Theme parks are reliable sources for signs that push the envelope with design creativity and fabrication complexity. Sea World’s San Diego facility attracted nearly 3.8 million visitors in 2014, according to the Themed Entertainment Assn., and rates as one of the U.S.’s top 10, most-visited theme-park venues.
For these type of environments, creating a positive first impression is essential, but every facet of environmental graphics must convey the overarching brand of the venue. Also, distinct signage for separate areas, rides and events within the park enthusiastically and authentically conveys what visitors will experience.
Sea World officials envisioned a dynamic main exit for its San Diego attraction; the Explorer’s Reef project, a behemoth exit sign that features colorful waves of oceanic flora and fauna, stemmed from this vision. St. Louis-based firm PGAV Destinations designed the program, and Signtech Electrical Adv. Inc. (San Diego) fabricated the program.
“Sea World required that the sign emulate a nature environment, which meant that the sign wasn’t allowed to contain any 90° angles, straight lines or visible fasteners,” Signtech’s Brittany Henry said. “Using 3-D software saved time and money by troubleshooting challenges before the job entered our fabrication department.”
The sign’s rolling curves, which Signtech pre-engineered using SolidWorks, a 3-D software program, extend 59 ft. across the park’s exit façade. She noted, because of the sign’s need for a 360° view, the shop used SolidWorks to engineer the structure to include multiple attachment points that enable support of a multi-layered sign. Signtech also used CorelDRAW X7 to fine-tune PGAV’s original concept design.
Signtech fabricated the apparatus using a MultiCam CNC router, Miller Electric MIG welders and pipe rollers to fabricate a collection of aluminum tubing, PVC, impact-modified acrylic and Sign*Foam HDU. SloanLED modules enrich the structure’s nighttime appearance, and Matthews Paint acrylic-polyurethane coatings replicate hues of the deep blue sea.
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