Posted on Wednesday, February 6th, 2019
The world of signs, it seems, is mostly flat. Printed graphics can do a lot to simulate dimension, but still nothing beats the real thing to catch the viewer’s eye. 3D graphics add appeal, and the natural shadows created by layers and cutouts give depth to the sign. And that look helps send a message of quality and dependability of the business to the viewer.
Some assume that carved or cutout letters make a dimensional sign, but that’s not the only way to make dimensional signs. Even if the letters are cut vinyl or painted on a flat surface, adding a layer or two creates a feel of dimension that can set a sign apart from the world of flat signs. Carved signs or cutout letters can benefit from the extra kick that layers can give, too. And so does the sign shop.
“There are more ways to create 3D signs,” says Peter Poanessa, Keene Signworx, “than simply carving a design into a two-inch-thick panel. We try to think outside the box. The result is high-value advertising for the end user and a tidy profit for our shop.”
Add layers to create dimension and the sign suddenly looks more substantial and interesting, and the business looks more credible. The sign is also suddenly more valuable, too. Prospective customers often recognize the value a 3D sign can give their business. Giving them the opportunity to upgrade to a 3D sign using the same design that might otherwise have been produced as a flat sign means additional profits for the sign shop.
The layers can be a panel, an outline panel (or two), a graphic, a border—you name it. They can be layers of any substrate—PVC board, aluminum composite material, high density urethane board. CNC routers make adding layers easy.
Layers are also more effective at delivering the look of dimension at a distance than a single carved panel. The shadows that the layers create enhance the effect.
Flip through any issue of SignCraft and you’ll see examples of how creative sign people use layers to create signs with extra impact. It may be double outline layers behind cutout letters on a panel over a textured background, or it may just be one panel mounted slightly off the sign face. It’s a powerful effect that can be adjusted to fit most any budget.