Amanda and Rusty Gibbs of Gibbs Graphics (Leavenworth, WA) were voted the victors of the 2021 Virtual Sign Invitational by visitors to signsofthetimes.com/2021virtualsigninvitational, outlasting runner-up and first-time entrant Matt Marriott of Imagination Corp. (Chilliwack, BC, Canada). Jim Dawson of Synergy Sign & Graphics (Strasburg, OH) placed third. The Gibbs successfully defended their title after taking first in the 2020 Virtual Sign Invitational.
The theme of this year’s contest was “go fish.” Sixty total hours were needed from both members of Team Gibbs for their sign, which was commissioned by “the imaginary owner of Go Fish Hooks & Lures, a frog-owned establishment,” according to Rusty Gibbs. The Gibbs routed wood-grain texture on one side of the sign and hand-carved a similar texture on the other two sides.
For the second consecutive year, the Sign Invitational, typically held at the International Sign Association’s International Sign Expo, pivoted to a virtual format due to COVID-19 concerns. This decision was reached by Dawson and Dan Sawatzky of Imagination Corp., the Sign Invitational’s co-organizers, in consultation with Signs of the Times.
A big thank you to Dawson, Sawatzy, Marriott, Amanda and Rusty Gibbs, and the rest of the 2021 Virtual Sign Invitational field: Cam Andres of Multiwerks/Tail Creek Automation (Nevis, AB, Canada); Mo Flint of Atomic Barn Studios (Willow Spring, NC); Janey Freid of Atlas Signs and Plaques (Delta, CO); and Nancy Wilde (Vernon, BC, Canada). For the second year in a row, everyone delivered exceptional pieces under unusual and difficult circumstances.
As for the 2022 Sign Invitational, Dawson and Sawatkzy already have a theme: a pub sign with an alliterative animal name (i.e., blind bird, fast fox, grinning goat). The sign should be dimensional and measure approximately 24 in. wide x 36 in. tall. Mounting posts will be supplied and the signs will hang from a supplied simple bracket (horizontal pipe with two loops). Participants can also use their own custom bracket, which would bolt to a specific mounting plate.
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