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Designer Sign Systems’ Mounted Panels Celebrate Eco-Friendly Technologies

Program celebrate New Jersey college’s “going green” initiative



Designer Sign Systems (DSS) Carlstadt, NJ, has fabricated architectural signage for 34 years, and functions primarily as a full design/build signshop. For several years, DSS has fabricated several sign projects for St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, NJ, a Jesuit institution with approximately 3,000 students. The shop was brought back to the campus by Strategic Development Group, the college’s construction-management firm, to execute an unusual environmental-graphic project.

School leaders planned solar-panel installations on the school’s parking garage as part of a school-wide “going green” initiative. Strategic hatched the idea of a series of 13 street-level, graphic panels that celebrated “green” technologies, and they contracted DSS to design the gallery and fabricate the graphic panels.

DSS specified elements to depict, such as solar panels, wind turbines and CCFL lightbulbs. After client approval, DSS’ design team fine-tuned the primary imagery with CorelDRAW, and worked with Adobe Illustrator to enhance the contrast and color palette.

DSS began the process with a site survey, from which it determined the garage was built at a sloped grade. Thus, the shop had to gradually shrink the panels as they progressed across the garage wall – the largest measure 10 x 12 ft., the smallest 10 x 8 ft.

“One of the most important tasks when we planned the job was determining the wind load and strength-to-width ratios of various panel-frame materials,” Anthony Barbieri, DSS’ senior VP, said. “We also carefully selected images so they could be reproduced within the required panel proportions. Our timeframe required that we stage the entire installation for completion within three days. Proactive, accurate budgeting assures the client they’ll have the project they want on time and within budget.”

To support the panels, DSS MIG-welded 0.125-in.-thick aluminum custom frames from extrusions typically designed for awnings. Barbieri said these extrusions provided the required wind load. The shop printed the panels on 3M™’s Panaflex™ flexible-face, reinforced mesh material on a latex-ink HP Designjet L25500 printer. To fortify the panels, DSS installed reduced-PVC vinyl sheets.


“We tried to make the panels’ production as green as possible to reflect the school’s mission,” he said. “There’s a growing demand for them, especially among academic institutions.”



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