Best Electric Freestanding Signs of 2016

Restaurant signs win two of three awards; House of Signs claims third slot

First Place

Sign Effectz Inc.
(414) 264-5504
Adrian Esquerra

If we all scream for ice cream, is custard’s catchphrase “I want custard, I must be heard!”? Such a stately sign will attract those with a sweet tooth. Using CorelSuite X6, FlexiSign Pro and ArtCAM software, Esquerra developed a sign that replicates Oscar’s signature waffle cones. The sign incorporates MIG-welded, 0.063-, 0.08- and 0.125-in.-thick aluminum into the cabinet, a Gerber Sabre CNC-routed polycarbonate face decorated with 3M translucent vinyl, and 360 SuperNova RGB LED modules that can be manipulated by a DMX stick controller. For the message display, a 3550 Series 20mm-pixel Daktronics message display tempts motorists with custard flavors and store news. Sign Effectz owner Adam Brown noted that the new sign will consume 75% less energy than its predecessor.
Second Place

House of Signs
Frisco, CO
(970) 668-5232
Roger Cox
Breckenridge, CO, Creative Arts
Breckenridge’s arts community has developed a multi-facility, one-acre arts campus, which this sign handsomely identifies. The letters were Gerber Sabre CNC-router-cut from Duna Corafoam HDU; the cabinet was constructed from wood and welded steel and is illuminated by SloanLED modules.
Third Place

Western Neon
(206) 682-7738
Dave Bumgarner
Ice-Burg Drive-In

Walla Walla, WA has grown to love its Ice-Burg drive in, and a new sign affirms its success. The 8-ft. 11-in.-tall sign was constructed from 0.09-in. aluminum, and its signature polar bear is painted with a blue-to-white gradient and outlined with 15mm, horizon-blue neon; the secondary text is similarly bordered with 12mm tubing. The CNC-routed bear is backed with 3/16-in. white acrylic and black vinyl lit with an LED grid. The pan-channel letters are painted red with black returns and feature 15mm red neon, with the classic retro arrow bordered with 15mm clear-gold neon. Western Neon owner Andre Lucero said, “The sign is so bright we can almost see it from Seattle! If only we could taste the food from here.”

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Counterintuitive color usage (such as a yellow sky) and type outlined in a tint lighter than its fill hue can create a bit of unexpected excitement. Making the most important text larger than the rest is a simple device often used to imply the information hierarchy. Using color to denote secondary information is a more subtle, but equally effective, technique.

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