Crusader Signs Ltd. originated in the early 60's as a traditional sign painting and screen printing shop. Spray painting on neon sign faces, hand lettering truck doors, making magnetic signs, installing real estate signs and decorating store windows and facias. The tools were simple, a brush and paint. The sign shop was also screen printing on an endless amount of 3 dimensional items, including glass and ceramics. "Burning the Midnight Oil" was a common phrase in the sign shop while standing at the screen press filling the shop to capacity with printed items all hours of the night. Procedures that had unreliable outcomes were eliminated. Sometimes simple surface tension or thermal coefficientcy could change a game plan of creativity. "We understood we couldn't change physics or elements from the earth, so we worked around them!" Procedures that worked perfectly time and time again were written down in the sign painters knowledge base. Better known as Standardised Shop Proceedures. It's the same surface tension that creates bubbles in vinyl aplication as it did in 1-shot lettering enamels on glass. And it's the same remedy 40 years later, a little soap."
Most every sign and all silk screened item needed somekind of production artwork. Hand cut stencils were as common as the grease pencil. In later years the horizontal camera was put to use and dark room procedures became more and more popular to enlarge or reduce original artwork. "Sometimes we would hold the copyboard of the camera just slightly off 90 degress. That would allow for our distortion of pulling a squeege across the screen."Photo copiers and even projectors aided in the artwork process. Creating production artwork for silk screening became more of a photo process, including stencils. Even pounce patterns for larger sign production was possible to produce mechanically.
While most traditional sign shops had a lot of creativity they commonly used enamel paints. One sign painter I knew only offered black paint, and he was always busy. Screen Printing helped promote the development of specialty paints or inks, such as epoxies for metals and plastics, fabric dyes and even ceramic and glass frit glazes for kiln firings. Following mixing ratios and drying times specialty inks were common. "It's certainly nice to roll out vinyl sheets and depend on the colour consistancy!"
Today Crusader Signs offers all those ol' time sign shop secrets in Vinyl Sign Making. Signs of the Times! Computers are used to cut vinyl signs to very specialized art file types, called vector graphics. Logo's and text can be designed to meet any corporate standards and sent to the plotter for cutting. "Since production artwork is at the root of any and every sign, it's nice to size any logo to the next job in minutes, rather than redraw it!" The basics of the traditional sign shop are combined with the modern world to create efficent and economical signage for a variety of uses and surfaces.
Developments in using traditional sign shop procedures are shown on our YouTube channel. With over 3000 subscribers it's fun communicating world wide and developing optional ways to create signage.
"All we add is 40 years of Sign Making Experience."