Signs of the Times - November 2012 - (Page 28)

LIGHTING TECHNIQUES By Marcus Thielen Marcus Thielen is a physicist and lighting-industry consultant from Duisburg, Germany. Selling neon signs for dummies You don’t have to fabricate neon to sell it. When youyou’ll often find today’s closely examine “signshop,” it’s mostly a graphic-design, printer/ plotter shop. The “classic” signshop formerly offered a full palette of murals, billboards, pole signs, canopies and “electric” signs - which often meant neon. Many included “Neon” in their business name. Adding neon to a vinyl signshop’s portfolio will increase sales and reputation, because “neon signs have a handcrafted feel that goes beyond the materials employed,” wrote Rudi Stern in his introduction to Philip di Lemme’s book, American Streamline. This month’s column intends to help sign-industry newcomers (often, franchises) understand the advantages and possibilities of neon signs. Today’s world is different. Selling something doesn’t necessarily require you to fabricate it. Items like neon signs easily can be bought wholesale. However, buying something online and having it shipped from the Far East often proves very Classic neon draws with light on the night canvas. disappointing in terms of quality and service. It’s better to subcontract locally; installation (except portable ones fitted with a standard plug) usually requires a licensed sign electrician. Some products are mentally connected with neon; thus, the sign will convey not only a product name, but a lifestyle. 28 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / NOVEMBER 2012 / Are neon signs an option? When potential customers inquire about a sign, you, as the salesperson, must determine if neon technology is viable. For example, a banner project over Main St. wouldn’t seem likely, but it’s not impossible. If the sign message or graphics could be rendered with simple lines of intense color, neon is probably an option. However, if the customer insists on photo-realistic graphics, then it’s not wise or realistic. If the client is open-minded, and seems to appreciate creative alternatives, suggesting neon might produce a sale. “Neonifying” the sign message – simplifying it down to a few linestrokes – and differentiating it from surrounding signs, may require a caricaturist’s talent. In neon, the graphics and message is the lightsource itself – writing or drawing with light on a canvas of night. Learn to sketch (on paper is sometimes easier than on a computer)

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - November 2012

Signs of the Times - November 2012
ST Update
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Commercial
Lighting Techniques
The Moving Message
Technology Review
Technology Review
Design Matters
New Products
London 2012
The Rules of Attraction
Extreme Weather
An Icon Looks at 80
The Value of Signs
Enter ST ’s 2013 Intl. Sign Contest
Industry News
Industry News
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - November 2012