Sign & Digital Graphics

August '16

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • August 2016 • 19 I n the not-so-long-ago good old days of the sign business, making channel letters was the height of professional art- istry—a serious craft for skilled profes- sionals who lovingly crafted components by hand, turning out one-of-a-kind work at a slow-but-steady pace. Nowadays, that sort of hands-on work has become more and more infrequent and sign companies struggle with the choice to try to do their own channel letter work in-house or weigh the costs of enlisting the help of a regional or national wholesaler to provide finished letter jobs. Your decision as an independent sign professional depends on a number of fac- tors, but ultimately it's usually cost—and your ability to turn a profit—that helps guide the choice to do it yourself, or work with a wholesaler. Robert Hiller, who runs a Signarama franchise in Tampa, Florida with his wife Beatriz, admires those folks who still have the time and patience to do channel letter work by hand, but says that smaller companies have to so some serious think- ing when making the choice to properly equip themselves, or go with a wholesale fabricator. B Y A N D Y S T O N E H O U S E Andy Stonehouse is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. Working out of a warehouse in the mountain community of Crested Butte, Colorado, Letter Fab is able to produce and ship channel letters more affordably than most sign shops could do themselves. A full range of computerized routers and other automated equipment means Letter Fab can build more than 150 channel sign components a day.

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