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The 2021 Black Book Is Full of Useful Sign Industry Resources

Editor-in-Chief Mark Kissling details the many uses of Signs of the Times’ latest Black Book.

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YEARS AGO, MY YOUNG family dreaded “re-zource night” as I pronounced it — the last dinner before our next weekly grocery shop. No one was allowed to open anything new. A prize was awarded to the most resourceful cobbling together of leftovers. The lesson must have taken hold, because my daughters now plan their own weekly meals with “freshness concerns” in mind, leaving those items that can last the week to cobble.

You never know when or where you might come across a resource. So, our printed Black Book, in this, its fourth year, no longer merely includes the listings of sign product and equipment manufacturers, suppliers and others important to the industry, such as sign associations — though that we have done. Our list, derived from the most recent ISA Sign Expo exhibitors, carefully verified and updated just prior to publication, represents the most prominent players in our industry.

The International Sign Association has also contributed a letter from its president as well as two articles that provide valuable information on many of the (yes) resources that ISA offers apart from the Sign Expo, and on the data and trends in the construction categories affecting signage and graphics.

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ISA also sponsors “Sign Manufacturing Day”, a tremendous — dare I say? — resource, carried out across the US and Canada in October, with sign companies welcoming high school students into their facilities to introduce the idea of working in signs — an idea apparently not marketed enough.

To do our part to further the opportunities to recruit and retain more young people into the sign industry — a resource shortage approaching crisis levels for many companies — I’ve interviewed two sign professionals with interesting and different ways to attract young talent.

And when you find them, tell them the same thing our Shop Ops columnist, Dale Salamacha, president of Media 1/Wrap This (Sanford, FL), says in the introduction to his company’s YouTube reality show: “… you can make a living doing signs? Hell yeah!”

Mark Kissling is ST’s Editor-in-Chief. Contact him at [email protected]

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