Sign & Digital Graphics

September '14

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108 • September 2014 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S Built By Hand Efficient sign making for small shops and one-man armies B y R I C K W I L L I A M S Shop Talk This month I'd like to look at a couple of the recent jobs that were basically created one-man-army style, and go over some of the fabrication techniques that make these jobs make sense and make money, too. First of all, over the years I have found that I have gravitated toward building nearly all of my individual custom sign jobs using metal, and have half my wood working tools in storage. And most all exposed metal will be aluminum, of course. But, fabricating with metal is easy, with basic welding and cutting tools, and done right, many of the jobs are even still quite light and can be installed without lifting equipment. One of the ones completed recently was a custom sign for a local plumbing shop called Richard Parker Plumbing. This client wanted a nice sign, somewhat three-dimensional, but was opting to light it from the ground so no electronics would be involved. Using his circular logo, I drew up a proposal that would present his name, phone number and even the address, on a tall monument sign with a steel struc- ture, formed aluminum panels and simple cutouts. The final look would compliment his new building, W ell, I am not really a one-man army, since we normally employ over a dozen full- and part-time employees at our two companies located across the highway from each other. But, when I go back through my files it is interesting how many sign fabrication jobs I tackle personally and get done with very little help from the crew. And to be honest, I don't mind flying solo at all. In fact, for quite a while I had two kids off to col- lege, and working a whole lot of overtime seemed the only way to protect what retirement savings I had. Then, custom sign projects became my regular Saturday activity. This is often still the case today, because when I am not interrupted 30 times a day by phone calls, and customers who want to see the boss, I can actually get a whole lot done and I enjoy the work a lot. Rick Williams owns Rick's Sign Company, a commercial sign shop in Longview, Texas. He has been in the sign industry since 1973 and documenting the sign business since 1986. Contact him at RickSignCo@ aol.com. 108 • September 2014 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S This custom monument sign, of mostly metal con- struction, was built one-man-army style. Done over two or three Saturdays, this uninterrupted timeframe is efficient work time for me. ARCHITECTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL

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