Keeping Austin Bright

Ion Art helps Texas' capital city be more than weird.
March 11 Ion Art.jpg

Twenty-five years ago, Ion Art (Austin, TX) began as a two-person operation. Today, owners Greg and Sharon Keshishian oversee 22 workers within a 14,000-sq.-ft. facility. According to Sharon, 70% of the company’s business (specialty lighting and architectural decor occupy the remainder.
“During the economic slump, we noticed an across-the-board decline,” she said. “It was most noticeable in larger developments, such as shop¬ping centers. However, things have gradually turned back up, and we’re optimistic about 2011.”
Sharon and the design team used the slowdown to redesign the company’s website. She said, “A fresh website with an extensive gallery of our best work had been long overdue. Your webpage often generates your first impression.”
Because of its hard-earned local reputation for quality work, Ion Art greatly relies on repeat business and referrals. Although the company spends little on traditional adver¬tising, such as print media or the Yellow Pages, the company has hired a business-development manager. Greg and Sharon decided his primarily role would bto introduce us to envi¬ronmental-graphic designers, property developers and architects who aren’t familiar wittheir work.
In lieu of advertising, the company launched its own Facebook page last year. The page, which at presstime enjoyed approximately 250 followers, provides photos and updates for such projects as an electric building sign for Amli 5350, an upscale apartment complex, and Royal Blue Grocery’s simple, but attractive, blade sign. When it produces signage for larger projects, Ion Art also typically installs self-identifying, digitally printed graphics onsite.
Ion Art enjoys working in Austin, which is best known for its South x Southwest Festival, which melds the quasi-concentric worlds of interactive technology, film and music, March 11-20, but it hosts many other festivals. Ion Art fabricated the entry sign and other modular envi¬ronmental graphics for the Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in September at Austin’s Zilker Park.
“It’s gratifying to blend creativity and hard work to define visitors’ impressions of Austin,” Sharon said.