Sign & Digital Graphics

January '17

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • January 2017 • 69 Create a Continuing Education Opportunity You can probably surmise at this point that the best way to accomplish this is to send your designers into the shop, and into the field, so that the challenges encountered can become lessons learned for the design process. But how do you do that when the designer is up to his eyebrows in work? It's time to get creative and devise a plan for your designer to gain the needed shop experience they need. One idea is to allow your designer to work in the shop on one day a week, let's say on a Friday. Then, on Saturdays they can make up the day that they lost during the week, or by simply working two extra hours a day to make up the difference. Of course, this is like sending your designer to a one day a week class. It will be an investment in your time, and of theirs. It also takes a designer who is willing to invest in themselves and their craft for the sake of their skillset. Not every designer will see this as a benefit or an opportunity. It may take some convincing that this is, in the long run, a vital part of their qualifications to being a great designer. What is best to focus on initially I have gathered the most valuable understanding of electric signs from working with channel letters. It is truly a hands-on exploration into the trials and tribulations of the channel letter department. More importantly the pushing, pulling and bending of the aluminum seems to leave an indelible impression in the mind. The combination of the pain felt in the fingers and wrists when combined with the looming pressures of completing 16 letters before the end of the day leaves an impression that is never forgotten. I remember mumbling under my breath "these letters are a pain in the butt" as I attempted to work the trim cap around the acrylic letter without damaging either of them. Yes, it was frustrating to say the least as my learning curve was steep, and my fine motor skills were not allowing me to work the trim cap properly. My first few letters were a mess to say the least. I think I remember redoing one or two of them. I learned some valuable lessons that week that carried me over into the other departments. Once your mindset is programed to pay close attention to small details, like serifs, then it becomes much easier to pay attention to larger details, like cabinet depths and access panel locations. Regardless, the important thing to remember is to focus the designer's efforts on that which will benefit them the most. If it's channel letters or monuments or wall signs, put them in the shop and then out in the field. Your efforts will return to you tenfold. SDG Certain constraints must be acknowledged and planned for prior to creating a design.

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