Create the design: 30 minutes I did a layout in Gerber Graphix Advantage software, then output a paper pattern and perforated it.
Cut panel and coat: 40 minutes I cut the aluminum composite material to shape using a jigsaw, then primed and finished it. Once dry, I applied the digital print in the center.
Pounce pattern and letter: 60 minutes I chose to hand letter the main copy and shadow rather than use cut vinyl, so I perforated the pattern, pounced it, then did the white lettering.
Paint borders: 30 minutes I taped off and painted the tan border and the light blue inset outline. Mixing the custom colors took about 15 minutes.
I hand lettered the primary copy then added the wide dark blue shadow with the brush—no need for a pattern for that.
The shadow added a little dimension and extra interest. The typeface is Phoenix by the late Mike Stevens [available in the shop].
Cut and apply secondary copy: 20 minutes I used tan vinyl film for the secondary lettering. The typeface is Stevens Percepta Demi from It only took a minute to apply the carved gold leaf diamond.

What’s it cost to produce this 18-by-60-in. flat sign?

By David Showalter

Posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Aluminum composite panel — $40
Digital print $mdash; $50
Paint (primer plus four colors) — $55
  Total materials — $145

Design/prep file — 30 min.
Cutout shape — 20 min.
Prime/finish coats — 20 min.
Pattern/pounce — 30 min.
Mix custom paint colors — 15 min.
Hand letter — 35 min.
Paint borders — 30 min.
Cut/apply vinyl — 20 min.
  Total time — About 3.5 hours
I often do signs for residences, mostly vacation cottages and lake houses. Folks take pride in these weekend getaways and it’s always fun to produce this type of signage. I always make them extra special by using art, custom shapes and colors.

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David Showalter

David Showalter's shop, David Design, is in Bryan, Ohio.