been done in our country. And we really wanted to be the first to do it here.” The groundbreaking end-result is something that Tomlin describes as “plain green glory!” Designer Wraps accomplished a fullcolor change-out using Avery Conform Chrome Wrapping Film with a custom coloring (“Our secret sauce,” says Tomlin). They wrapped the sides, the hoods, and the bumpers with green chrome. They then added Matte Black Avery Supreme Wrapping Film to the roof, the side pillars, the door jams, the deck lid (the partial rear bumper), and the greentinted deck lid glass (the glass that exposes the motor). The Designer Wraps three-man team had to completely dismantle the car inhouse and wrap each piece separately. “All the corners were rounded and/or wrapped completely around,” says Tomlin. So when dismantling a car as expensive and as status-symbolizing as a Lamborghini, it is not hard imagining nerves would factor in to make sure everything could be put back on the right way.

original car color.

The Designer Wraps team was able to successfully wrap the sides, the hoods, and the bumpers of the Lamborghini Gallardo with green chrome film. Already a popular trend in Europe, they thought this full-colored chrome solution would help make the sportscar stand out even more here in the United States. As you can see, it does!

October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated


TooLs aND suPPLIes useD n avery Conform Chrome Wrapping Film (with Designer Wraps’ “secret sauce” custom coloring) n Matte Black avery supreme Wrapping Film n Image one Impact Wetedge squeegees n Croftgate aquanil-x solution n Knifeless tape films (“Lots of this,” says Tomlin.)

The new dimension in Iaser processing

Speedy 400

This QR code was engraved with the new Speedy 400 flexx. Scan to learn more about the material processing capabilities of the latest Iaser engraver from Trotec.



newrds da


Working area 39 x 24 inches Flexible multi-functional table Available with CO2 Iaser, fiber Iaser or both Call us: 866-226-8505




Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

MCI ready

energy saving MODE

“There is always a little bit of pressure,” confirms Tomlin, “but most customers with high-end cars just want it done right. They are not looking for a rush job.” Because of this mindset, Tomlin and his crew were able to work on the car for two weeks with no worries or pressures. It took a full day to dismantle the car. “We then bagged and labeled everything, so that everything would go back on the way we took it off,” says Tomlin. To apply the specialty vinyl films, Designer Wraps soaked their WetEdge squeegee with a solution called Croftgate Aquanil-x. They also used heat guns and lots of knifeless tape in the install process. “This limited the amount of blade on the car,” says Tomlin. Designer Wraps ended up being able to really take their time during this project. “We allowed ourselves a full day to put it back together,” he says. (Note: Although the shop had possession of the car for two weeks, they did not work on it non-stop during this timeframe. They still had to fulfill other customers’ wrapping requests. “We put in about 150 man hours on this car,” says Tomlin.) As an added bonus, Designer Wraps also placed subtle “embossed” logos of their company under the black portions of the wrap. This would make their name (and their work here) stand out a little bit more. “We simply just cut out our logo in vinyl and applied it to the vehicle surface first and then wrapped over top of it,” says Tomlin. “When you heat it and sink the wrapped vinyl into the logo, this makes it look like it’s embossed underneath it. It is very cool looking.” Tomlin stresses that the finished job turned out amazing—even better than he could have imagined. “Once we put the last piece on the car and started backing it out of our garage, our jaws dropped to the ground,” he says. Tomlin has been involved in vehicle graphics for nearly six years now and has kept up with all the latest trends during this time. He remarks that there has definitely been a shift toward solid, full-color wraps when it comes to vehicles these days. “It seems we are now getting more into the color changes [via vinyl] where people want to change the color of their car without the need for paint,” he says. “They do not want to have the color be permanent. “This also protects the paint underneath it. And if they are turning it in

4.56x4.875 Justin Sign_Jan2012:4.56x4.875 Justin Sign_Dec06 2/7/12 8:54 AM Page 1

ter a lease, they just pull it off, and there is no harm done.” According to Tomlin, another reason for the popularity of full-color vinyl wraps is that, if done right, the price is typically 25 to 30 percent less for the customer than a paint job. Right now, Tomlin views the most customers for these wrap jobs as owners of high-end cars or people with more disposable income. “It is not there yet for the average person, but I do think the trend is moving in that direction,” he says. “So if somebody happens to buy a Honda Accord and the only color they can get it in is black but they really wanted white, well for another $3,500 to $4,000, they can get it wrapped in white film. “Then at the end of their lease, they pull the wrap off and turn the car in, and it has got the perfect paint job underneath.” In the meantime, Designer Wraps has really hit the fast lane with their exotic car wraps. Their accomplishment as one of the first shops in the country to do colored chrome should only speed up the trend to be adopted here as well.



LIGHTING APPLICATIONS Indoor / Outdoor UL Listed Class 2 DC Regulated Power Supplies

Sing l & Mu e ltiple Circu it!

36 Through 288 Watt Models, 12 and 24 Volt DC Output


• Mounting brackets, input/output leads, 1/2" electrical knockouts provided

• Indoor/Outdoor Enclosure with Conduit Access Wiring Compartment

• Multiple inputs 120, 240, 277V, 50/60 hertz • All units are input dimmable • Made in U.S.A. All units feature manual reset overload protection on each individual Class 2 circuit. Single Circuit Models

UL Listed - File E325754 UL1012 / UL1310, Outdoor Rated CSA Approved

Class 2 AC Transformers also available

Multiple Circuit Models

UL Recognized - File E235322 UL 48 / UL1310, Outdoor Rated



2663 No. Lee Avenue South El Monte, CA 91733 626 444-4516 • Fax 626 444-9462 Toll Free 800-989-4517

October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated



“We asked if they could use the 3M IJ8624 material to wrap

100-gallon planters we have throughout the park.” — errol mckoy, president of the state fair of texas


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Digital Printing / By Mike AntoniAk

showcasing texas and

Digital Wraps

Going to the State Fair with graphics and vinyl.


hen the State Fair of Texas takes over Fair Park in Dallas, it’s a celebration of everything the Lone Star State has to offer—as well as a showcase for the digital print expertise of the city’s E.H. Teasley & Co. (

Around the grounds from the midway to the historic exhibit halls and Cotton

all photos courtesy of e.h. teasley & co.

Bowl Stadium, this graphics-providing company’s work contributes to the

festive mood that makes the fair such an anticipated annual event. “We do giant banners, road signs, fabric prints, stage graphics, and some things we never dreamed of,” says Owner Jeff Teasley. “The work we do here gives us an opportunity to use new materials and really show off all we can do.” That’s a long way from where the relationship began twenty years ago. E.H. Teasley started in the 1950s as a manufacturer of canvas tents and

October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated


The initial E.H. Teasley wrap transformed a pavilion at the State Fair into a design promoting the states’s vineyards and wine industry.

The next wrap transformed a drab wall near the carousel into a virtual garden patio that incorporated its surroundings.


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

tarps. As the company’s old business was shifting overseas, Teasley was looking for ways to redirect its future, and painted canvas and vinyl banners seemed a logical progression. “We were contacted by officials at the fair to repair a damaged banner, which hung on the Cotton Bowl,” says Teasley. Until then, the company’s involvement with the family had been as a provider of canvas tents and awnings. Using the old banner as a template, its replacement was painted overnight on the stadium floor and installed in time for the opening. “After that, they started asking if we could do other things around the fairgrounds,” says Teasley.

The Digital Alternative During this period, Teasley learned there might be a more cost-effective way to produce banners. “We started hearing about digital equipment that could print in hours what was taking us days to hand paint,” he says. After evaluating options, the company purchased the Gandinnovations Jeti 3300 solvent inkjet. Today E.H. Teasley also has the Jeti 3324 Aquajet and Gandi 3150 UV Flatbed. This line-up allows the company to supply all types of graphics for the State Fair of Texas. “E.H Teasley has been a responsive provider. They price their products fairly and are very reasonable to work with,” says Errol McKoy, president of the State Fair of Texas, the organization behind the annual event. “[Teasley] is very creative, always scanning the radar for new things we might use.” Four years ago, Teasley suggested transforming some of the historic buildings around Fair Park with 3M™ Scotchcal™ Graphic Film for Textured Surfaces IJ8624. To demonstrate the possibilities, Teasley printed a one-by-one-foot sample with color graphics and affixed it to the front of the Cotton Bowl for several months. Seeing how readily it adhered, how well it held up, and how easily it removed convinced fair officials to try a building wrap. In 2008, E.H. Teasley performed another wrap on a stucco wall of the Food and Fibers pavilion with colorful graphics to promote the state’s vineyards and wine industry. It worked so well, additional walls were wrapped to create a courtyard wine garden. “We were absolutely thrilled that



solutions + reliability serving customers with the industry’s broadest offerings of semi-finished materials and associated products, from trusted manufacturers.

Industrial + Manufacturing • Image Building + Construction • Transportation security Products

866.437.7427 |

October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated


it turned out to be so eye-catching,” says McKoy. “We started to look for other ways we could use their capabilities.” Up next: transforming a drab cinderblock wall near the carousel into a virtual garden patio. Plans called for an actual carousel horse installed against a wall wrap. “We wanted to create a 3D effect with a trellis and climbing roses on that wall as if they were growing out of real flower pots installed there,” says Teasley. E.H. Teasley made that space an inviting, visually exciting area. “[Officials] fell in love with wall wraps,” says Teasley.

The Planter Project McKoy and his staff loved the wraps so much that they considered other applications for the digitally printed film. “We asked if they could use the 3M IJ8624 material to wrap 100-gallon planters we have throughout the park,” he says. When that request came in early last year, Teasley had to consult with his 3M account executive, Bob Barr in Houston, Texas, who knew the film could conform to the pebble aggregate surface. The concern

To view a video of these State Fair wrap installs, log on to was whether it could hold up to repeated watering of plants left out in the weather. Teasley also contacted other film vendors for their recommendations. As an experiment, ten planters were wrapped with different materials and left out— winter through summer 2011. “By the end of that test, we weren’t getting good adhesion with some, but the 3M film still looked as good as the day we installed it,” he says. The project moved into full production. The company wrapped 256 planters for the 2011 fair in five different designs and a variety of colors and textures to mimic the look of galvanized steel and colored tile. The wraps were printed on the Jeti 3300 as a single sheet: four feet

wide and twelve feet long. “The most difficult part was coming up with designs they liked, because they wanted to change these planters so dramatically,” says Teasley. “We spent a lot of time developing the five different patterns we used.” According to Teasley, though, the big learning curve came in the install. Each planter (approximately four feet in diameter and weighing several hundred pounds) had to be moved, so it could be easily wrapped without disturbing the plants. A forklift transported them to a tent where Teasley’s team worked in the shade. Planters were set on concrete blocks at a comfortable height. Using 3M’s heat gun and special rollers, the film readily conformed to the irregular surface. “We started doing the installations as a couple of sections but found it worked much better to do each as one piece,” says Teasley. That work continues: Fair administrators were so pleased, they’ve ordered an additional one hundred planter wraps for the 2012 fair, with new looks provided by E. H. Teasley Designer Steven Trahan.

Be seen. Simply the best inks available.

True plug-n-print cartridges for Mimaki® and Roland® solvent based printers

Marabu North America Phone: 843-886-0094 Toll Free: 888-253-2778

Visit us in Las Vegas at the SGIA Expo, Booth 2727 46

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// //////////////////////////////////////////////////////

“This was the first time we’d been asked to create a ‘cut-log’ look.” — matt frey, division manager, signs by benchmark


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

/////////////// ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Monuments / By Jeff WooteN

A Pride-Filled

Welcome Monumental results for a small sign shop and city.

I photo courtesy of signs by debbie.

f you find yourself traveling around East Texas and come across the city of Lufkin (population: 35,000-plus), you’ll really know you’ve arrived, thanks to the recent build-andinstall of six distinctive 500-pluspound entry signs. But these aren’t just any “welcome to” monument-type signs. These impressive 8-foot-tall-by-14-foot-wide signs are also an attempt to bring back some city pride. In the process, they also provided a big sense of accomplishment for the sign makers involved.

Welcoming Ideas for Design Lufkin had been plagued with not only a rampant case of deteriorating signage, but also a distinctive lack of branding and identification. Officials wanted something that would better represent—and promote—the city’s unique qualities.

October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated


“Keeping city officials abreast of progress or any changes gives them peace of mind.”

photos (this page) courtesy of signs by benchmark.

— debbie laroe, owner, signs by debbie

Enter Signs By Debbie (, a small sign shop also in Lufkin. Owner Debbie LaRoe, her two daughters, and Art Designer/Fabricator Alan Sims work hard to complete sign solutions—logo design, ADA signage, wraps, etc. The shop already experienced a great working relationship with the city for many years (including creating decals for its trash trucks and signage for its industrial park), so city officials asked LaRoe to review their initial renderings. “It was pretty standard—two brick columns with a double-faced light box centered in it,” recalls LaRoe. However LaRoe and Sims agreed the city needed something “powerful” instead that would make tourists stop and want to take photos. “And something that would make the [locals] proud,” she adds. Sims drafted several design ideas to show the mayor and the city council. “Deciding on a design is always half the battle,” he says. “[Lufkin] is known for the timber and steel industries, so that gave [us] a starting point.” After weeks of fine-tuning, a design was chosen—a half-circle-shaped log. Its resemblance to the center-cut of a pine tree reflects the logging industry, while 50

its water icons invoke area lakes.

Tapping Further Questions Yet there were still more details to figure out: How big was too big without looking gaudy? How do you incorporate all the small ideas that say “Lufkin” and keep it from looking too busy? And how does a small sign company pull off something like this and keep everyone happy? Another big question: How do you light the signage without costing the city a fortune to drop power to each remote site? Their answer: Solar-powered LEDilluminated letters. “The city wanted the letters to light for five consecutive nights without needing to be recharged by sunlight,” explains LaRoe. “The challenge was trying to figure out how bright and how far the visibility should be without knowing the final location of each sign at the time.” Eventually LaRoe and her team decided on powder-coated, backlit, stainless canned lettering. “We painted the interior of each letter white for better light reflection,” she says. “The clear acrylic backing would make it easier to remove or add to the LED modules and wiring, as well as for future maintenance.”

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

Barking Up the Right Tree Knowing they were going to need some help to replicate the pine tree look of these six identical signs, LaRoe contacted Signs By Benchmark ( in Watertown, South Dakota for help. “Over the years, we’ve been asked to create several projects that had a rustic faux-wood or faux-log look,” remarks Matt Frey, division manager at Signs By Benchmark, “but this was the first time we’d been asked to create a cut-log look.” Signs By Debbie provided Benchmark with photos, color charts, and even a color rendering showing detail and conduit location that was printed full-size on banner material! They worked closely with Frey to make sure the right type of pine tree was selected before the prototype was manufactured. “The ‘bark’ had to be perfect,” says LaRoe. “The handpainted rings had to look like those of a very old pine tree—not too symmetrical and just the right color.” After doing the proper research, Benchmark imported the color rendering into AutoCAD software and created the CNC cutting files. The signs started out as shapes

photos (this row) courtesy of signs by debbie.

photo courtesy of signs by debbie.

photo courtesy of signs by benchmark.

photo courtesy of signs by benchmark.

Send Us Your Drawing We Specialize In Custom Designs

Architectural Signs, Trim, & Accents • Quick Turnaround • Easy Installation • • Impact Resistant Product • • 16 Years Experience • • Wholesale Only to the Sign Industry • Is it Real or Synthetic? Send us a picture of your stone or brick and we will match & create it in stucco.

31 Standard Models Create a Custom Model to Meet Your Needs With or Without Lettering Toll Free: 1-866-412-FOAM


Phone: (770) 631-4086 • Fax: (770) 631-4048 Email: •

October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated


cut from cellular plastic (EPS expanded polystyrene). “They were assembled from a series of smaller parts that fit together to create one large shape,” explains Frey. All the “bark” was hand-carved to achieve the desired look. The challenge was to carve and color it so that it would look good from a distance. “In focusing on making it look good from a distance, it’s easy to create a design pattern that doesn’t look correct up-close,” says Frey. “This can be avoided by stepping back about fifty feet from the piece several times while carving, to make sure things are progressing correctly.” For the tree growth rings, Signs By Benchmark closely examined several fresh-cut log sections. “We created 1/8-scale models of the log and sent them to Signs By Debbie for approval,” details Frey. “These models were our practice canvases to try our tree ring ideas on.” After the first attempt, they soon discovered that creating realistic-looking tree rings was harder than anticipated. “But we didn’t get discouraged,” says Frey. “We persisted and ended up nailing

the process on the fourth sample sign.” Once the prototype was approved, production immediately began on the large signs. Creating multiples of the same design is common for Benchmark, so fabrication went quickly. “Creating the bark was really the only time-consuming part of the entire assembly,” says Frey. “We had to hand-carve, in order to give each sign a unique, individual look.” The need to add solar-powered, reverselit LED channel letters proved challenging also. “Usually channel lettering requires very little space inside a sign to house a transformer/power supply and manage the low-voltage wiring,” says Frey. “But because of the width and depth of these signs, we had to create the access space large enough for a person to stand in.” To ease the wiring installation for each channel letter, Benchmark pre-drilled the holes and installed pass-thru conduits in each sign prior to coating them. “This would significantly reduce the install time on the job site,” explains Frey. Finally the sign pieces were moved to a spray booth, where they were coated

with the company’s signature polyuria hard coat for strength and durability. Benchmark then applied acrylic stucco and hand-painted them to match the customer’s rendering. “We then finished with a flat clear coat,” says Frey.

Planting the Seeds for Installation Signs By Debbie loaded the six finished signs onto their flatbed trailer and headed out in a caravan of sorts. Installation of all the signs was scheduled for one weekend. “Early on, everyone agreed that it would have a more dramatic effect if they were all in place for Monday morning traffic,” explains LaRoe. “Our plan was to achieve a natural look. We wanted the tree slice to look as if it is stuck in the ground with sawdust and grass growing around it.” Signs By Debbie started with the closest and most easily accessible site and, over the course of two days, worked their way around in a loop. Careful preplanning aided the installs. “We numbered each sign and each set of letters to coordinate, so that the pattern we drilled in each sign would fit perfectly,” says LaRoe. “No two sites were alike, so we just continued to pray that things would go smoothly.” On-site they used a tractor to jockey the massive signs around. “We secured each sign to the forks of the tractor and gently eased the first sign over the steel pipes that we’d secured beforehand in the concrete,” explains LaRoe. “As each sign was set, we drilled holes in the sign cavity and added expanded foam to secure them to the posts.” Next the letters were attached to the sign. City crews later came in and added the LED modules, controllers, and dimmers and connected the solar panels to the battery banks housed inside the signs.

Pride Restored Lufkin officials believe these new monument signs are already a hit. In fact, the city recommended “Have your photo taken in front of one of [these] new city signs” in their recent “100 Things to do while in Lufkin” list. “We are so blessed to be able to do what we love to make a living,” says LaRoe, “and we are so proud to have been a part of this project. We take great pride in being a part of beautifying our community. “And of course, we hope that this project helps our business continue to grow.” 52

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

3M™ Scotchprint® Wrap Film Series

3M and MCS are trademarks and Scotchprint is a registered trademark of 3M Company. © 3M 2012. All rights reserved.

Motorcycle wrapped by


Brushed Steel, Carbon Fiber Black



NEW Matte Pink


Stir up excitement mixing these removable cast films into your next wrap project. And enjoy the benefits of 3M quality, reliability, service and the industry leading 3M™ MCS™ Warranty. Available in carbon fiber, brushed metal, satin, gloss and matte finishes. Out of the Box No printing. No overlaminate. Open the box and start wrapping. Great Handling 3.5 mil dual cast film provides just the right amount of rigidity with no application tape. Easy Installation Slideable and repositionable pressure-activated adhesive with non-visible air release channels for virtually no air bubbles.


Join us on Facebook – share your photos.

No Seams 60" wide rolls mean you can cover entire sections.

Details and samples at




US LED was a proud participant in the 2012 Formula Expo held in Austin, TX. Working with Godstone Ranch and The American Heart Association, US LED provided 80 bright white L-Grid 2’x2’ fixtures to create an impressive 40’x8’ display wall behind the Godstone Ranch Ferrari. Seen by over 20,000 people throughout the weekend, the L-Grid wall illuminated a larger-than-life rendering of the Circuit of America creating an awe-inspiring draw to the Expo.

135 lumens per foot High brightness

90 lumens per foot >100,000 hours life

157 lumens per foot Narrow channel letters







T 866 972 9191


F 713 972 9393



////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Awnings / By Lori Shridhare

Cover This!

The timeless elegance of awnings.


n the high-tech age of digital signage and interactive media, there are some signage options that have a classic, eternal appeal. One such option with

a practical and aesthetic benefit is an awning. After all, what other sign both protects from the elements and beautifies the environment? The dramatic effect of an awning also makes it an excellent and economical choice for business owners. “An architect once told me back in 1981, when I started my business, that nothing to the appearance of a building for anywhere near that amount of money as an awning,” says Marky Lynn Quayle, owner of San Francisco-based Quayle & Company Custom Canvas Awnings (www. “He said that to have as much visual impact, you’d have to spend so much more doing something else.”

October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated

PhoTo courTesy of arTworks wholesale signs & awnings.

provides as much of a dramatic change


Steps to a Wrinkle-free Awning Installation


up and then shim it out. They can also check the front of the awning for straightness. The awning could be leaning back or forward.” u If (or when) the wrinkle occurs, it needs to be addressed at that moment. “Most of the time, it’s best to loosen the mounts back up and move past it and then try tightening up the rest,” he says. “Then go back and place a shim or spacer.” u For patio canopies, the frame should be built separately from the cover. “Then the awning cover is stretched on-site, after install,” he says. u The awnings should be bolted together at the shop, as well as the material fit, sewn, and finished. “We have the install crew go out there and install the large awnings,” says St. Pierre. “These are usually in multiple pieces.” u Go out with the cover and get it positioned on top of the frame. “We have a stretching expert who will help by strategically moving the awning around and stretching it taut without wrinkles,” he says. u The flashing that is used between the awning and the wall is very important. “Do not skimp on this detail,” he says. “It will come back to bite you.”

PhoTo courTesy of TrivanTage.

hen it comes to installation, awning work requires some patience, since the material is more fragile than those used in other types of signage. “When installing multiple wall awnings, you need to temporarily and safely hang all of the awnings loosely,” advises Mike St. Pierre, president and co-owner of Art Works. “The awnings should all be wrinklefree, then bolted together. After bolting, you need to check again—the awnings should all still be wrinkle-free. Installers need to keep their eye open for this constantly during the install.” The next series of steps, according to St. Pierre, are as follows: u Once the awnings have all been bolted together, if a wrinkle pops up, the installers will need to address why this happened. “As they start tightening all of the mounts into the wall, someone needs to keep an eye out for any wrinkles that might pop up,” he says. u If a wrinkle is seen, the wall behind that portion of the awning will need to be examined. “Most likely, it has a bow in or out,” says St. Pierre. “If they just tightened a mount and it caused a wrinkle, loosen it back


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

One popular choice for awnings is the “waterfall” style (which features a radius with an

PhoTo (ToP) by dave forresT; PhoTo (boTTom) courTesy of quayle & comPany.

area for copy). Yet despite the aesthetic qualities of awnings, many people are still unaware of all their benefits. “I think that awnings are not as popular as they could be because of a lack of sales knowledge,” says Mike St. Pierre, co-owner and president of Art Works Wholesale Signs & Awnings (www. in Pinellas Park, Florida. “A good salesman should always consider selling an awning. “[It] is a good opportunity to make a client’s business stand apart from the rest.”

Awning Assembly When working on awnings, Art Works gets involved in the entire process—from initial design to build to (sometimes) installation. It begins with a survey and fabrication drawings, which are then engineered. “Most awnings are made up using 1-by-1/8-inch aluminum square tubes,” says St. Pierre. “The larger awnings will require larger tubes. Typically awnings are made up using trusses similar to roof trusses (usually a side view of an awning is a snapshot of the truss.)”

The trusses are usually made up ahead of time and stacked. Then aluminum tubes are cut to length, and the trusses are welded uniformly to them. “One of the early decisions that will need to be made is to determine how the material will be attached,” says St. Pierre. “Will it be ropes and grommets? Wrap and tek-screwed? Or stapled with a vinyl insert? Wall awnings are mostly installed with z-brackets. “The larger canopies will require support posts that can be plate-mounted or direct-buried in concrete. It’s probably self-explanatory, but the smaller awnings are easy to install and the larger ones can be extremely difficult. It takes a very experienced awning company to do the larger canopies that require support posts.”

Plenty of Purposes In addition to serving as an advertising medium, awnings provide protection from the elements. In fact, the most commonly requested awning is a patio

cover, which is installed above an outdoor seating area and often with fans and lighting attached. “The food service industry (mainly restaurants and bars) typically has a need for these,” says St. Pierre. The popularity of patio covers makes sense considering that shade is often the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of awnings. “There is usually an obvious need that is taken into consideration,” says St. Pierre. “For example, if the venue has outside seating, sometimes a couple of umbrellas are not enough. “So owners will call an awning or sign company asking for a solution.” Awnings are also a means to divert water and sunlight from a roof. “They keep items on display in the windows from fading, as well as protect doors and windows from sun and rain damage,” says Quayle. According to St. Pierre, another very popular choice for wall awnings these days is the “waterfall” style (or the “radius with copy area” style). “These are

The most commonly requested awning is a patio cover, which is installed above an outdoor seating area and often with fans and lighting attached.

October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated


peaked in the back and then angled down to a rigid valence,” he says. “Some add a floppy valance to that as well.” In addition to their use as a patio cover, awnings are also commonly used over an entrance—a location that can pose a problem for installation during work hours. Recently Art Works endeavored to work on a challenging project to remodel a 30-by-60-foot awning that covers an entrance to a hospital. The client requested Vanguard® awning material and new vinyl copy, in addition to having the awning frames sandblasted and painted. “But we had to do all of the work after hours or at night,” says St. Pierre, “not to mention that the location was almost two hours away from our shop. “The large awning was made up of six sections, with each one taking up the entire trailer. So, needless to say it took six trips, each way. Once all of the newly painted sections were back on-site, Art Works then bolted all of them together on the ground and restretched the awning in one piece. “Then

we lifted the entire awning up and set it back onto its foundation,” says St. Pierre. “It was quite a challenge!”

Applicable Advice When it comes to giving advice on awning production and installation, St. Pierre says that it’s most important to include the engineer in the process. “You should always make your quote subject to engineer approval,” he says. “Even with experience, if you don’t have an engineer look at it before you sell it, you could be in trouble. Sometimes the engineer will require you to increase tube size or reduce the spacing of your trusses.” Choosing the best materials is also important. When it comes to awning disadvantages, the concern is longevity— most awning materials just don’t last very long, especially if the client chooses a cheap material. “Once this happens, in about three years, the awning starts to look bad,” says St. Pierre. “This makes it look to the public like awnings are a poor choice for a business. “These companies are shooting them-

selves in the foot and don’t even know it.” St. Pierre says they remedy this problem by offering only the higher end materials such as Vanguard and Sunbrella®. “These materials can last up to five years longer than the low-end material,” he says. “Longevity of the awning material is the weak link. “And the upfront cost to upgrade to the good stuff is minimal, compared to dealing with a faded awning or recovering the awning sooner as opposed to later.” St. Pierre recommends a solution that will make the awning material last as long (if not longer) than any painted sign. “You create the awning material using the 3M matched component vinyl awning system,” he says. “This simply starts with their white 3M 945 Panaflex material, then a colored background or lettering applied in 3M 3630 vinyl. A clear Graphic Protection System (GPS) vinyl is then laid over that. “This makes the awning graffitiproof, self-cleaning with rain, and UVresistant, making the color last well over ten years.”

For high-resolution printing with solvent, eco-solvent, UV and latex inks. • Available in 12”, 24”, 30”, 40” or 42” wide rolls • Custom cutting available • Ideal for one-step printing of vehicle signs Saves time and money printing direct to magnet. Ideal for high impact P.O.P. displays, store signage, message boards, calendars, sports schedules, photos, vehicle signage and more.



Quality and compatibility testing is in process with other well-known brands.

MMI SBI ad 9-2012.indd 1


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

8/2/12 12:20 PM


references seen here

Providing sign media fabric for applications seen pretty much anywhere. Digitally Printable Awning Fabrics: Weathertyte®, Weathertyte® Lite, Herculite® Natura™. Digital Media Fabrics: Sunbrella® Inkjet White, Vivitex™ Collection, Ferrari® Sign Media, Dickson® Jet 210 and Jet Tex, Bantex®, Main Street® Digital Plus. Backlit Fabrics: Cool Glo™/NorthStar®, Eradi-Lite®, Nite-Lite®, Cooley-Brite®, Cooley-Brite® Lite, Signmaster® Supreme.

Your Direct Source for Sign Information 3 Easy Steps

Receive vital product and service information from manufacturers and distributors by completing the adjacent card or visiting

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

InfoDirect # Company


InfoDirect # Company


Companies in the Sign Show

1 3M Commercial Graphics . . . . . . . 53

37 Kern Electronics & Lasers, Inc . . . 35

2 Ability Plastics, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

38 L&L Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75

71 Brand Management Group . . . . . . . 12

3 ADA Wholesale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

39 LMT Onsrud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

72 Canon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

4 Alpina Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . 75

40 Lucite International . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

73 Drytac . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

5 Alpina Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . 75

41 LEDtronics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

74 Earl Mich Company . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

6 American Biltrite LLC . . . . . . . . . . . 7

42 Magnum Magnetics Co . . . . . . . . . 28

75 Epson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

7 A .R .K . Ramos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

43 Marabu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

76 FDC Graphic Films . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

8 A .R .K . Ramos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

44 Master Magnetics . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

77 Fisher Textiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

9 Arlon Graphics, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

45 Metal Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

78 Grimco Presses, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

10 ASE Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

46 Mimaki USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

79 HP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

11 Biesse America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

47 Mimaki USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75

80 InteliCoat Technologies . . . . . . . . 12

12 Brinks Mfg (Van Ladder) . . . . . . . . 68

48 MultiCam Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

81 KODAK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

13 CAO Group, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

49 Oracal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C4

82 Laminators, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

14 Chemetal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

50 Orbus Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

83 Mutoh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

15 Car Top Signs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

51 Orbus Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

84 Nimlok . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

16 Chemical Concepts . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

52 Orbus Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

85 R Tape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

17 Coastal Enterprises/

53 Ornamental Post

86 Rowmark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15



19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 60


Precision Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Custom Fabricators Inc . . . . . . . . . 51 Digital Signage Expo . . . . . . . . . . . C3 DSA Phototech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Duxbury Systems, Inc . . . . . . . . . . 75 Epilog Laser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Epson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C2-Pg1 Fastenation, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 FastSigns International Inc . . . . . . 27 Flexmag Industries Inc . . . . . . . . . 31 Formetco Powered by Ad Tech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Gemini, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Gill Studios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Gill Studios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 Graphic House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 GWP Inc/VYCOM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Hartlauer Bits, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 ISA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 ITS ENCLOSURES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Justin Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70

Panel & Traffic . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Roland DGA Corp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Sabic-Polymershapes . . . . . . . . . . 45 Sign America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Signs By Benchmark . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Signs By Tomorrow . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 SloanLED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Small Balls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Southern Stud Weld . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Stimpson Company Inc . . . . . . . . . 15 superbrightLEDS .Com . . . . . . . . . . 38 Trim-Lok Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Tri Vantage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Trotec . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Universal Laser Systems . . . . . . . 73 US LED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 USSC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16A-L Walls & Forms Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

87 Techno, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 88 Trotec . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 89 VersaFrame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

An Easier Way to get Your Message Across Advertise In

Contact Jeff Sutley (East Coast) at or 212-620-7233 or Kim Noa (West, Central U.S.) at or 212-620-7221 Follow Us On: Sign Builder Illustrated @SBIMag Sign Builder Illustrated

In Print, In Person and Online Log on to


Now LANdiNg:

A Comprehensive

Sign Package outfitting a new airport terminal with interior and exterior signage.


Sign Builder Illustrated // october 2012 April 2012

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Sign Systems / By Jeff Wooten


eople now flying in to or out of the brand-new, recently opened Terminal B at the Sacramento International Airport are in for a treat when they take in all that this state-of-the-latest-art complex has to offer. One thing that they’re definitely going to notice is the wide variety of identification

all Photos courtesy of united sign systems.

and directional signage located throughout the facility. Not only can this complete sign package be found inside the terminal, but it also encompasses the adjoining parking structure and surrounding roadways. So drop your bags off at the counter, put your tray tables up, and we’ll tell you how a sign company spread its wings to land this signage on-schedule. Ten years after opening a new Terminal A, the Sacramento International Airport decided to tear down its fifty-year-old Terminal B and replace it with a $1 billion

October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated


“Itreinforcedthatwecouldsucceedonaverylarge projectthankstothepeoplewhomanagedit.”

—DaviD RanDolph, BRanch ManageR

expansion: a four-level complex with integrated customs facilities, a two-level roadway to separate arriving and departing traffic, a tram taking passengers from land-side to air-side (the other side of the security gate), and energy-efficient and environmentally conscious LEED design initiatives. David Randolph, branch manager at United Sign Systems (www.unitedsign. net), first learned about the scope of this airport project when the head architect of Terminal B spoke at his Point

West Rotary Club of Sacramento. “I later contacted him, and he let me attend a number of design meetings,” he says. “I offered them technical advice on how to build signs like a four-inchdeep double-sided cabinet and how to use certain materials.” United Sign is located in Modesto, California (with a branch office in Sacramento). This full-service sign company supplies design, construction, installation, and maintenance for its customers’ signage needs.

For the new Terminal B, there were three sign packages open for bidding to sign shops: air-side, land-side, and roadway (mostly 14-by-35-foot green panel directionals). After narrowly missing out on the air-side sign package, United Sign was able to competitively bid and win the bigger land-side and roadway contracts. Donnelly Design, an environmental graphic design company in Rio Vista, California, handled designing all the signage. Meanwhile United Sign built everything but the sub-contracted ADA and

“Thiswasa‘GoGreen’project.WeusedEarth-friendly materialsandcompiledLEEDsheets.”

—Shanna SanD, pRoject ManageR


Sign Builder Illustrated // october 2012


ISA MEMbERSHIP ISA is the leader in the sign industry and membership drives your business to unparalleled success through: • Exclusive access and discounts to on-target, industry-specific education and training programs • Connections to a strong network and community of industry professionals

• Members-only savings on insurance, credit card processing, office products and more • Rapid-response local, state and federal advocacy support

Put ISA to work for you and watch your business grow. “As a member of ISA, I am up-to-date on industry innovations and regulatory issues. We can count on ISA to make sure we’re informed and have the information we need to support our business.” —Kate Wentworth, Regal Entertainment Group

Membership dues start as low as $149- covering all employees. Visit for more information and become a member today! | (703) 836-4071 |

oversized steel highway sign panels at its 23,000-square foot facility in Modesto. The entire build-and-install covered three years and just finished up last August. For the roadways, United Sign Systems fabricated wood post-and-panel signs, as well as welded overhead freewaystyle signs (some with EMCs detailing parking information) spanning as large as sixty-five feet in width and posted onto fifteen-foot-tall, curved steel pipes and along overpasses. At Terminal B, the signs are primarily single- and double-faced, wall-mounted, freestanding, and ceiling-suspended cabinet signs (averaging four inches deep). They feature one- to two-inch embedded 3Form acrylic-face accent panels illuminated with LED. For the parking garage, the company built and installed non-illuminated wayfinding aluminum panel signs and LEDilluminated, ceiling-mounted cabinet signs. Because United Sign got involved early in the process, the designer was kind enough to share pre-production release plans in the spring of 2009 and ask for their

input in working with the general contractors, architects, and airport officials on material choices and fabrication feasibility. “Sign design drawings were generally emailed or downloaded from the general contractor’s Web site in PDF format,” says Randolph. “We created our production drawings using CorelDRAW®.” The Estimating department at United Sign put together and monitored the budget. Meanwhile the fabrication department led by General Manager Scott Loureiro built every piece on time, and Project Manager Shanna Sand managed the submittals and copious amounts of paperwork and coordinated site logistics and installation. Randolph cites that one of the smartest things his company did was make the decision to also hire a construction project manager to help out on this project. “We saw the logistical nightmare of this and realized it was more than just a ‘sign management’ project,” he says. “I prepared by doing some deepbreathing exercises,” laughs Roger Armstrong, hired as said-construction

project manager. “But seriously, the key for managing this project—or any project—is understanding what the enduser is requesting and how that twodimensional concept can be translated into a real-world, functional product. An in-depth review of the plans is always the start point for that process.” (Note: Armstrong explains that his role was to “solve the little issues along the way.”) United Sign didn’t give advice to airport officials in the sign design stages but rather offered suggestions for “achieving the desired results” without sacrificing quality or safety. Take the large directional sign over the escalators to and from the Arrival/Departure terminal, for example. “We suggested that the attachment detail, as it had been designed, may not be suited to seismic activity,” says Armstrong. “So we created a more flexible attachment detail that allows some sign movement during an earthquake without the risk of breaking the weld bond to the superstructure.” Fabrication of all the signs took about a year-and-half, due to the staging of in-

Power Your Creativity with a MultiCam


The RIGHT CNC Cutting Solution for Your Application and Budget


• Industry-leading innovations are simply the best values • Cut material waste, decrease job times and increase profits • Over 9000 machines installed worldwide • Local service, training and support from over 70 Technology Centers with 20 across North America

Digital Express

Router 66

Sign Builder Illustrated // october 2012

1025 West Royal Lane DFW Airport, TX 75261 972-929-4070

The company also landed the contract to install roadway signage at the new terminal.

stallation dates. United Sign employed CAD/CAM routing, aluminum extrusion fabrication systems, and vinylcutters to make all its signage. “The different materials being used (plastics, metals, lighting, etc.) added some complexity,” says Armstrong. The install spanned two years and involved a total of six United Sign Systems employees. To start, the airport first tore up the original roads for reconstruction, so the United Sign installation team built and placed post-and-panel signs redirecting traffic around the closed roads. “Then we used our bucket trucks and seventy-ton Hydro cranes to remove all the freeway signs,” says Gene Owen, installation manager at United Sign Systems. Installation of the freeway signage took about a month. Forty-foot-long tractortrailers hauled the signs from the Modesto manufacturing facility to the airport. The over-the-road freestanding signs required the need for eight footings (five feet in diameter and twenty-five to thirty-seven feet deep). Originally the schedule drawn up forecast digging one to two holes a day, but due to the landscape, they were only able to get one hole dug every two days. “Because of the depth needed, we hit water,” explains Owen, “so we there was a lot of pumping water out to be able to get the concrete in.” For the six-level parking garage, 160 signs had to be installed on each floor. But first, the floors and ceilings had to be x-rayed. United Sign hired a company to perform a sonogram using sound waves to check out the structure. “Those parking garages are put up with high-tension

cables inside the concrete, so if you hit one with a drill, it would break the cable and drop that floor,” says Owen. Sand believes that the sign above the descending escalator in the terminal was the toughest to install. “That one was thirty feet long and weighed about 450 pounds,” she says. “We towed it behind a truck on a dolly and scissor-lifted it up.”

Although the new terminal opened last October, some visitors were still not understanding some of the signs, so United Sign was requested to complete numerous changeovers (just finishing the last in August). For sign cabinets, United Sign left the cabinet standing and just changed out the faces. “We even added eleven directional signs towards the end because

OFlute SA 4.562x4.875 4C Ad_Layout 1 2/7/11 7:49 AM Page 1

october 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated


the terminal ended up not having enough wayfinding information,” says Owen. The installers worked many long hours and overnights to meet schedules. Working with so many different trades while the terminal was under construction made schedule coordination a challenge. “Since the signs we were fabricating and installing affected every part of the terminal, we had to consider every trade and their schedule—framing, drywall, electrical, flooring, escalators, exterior siding,” says Armstrong. “Even the weather played into when we could install the roadway signs.” Each Monday, United Sign would meet with airport officials and all the contractors at the job site to coordinate each phase of the project—whether it was the signage inside the terminal building, outside the terminal building, or the roadways approaching the terminal. Adjustments would be made as needed. “Everybody had to get in line,” says Owen. “If somebody was going to be doing sheetrock that day, then we couldn’t install a sign in that area that day. “If anything went wrong in one area, it would throw everyone off.” Sand agrees that installing signage around so many different trades was the biggest challenge. “We had to make sure our dates were accurate enough where we go in and work and get out while another portion of construction, electrical, or landscaping was coming in,” she says. Randolph is excited about successfully completing this project, since it demonstrates that regional/mid-size sign companies such as his can handle projects of this size and scope. (Note: Forty-five employees work at United Sign Systems.) “For big projects, companies can tend to overlook shops of our size (or smaller) thinking we can’t handle it,” he says. To succeed with these types of projects, Randolph advises small- and mid-sized shops to be honest with their prospective clients about their size and capabilities and to emphasize past successes. This project involved 1,215 signs and a little more than three years of work. In the end, it brought in $2.5 million to the company. In their best years, United Sign did around $8 million a year, so this project truly was a blessing in these tough economic times. “We’re also very proud of the fact that the signs look good,” says Randolph. 68

Sign Builder Illustrated // october 2012

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Point-of-Purchase / By Ashley BrAy

A Champion

all Photos courtesy of Pvs in-store graPhics.


A short deadline and a long list of elements leads to a challenging marketing campaign.


large retail marketing campaign recently required an Olympian effort from a sign company. PVS In-Store Graphics ( in Portland, Oregon was brought on board a major shoe manufacturer’s campaign that focused on the 2012 Summer Olympics and the launch of a new shoe. The shoe manufacturer had regularly worked with PVS in the past, so the decision to add them to the team was easy. Because of the size and extent of the job, the manufacturer worked in conjunction with a project management company. “We were tasked by [them] to come up with some of the 3D and some of the more complicated in-store presentations,” says Wes Shinn, co-owner of PVS. Presentations were required for about 190 retail stores; by the end, this job would end up being one of the largest

October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated


projects PVS had ever worked on. PVS began by looking at the engineering and execution of the concepts and determining what would—and would not—work. For a company that specializes in outside-the-box thinking, this wouldn’t have been a problem. The catch: PVS only had ten days to produce all of the elements, so this project would have to be a sprint. “The timeline was just ridiculously short for that much volume of printing, fabri-

cating, and fulfillment for shipment,” says Shinn, who had to ensure all of the pieces arrived in time for the day of the shoe’s launch. When the concepts were finalized, PVS started on fabrication right away. The job required three different presentation types:


A larger, predominant presentation went out to forty-five locations. This arrange-

NEW Biesse Rover J

Technology you need at a price you can afford! The NEW Biesse Rover J CNC Router is the answer to increased production for growing shops processing plastic, non ferrous metals, composites and wood. Affordable, flexible and user friendly, the Rover J combines strength and quality at a great price! For more information, contact Cesare Magnani at 704-299-6415 or email at

ment included window displays made up of a freestanding, Sintra ® wall with pre-creased InCycle ® material applied to the front. Attached to the InCycle was a combination of a few or all of the following elements: light boxes; Samsung monitors displaying product information; flat graphics for texture and visual interest; and 3D elements (such as five-foot, edge- and back-lit acrylic shoes). The shoes needed to be cut and smoothed, so PVS took an original approach. “We table-routed the pieces and machine-cut the edges with a radius, finishing it off with a torch to flame-polish the rounded edges with a high gloss,” says Shinn. Twenty-five of the acrylic shoes needed backlighting, so PVS built the system using LED strip lights from Super Bright LEDs and a 12-volt power supply. Graphics featuring phrases such as “Game On, World” were also applied to the windows in front of these displays both as printed vinyl and as 3D internally illuminated letters. A graphic ad printed on 3M™ Controltac™ vinyl was affixed to the backside of the Sintra wall. Fabricating these myriad elements was enough of a challenge, but PVS also faced differences in presentation at each of the forty-five retailers. “The biggest challenge was that every store was a unique solution because of the variations in window sizes and the variations in what particular product they were representing,” says Shinn.


Visit our booth #3195

For a showroom demo cal l


Tel. 877.8.BIESSE (877.824.3773) | |


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

The second of the presentation types was rolled out at about 140 stores. It included a number of in-store elements such as printed Sintra table surrounds. 3D table glorifiers were also used and included acrylic risers; MDF signage; snap frame graphics; changeable, tabletop graphics; and contour-cut foam toppers and styrene tablemats. This presentation type also included window displays. The first featured a flat, printed banner; a 3D acrylic shoe; edge-glow plex topper displays; and vinyl window graphics. The second display was designed with twelve printed Sintra panels and dimensional letters placed over the panels. On the backside, the Sintra panels featured a

Of the acrylic shoes, 25 required backlighting, which PVS built with LED strip lights and a 12V power supply.

Revolutionize with an

your business

• Architectural Signs • Dimensional Letters • Indoor POP Displays

• ADA Compliant Signs • Labels and Decals • Outdoor Corporate Identity Signs

Systems Starting at $7,995 $7,995 Visit or call call 888-437-4564 to request a DVD DVD Demo and brochure with samples. samples.


See us at the SGIA Tradeshow Booth #3775

MADEiNUSA MADE • 888-437-4564

October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated



ferent print.


Sand Carved Signs Demand Precision. Insist on Precision Board Plus – The Certified Green HDU.

It cuts, routs and blasts more easily than wood, yet lasts indefinitely. Artisans like those at Signetics of Centerville, Ohio appreciate the detail and quality Precision Board Plus allows them to put into their sand-crafted signs. Our new Precision Board Plus is made from 23.9% Rapidly Renewable Resources, with a Certified Carbon Footprint of 3:1, so you and your customers can be confident that one of the most durable choices for dimensional sign applications is also an environmentally friendly one. Back your signs with our “Life of the Sign Warranty”. Ask for Precision Board Plus by name. • Widest range of densities • Widest variety of sheet sizes • Any thickness you require Scan this image with your smart phone to go to our new website. Request a free sample, request a quote, or watch our How-to videos.

“Nice looking textures from the sandcarving experts”

Call (800) 845-0745 or visit for a Free sample of Precision Board Plus Great Pricing • Fast Shipments • Made in USA CSTL-5673


For the latest on contests, promotions and industry news, join us on:

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

CSTL-5673_Sign_Builder_ SC_Ad_2012.indd 1

The last presentation type was rolled out at only five stores and featured a window film called Lumisty, distributed by GlassFilm Enterprises, Inc. (pictured, above). Lumisty is a film that changes transparency as a viewer changes angle. PVS used the film to lend a unique spin to some of the displays. “We printed a very light gradient, then plotter-cut it, and applied it to display cases that had dimensional printed graphics in the background,” says Shinn. When the display is viewed at an angle, the glass appears to be frosted. When viewed straight on, the window is see-through, and the printed elements in the background can be seen. Over ten days, PVS completed all the elements—running their printers ten to twelve hours a day for several days straight. For all the printed graphic elements, PVS used its EFI VUTEk GS3250LX LED printer and its EFI VUTEk GS2000 printer—with the bulk of the work performed on the LX. “The LX [ink] had a benefit in that the adhesion was a little bit better on the acrylic shoes we produced,” says Shinn, “and is much more flexible than the standard GS ink set.” Shinn estimates that the shop printed 150 sheets of Gatorboard®, 100 sheets of Sintra, seven rolls of Controltac, four rolls of clear vinyl, and about 30 acrylic shoes. “It benefited us to have the equipment that we have,” he says. “If we had slower printers or different ink sets that couldn’t hit the color gamut, we might have had more challenges.” PVS spent the days following the production deadline shipping out all of the elements to the job sites. Three FedEx trucks and two semi trucks were

5/25/12 10:10 AM

Fast Facts

u 190 Retail Stores u 10-day project deadline

u 3 presentation types

u 250 sheets

and 11 rolls of materials

at the shop on the first day of shipping, and the trend continued over the next three days. “At the end of the project, we calculated that only about 30 to 40 percent of the work was actually print time; we needed the rest for assembly and shipping,” says Shinn. After shipping, PVS performed some of the installs themselves, but for the

most part, Dynamic Resources (www., a company specializing in installs and site surveys, completed the installations. The client was pleased with the results and so too was PVS. “In such a short time, we really had to push to get it done,” says Shinn. And it was that extra push that resulted in a gold medal-worthy finish for PVS.

October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated



Wholesale ADA signs



Call toll Free! We supply custom ADA signs to the sign industry - FREE QUOTES! e mail us at SIGNS@AE1050.COM

You'll love our Balls! For ADA compliant braille signage

SHOP ORBUS 24/7, 365


866.708.8316 Your supplier of quality Braille Balls & accessories

Misplaced your favorite issue of ?



Market Place

Back issues are available. Call for availability: 1-800-895-4389 or 1-402-346-4740 Log on to


SBI Classified SBI Classified FOR SALE

Full service sign company Established 1950-Owner is retiring. Complete inventory of vinyl equipment, spray crane and ladder/ bucket truck (garage kept), spray room and inventory, wood shop, 2 story living quarters attached, 4 acres with a pond. Located on a main highway in western Pennsylvania. HEWITT REAL ESTATE, 2078 S 6TH, INDIANA, PA 15701; 724-349-8500; Heidi Anderson-724-422-8449


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2012

Market Place A DIVISION OF

TRADE ONLY SUPPLIER wall signs projecting signs directory signs desk stands suspended signs triangular signs snap frames and more…

request your own brochures

866.724.1270 Mimaki_CGFX_1_6_SBI0812_Layout 1 7/9/12 2:23 PM Page 1

Cut new paths to profits. Mimaki’s CG-FXII Series are the perfect precision contour cutting plotters to use in combination with any wide format, roll-to-roll printer. They feature registration mark detection for accurate, reliable cutting and a patented half-cut function. The CG-FXII cutters are ideal for: • Vehicle wraps and vehicle graphics • Decals, stickers, labels . . . and much more.

41” media width

62” media width


74” media width 888-530-3986 888-530-3987

ATL 888-530-3988 | BOS CHI 888-530-3985 | LA

w w w. m i m a k i u s a . c o m

October 2012 // Sign Builder Illustrated



B y Lo r i S h r i d h a r e

Balancing Act: Dura Architectural Signage

The Forst Family:

The “Yin & Yang” of Architectural Signage


ura Architectural Signage (www.duracorp. com) in Long Island City, New York has put in over fifty-five years of experience. The sign business was co-founded by patriarch Jack Forst, a European immigrant and Holocaust survivor, and orignially focused on mechanical engraving. In fact, the company still owns one of its original engraving machines, which remains in good running condition. Today Jack’s son, Art Forst, is president, and Art’s son, Dan, is sales manager. A true family business, Art’s eighty-four-year-old mother, Eva, still comes in to work twice a week to handle administrative and employee matters. Architectural signage is now a big part of Dura’s capabilities. “Architectural signage combines equal parts art and science to create a superb static or dynamic sign product,” says Dan. The science comes from good production practices, rigorous employee training, tight engineering specs, attention to detail, knowledge of codes and specifications, innovation, and the use of the right tool at the right time. “The

To read more (including details about the company’s architectural sign work for NYU’s Stern School of Business, shown), visit 76

‘art’ of the process relates to the creativity, intuition, experience, and finesse of all staff involved. Together art and science comprise the ‘yin and yang’ of architectural signage production,” adds Dan. Dura owns and utilizes lasers for cutting and Braille/tactile appliqués; multi-axis water jet machines for metal letter and logo fabrication; computerized vinyl cutters, plotters, and engravers; and a host of ancillary CAD/CAM machines. “Our customers now demand rapid production and delivery of and expect us to be knowledgeable in not just manufacturing but also in all aspects of technology,” says Dan. But the latest equipment and techniques alone can’t balance the “yin and yang” of architectural signage. Working in a successful partnership with a design firm is also key. “A great design firm must trust the sign companies it deals with and consider them a resource; it’s a collaboration of equals (not a dictatorship) to build a product that will be greater than the sum of its parts,” says Dan.

Dura created a handful of stainless steel building identification signs for NYU Stern School of Business.

Sign Builder Illustrated // october 2012





See digital display technologies that will inspire you to have ideas – ideas that can benefit your business and your bottom line. Inspiration is waiting. Come find it at DSE. PRESENTING SPONSORS









Vehicle wrap courtesy of

ORACAL® Series 970ra Wrapping Cast Film with RapidAir® Technology is the industry’s leading paint alternative film. Designed with a built-in protective clear coat, this 10-year film requires no lamination. Stop by the SGIA Expo, booth #1301 to see Series 970ra in action! | 888.672.2251

Sign Builder Illustrated October 2012  

SIgn Builder Illustrated's October issue includes stories on vehicle wraps, building and wall wraps, awnings, POP displays, monuments, EMCs,...

Sign Builder Illustrated October 2012  

SIgn Builder Illustrated's October issue includes stories on vehicle wraps, building and wall wraps, awnings, POP displays, monuments, EMCs,...