Signs of the Times - January 2014 - (Page 62)

BUILDING STREET CRED Monument signs send the message to the curb. By Steve Aust M onument signs have long served as a barometer for economic vitality. As the U.S. population migrated from urban cores to the suburbs after World War II, new residential or commercial developments flourished. And, of course, signs were erected to trumpet another new property. I was recently struck by a textbook example of how a sign can define a property's quality. While in Atlanta, I drove by an apartment complex where I'd formerly lived. When I resided there in the late '90s, it was named Old Salem, and its monument sign's face appeared to comprise weatherbeaten wood with shallow lettering. Driving down Roswell Rd. - one of Atlanta's most expansive thoroughfares not named Peachtree - I encountered the property, rechristened as One Sovereign Place. Moreover, its sign now featured a thick, durable- 62 SIGNS OF THE TIMES January 2014 Brother Zank, proprietor of Custom Craftsman, has fabricated monument signs for more than two decades in East Tennessee. (Above) This sign helps tourists get the point that this resort property features cabin rentals. (Right) Zank and MidSouth Signs (Columbus, MS) collaborated to develop this monument, which identifies a tourist-information center, for Bluegreen Corp. looking cabinet and deep, gold letters rendered in an elegant typeface. The wrought-iron fence that enveloped its front yard contributed to its aura of exclusivity, but it certainly provided a curbside appearance much more likely to attract new residents than its previous marker. Of course, even the best signs can't last forever. As signs deteriorate, they're repaired. As properties change hands, new signage reflects transitions. And, even as signs evolved to reflect a new owner or a new image, the real-estate boom would seemingly march on forever, beckoning with the siren song of perpetual economic growth. Well, we know how that story played out. The downturn of the late 2000s ravaged most cities. (I had to stifle the urge to slug a friend now living in natural-gasand petrol-rich Oklahoma when he quipped, "Recession? We only heard about that here!"). And, monument signs, which once offered promise, now represented bellwethers of desolation. Properties sat abandoned, with aging, forlorn signs that reflected economic troubles. However, today's market for monument signs appears as bullish as Wall Street stays strong (at presstime, I should add; who knows what "market correction" may loom when you read this!). New construction has resumed, and the credit market has somewhat loosened and enabled more financing for new business ventures. And, thus, the market for such signage is looking up. Several monument-sign fabricators provide insights into their material and methodology choices, and showcase their handiwork executed for a diverse array of customers.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - January 2014

Signs of the Times - January 2014
ST Update
Technology Update
Large-Format Design Strategies
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Commercial
Lighting Techniques
The Moving Message
Technology Review - Agfa’s Jeti Titan X
Technology Review - Polytype’s NQ32 UV hybrid printer
Design Matters
New Products
Industry News
GableSigns’ Casino Signs
Dynamic Digital Signage Made Simple
Building Street Cred
Modern Sign Engineering
Advertising index
Editorially speaking

Signs of the Times - January 2014