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Rusty and Amanda Gibbs Win the 2020 Virtual Sign Invitational

The co-owners of Gibbs Graphics (Leavenworth, WA) prevail in the fifth annual signmaking competition.




Rusty and Amanda Gibbs, co-owners of Gibbs Graphics (Leavenworth, WA), were voted as the winners of the 2020 Virtual Sign Invitational by users who visited Operators of a sign company that specializes in custom-carved signs and handpainted murals, the Gibbs narrowly triumphed over runner-up Leo Bronstein of Wood Graphics (Santa Paula, CA).

“It’s pretty surprising, especially considering this is our first time entering and with such strong competitors out there,” Rusty said. Amanda added: “We’re just a small signshop. It gives me a boost of confidence in our legitimacy. I always think we do cool things, but I guess other people think we do, too.”

The Gibbs’ “Lizard G” sign – “G” because of Gibbs and Graphics,  and “Lizard” because their seven-year-old son loves lizards – required over 200 hours of work between the couple and features steel, acrylic, sculpting epoxy, LEDs and cedar wood with laser-engraved words, among other materials. The cyborg lizard sports a welded interior structure and a hand-sculpted outer skin. “It represents all of the types of materials we use in our shop,” Rusty said. The 27-in.-tall “G” portion of the sign spins around, and has decorative frills on the side, a nod to their Bavarian-design-inspired town. The back side of the sign represents the various services the shop offers.

After the International Sign Association’s 2020 Sign Expo was cancelled, the organizers of the Sign Invitational and Signs of the Times pivoted the 2020 Sign Invitational to a virtual, online format. Originally, Sign Expo attendees visiting ST Media Group/Signs of the Times’ booth would have voted for the winner, which was the process in 2019.

After the Virtual Sign Invitational voting window opened on July 27, users had two weeks to view images of each entry, watch a video interview of the entrant describing their project and vote for their favorite project. The theme of the fifth-annual signmaking competition was “less is more,” and each entry had to fit on a 2 x 2-ft. display table. 

A hearty thank you to the rest of the 2020 Virtual Sign Invitational field, who completed their projects under very trying and unusual circumstances: Jim Dawson of Synergy Sign & Graphics (Strasburg, OH); Mo Flint of Atomic Barn Studios (Willow Spring, NC); Katy and Clayton Letourneau of Custom Sign Lab (Beamsville, ON, Canada); and Dan Sawatzky of Imagination Corp. (Chilliwack, BC, Canada).


Sign Invitational competitors who constructed pieces for the original 2020 contest, but elected to not participate in the Virtual Sign Invitational, will be permitted to display those entries at a non-judged “legacy showing” during the 2021 ISA Sign Expo in Las Vegas next April. Competitors with legacy showings will also be permitted to enter the 2021 Sign Invitational.

Thank you to our Sign Invitational sponsors: AXYZ Automation Group; GE Current, a Daintree company; the International Sign Association; JDS Sign Supply; and SA International (SAi).



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