Signs of the Times - April 2014 - (Page 67)

2014 International Sign Contest: A New Breed of Classics An eclectic, inspiring mix of winners By Steve Aust S ince 2001, I've handled ST's sign competitions. The year after I began, we consolidated our Electric and Commercial contests into a single gauntlet thrown down to the entire industry (except for vehicle graphics, which received their own, no-holds-barred cage match in 2007) with the International Sign Contest. The most encouraging development - and least in the eyes of this harried Contest Coordinator - was the sheer increase in entries. This year's field comprised 312 submissions, a 37% surge from last year's 227. Also, 67 shops participated, a significant increase over 2013's 58. The abundance of the field's quality matched its quantity. From an elaborate mural that transformed a drab building wall into a captivating work of art, to a shop's whimsical, freestanding, self-promotional sign built atop an imitation-tree sculpture, to a rock-climbing gym's neon-lit mountaineer traversing a building wall, every winning entry goes far beyond fulfilling its duty to provide on-premise branding. Rather, they embellish their surroundings, and can justifiably be called commercial art. As we did two years prior, we ventured 100 miles south to conduct the judging at Alltech's corporate headquarters in Nicholasville, KY. Founded by Irish natives Dr. Pierce and Dierdre Lyons in 1980, Alltech's research facilities use yeast fermentation, enzyme technology and nutrigenomics to create nutritional additives for plant, animal and human food. And, in recent years, Contest judges (left to right) David Jones, Dan Brown, Scott Cambron and Richelle Bach evaluated the 2014 International Sign Contest field at Alltech's corporate headquarters in Nicholasville, KY. the company has opened the Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. (what a great application of yeastfermentation knowledge!). I fervently recommend their Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale (which is aged in freshly emptied bourbon barrels for up to six weeks) and Bourbon Barrel Stout (also barrel-aged, with coffee). Keep browsing package stores until you find them. Anyway, back to the task at hand. Our collection of judges - Ruggles Sign (Versailles, KY) production manager Scott Cambron, Lexington-based graphic artist Richelle Bach, Alltech senior designer David Jones, and Dan Brown, branch manager of Tubelite's Columbus office - provided balanced perspectives, and plenty of spirited dialogue throughout the process. Some familiar faces appeared in the winners' circle: Portland's Security Signs is a competition mainstay; Dan Sawatzky, proprietor of Chilliwack, BC, Canada's Sawatzky Imagination Corp., predictably earned accolades for two entries; and ArtFX Signs (Bloomfield, CT) upheld tradition and delivered an award-winning entry. Yet, we also had several new victors. House of Signs (Frisco, CO), which hasn't entered the competition before, earned honors for seven of its submissions, including two First Place designations. We haven't kept such records, but I suspect that sets a new high for the most accolades for one shop in a single competition. Monroe, WA-based Amigo Arts earned the Best of Show for its comprehensive sign program for Cal's Classic American Kitchen, an upscale eatery in Kent, WA that dresses up such traditional fare as beef stroganoff, grilled cheese with tomato soup, and chicken and waffles. The project's combination of interior and exterior neon signage, arrows lit by incandescent bulbs (what's more Americana?) and lightboxes over tables and behind the bar, swirl post-modern and retro to redefine the American diner's essence. So, here we have it, the stately and the quirky, the humorous and the dignified - ladies and gentlemen, the 2014 International Sign Contest! SIGNS OF THE TIMES 67

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

Signs of the Times - April 2014
Columns & Departments
ST Update
Technology Update
ISA Sign Expo 2014 – Making the most of it
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Electric
LED Update
Software Update
Technology Review: Roland’s SOLJET Pro 4 XF-640 printer
Technology Review: EFI’s VUTEk GS2000/3250 digital-hybrid printers
Sign Museum News
New Products
The 2014 Intl. Sign Contest
2nd Annual Readers’ Choice Award
For the Record
ISA Expo Adds SEGD Component
Surprising Evidence about Neon’s History
Editorially speaking
Advertising index

Signs of the Times - April 2014