Signs of the Times - August 2016 - (Page 66)

Writing on the Wall Shallower channel letters have met lukewarm reception - so far - while hurried buyers are increasingly demanding design services. By Robin Donovan Midtown Signs D ennis Baughman's Internet is faster than yours - and has been for a while. The owner/operator of Midtown Signs (Kansas City, KS) has had his speedy connection since he participated in a Google Fiber pilot project in 2014. He's unusual in other ways, too. Along with Midtown Signs, his wife and he also own two Thai restaurants. It's little wonder that about half his customers are restaurateurs - and the overwhelming majority of his work is local. After he bought his first channel-letter bender recently, he decided to stick to a trends-first strategy and avoid wholesale. In practice, that has meant fabricating lots of vintage-inspired signage, which was actually Baughman's entrance into the channelletter market. "We'll do a channel letter and paint the inside with a high gloss or use an enamel on the 66 SIGNS OF THE TIMES August 2016 letters so that they fade out, so you can see the brushstrokes in them. You truly have that vintage feel on the sign, instead of something that's just churned out," he says. He also capitalized on the craze over Edison bulbs. First, he created a sample letter, painted black, with the bulbs inside. Then, he painted the inside of the face with an offwhite lettering enamel. "Everyone wanted that," he says. "We ended up doing some rusted ones out of steel, where we've completely rusted them out." LEDs lower entry barriers As with so many things, it seems you get what you pay for with LEDs. And with newer installers and salespeople in the market, savvy signmakers can carve out a special role as "fixers" of low-quality, poorly installed LEDs. It makes sense, in some ways. "First, get your C-45 [California sign contractor] license so you know what you're doing as far as electricity goes. Once you're [licensed], it's not hard to train somebody to work with LEDs. I'm a sales guy and our owner was able to teach me in less than a year," said Jayson Barron, sales manager for Orange County Signs & Lighting (Orange, CA). But learning in a year might not prepare you for every hurdle you'll face. To wit, most of Orange County Signs' problems arise due to a simple lapse: sign companies' failure to conduct a site survey before contracting with this wholesaler. "You would be surprised at how many companies sell a sign without even looking where the sign is going to go," Barron said. Still, not everyone is convinced. "When I get a service call on neon,

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - August 2016

Signs of the Times - August 2016
ST Update
Technology Update
Why You Should Invest in a Color-Management Device
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Electric
LED Update
Software Update
Technology Review - Epson SureColor S80600
Technology Review - The AXYZ Trident
Shop Ops
Sign Museum News
New Products
Digging Deep
Writing on the Wall
Dostoevsky and the Crane Truck
Penn State Study Assesses Font Legibility
A Crossroads Celebration
Advertising Index
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - August 2016