Best Commercial Building Signs of 2013

Weitzel Signs' historic-district sign is "head" of the class.
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FIRST PLACE
Fabricator
Weitzel Signs
Butte, MT
(406) 723-3186
Designers
(logo design)
Outthink LLC
Essex, CT
(860) 767-2777
www.outthink.com

John Weitzel
Client
Head Frame Spirits Inc.

Head Frame Spirits is located in heart of Butte, MT’s historic district. Weitzel noted it’s the second-largest historic district in the U.S. As such, the sign’s production had to conform to strict codes intended to “preserve historic appeal.”

According to Weitzel, the distillery’s logo was adapted in three ways for the sign. First, he used locally produced materials, such as smelted, copper-ore slag, which provides a rich, black background. Second, the owners wanted the sign to reflect the region’s mining and industrial heritage. Thus, he built an elaborate, MIG-welded, 1-in.-diameter, tube-steel mounting frame that emulates the gallus frames that hoisted metal ore from deep within the mine’s bowels. And, finally, a combination of 23k goldleaf and SignGold® gold-inlaid vinyl adorns the sign’s lettering, which Weitzel noted was a tribute to the gold-mining camps that led to Butte’s founding.

The signface combines 3A Composites’ Dibond® panels and hand-cut Sign•Foam HDU letters, which were built with an electric jigsaw. He painted the sky-blue background with 1Shot lettering enamel with an airbrush and protected it with an automotive clearcoat and a layer of reflective glass beads. To illuminate the sign, Weitzel installed three halogen floodlights that are supported by a black, gas-pipe armature.
The sign rotates within its frame thanks to a Dayton ¼-hp blower motor that drives a series of V-belt schives, which are regulated by a speed reducer and self-adjusting tension system. Because of the lighting tripod’s placement, the sign is continuously illuminated as it rotates.
SECOND PLACE
Fabricator
Eyecandy Signs Inc.
Halifax, NS, Canada
(902) 429-8281
www.eyecandysigns.ca
Designer
Katie Sexton
Overdog Design
Halifax
(902) 802-2207
www.overdog.ca
Client
J & R Grimsmo

Jessy Lacourciere and Rachel Grant carefully considered how their sign would brand their store, which they describe on their Facebook page as “a ladies’ boutique that’s professional, cool and relaxed, with a hint of nostalgic style.” Eyecandy built the sign from several layers of PrecisionBoard® HDU, which were stacked and bonded together with Gorilla Glue to create the 6-in.-thick signface. Sexton designed the sign, and eyecandy roughed out the body on a ShopSabre 4814 CNC router. Matthews acrylic polyurethane bedecks the signface, and eyecandy’s Adam Broome embellished the face with 23k goldleaf.

THIRD PLACE
Fabricator
Blackout Signs
San Marcos, TX
(512) 738-6715
www.blackoutsign.com
Designer
Jay Gordon
Blackout Sign
Client
Blue Bacon Toys
This Wimberley, TX boutique toy store presumably porked up its bottom line with a quite suet-able sign. At his shop (or, as Gordon refers to it, “the 8 acres”), Gordon and Shay Miller welded the aluminum components together with Miller Weldmaster equipment, and sculpted the pig’s face and letters from Precision Board HDU. The metal parts were decorated with House of Kolor Kandy urethane enamels, and Blackout coated the urethane with Coastal Enterprises’ FSC-88 WB water-based primer.
 
HONORABLE MENTION
Fabricator
eyecandy Signs Inc.
Designers
Adam Broome
Allison Moz
Client
Bogside Gallery