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Best In-House Design and Fabrication, Illuminated




2022 Sign Contest: Best In-House Design and Fabrication, Illuminated


Open-face aluminum letters, LED cove lighting, carnival-style LED bulbs and a programmed flasher come together in this sign for a drive-thru coffee shop that operates out of an Airstream trailer. Set on an adjacent building, the sign’s LED perimeter illuminates the sequins placed on its interior backs.

Ace Sign Co. | Springfield, IL | Shad Eskew

Designer: Ryan Swaar

Installer: Tyson Horacek

Clients: Ashley Kochniarczyk | The Coffee Can

Fabrication Equipment/Tools: Laser, CNC, Matthews Paint

Installation Equipment/Tools: 35-ft. Elliot

Materials/Components: Sign sequins, open-face fabricated aluminum letters, LED cove lighting, carnival-style LED bulbs, programmed flasher

Software: Adobe Illustrator


Designed to replicate the 1928 marquee, this project involved building a new structure that could support a combined 14,162 lbs. — including a 42-ft.-tall blade with service ladders and bump bars that mimic the original. The lower marquee is home to two EMCs, a hand-carved HDU centerpiece, stained-glass boxes illuminated by low-lumen LED modules, and a multi-level bulb raceway ceiling.

Wagner Electric Sign Co. | Elyria, OH |

Designer: Eric E. Larsen

Installer: Wagner Electric Sign Co.

Client: Capitol Theatre

Fabrication Equipment/Tools: CNC routers, shears, hand tools, welders

Installation Equipment/Tools: 140-ft. crane, 35-ft. service truck

Materials/Components: Aluminum, steel, acrylic, HDU, LED marquee bulbs, electronic message centers

Software: CorelDRAW


The team crafted this entrance monument sign with an Onsrud CNC router and a metal brake. Natural stone veneer and stained wood boards provide rustic textures, while aluminum routed in the form of a buck, tree and leaves was painted for an iron look. Routed, push-thru acrylic letters with an opaque black vinyl inset help the text stand out. LEDs light up the silhouette at night.

Bakers’ Signs & Manufacturing | Conroe, TX |

Designer: Thomas Turner

Installer: Bakers’ Signs & Manufacturing

Client: Desert Rose Properties

Fabrication Equipment/Tools: C.R. Onsrud CNC router, Computerized Cutters Accu-Bend channel bender, metal brake, HP digital printer, plotter

Installation Equipment/Tools: Two crane trucks, footer auger, concrete truck

Materials/Components: Steel pylons, concrete, aluminum, white acrylic, white LED modules, digitally printed and laminated graphics

Software: Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, SAi EnRoute

Other Components/Tools: Commercial paint equipment




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We dive into the history of the sign industry’s oldest trade journal, highlighting some interesting facts about how it all started to where it’s headed. Did you know that Signs of the Times is nearly 120 years old?

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