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Airpark Signs Fabricates Metal Sign for Phoenix United Way Office

Sign complements printed graphics

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Social-service agencies typically struggle to keep their doors open and serve their clients. Naturally, for an agency trying to assist society’s poorest, signage concerns tend to be peripheral. The Valley of the Sun United Way, which serves the Phoenix area’s needy, recently opened a new facility, and its architect, SmithGroup’s Phoenix office, contracted Tempe, AZ-based Airpark Signs & Graphics to fabricate a wall-mounted sign for its reception area, as well as various supergraphic installations on the property. Using client-supplied photographs, Tom Martin, principal of Tempe-based Twin Engine Design, devised the program using Adobe® Illustrator® software.
“The client asked for a lobby-entry sign that looked more like a work of art than a sign,” Gretchen Wilde, Airpark’s president, said. “So, we decided on 3-D forms with graphic elements that ‘float’ in the space.”
The letters’ forms comprise zinc came, a lightweight, strong and rigid form of the metal that’s commonly used to create frames for stained-glass work; it’s preferable for pieces that don’t include many curves. Airpark painted the components with Matthews acrylic-polyurethane paint and meticulously formed the letters with metal-bending equipment. The shop created the stained-glass effect by applying translucent film over cut pieces of glass. Because the letters were lightweight, she said the walls required no prepwork. To make the letters appear as if they were floating, Airpark stud-mounted the sign.
“The zinc was quite soft, so it was easy to cut and form in-house,” Wilde said. “The facility had a very open floorplan, but several areas were clearly defined for serving different purposes. So, we had to subtly change the color schemes in different areas to create visual flow through the space while maintaining the pattern. For example, the business area is blue; the park area is green, and so on.”
To complement the lobby graphic, Airpark also fabricated “all-encompassing” wall graphics. They comprise 3M™ Controltac™ with Comply air-release vinyl printed on an HP 360 latex-ink printer.
 

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