Traditional Signwriting with a brush and enamels to timber was a craft, a career choice many a would-be artist would take at an early age that offered a stable, yet fascinating and long-standing way to earn a living. It was a skill that had not changed much since early Victorian times or from the Saloon festooned streets of Wild West America, epitomised by the Hollywood movies we watched in our youth.
In more modern times, the invention and expanding use of neon signage and the introduction of colour Television transported us from the American diners of the 50s, through the streets and Casinos of Las Vegas, to a swinging 60s London scene and the influence of signage across popular culture, art, music and social entertainment. Thin hand-blown glass tubes turned into incredible designs that lit the night-time scene, blazing messages and directions were all the rage.
The 70s and the disco era further implanted the importance of signage and neon with the public as an integral part of everyday life.
However, fashions and styles have changed in the intervening years and neon somewhat faded in favour. As to painting on timber boards – surely the need for these early craftsmen with their sign-making skills has long since faded too?
Traditional skills mix with modern technology
Both forms of early signage, especially when combined in innovative large format displays, had a vibrancy and visual impact that helped define their era, yet they still do remain a very important part of sign making today – even with the introduction of computer controlled machines and 3D routers – the art of a skilled craftsman in sign design and construction is alive and well, even thriving. Signs made from these original materials are increasingly specified in themed retail projects because they remain effective. When designed correctly, they attract attention – a trait any sign designer will take advantage of.
Advances in weather resistant materials, particularly with the introduction of coloured acrylics, gave today’s sign-makers a vast array of possibilities. These enhanced their ability to visualise designs with fabrication techniques that were previously considered far too complex, especially if made in the traditional materials of wood or metal. Costs could also be prohibitive; an important consideration if it was a large-scale project, or in a challenging environment, so anything that brought cost-savings without a detriment to visual quality, effectiveness and reliability in use was to be lauded.
The introduction of energy efficient light sources such as L.E.D. has also allowed for the design of more complex curves and shapes, allowing slimmer and more intricate designs to be contemplated. Sign support systems like transformers can now be hidden or blended with their environment, giving clean, sharp looks with maximum impact.
Space and weight savings not only speeds efficient production, but importantly, allows larger or more intricate signage for a given budget and drastically improves the installation time. It also aids long-term reliability and your assurance of a quality product that has lower maintenance needs, meaning future costs are reduced. This gives a better return on the initial investment.
Neon has seen a resurgence in favour, not only in its most basic ‘naked’ form as an artistic element of themed nostalgia, but as a means of lighting many complex shapes or in adding striking highlights to attract attention or to create atmosphere. Nothing quite looks like, or matches neon for impact!
Technical Signs has experts in many traditional sign-making techniques which give our design team the luxury of flexibility – blending the right mix of construction techniques and materials to match your design specification, house style, décor, or sign purpose.
Our in-house neon and fabrication shops with adjacent final assembly facilities allow us close monitoring of your project from the initial computer visuals, all the way through production to hand-over to our experienced site engineers and final site commissioning. We even have signwriters that can paint a sign on the side of your building too!
From concept, through to completion with existing customers; from initial tentative talks with a potential client, working through prototypes, samples, fitting and aftercare – you can be assured that the Technical Signs team will be using and specifying not only the very latest materials, investing in the latest production equipment, but calling on years of experience gained in using traditional techniques that makes sign-making very much an art form; and a craft – and every bit as important today as it has always been.
What do your signs say about you? Are you ready to be different?
Put our skills to the test to enjoy the benefits of the Technical Signs experience.