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Editor's Note

New Women in Signs Award Has a Lot of “Herstory” Behind It

Virtual event on June 17 to celebrate the winners.




WE AT SIGNS OF THE TIMES could not be happier with this, our first-ever Women in Signs Award issue! The stories these six wonderful women tell and the examples they set make for fascinating and inspiring reading. Managing Editor Grant Freking and our recent intern, Sara Skaggs, did a tremendous job of running the competition, organizing hundreds of entries, interviewing the winners and writing our outstanding cover story.

We also encourage all of our readers to join us on June 17 at 2 p.m. EDT for our virtual event celebrating the 2021 Women in Signs Award winners (!

This award is the culmination of an idea championed by our previous Editor-in-Chief Robin Donovan, under whom I was second-in-command for several years. And one of Robin’s last acts as editor was to announce this award last fall, shortly before she left us to pursue other opportunities.

Prior to that, Robin had been instrumental with the idea for the Women in Wide Format Awards for our sister publication, Big Picture, for which she was then editor-in-chief. Like me, though years earlier (and much younger), Adrienne Palmer succeeded Robin, and subsequently has been leading the Women in Wide Format Awards for some time now. In 2020 she started the Women in Screen Printing Awards for another sister publication of ours that she edits, Screen Printing.

Last year Adrienne also suggested the Women in Signs idea to Robin, so what went around, came around, and now all three sign-age and graphics magazines published by our parent company, SmartWork Media, are rightfully recognizing the accomplishments and immense value of women in our industry. I want to thank Adrienne, Robin and all the women who made this possible!

Oh … and did I remember to thank my mother?


mark-signature updated

5 Smart Tips from This Issue

  1. Select the right raster image processor (RIP) for your shop. (Tech Products)
  2. Seek out a contrary point of view from among your staff. (Tip Sheet)
  3. Samples of value-engineered substrates help to convince clients. (Pretty Tough)
  4. Sign companies can renovate their own offices and shops. (Dale Salamacha)
  5. Ask friendly competitors to help you explore wholesaling options. (Maggie Harlow)

Mark Kissling is Signs of the Times’ Editor-in-Chief. Contact him at



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