Signage Celebrates Indiana's Bicentennial

Four sign companies featured
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In 1937, Indiana officials adopted “The Crossroads of America” as the state’s motto. It’s an appropriate nickname – depending on which direction you move, a day’s drive (approximately 500 miles) or short flight from Indianapolis could send you to Buffalo, Atlanta, Kansas City or Minneapolis. Such convenient proximity to so many places has undoubtedly helped such Indiana-based corporate stalwarts as Anthem, Eli Lilly and Simon Property Group grow. Moreover, a trip to the Hoosier State could yield varied cultural experiences; Shipshewana’s Amish farms and shops, the sand dunes along the Lake Michigan shoreline and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway attract diverse demographics.

Alas, it’s not my bailiwick to assist the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, nor its Board of Tourism. However, the Hoosier State’s 200th anniversary of statehood deserves commemoration via its signs. So, to honor America’s 19th state and its milestone, here’s a quartet of Indiana signshops. They’re as diverse as the state’s points of interest.
Creative Sign Resources
(The Oyster Bar)
In coastal areas, oyster bars are nearly as widespread as surfboard shops and sand fleas. However, in landlocked Fort Wayne, IN, diners have enjoyed oysters at this restaurant since 1888. Creative Sign Resources, also of Fort Wayne, built this handsome neon-lit throwback, which features typography – and the requisite “Cocktails” and “Steaks” panels beneath and alongside the main sign – reminiscent of a 1950’s-era Main Street. The lobster-wielding fisherman is reminiscent of a villain from a Nancy Drew novel.
(Dari Sweet)
Another retro-cool sign from Creative Sign Resources. This Kimmel, IN diner – where the waitstaff will serve food to you in your car – features a Googie-style swooping arrow and starburst, as well as a moniker reminiscent of the era (during the 1950’s, “Dari,” “Rite” and “Lite” were commonplace). However, in acknowledgement to modern technology, LED bulbs and modules replace incandescent lamps on the arrow and neon inside the cabinet.
Bloomington Design
(Blue Moon)
Gary Anderson, formerly the proprietor of Bloomington Design (Bloomington, IN), retired three years ago. However, he’s left a strong legacy of handcrafted signs throughout Indiana that’s endured since retirement. This 7-ft.-tall sign for a Bloomington consignment shop is mounted in ground with concrete-set, treated 4 x 4 posts and stainless steel screws, which are used throughout the the sign and base. The signboard was cut from medium-density-overlay plywood (MDO) using jig and band saws, and the lettering is comprised of PVC. The larger hanging stars were fashioned from gilded cast iron and secured with steel straps, and smaller stars were made from handcarved high-density urethane (HDU) and gilded. Everything was cut-out by hand with jig and band saws. Small lettering on border is hand lettered with acrylic latex paint, all other finishes are also acrylic. Large cutout text has been attached to background with silicone and stainless-steel nails.
(For the Birds)
This Nashville, IN shop caters to bird enthusiasts. Anderson built the 5-ft.-wide sign from MDO and handpainted it with acrylic-latex paints. He conformed the custom steel bracket to the shape of the sign and bolted it to the post with lag screws, links and eyebolt screws for the sign.
Green Signs
(Rush Memorial Hospital)
As the healthcare industry becomes more competitive, signage for medical facilities has received greater emphasis. Green Signs (Greensburg, IN) fabricated this building’s signage, which features an 82-in.-tall logo and 23-in.-tall letters, using 0.125-in.-thick aluminum that’s fabricated on a Computerized Cutters’ Accu-Bend machine. Green Signs illuminated the signs with JS LED white modules that are spaced 4 in. apart. The sign and logo were fastened using aluminum allthread, stainless-steel hardware and caulk. Shawn Green, the company’s president, said, “It was interesting to find that concrete in a building constructed more than 100 years ago is stronger than modern concrete. Drilling through it took longer than expected.”
(Union 50)
Located in Indianapolis’ trendy Massachusetts Avenue neighborhood, Union 50 is a chic restaurant that boasts distinctive signage that differentiates it from competitors. Green Signs fabricated this sign from 0.125-in.-thick aluminum that’s cut to shape on an AXYZ CNC router and MIG-welded. Lord Adhesives bonding agents were used to secure layers together. JS LED modules illuminate the sign. The shop also constructed stainless-steel channel letters for the restaurant’s interior.
Indianapolis Signworks
(The Cottages at Lindbergh)
Signs play a key role in creating curb appeal for multi-family dwellings. Indianapolis Signworks fabricated the sign structure from 0.125-in.-thick aluminum, and printed the graphic on clear vinyl that’s decorated on an HP latex-ink printer. According to Andy Chapman, the shop’s president, the print’s translucent quality provides a “brilliant” bronze effect. Fabricators joined components with stainless-steel hardware.
(Preserve at Grande Oaks)
Indianapolis Signworks built this distinctive monument sign for a West Lafayette, IN (home of Purdue Univ.) apartment complex. The 5 x 8-ft., geometric creation features layers of various thicknesses of acrylic and PVC, and 1/4-in.-thick perforated metal. All components were cut to shape on the shop’s Gerber Sabre 408 CNC router. The layers of text and graphics were installed on treated, stained deckboard.