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23k gold with 18kt matte horizontal rules and dark blue split shade. The script and oval emblem are screen printed 23k gold.

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“I created the Art Deco influenced logo for this business as well as the window signage,” says Dan. “It’s important that the artwork looks good in black and white before adding color. Airbrushing as well as various karats of gold leaf were used in the lettering. The movie camera is done in 12k burnished gold.”

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CNC-router cut from 2-in. HDU board with an aluminum bracket to follow the sign shape; finished with 100% acrylic paints

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23k burnished double-outline with 16k centers and a transparent green outline between the double outlines. The traditional symbol for pawn shops is three spheres, so Dan incorporated gilded watch crystals into the design and adhered them to the glass with cyanoacrylate glue.

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“This was fun to design,” says Dan. “It’s double-sided ¾-in. overlaid plywood, airbrushed background, hand lettered and painted pictorial.”

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2020 is 1-in. HDU board and the secondary copy is ¼-in. acrylic. All lettering is finished with 23k gold. The 2-by-3-ft. background is repurposed maple box-car flooring, stained and finished exterior acrylic satin clear. Dan wanted the clean lettering to contrast with the background.

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“On this one I tried to take an existing logo and adapt it to make a unique sign. I made the sign shape to mimic a bat. I had the 109-by-35-in. panel cut out of HDU board on a CNC router. The lettering is an additional layer of ¾-in. HDU that was gilded. The background and borders are painted a faux bronze and copper patina.” Click on Blog on www.danseesestudios.com to see the blog post about the sign.

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Substrate is 2-in. HDU board, painted with 100% acrylic. Tree profile on bracket is ¼-in. aluminum, hand painted.

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A combination of vinyl graphics and hand painting on 40-by-54-in. panel of ¾-in. overlaid plywood.

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“This is a combination of HDU board and acrylic,” Dan says. “I designed the bracket from elements in the logo and had it cut out of ¼-in. plate steel. All elements are painted with Matthews catalyzed urethane [www.matthewspaint.com].”

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6-by-6-ft. transom designed to complement an historic renovation in Telluride, Colorado, with a glue-chipped background. Lettering is 23k gold with glue-chipped centers and mother-of-pearl. The 201 is depth-carved into the glass and gilded.

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Acrylic lettering on 28-by-36-in. HDU panel

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23k burnished outlines, 18k matte centers, red split-shadows. The copper leaf acanthus motifs were adapted from the columns on the building.

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Gilded ½-in. cut-out PVC letters on 48-by-27-in. panel of 1/8-in. aluminum faces screwed to aluminum frame with decorative rivet caps. “The stormy background was built up with transparent paints,” says Dan, “and finished with UV clear."

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Designed as a faux ghost sign inside a restaurant, this was painted with acrylic paints, then distressed and a muddy glaze applied before clearing with a matte finish.

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Dan Seese

Profile: Dan Seese

By SignCraft Magazine

Posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Shop name:
Dan Seese Studios

Shop size: 550 sq. ft.

Age: 64

Graphics equipment:
Graphtec plotter
FlexiSign software

Online:
www.danseesestudios.com
I started doing some hand-lettered signs and murals in the early ’70s, but got out of it for quite a few years. Later I was out of work in between jobs and I decided that making signs was what I really enjoyed doing best. I looked around for work in sign shops, but couldn’t find anything. I ended up opening my own shop. That was in 1986.

When it comes to formal training in sign making, I’ve never had any. I’ve always had to figure the work out, learning as I go. Design-wise, I’ve borrowed ideas and inspiration from others—folks like Mark Oatis, Bill Hueg, Noel Weber, Shane Durnford and so many others.

I work out of a studio behind our home. I couldn’t really do it without Chris, my wife. She takes care of all the bookkeeping and keeps things running smoothly. That lets me focus on getting the work done. She’ll give me her opinion on something that I’m working on and I can run ideas past her.

Make it memorable I’m not a fine artist—I’m a commercial artist. I try to make something that will help a business develop a successful image. It’s so important that a sign says more than just the name of the business. It should communicate the feel of the business, and be memorable.

I guess I’m driven to some extent by trying to do that, and trying to succeed in getting the sign to look as I envisioned it. You know how it is—you finish a sign, take a look at it and think, “I should have… I wish I had… I shouldn’t have…” this or that, or your eye goes to some imperfection. I guess that’s what drives you to do better.

Almost all of my work comes from referrals or repeat business. I don’t do any marketing. I sometimes refer people to my website to see examples of my work. It often strengthens their confidence. It helps them know that whatever I do with them will be done with artistic sensibilities and excellent craftsmanship, meaning it will be professional.

My website is the work of Shane Durnford. He’s unbelievable. He has a certain sense of simplicity and an ability to work with colors and simple shapes that just amazes me. His work is always so beautiful, both his signs and his web design.

A little dimension, a little gold leaf My work is mostly 3D signs, glass signs and murals. Sometimes I do all the 3D work in house, and other times I’ll outsource the CNC work. I don’t do digital printing, because I prefer the tactile aspect of the business. I’m fine with technology—I just prefer to focus on doing what I like doing best. When a situation calls for digital printing, I outsource it.

I really enjoy the glass signs, though I don’t get as much of that as I’d like. In the mid-80s, I wandered into Mark Oatis’s shop in Denver to apply for a job. I had read an article on Bill Hueg in SignCraft that mentioned him working with Mark. I knew nothing about the Letterheads.

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