Signarama Presents Franchisees Awards

Signarama (West Beach, FL) announced two sets of awards and their winners at “Camp Signarama,” the 2022 national convention of Signarama, which was held concurrently with the 2022 ISA Expo in Atlanta.

Attendees also learned different ways to grow their businesses and received the latest news on developments at Signarama, according to information released by Signarama.

The convention closed with the awards dinner and gala, where several franchise owners were recognized. The awards presented included the 2022 Signarama Annual Awards and Sign Award Winners.

Signs of the Times Business of Signs columnist Maggie Harlow and Brian Harlow (Signarama Downtown, Louisville, KY) took Best in Show for a special sign they created with a new partnership between Louisville-based KFC and their son, artist Jack Harlow.

Signarama’s 2022 Sign Award Winners

Vinyl – Non-Digital: Kelli and Tyler Edon – Greenfield, IN
Vehicle Graphics – Bernard and Heather Kincaid – River Cities (South Point), OH Electric, Neon & Illuminated – Beatriz Cardona & Roberto Hiller – New Tampa, FL Digital Print Output – Dawn Bent & Mike Ziccardi – Huntington Station, NY Original In-house Design Concept – Roger Robinson – North Dallas, TX Directional Wayfinding – Alex & Sharon Fong – Redmond, WA
Self-Promotion – Morgan Smith – Peterborough, ON, Canada
Router Output – Clay, Lisa, and Spencer Coleman – Wasatch Back, UT
Laser Engraver – Dawn Homa – Brighton, CO
Branding/Rebranding – Matt Vaughn – Columbia West, SC
Community Involvement – Kathy Evert – Ankeny, IA
Best of Show – Maggie & Brian Harlow – Signarama Downtown, Louisville, KY

The 2022 Signarama Annual Award Winners

Rookie of the Year – Brooks Roffey (San Marcos, CA) and Matt Vaughn (Columbia West, SC) Most Improved – Bernard & Heather Kincaid (River Cities (South Point), OH) and Craig & Paula Bowlin (Conroe, TX)
The Bill Schwalje Humanitarian of the Year – Lino, Maria, and Michael DeFeo (West Palm Beach, FL)
Mentor of the Year – Jason “JB” Brown & Cynthia Miles Brown (Signarama Dixie, Louisville, KY) and Kevin McCord (Lawrenceburg, IN)
Team Player – Anthony Bashorun (Herndon, VA) and Todd & Stephanie Cunningham (Frisco, TX)
Master Partner of the Year – Kurt Tyack, Garry Owen, and Rod Gornall (South Africa) President’s Award – Kip Greer (Durham, NC)
Most Valuable Player – Bob Chapa III (Troy, MI)
Hall of Fame Inductees – Kurt Tyack, Garry Owen, and Rod Gornall (South Africa), and Jim and Allison Eichenberg (Chandler, AZ)

The convention also included an annual auction, where vendor-donated event signage raised more than $7,500 to benefit each winner’s charity of choice.

For more information, visit

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Women Leading the Industry: Finding Your Voice

By Ashley Bray

Following an exciting inaugural event at the 2019 ISA Sign Expo, Women Leading the Industry (WLI), an initiative launched by the International Sign Association in partnership with SBI, returned to the 2022 ISA International Sign Expo with a session focusing on effective approaches to business communication and leadership development.

The event kicked off with a panel that included Mandy Wisner, Southern Signs; Stacey Brown, Signarama – Silver Spring; John Yarger, North American Signs; and Lori Anderson, president & CEO of ISA with SBI Managing Editor Ashley Bray moderating.

Keynote Speaker Alexia Vernon of Step Into Your Moxie then led a session on finding your voice and using it to induce change and action.

The event wrapped up with a table activity inviting attendees to role-play a situation in which they are asking for something—using the newfound phrases, words, and subjects learned from Alexia.

Takeaways From The Event Include:

  • Imposter syndrome is defined as the internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be.
  • Despite a person’s title or successes, most everyone has dealt with imposter syndrome at one point in their careers.
  • Ways to combat imposter syndrome include: journaling, identifying the negative thoughts and labeling them, remembering examples of times when you were competent and effective, etc.
  • It’s important for male coworkers and bosses to ensure that women have a voice—especially in areas where they are the expert or the lead.
  • When using your voice to produce change, you will be more effective if you focus on making your argument persuasive to the person you are trying to convince. Speak to personal motivators like money and time and use words/phrases like “accelerate/increase,” “ease,” and “what I want for you is” to lead people to take action.

“The energy in the room was infectious,” says SBI Managing Editor Ashley Bray. “It’s so important to take time to discuss topics, like communicating effectively, that don’t typically get a lot of attention. I think everyone walked away with a new tool, idea, or a renewed sense of confidence for how to best communicate in the workplace and everyday life.”

SBI wanted to keep the conversation going, so we asked women across the sign industry for their thoughts on imposter syndrome, effective communication, and more.

Lori Anderson, President/CEO, ISALori Anderson ISA women leading the industry

What did you take away from the 2022 WLI event at the ISA Sign Expo?

Each WLI event highlights the need for women to come together—with male allies—to discuss the unique circumstances women experience in the workplace. With the numerous challenges facing today’s workforce, it is important for sign and graphics companies to be welcoming spaces that provide exciting career opportunities for all. The more we learn how our language or actions can help or hinder the industry from being perceived as a welcoming environment, the better we all will be.

Coming together at the 2022 ISA International Sign Expo reinforced how sharing our individual experiences can help us better embrace gender, cultural, and ethnic diversity and become stronger as a result.


women leading the industry amanda king

Amanda King, People and Culture Leader, Poblocki Sign Company

Do you have any advice for speaking up at work?

You are your best advocate, and your voice will never be heard unless you speak up. There will be many uncomfortable or difficult conversations throughout your career, but the more you prepare and practice, the easier it will get. Whether it’s expressing a personal opinion or a topic you’ve researched, remember that you are the smartest person in the room on that subject.

If you will be presenting, lean on someone you trust to give you feedback or take a video of yourself to see how you do. When I get nervous, my Midwestern accent gets ten times stronger. Learn to embrace your quirks—knowing that my accent is the probably the worst thing that’s going to happen actually puts me at ease.

Take time to build relationships with people; it’s significantly easier to connect with someone when you can relate to them as a person. Each person has their own way of handling different situations, so it helps to know your audience, especially when determining the right approach for certain conversations. For example, if the person you want to speak with needs their coffee first thing in the morning, then set up the discussion for mid-morning or later in the day.


women leading the industry mandy wisnerMandy Wisner, Vice President, Southern Signs, Inc., Strawberry Plains, Tennessee

Have you experienced imposter syndrome in your career? How do you deal with it?

I think we all have faced imposter syndrome even before we knew the phrase. Back in the day, we said, “fake it ’til you make it.” We need to rethink this.

It all comes down to confidence in yourself and your ability to do the job you have been assigned. The best way to overcome this is by educating yourself. Whether it’s researching, self-help books, YouTube, etc.—it’s never been easier to have knowledge at our fingertips. Knowledge is power.


tabitha bowen women leading the industryTabitha Bowen, Client Service Specialist, All-Right Sign, Steger, Illinois

Any advice or tips for speaking up at work?

I once told a mentor that I felt people/customers didn’t take me seriously in this industry. He asked me a few follow-up questions, which led us to conclude I was more inward focused and was only concerned about what they thought of me. I was engrossed in how they perceived me. I was living in my own head and worried only about myself.

From that conversation, I learned a few things: I need to stop focusing on myself and how uncomfortable I feel. Rather I need to focus on the audience/customer. Ask thoughtful questions, understand their perspectives, and find out their pain points. I may not know everything, but I need to believe that I am an expert in my own right—no one else has my unique experiences and background. I deserve to be heard because my thoughts have value. Finally, I need to educate myself on the topic at hand or the industry. Knowledge is key.


women leading the industry stacey brown

Stacey Brown, Chief Image Builder, Signarama, Silver Spring, Maryland

Have you experienced imposter syndrome in your career? How do you deal with it?

I am used to being the only—or one of the only—over my lifetime, so over time, I have developed my formula for the times when I might second guess myself:

Acknowledge that my feelings are valid but don’t stay there. Feelings are not facts. The facts are that I am capable and deserve everything that is coming my way.

If I have a gap in terms of knowledge, etc., I seek out ways to improve while recognizing that everyone else has gaps too. This competence will help create confidence.

I keep a running list of my accomplishments or challenges I have overcome with a focus on what I did and what impact it had. When in doubt, I know I have what it takes and do it again.

I create a tribe of support. I surround myself with people who provide support, guidance, and most importantly—the truth!


Mary Lou Goehrung women leading the industry

Mary Lou Goehrung, Owner, Hunt Graphics, Inc., d/b/a Signs By

Tomorrow – Rockville, Maryland

Do you have any advice for speaking up at work?

Self-confidence is the best attribute any person can have in any business. Believing in yourself has nothing to do with gender. Speaking up for yourself, speaking up for what is right, [and] speaking up for needed changes should be your number-one priority always.

When I started in the sign industry in 1992, there were few women for sure. I always felt like one of the sign gang at meetings, conventions, and trade shows. I was always welcomed, included, and definitely respected. Now I am revered for my accomplishments. I never experienced any resistance or hesitancy for using my services from potential clients. I believe it all circles back to building, having, and showing self-confidence. There is no need for labeling and dividing ever, anywhere.


women leading the industry veronica d'silvaVeronica D’Silva, President, Allegra Marketing Print Mail – Toronto

What are some of the top communication challenges you have encountered? How have you overcome them?

I use a collaborative approach to problem solving on projects—it has helped my team find creative and efficient solutions in our workplace. I am confident in the services and products we offer, and I am very capable of producing a high-quality product. We leverage our expertise to communicate with our clients and team—that helps us overcome any communication challenges.


sharon rayner women leading the industry

Sharon Rayner, Owner, Minuteman Press, Houston, Texas

Do you have any advice for other women-owned sign and print shops when it comes to encountering hesitancy or resistance from potential clients?

Be the best business in your community. I have no doubt that we are the best in Houston, and our clients list proves this. New customers call us because of our reputation. They do not care about who owns the business; they care about results. I’ve always worked in male-dominant industries, [and] I’ve never been afraid to give my opinion or perspective, if I believe that it will add to the conversation, the project, or the business.

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CCO Elects Directors, Officers for 2022/2023

The Board of Directors of the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (CCO) is pleased to announce the industry leaders who will serve CCO during 2022–2023.

NCCCO board of directorsThe Board of Directors elected the following individuals to officer positions for one-year terms effective July 1, 2022:

Elected to the office of President is Pete Laux, Kiewit CorporatiNCCCon, Omaha, NE, who has been a member of the Board since 2011 and previously served as Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer.

Elected to the office of Vice President is Stephanie Wood, Terex Cranes, Nicholasville, KY. Wood has been a member of the Board since 2019 and previously served as Secretary/Treasurer.

Elected to the office of Secretary/Treasurer is Mike Heacock, Morrow Equipment Co., LLC, Salem OR. This is the first officer position for Heacock, who has been a member of the Board since 2021.

Following the retirement from the Board of Kerry Hulse, Retired from Deep South Crane & Rigging, Fulshear, TX, Tim Watters, Hoffman Equipment, CO. Piscataway, NJ assumes the position of Immediate Past President.

Newly elected to join the Board for three-year terms are Mike Heacock and Beth O’Quinn, Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association, Fairfax, VA.

Reelected to serve in her second term is Stephanie Wood.

Other members serving the Board are: William (Bill) Davis (Zurich Services Corp., Richmond, VA), Douglas LaCroix (Cianbro Equipment, Pittsfield, ME), Christopher Treml (IOUE, Washington, DC) and Ellis Vliet (Retired, Bengal Crane & Rigging, Prairieville, LA). Vliet also continues to serve the Board in the capacity of Chairman, Commissioners.

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Signarama Franchisees Fired Up After Annual National Convention

Franchise owners drew inspiration and learned new ways to power their success at Camp Signarama, the 2022 national convention of Signarama, the world’s leading sign and graphics franchise. More than 230 international attendees gathered for the convention in Atlanta, GA, held simultaneously with the ISA International Sign Expo®, the industry’s most comprehensive trade show.

signarama convention“We couldn’t have asked for greater success than what we saw at Camp Signarama,” said A.J. Titus, President of Signarama, and United Franchise Group (UFG). “Everyone learned a lot and is fully energized as we head into the latter half of the year.”

The convention was themed as a summer camp, where new friends are made, and new experiences shared. It featured educational breakout sessions, including executive presentations and panel discussions highlighting successful franchisees. “Campers” also took opportunities to build their businesses by engaging one-on-one with printing suppliers and members of the Signarama corporate headquarters team. Attendees learned innovative ways to grow their businesses and got the latest news on developments at Signarama, including the results of the franchise’s branding survey and an overview of its newly refreshed brand logos.

Titus discussed the state of the Signarama system in one of several leadership presentations, while his father, United Franchise Group Founder and CEO Ray Titus, urged the franchisees to “Learn and grow, focus on sales and building your business…”

“What do you need to do right now?” he asked. “Overall, be positive with employees, vendors, and customers. Stay focused on growth and sales and be smart with your purchases.”

A.J. Titus returned to wrap up the general session with “Leading with Joy,” in which he urged audience members to find their “why” – their motivation:

signarama convention
A.J. Titus at Camp Signarama

“When you find what motivates you,” he said, “it will point you to what you love. When you know what you love, it will give you joy. When you have joy, you can pass that joy to others, and they become better customers, employees, and partners.”

Event signage donated by vendors was sold in the convention’s annual auction, raising more than $7,500, benefiting the charity of each winning bidder’s choice.

The convention closed with the awards dinner and gala at which several high-achieving franchise owners were recognized.

2022 Signarama Annual Awards:

  • Rookie of the Year – Brooks Roffey (San Marcos, CA) and Matt Vaughn (Columbia West, SC)
  • Most Improved – Bernard & Heather Kincaid (River Cities (South Point), OH) and Craig & Paula Bowlin (Conroe, TX)
  • The Bill Schwalje Humanitarian of the Year – Lino, Maria, and Michael DeFeo (West Palm Beach, FL)
  • Mentor of the Year – Jason “JB” Brown & Cynthia Miles Brown (Louisville (Dixie), KY) and Kevin McCord (Lawrenceburg, IN)
  • Team Player – Anthony Bashorun (Herndon, VA) and Todd & Stephanie Cunningham (Frisco, TX)
  • Master Partner of the Year – Kurt Tyack, Garry Owen, and Rod Gornall (South Africa)
  • President’s Award – Kip Greer (Durham, NC)
  • Most Valuable Player – Bob Chapa III (Troy, MI)
  • Hall of Fame Inductees – Kurt Tyack, Garry Owen and Rod Gornall (South Africa), and Jim and Allison Eichenberg (Chandler, AZ)

This year Signarama also held its annual Sign Awards, showcasing impressive Signarama projects completed in 2021. Maggie and Brian Harlow (Louisville, KY, downtown) took Best in Show for a special sign they created in connection with a new partnership between Louisville-based KFC and Louisville-born artist Jack Harlow. They designed and produced a massive KFC bucket, doubling as a giant speaker, for the local leg of Harlow’s concert tour. They wrapped it with graphics in just one day.

2022 Sign Award Winners:

  • Vinyl – Non-Digital: Kelli and Tyler Edon – Greenfield, IN
  • Vehicle Graphics – Bernard and Heather Kincaid – River Cities (South Point), OH
  • Electric, Neon & Illuminated – Beatriz Cardona & Roberto Hiller – New Tampa, FL
  • Digital Print Output – Dawn Bent & Mike Ziccardi – Huntington Station, NY
  • Original In-house Design Concept – Roger Robinson – North Dallas, TX
  • Directional Wayfinding – Alex & Sharon Fong – Redmond, WA
  • Self-Promotion – Morgan Smith – Peterborough, Ontario
  • Router Output – Clay, Lisa, and Spencer Coleman – Wasatch Back (previously Midway), UT
  • Laser Engraver – Dawn Homa – Brighton, CO
  • Branding/Rebranding – Matt Vaughn – Columbia West, SC
  • Community Involvement – Kathy Evert – Ankeny, IA
  • Best in Show – Maggie & Brian Harlow – Louisville (Downtown), KY

The post Signarama Franchisees Fired Up After Annual National Convention appeared first on Sign Builder Illustrated, The How-To Sign Industry Magazine.

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Watchfire Introduces 10mm Outdoor LED Display

Watchfire Signs (Danville, IL) has introduced the S10mm, “an exterior LED display created for sports and event venues that looks great on social media posts and selfies, and extends the fan experience beyond the stadium,” as described in a company press release.

The Watchfire S10mm is designed for outdoor sports facilities used by high school, college and professional franchises, as well as concert venues, racetracks and other outdoor facilities with live video.

The new display product is a high-resolution, full-color LED display with a faster refresh rate so photos and videos of the video board don’t flicker or blur as they do on low refresh rate displays — also per the release.

“The owners of stadiums and outdoor venues understand the power of social media to extend their marketing reach, and know that it can be disappointing when the LED display in a photo or video doesn’t reflect the fan experience,” Michael Cox, senior electrical engineering manager at Watchfire Signs, is quoted in the release. “The new S10mm display looks just as great in photos and videos as it does in real life.”

For more information, visit

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CCO to Move Written Exam Delivery into the Digital Age

Although CCO candidates began taking exams utilizing computers nearly fifteen years ago, CCO is excited to announce its technology initiative to move all written exams to the computer. This initiative not only uses the latest and greatest testing and security technology, but it has several key benefits for candidates and employers.

Benefits include:

  • Immediate score reporting once exams are complete*
  • Extended test availability windows to include outside of normal work hours
  • A greatly expanded network of areas where the test can be taken
  • Increased ease of scheduling or rescheduling exams

*A preliminary score will be available immediately. Results are subject to review and approval following standard testing protocols.

CCO remains committed to offering its candidates options that best suit their schedules and needs. To support candidates accustomed to testing in a group environment (often exams hosted by employers or following a training course), CCO will introduce a new test administration modality known as Event Online Testing (EOT). To support candidates wanting to test on their own schedule, CCO will introduce an alternative test administration modality known as Online Proctored Testing (OPT).

“Both EOT and OPT leverage technology and current best practices in test delivery to improve the candidate experience through increased flexibility in scheduling and faster exam scoring, while also ensuring higher levels of test security” said Joel Oliva, CCO Senior Director of Innovation. “We expect that both EOT and OPT will be available in limited applications before the end of this year and will be available to all CCO candidates in early 2023. It is CCO’s vision to see the new modalities replace current delivery methods testing by the conclusion of 2023.”

Event Online Testing (EOT)

EOT is CCO’s solution to the group testing setting as a replacement for paper/pencil testing. In many instances, candidates are brought together at a single location to go through training and then complete testing. EOT supports this approach, but instead of candidates testing using paper exam booklets and scantron bubble forms, they will test on computers.

EOT administrations will be conducted at CCO authorized test centers. These can be established at dedicated facilities (such as an employer’s office or training facility) or set up at temporary locations such as hotels or other off-site locations. Just as they do today, candidates will apply online to test at an EOT and receive notification of approval for testing.

Each candidate will need a dedicated computer for the test administration. However, because of the flexibility of this modality, a candidate may be scheduled to utilize a computer in the morning, and a different candidate may use the same device in the afternoon.

Any supplemental material, such as load charts, reference material, or calculators, will be provided within the exam onscreen. On test day, the candidates will be checked in by a proctor who is physically present. The candidate will take all exams they are scheduled for in succession.

While candidates who currently test in a group setting (via paper/pencil) must wait up to 12 business days to receive exam results, a major benefit to moving to EOT is that all candidates who complete exams will receive their scores immediately at the conclusion of their tests.

Exam security will be maintained by the physically present proctor. In addition, exam administrations will also be recorded. Every candidate will be recorded from start to finish via webcam, microphone, and screen record. All recordings are stored and will be reviewed for test irregularities.

Online Proctored Testing (OPT)

While EOT meets the traditional training/testing model, OPT offers the highest degree of candidate flexibility. OPT is CCO’s solution to the individual testing setting which will be a replacement for computer-based testing (at PSI test centers).

OPT can be done at home or almost any private room with an internet connection. Testing is available 24/7/365 from anywhere around the world, and once approved for testing, candidates can book an OPT session in as little as 15 minutes. This will be particularly convenient for scheduling around work obligations and inclement weather, or even testing at night or on the weekend. Even more, candidates can cancel/reschedule their exam up until the exam start time with no additional fee. OPT candidates will receive their exam scores immediately at the conclusion of their tests.

OPT incorporates additional exam security measures allowing for this more flexible testing option. In this mode the online proctor will monitor the candidate in real time via webcam, microphone, and screen share, with the assistance of artificial intelligence (AI). All recordings are stored and will be reviewed for testing irregularities.

The online proctor will lead each candidate through a check-in process that is anticipated to take about a half hour. They will check the candidate’s ID, ensure the computer meets minimum requirements and is set up properly, and ensure that the computer is not running any inappropriate software.

Additionally the online proctor will have the candidate perform a 360-degree room scan using the computer’s camera to show that the candidate is in the room alone and that there is nothing that could be used during the exam to offer an unfair advantage.

Testing on Computers

While CCO has offered its exams through PSI computer labs since 2008, these new modalities will move all CCO candidates to testing on computers.

In addition to testing on computers, all test resources will also be provided digitally. This includes load charts, calculators, digital whiteboard, and digital scratch paper. All physical paper is being eliminated from CCO test administrations.

CCO is committed to ensuring all its candidates have a positive test experience and are prepared for test day. Materials are currently in development to assist candidates with the new processes, including videos of what to expect and an exam demo so that candidates can have the opportunity to practice taking an exam in the computerized environment.

Phase-out of Current Testing Methods

CCO plans to eliminate both brick-and-mortar computer and paper/pencil test modalities by the end of 2023. The new modalities offer significant advantages, particularly related to candidate flexibility and test security.

Beginning in 2024, these legacy modalities will be eliminated as standard operating procedure. CCO does plan to maintain them for extenuating circumstances if online testing is not an option.

More information will be available in 2023.

About CCO

The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (CCO) was formed in 1995 as an independent, non-profit organization by industry to develop and administer a nationwide program for the certification of crane operators and related personnel. Since then, CCO has administered over 1.5 million written and practical examinations and issued more than 500,000 ANSI-accredited and OSHA-compliant certifications.

—Press Release

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Comic-Con Museum: Characters, Creators, and Signs

A 6-by-18-foot Rocketeer banner is used to promote the Comic-Con Museum’s Dave Stevens exhibit.

A little upfront disclosure: In addition to being editor of Sign Builder Illustrated magazine and avidly following and promoting the art of sign making, there’s another art form medium that I’m also passionate about. You see, I’ve been an avid reader and collector of comic books across many genres for at least forty-five years now.

One of the characters I happened upon back in the 1980s was The Rocketeer, a fin-helmeted, jetpack-wearing hero whose stories combined pulp-era adventures and matinee serials with aviation, 1930s Los Angeles, and Bettie Page. These lavishly illustrated chapters spanned several different comic titles (and different companies) over the years.

The hero is probably best remembered by the general public as an enjoyable Walt Disney Pictures motion picture released in 1991 that has since generated a sizable number of fans, but I still remember the thrill of coming across those initial comic books.

The writer-artist-creator of these Rocketeer stories was Dave Stevens, who, in addition to working on comic book covers and pin-ups at many comics publishing companies, also happened to be a storyboard artist for films, animation, and music videos.

Sadly Stevens passed away from Hairy Cell Leukemia back in 2008, but his original art and back issues featuring his comic book work are still highly sought after by fans and collectors today.

So when Stevens’ sister, Jennifer, recently posted in a Facebook group devoted to the artist about an exhibit dedicated to his life and artwork that was running at the Comic-Con Museum in San Diego, my excitement level really took off—both professionally and personally.

I would not only have an opportunity to learn more about the Comic-Con Museum, but I would also be able to share with you the signage, panels, and (obviously) graphics that they are using not only for this particular exhibit, but also the other colorful ones there!

Opening Splash: The Comic-Con Museum
The Comic-Con Museum.

The Comic-Con Museum is located in the Balboa Park section of San Diego, California at 2131 Pan American Plaza.

The museum is part of the San Diego Comic Convention (also famously known as Comic-Con International) and was established in 2017 in the refurbished Federal Building to aid in creating the general public’s awareness of and appreciation for comics, comics art and culture, and related popular art forms. (Note: To read more about the museum’s mission, click here.) In addition to the comics, film, and science fiction/fantasy genres, the museum also showcases genre TV shows, books, video games, anime, etc.

One way they do all this is through regularly rotating exhibits.

Chris Ryall, programming and exhibits consultant at the Comic-Con Museum, explains a little bit about how these exhibits are chosen. “Not only do we look for exhibits that have a unique and appealing pop-culture focus, but we also strive to feature attractions that exemplify the museum’s mission and offer a compelling backstory as well as a visually appealing presentation,” he says. “And when we can bring in exhibits that can be further enhanced by related programming that helps us present the historical importance of a given exhibit, even better.”

An interpretive panel used in the Dave Stevens/Rocketeer exhibit.

When it comes to signage and graphics utilized for these exhibits (as well as its overall mission), Ryall says that they avoid a “one-size-fits-all” answer. Each exhibit is unique to its subject matter. “What we look for in each exhibit is signage that enhances the visuals of the exhibit and makes a compelling and complementary addition to any exhibit’s art, costumes, and props,” he explains. “Certainly bold design, informative background on each exhibit, and photographically appealing signage is our goal within every presentation we offer.”

While the Comic-Con Museum does produce some signage pieces themselves in-house, they outsource larger signage and banner reproductions to outside vendors.

Ryall says that signage and graphics are important to help the Comic-Con Museum tell the stories of creators and their creations.

“We see well designed and effective graphics and signage as an essential part of any exhibit,” he says. “Those kinds of details not only help further showcase the thought and care put into every exhibit, but they also add unique and cool visuals that can also serve as effective photo ops for attendees too.”

Ryall adds that it’s not really approached by them as a challenge to reproduce artwork for use in signage, panels, and graphics at the Comic-Con Museum; instead it’s much more a desire. “We have a desire to ensure continuity of design within any larger exhibit and also landing on the right kind of design that will appeal to the exhibitor and the public alike,” he says.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the signage and graphics being used for several of their current exhibits, starting with the one devoted to the aforementioned Dave Stevens.

An interpretive panel used in the Dave Stevens/Rocketeer exhibit.
Art for Arf’ Sake: The Dave Stevens Exhibit

The current “Dave Stevens and the Rocketeer: Art for Arf’ Sake” exhibit is scheduled to run through July 31. “The Rocketeer exhibit is a celebration of its artist/creator as well as the fortieth anniversary of the Rocketeer’s launch in a comic book,” says Ryall.

This one-of-a-kind exhibit features over forty pieces of Stevens’ original comic book art, poster art, animation storyboards, and other hand-drawn pieces, as well as a room full of displays of the colorful costumes and artifacts from The Rocketeer movie and from throughout this talented creator’s career.

Since the pieces used for this exhibit stand out so well on their own, Ryall comments that there really wasn’t an abundance of graphics required. “We’ve added signage to each piece and have large text pieces that describe who Dave Stevens was, details of his long association with the Comic-Con organization, his work on the Rocketeer, and other descriptive highlights of his four-plus decades in the business,” says Ryall.

An interpretive panel used in the Dave Stevens/Rocketeer exhibit.

The designer at the Comic-Con Museum worked with Stevens’ company logo, as well as one of the artist’s self-portraits, incorporating them throughout the signage at this museum.

One big highlight of this exhibit is the 6-by-18-foot Rocketeer/“Art for Arf’ Sake” banner that was designed using Steven’s artwork and installed outside the museum to promote this exhibit. (Note: The individual interior banners measure approximately twenty-four inches tall.)

“It was important to The Rocketeer Trust that manages [Stevens’] estate that the exhibit emphasize the playful spirit that Dave Stevens brought to his work,” explains Ryall. “So rather than go with a more staid exhibit title, they really loved that expression, “Art for Arf’ Sake,” which was the slogan of Dave’s own Bulldog Studios (“e. slurpus lickum”). Dave really loved his pet bulldog, and he used him not only in the Rocketeer comic and movie but also as the face of his Bulldog Studios company.”

Welcome to Riverdale sign.
Pep in the Step: Eight Decades of Archie

Another exhibit taking place at the Comic-Con Museum is devoted to the eightieth anniversary of Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica, Reggie, Moose, and the rest of the gang at Riverdale. (Note: Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, and Jughead Jones all debuted in Pep Comics #22 back in 1941.)

The “Eight Decades of Archie” exhibit displays vintage comic books, animation production materials, original art, a look at Archie around the word, and other unique memorabilia. It also has over a dozen large cover reproductions that celebrate some key moments over Archie’s eighty years. “It also features large text pieces that detail the various aspects of Archie’s long history: the love triangle, the music, and the weird and wonderful oddities from the past eight decades, the TV series, and more,” says Ryall.

Large cover reproduction for the Eight Decades of Archie exhibit.

There are two key pieces of signage for this exhibit, according to Ryall—(1.) a sign welcoming visitors to Archie’s town of Riverdale; and (2.) a strikingly designed sign for Pop’s Chok’lit Shoppe, the gathering place for Archie and his gang since their earliest days.

“Rather than just print these on nice vinyl, [we had these] signs fabricated with raised letters, giving added dimensionality to both the signs and the overall exhibit,” says Ryall.

Gene Rodenberry: Sci-Fi Visionary—Live Long and Prosper!

The unique “Gene Roddenberry: Sci-Fi Visionary” exhibit is devoted to the life, career, and legacy of Rodenberry (in honor of his centennial anniversary) and his globally famous creation Star Trek. Ever since first appearing on TV back in 1966, the series has evolved to movies, novels, video games, and, of course, comic books (published over the years in the United States by comic book companies Gold Key, DC, Marvel Comics, and currently IDW.)

Created in collaboration with Roddenberry Entertainment and CBS, this installation features an extensive timeline of his life and career, Star Trek costumes and props, rarely seen documents and letters, a Captain’s chair for photo ops, and even a sculpted hand showing Spock’s Vulcan greeting.

Entrance to the Gene Rodenberry: Sci-Fi Visionary Exhibit.

There are many signs and displays used for this exhibit. “We have an entry tunnel that leads into the display that is adorned with the initial signage,” says Ryall. “Then at various points throughout the exhibit, there are wall displays and graphics that exemplify the inclusive world that Gene Roddenberry created when he brought Star Trek into the world.”

The exhibit also incorporates audio into its presentation as assorted audio clips from celebrities reading inspirational quotes from Gene Roddenberry can be heard throughout. “They both help set the mood but also create for attendees the kind of positive feeling that the property—and the exhibit— are intended to convey,” says Ryall.

To Be Continued…!

And there are even more exciting exhibits coming to the museum this year!

They’ve just put the finishing touches on a new exhibit celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of one of writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko’s greatest creations, Spider-Man (who first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15). This colorful exhibit made its debut on July 1 and will run until January 1.

Although Ryall couldn’t reveal too much about the details about it at press time (“they were under wraps,” or ‘under webs’ anyway), he did indicate that the exhibit would be an immersive showcase of many parts of the Spider-verse. “And certainly interesting signage will be a big part of that exhibit,” he says.

Another upcoming exhibit will showcase author Ernest Hemingway’s long presence in comics. “From adaptations of his novels to the more unique cameos and appearances in comic books throughout the past five decades, Hemingway’s presence in comics has been considerable and the art drawn by some of the top artists in comics,” says Ryall, “but it’s also something that not too many people are aware of. So it’ll be great to be able to use the display to both showcase but also inform people about this lesser-known corner of the comic-book universe.”

The Comic-Con Museum is open five days a week (Wednesday through Sunday) and will be expanding its hours after its July grand opening.

Even with magazine articles such as this and online information and photos about the museum, Ryall says the best way to experience everything going on is in person.

“The exhibits, full of colorful characters and stunning original art pieces and props, along with text descriptors and other enhancements, reward that up close and personal visit,” he remarks. “We also offer a growing slate of programmatic extensions in the form of live discussions about an exhibit’s impact, special movie screenings, and classroom activities for kids.”

Ryall promises the proverbial “much more to come” to keep an eye out on, which will more than likely equate to even more colorful signs and graphics in action!

—Jeff Wooten

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INX Updates Troubleshooting App

INX International Ink Co. (Schaumburg, IL) recently updated the INX Troubleshooting Guide App to contain more solutions for more common problems.

INX Troubleshooting Guide App

INX Troubleshooting Guide App

The app identifies problems and symptoms and provides recommended solutions. It also now offers nine different languages for the three metal decorating guides, according to a company press release.

When the app was first introduced in 2014, one of the main goals was to limit the amount of downtime for printers, according to the release.

“This latest update with the Troubleshooting Guide App is indicative of our commitment to help improve the flow of information to our customers,” Renee Schouten, INX’s vice president of marketing said in the release.

For more information on the app, click here.

The post INX Updates Troubleshooting App appeared first on Signs of the Times.

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Spokane Natives Buy, Rebrand Print Business

Plese Printing & Marketing, which has been in business for thirty-two years and is independently owned by Kim Plese, has been sold to Spokane natives Christy and Scott Johnson. Christy and Scott have rebranded the business as Minuteman Press – Spokane and are operating out of the same location at 4201 E. Trent Ave.

On the sale of her business, Kim Plese says, “I had no intention of selling my business as we were growing rapidly after the pandemic. Suddenly, my longtime production manager of twelve years had passed away, and I was devastated. He was only thirty-six-years-old at the time of his passing. When Minuteman Press Regional Vice President Chris Jutt contacted me, it happened to be two months later, and I decided it was time to think about selling. I took his call seriously and we moved forward from there.

“My business was my ‘baby’ and it’s an emotional process to sell. Minuteman Press and Chris Jutt’s patience and understanding were enormous in guiding me during this time.”

Spokane Natives Return Home to Realize Their Dream
Christy and Scott Johnson are the new owners of Minuteman Press – Spokane (formerly Plese Printing & Marketing) located at 4201 E. Trent Ave.

For Christy and Scott Johnson, buying a business in Spokane enables them to return to their hometown and be near family and friends.

“We enjoy getting to know our customers many of whom are also small business owners,” says Christy. “It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to support our customers and the many causes and entities that they represent. Scott is originally from Spokane and I grew up in Cusick.

“Buying this business has allowed us to move back to Spokane, which has been fantastic.”

They chose to buy Plese Printing & Marketing and join the Minuteman Press franchise network so that they could hit the ground running with established business while also being fully supported and trained in the industry.

“We loved meeting with Kim Plese and learning how she built her business over the past thirty-two years,” says Scott. “Minuteman Press has a program that connected us with Kim and helped us transition into ownership of the business. It’s a dream come true to buy this business and also receive training and support along the way.”

Before buying the business, Scott worked as a Mechanical Engineer and Christy worked as an Accountant. “I spent twenty-four years as a mechanical engineer working in semiconductor quality and reliability and building technical teams around the globe,” says Scott. “Christy is an accountant and started in corporate America. Over the last decade, she has been working for small businesses filling many roles in Finance, HR, and Operations Management. She has broad experience working in and with small businesses.

“Several of my family members have owned successful businesses in Spokane so it seemed natural to take this step.”

Currently their services include: Every Door Direct Mail®, variable mail service, banners, yard signs, business cards, product labels, rack cards, tri-fold brochures, personalized letterhead, envelopes, two-part and three-part customized carbonless forms, custom made-to-order spiral bound books, self-covering booklets, and promotional products. “We also offer solutions for branding your physical office space, such as customized wall wraps, window graphics, and indoor and outdoor signage,” says Scott. “We intend to add vehicle wraps in the future. The business we purchased already has the equipment, employees, and capability to do this work.”

When asked what he loves most about owning a business versus having a job, Scott answers, “We love that we set our own schedule and that the time and the hard work we put in is for our own benefit. We have our own vision how we want to run our business as well as the internal workplace culture we like, and owning our own business allows us to make it what we want.”

Reflections on the Purchase and Sale of the Business
Kim Plese (left) has sold Plese Printing & Marketing to Spokane natives Christy and Scott Johnson (right). Christy and Scott have rebranded the business as Minuteman Press – Spokane.

With the sale of Plese Printing & Marketing complete, Scott Johnson and Kim Plese reflect on their experiences as buyers and sellers, respectively.

“We had tried to purchase other small businesses in the past, but it’s daunting to evaluate and try to find a good fit,” says Scott. “With Minuteman Press, there was someone available to help with the process, give advice, and answer questions. I would suggest doing a lot of research to find a good fit with your goals and expectations. The education process took many years for Christy and I and to find a good fit, and we found it with Minuteman Press – Spokane.”

Kim concludes, As the Owner/President of Plese Printing and Marketing in Spokane, Washington for over thirty-two years, I can say without hesitation that my experience with Minuteman Press and Chris Jutt, Regional Vice President PNW, has been amazing to say the least. I was able to sell my business for a fair market price knowing that all my years of hard work was going into good hands. My entire staff stayed on after the sale and my customers are satisfied knowing that they have the great service and quality products they’ve known for years.

“I was able to transition out of the business with ease and now I am able to pursue a career in politics and run for an important seat as a County Commissioner for Spokane! I am so grateful to Chris Jutt for making this happen for me. It’s been a complete pleasure from beginning to end.”

—Press Release

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