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Now That’s a Sign!

Nearly four decades without their own sign, Media 1/Wrap This makes up for lost time.

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IN 1984, I WAS 16 and had just started this little sign company in my mom’s garage in Oviedo, FL. I was hand-lettering, airbrushing and doing custom paint-work on boats, cars, motorcycles, etc. Vinyl plotters were just making their industry debut, and silk-screening was the only way to produce multiple sign orders efficiently.

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Wanna WATCH this entire process? Scan this QR code to see it live!

Wanna WATCH this entire process? Scan this QR code to see it live!

Boy, a whole lot has changed over those 37 years, right? Technology exploded on the scene with better, faster ways to create amazing signage, and we have done our best over the years to stay ahead of the curve, striving to always have the latest and greatest equipment available. But beyond technology and equipment upgrades, what else does a growing sign company need?

Space. That’s right, space. After all, you can’t run a successful company out of your mom’s garage forever, so by the time I was 19, I had rented my own 1,200-sq.-ft. shop. Two years later, I moved to a 2,400-sq.-ft. space. The mid-’90s took me to a 6,000-sq.-ft. warehouse, and by 2004, Rick Ream was my partner, and we never thought we’d outgrow our massive 10,000-sq.-ft. building. We eventually expanded to 20,000 sq. ft. by taking over an adjoining space, and then as you may have read last year, we finally bought our very own place … a beautiful, fully air-conditioned, 30,000-sq.-ft. behemoth on 2.5 pristine acres!

This list is to illustrate how many locations in which we have plied our trade for nearly four decades. Shockingly, beside some window graphics, a DIBOND panel from years ago, and one 5 x 10-ft. pan face in a shared pylon structure, we have never, I mean never, had our own sign. For real. A sign company with no appreciable sign! We’d been taking flack on that for years, and I, for one, finally got sick of it!

After a few attempts at some in-house designs, I ran them past my wife, Christy, the Supreme Designer of our home, our personal car wraps, and our beautiful shop offices. My Pinterest Princess took one look at our designs, shot them down, and started sending me photos of signs from all over the world that she felt were more in line with our capabilities. (Well, we might as well make it a statement piece, after all those sign-less years!)

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The traffic on the street in front of our new building runs mostly one way, with not much coming from the other direction, so we opted for a single-sided sign, angled for the perfect road view.

We started with seven 2-ft.-wide, fuselage-shaped aluminum columns spaced 2 ft. apart, at varying heights for the backdrop of the sign. Our team painted them with Matthews Brushed Aluminum, matte finish. The individual columns (or “robots,” as lead fabricator Steve Pass calls them) were individually mounted in a first pour of concrete, toward the back of our 12 x 3 x 2-ft.-deep footer. After that partial pour locked them in, we removed the plywood forms holding everything in place, and did a second concrete pour the next day, to leave a smooth base, sitting 8 in. proud of grade.

8 in. in front of the columns, we installed a 12-ft.-long x 2-ft.-tall aluminum base with custom-rounded ends, angled back 45°. We then painted the base with high-gloss Matthews black. The base also features ¾-in. clear acrylic push-through lettering reading, ‘WRAP THIS.’ Our fabricators backed the acrylic with white 3M Envision Diffuser Film, and translucent colors on the faces. Inside the base, we backed the letters with bright white HanleyLED Phoenix PF-2030 Mini LED Sign Modules.

Next up, we turned to our awesome ChannelBender SXP from our friends at SDS Automation to fabricate 2.5-in.-deep ‘MEDIA 1’ letters, using SDS’s proprietary “trimless” channel letter return material, making unique, clean and modern letters with no plastic trimcap. HanleyLED Phoenix PF-2080 LEDs handled the channel letter lighting, and we attached the letters to the top of the base with 1-in. aluminum tubes on the letter backs.

We finished the install with two 48-in. Everylite RGB Wall Washers set behind the base, splashing a flood of controllable color onto our columns, with secondary copy in ½-in. Type 1. Christy is happy with it, so, of course all of us are happy with it!

PHOTO GALLERY (4 IMAGES)

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Dale Salamacha is the co-owner of Media 1/Wrap This (Sanford, FL). Contact Dale at [email protected].

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