Sign & Digital Graphics

November '15

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56 • November 2015 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S SPECIALTY IMAGING DIGITAL GRAPHICS background or configuration, there is one constant—reliance on the machine. Using the right CNC router will provide optimal results and repeat business. But some aspects of routed signs also include additional care—outside of the machine. Custom hand work can improve the look of these types of signs. "When it comes to the molding that's all done by hand," Ziglin says. "We do a lot of fabrication with aluminum—some steal but not much. Every once in a while we'll use some sculpting aspects where we'll carve." Keeping all parts of the project under the shop's supervision is a big advantage. It allows the shop to stick to the timetable and ensure that nothing is overlooked. Ziglin Signs in St. Louis employs a 35 person team that creates a range of projects from vehicle wraps to 3D signage. "We do a lot of in-house welding and building of wood structures," Cox says. "Keeping the work in-house allows us to get very creative and keep projects mov- ing efficiently." A "How-To" Approach First steps can be the biggest. Shop owners should ask themselves: What should I consider when approaching a three-dimensional sign project? Cox says, "Our normal process begins with a client meeting to gather information, and educate them with our knowledge of design and materials." Following that initial meeting, House of Signs conducts a site visit and then starts to draft a concept to present to the client. From Ziglin's perspective, there are a couple of starter steps to follow. He says the "dimension factor is always number one," and keep these two questions in mind: How are you going to make the proj- ect—is it routed or hand made? What is the concept of it? "Figure out how you're going to make a realistic file because the file is the key," Ziglin says. "With everything now in laser and CNC, it all boils down to the file. So creating the file or having help creating the file is crucial to the whole 3D aspect of it." From there, it's on to actually getting the design in place. "3D sign design requires more complexity than flat signage because it entails more moving parts and interest- ing interfaces," says Cox, as he compares it to other projects. "How much carving depth and the level of detail required to execute a design should be determined early on in the design phase. Blending materials and finishes to be dimensional and aesthetically pleasing while meshing with an integrated bracket or framework are extremely important aspects that we take very seriously. Very clear vector design is also important before importing design files into 3 D software. This allows the CNC router to run more smoothly and quickly." Imagination, focused concept and skilled craftsmanship are the hallmarks of a great custom routed sign. (Image courtesy of House of Signs)

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