What’s it cost to produce this 3-D sign?

By Duncan Wilkie

Posted on Friday, August 12th, 2022

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

We had worked with this architectural firm on a major government project, both at the design phase and throughout production and installation. Meanwhile, their firm had expanded and their name was changed to reflect the addition


24 sq. ft. of 1⁄2-in. clear acrylic

4 sq ft. of 1⁄4-in. opaque white acrylic

4 SO-SQ 1 Square Standoff barrels

4 SO-CAP 20 Square Standoff caps

4 Gemini Stud pads and screws

1 qt. GripFlex


Site visit, design and presentation: 6 hrs.

Prepare materials and cutting files, router, and engrave components: 8 hrs.

Color match and paint all components: 4 hrs.

Paint infill colors and remove paint mask: 1 hr. 30 min.

Assemble logo from 13 individual components: 1 hr. 30 min.

Mount logo panel on main panel: 30 min.

Prep for installation: 30 min.

Total: 22 hrs.

of a new partner. They had re-designed their logo and they approached me about creating a new main identification sign.

As soon as I looked at the client’s business card, I saw a great opportunity to add dimension to the sign design. The three lines in the logo symbolize the three partners—individuals but working together as a team and not afraid to step “outside the box”. We agreed to maintain the logo as is, but the client encouraged me to take some liberties with color and shape. The front of their business card is basic white stock, but the back is a solid rich burgundy color.

I created a concept design and presented it to them along with some material samples. They really liked the proposal and were anxious to see where I’d take it. We agreed on terms and production began. Both the client and I were very pleased with the completed job. It has been in use for nearly five years. It looks as good as the day it was installed—virtually no fading or paint failure. It’s not even dirty.

Three years ago the sign was moved to its present location and an address panel was added below. It originally faced east into full morning sun. In the current location it faces east, but in a sheltered area.

The backer panel is 1⁄2-in. clear acrylic painted with Gripflex Grip-Flex paint on the first surface. It has a finish coat of Grip-Flex Matte Clear. The logo panel is 1⁄4-in. opaque white acrylic. The text on both panels was routed on our Gerber Sabre 408 router, then “paint filled” with Grip-Flex paint.

The three colored graphic elements were cut from 1⁄2-in. acrylic sheet and painted. Black square is 1⁄4-in. acrylic sheet. These elements were bonded to the sign with 3M VHB tape #4910. The client liked the Gyford standoffs we used on the government project and wanted them incorporated in their finished piece. I used square caps and barrels to complement the square shapes throughout the design. The logo panel is pinned off the backer panel with Gemini pads and machine screws.

Duncan Wilkie’s shop, Comsign, is in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

This appeared in the September/October 2008 issue of SignCraft.

Here’s the sign today, five years later.