What Types of Signs are Most Commonly Used?

One of the most significant ways to divide the sign industry is into “electric” signs (which have internal illumination) and “commercial” signs, which are non-illuminated. For approximately three decades, a trade journal for the sign industry, Signs of the Times, conducted surveys of sign companies as to how their businesses were faring. These were called State of the Industry (SOI)reports. One of the stock questions was about the types of signs each company sold.

For electric signs, “cabinet” signs (essentially, enclosed plastic shapes with fluorescent or neon illumination inside) and “channel letters” (three-dimensional, individual letters shapes with the open area filled with neon or LEDs, and plastic that covered both the lighting and opening) have been the staples.

For commercial signs, banners and vehicle graphics have dominated.

In Signs of the Times’ most recent Electric SOI report, sign companies said channel letters accounted for 32.3% of their overall business. Cabinet signs were next at 26.3%. Third were “main identification, freestanding signs,” which meant they were set on the ground and weren’t attached to a building or any other structure, at 19.3%. Electronic message centers (EMCs) rated fourth at 10.3%. The full report can be read in the online edition at http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201407/index.php#/78

In Signs of the Times’ most recent Commercial SOI report, respondents said vehicle graphics (which includes the recent popularity of “wraps”) account for 26.7% of their business, followed by banners at 18.7. Next came “dimensional signs” (routed, carved, sandblasted, etc.) at 19.1% and window graphics essentially the same at 9.9%. The full report can be read in the online digital edition at the following link.http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201408/index.php#/72

What Types of Lighting are used to Internally Illuminate Signs?

The three primary types have been fluorescent, neon and LEDs for at least two decades, but the ratio of each has drastically changed. An industry trade journal, Signs of the Times, has traditionally tracked these changes through industry surveys. Its most recent such survey was published in its March 2015 edition. It notes that (Table 4), in 2014, sign companies reported that LEDs illuminated nearly 60% of all electric signs. In contrast, that figure was 14.7% in 2006. Over that same time period, the percentages for fluorescent and neon dropped from 44.5% to 25.6% and from 34.1% to 12.3%, respectively. The full report can be read in that magazine’s online, digital edition at the following link.  http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201503/index.php#/76.

Will GPS Make Signs Obsolete?

In 2008, a satellite-navigation specialist, Colin Beatty, presented a 27-slide PowerPoint presentation to the Sign Design Society, England’s leading environmental graphic design association. He asked the rhetorical question in his title:.  “Could personal navigation systems herald the demise of much fixed signage?”

In a column published in The Slate, author Julia Turner explores this question by interviewing both GPS-oriented companies and wayfinding-sign designers, including Craig Berger from the Society of Environmental Graphic Designers. Craig also serves on the board of the Academic Advisory Council for Signage Research and Education (AACSRE). To read the full article, go to http://www.slate.com/articles/life/signs/2010/03/a_world_without_signs.html

FASI Board Member Duane Laska Honored with Maury Ely Award

Duane Laska, who serves on the FASI Board of Directors as treasurer, has been honored with the Illinois Sign Assn.’s Maury Ely Lifetime Achievement Award, an honor which his late father, Vic, was given in 1987. The award is presented annually to an individual who has made meaningful and meritorious contributions to both the association and the industry.

Laska is the president/owner of North Shore Sign Co. (Libertyville, IL), and he has also served Libertyville with two terms as its mayor. Laska’s extensive service to the sign industry includes having served the International Sign Association as its chairman in 2012 and on its Executive Committee for four years.

He is currently serving as chairman of The Signage Foundation Inc. He has also served the research organization as chairman of the program committee and chairman of the planning committee for the annual National Signage Research & Education Conference (NSREC). Laska initiated and championed the Foundation’s internship program and sponsored the first internship in 2010. He has also served in leadership positions with World Sign Associates (WSA).

“Duane is a man of consummate integrity and dedication to the sign industry,” said Wade Swormstedt, FASI’s Executive Director. “I’ve watched how Duane conducts himself when organizational conflicts arise, and I’ve always been impressed by his common sense and grace under pressure. More recently, I’ve been honored to have the opportunity to work directly with him.”

FASI Executive Director Wade Swormstedt Named AACSRE “Friend”

FASI Executive Director Wade Swormstedt has been named a “Friend of AACSRE” (The Academic Advisory Council for Signage Research & Education). The AACSRE Board of Directors includes 13 representatives from its university members. In addition, AACSRE appoints “Friends” to serve in an advisory capacity.

In a press release, AACSRE stated, “With the interdisciplinary nature of the field of signage study, AACSRE often looks to professional knowledge leaders for inspiration relating to emerging issues and ‘hot topics’. Given the importance of this knowledge, as well as the interest of these professionals in engaging, AACSRE created a special category of membership. These individuals, recruited in the same fashion as their academic counterparts, are identified by the Executive Board and, after consideration by the full membership, are invited to become a Friend of AACSRE. Wade Swormstedt and researcher Jennifer Klena have been appointed as Friends, and both participated in the Fall 2016 AACSRE Board meeting held October 13 at Gemini Inc. (Cannon Falls, MN).”