Sign & Digital Graphics

April '19

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18 • April 2019 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ARCHITECTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL [Note to reader: sign design has many areas and aspects which will be covered in a series of articles in the com- ing months. This article is the first in a series discussing the challenges of sign design.] At work, my first question to the boss was, "Why is a specification page and site plan a part of outdoor sign design? I am a designer, not a techni- cal drawing expert. Are there any example drawings laying around for me to look at?" My boss's answer was not helpful, "We are going to waste a lot of time going back-and-forth with revision after revision until I like what I see." My naive answer was, "and how do I learn anything from that pro- cess?" "You learn only if you ask enough questions, and in time, we will see if you can figure this out or not." Wow! I was floored. 15 years later, I walked into a local sign company to pick up a check. Today, I do subcontracting sign design and technical drawing work for many com- panies, this one included. While I was there, I met their new graphic designer. She was smiling. She had just finished the company Christmas card. I heard someone say, "Send it to get printed right away." The protocol for the print industry is mostly: design it, approve it, send it, print it, send it out, cover it, display it, hang it or stick it as a label on a product. Basically, a great number of graphic designs becomes a print, a two- dimensional graphic. With an approval of a outdoor sign design (and most other sign designs), a design file is converted into a produc- tion file for sign manufacturing. With sign making, there is measuring, cutting, sanding, bonding, welding, riveting, drill- ing, peeling, reverse peeling, masking, laminating and many other processes. Simply put, there are a lot of labor and fabrication techniques employed to make a sign. Sign manufacturing is such an unknown concept to the public that if you try to explain it to someone, most people look at you with a blank stare. To them, outdoor retail signage is just part of the landscape, a given. Who cares? I need a coffee, where is Starbucks? A great deal of outdoor signage rep- resents identity and branding, two things There are lots of labor and fabrication tech- niques employed to make a sign. Sign specifications sample.

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