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For The Love

Saluting the signmakers who do it for the love of the craft.



There is a rock climber who spent years – years – mastering a set of 32 pitches on the face of El Capitan, a formidable climbing spot at Yosemite National Park. Day after day, night after night of scrabbling and slipping, bleeding and smashing himself into the rock face as he fell. Why? He told filmmakers the wall is where he feels most safe, most real. 

There’s something romantic about someone toiling in silence and near-solitude to accomplish a lofty goal. 

Mark Kissling interviewed a set of sign masters, crafting “time”-themed projects for this year’s Sign Invitational. When the competition’s founders asked us to co-host and promote the Invitational with them, we jumped at the chance. 

We’ve covered so many case studies over the years, so many trends, new products, new technology and design tips. We haven’t had as much of a chance to cover signmakers making signs just for the love of it.

The Sign Invitational doesn’t pay the bills, doesn’t keep the lights on for contestants. But more than almost anything else we cover, it is inspiring to see.

The cool thing is, I’m hearing about this more and more from the sign people we cover. They’re doing something they love first, and signmaking just happens to be the business that springs from it. 


We’ve seen this in so many places, like our Makers of Tomorrow in the February issue. The award highlights the passion and projects of young signmakers like Pablo Guerrero, who started out as a designer and now documents his work with pretty rockin’ videos. Or Alex Kurakake, whom the old guard has their eye on as a leader in a new generation of signpainters. We’re also seeing it in Grant Freking’s Sign Face column, where he’s interviewing sign industry leaders – people who can tell us a bit more about where the industry is going, and the factors shaping it. 

So, at the ISA Expo, come vote on the 2019 Sign Invitational’s labors of love. We’ll be in booth #2135, waiting to convince you to compete next year.



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