Guidas neon sign from eccentric roadside

Signwave | Does Your Signage Have The Uglies?

Is your business the one with the beautiful signs? A good outdoor sign is a form of landscape art. Not only will they attract customers to your door but they will build your standing in the community. Attractive signs that comply with community codes help convey an image of responsible citizenship. Signs transform your place of business into a landmark that everyone knows. We’ve all said things like “let’s meet outside Maria’s Taco Stand” or “it’s right across from Mickey’s Garage” because the signs of that business make it easy to find. They generate the word of mouth that establishes that business as a fixture in the neighborhood.

monument sign

Good signage – even temporary signage – shows the world that you are for real, and that you are here to stay. Beautiful signs add beauty to the community. Ugly signs add clutter.

A sign’s beauty is reflected in its graphical design, in its materials, in its message, and in the quality of its workmanship. All four of these elements work together to make a business, organization or event rise above the clutter and be noticed for all the right reasons.

Signwave will:

  • Assure your signage plan complies with local standards and regulations;
  • Recommend the most appropriate materials for the intended appearance, durability and budget;
  • Design and revise proofs of the sign to assure satisfaction before fabrication begins;
  • Print , build and fabricate the sign according to agreed materials and processes;
  • Install the sign for long-lasting goodness.

We like to say that we make “the most beautiful signs our customers will allow.” Call us for your next sign project (631-761-9292) if you’re looking to add some beauty to your brand.



Signs, Soup, and Socks

On a cold autumn morning the feeling of slipping one’s feet into a warm pair of socks is one of the most nurturing feelings there is. It warms your feet and your heart, and gives you the extra boldness to take on life’s challenges. Even warmer is to give that feeling to others who need it badly. And warmer still is a nice hearty bowl of soup to go with the giving.

Next Tuesday, Nov. 17th 2015 from Noon to 2pm, Signwave is hosting a business networking meeting at our office at 82 Bridge Rd in Islandia. As part of their ongoing “Sock Out Poverty” initiative, soup for all attendees is provided by Helen Zagaro of Starpromoz. Guests are asked to bring a new pair of warm socks, which will be donated to The INN, a great local organization that serves hungry and homeless Long Islanders in a dignified and respectful manner. We hope to warm the feet of a million Long Islanders through events like these. Head on over to their Facebook site to find more info about the initiative and register for the event. Hope to see you on Tuesday!

channel letter restaurant sign

Introducing Yourself To The Neighborhood

So, you’ve got your business plan, your financing and your legal details all worked out. You’ve found the perfect location, negotiated your lease, and got your permits. You’ve spent weeks cleaning, painting, wiring, building, installing technology. Your Help Wanted signs are up. Congratulations! You are ready to welcome your first customers.

Or are you? How will they find you? How will they know who you are?

You know that you need killer signs. So call us.

When checking in on some of our Hauppauge restaurant customers at a local strip mall, we heard the hum of table saws emerging from a location we thought vacant. Popping our head into the papered-over glass door, we inquired about what was coming.

Much to our delight, we learned that Hauppauge was getting a new casual restaurant, the NishNosh Mediterranean Grill. After a brief discussion about what the owner was looking for in the way of signage, we returned with a proposal with our recommendations for materials and design, and a schedule. We clarified the local sign ordinances, filed all the permits, agreed upon the schedule, and just four weeks later their new marquee sign was up for all to see.

We took their logo and cast it in their preferred color palette. We color matched the trim cap (the edging that holds the plexi onto the letter face). We fabricated the aluminum letters and large swoosh, painted the aluminum to match the colors, then printed and applied the translucent custom printed and cut vinyl to the plexiglass. For the smaller letters, we went with 1/4″ plexiglass mounted on standoffs.

While the other restaurants in this strip mall use a raceway for their marquee sign (the channel letters are attached to a long aluminum box, which serves to feed electric service to each letter) the owner decided to flush mount the letters directly to the edifice.

We think it turned into one of the nicest signs in the neighborhood – do you agree?

We were also asked to provide menu boards, window signs, and wall graphics, and we devised a unique design for each that fits in beautifully with the existing design elements and furnishings. Welcome to the neighborhood NishNosh!


a giant sign

Giant Signs

In the showcase of giant electric signs that is on display in Midtown Manhattan every night, there’s a new Top Banana. Tonight marks the debut of the largest array of kaleidoscopic glory ever to bejewel New York’s Times Square.

Jumbo Billboard

The Supermegajumbotron. Photo: New York Times

Taking over the entire block of Broadway between 45th and 46th St., tonight’s debut of the 8 story-tall, football field-long, 24 million pixel LED leviathan will feature a digital art exhibition by the Universal Everything studio. Starting on Thanksgiving, it will be taken over by Google, who purchased exclusive advertising rights at least until New Year’s Eve.

The sign’s owner, Vornado Realty Trust, is promoting this latest entry into the Pantheon of Ginormous Signs. But they are certainly not the first to demonstrate that when it comes to advertising, Size Matters. Here’s a rundown of some of the other giant signs that have, with varying degrees of success, outsized their message.



There’s no signage like big signage. Photo: The Beachwood Voice

The Hollywood Sign is likely the first giant ad to come to mind. Built in 1923 by the Crescent Sign Company to promote a real estate development, the 45-foot tall sheet metal letters spelled “Hollywoodland” for over 350 feet across a mountaintop. Each letter was illuminated by a string of 8-watt light bulbs mounted on its face. Sign repair workers everywhere bow their heads in reverence at the mention of employee Albert Kothe, who was said to live in a shack at the base of the “Y” and was faced with the unenviable daily task of replacing these bulbs while suspended by wires from the top of each letter.

Subsequently, the electric bills were seen as superfluous and the wiring was stripped out. The “H” was demolished by a drunk driver who swerved into it, and the rest of the sign fell into general disrepair when the mountaintop became the site for an early FM radio station in the 1940s. In the postwar years, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce took over ownership of the sign, knocked down the “LAND,” and watched it crumble further into erosion and decay.

In 1978 a number of civic-minded celebrities raised the funds to rehabilitate the sign, to where it proudly stands today, the Colossus of California.


De grands mots…

Le Signe Énorme

Citroën made cool cars in 1920’s France, and to promote its brand of sweet styling and innovative suspension decided to go super sensationnel by renting out the Eiffel Tower for nine years, from 1925-1934. They emblazoned their logo along two sides of the tower, spanning the entire 300 meter height. Comprised of over a quarter-million light bulbs and 60 kilometers of cable, the sign was visible to Parisian suburbanites 100 kilometers away, and  Charles Lindburgh is said to have used the light from this sign as a beacon during his famed transatlantic flight. Alas, the sign was extinguished when the company went bankrupt and couldn’t pay their electric bills, but was memorialized in postcards, newsreels, and in the Guinness Book of World Records.


“It was a sharp pointy object that killed the beast.” Photo: Cor

King Kong Floppy

When the King of the Apes spent time in New York in the 1933 movie named for him, of course he had to visit the top of the magnificent newly-opened Empire State Building. But by the time the building’s 50th anniversary rolled around, the building had lost some of its brand luster. Enter Harry and Leona Helmsley, the building’s owners, with a brainstorm of gargantuan proportions – bring the gorilla back! This time as the mother of all inflatables.

Unfortunately the execution was not as stupendous as the concept. The 1 1/2-ton balloon arrived in a crate that wouldn’t fit into the elevator. The workers spent a day unpacking it and jamming it into the elevator, but apparently the big galoot suffered an injury in the process. When it was installed and inflated, New Yorkers shrugged when they noticed the sagging airbag, which was hurriedly removed due to the bent publicity. 


He is large. He is your friend. Photo: Roadside Wonders

The Mountainous Muffler Men

Standing broadly astride the path between the American commercial landscape and American Folklore stands Paul Bunyan, sturdy as a redwood tree, ready to fell twenty trees with one swing of his Humvee-sized axe. Though long a favorite character among lumberjacks, the exploits of Paul Bunyan rose to national recognition when promoted by William B. Laughead, who featured the character in pitches for the Red River Lumber Company in the early 1920’s. Promotional storybooks were distributed, and the now-emergent folk hero was subsequently found hawking dozens of products and services.

Enter the International Fiberglass company, who built giant molds of Paul Bunyan figures in various positions, and marketed them as attention-grabbing road signs. Within a decade, thousands of smiling plaid-shirted Bunyans were towering over small towns everywhere. Commonly known as “Muffler Men” (since they were posed holding a muffler), they also were used in the service of selling tires, hot dogs, in the Humble and Philips Petroleum franchises, and by Chambers of Commerce to promote their towns.

As production and shipping costs rose in the 1970s, the company was sold and subsequently closed. The valuable molds of these titans vanished into the aether of mergers, takeovers and salvage. But hundreds of these leviathans still stand as roadside attractions across America, many adapted to different characters with a coat of paint or new accessories, or still as Paul Bunyan originals, smiling down on us all, perhaps seeking out his blue ox Babe, or perhaps just wondering where all the trees went.

Welcome to the Signwave Blog

We are in the business of helping organizations prosper through the use of excellent signs. Our tagline is “Amplify your message.” We want to help business get their message out to their prospective customers. We hope to educate them on the importance of the right signs as part of their marketing strategy. With our design skills, production quality, and customer service we want or community to be able to send their messages loud and clear.

But enough with the elevator pitch – there is plenty to read on other parts of our website about why you should call us right now. This blog is a chance for me to post interesting musings and information, primarily sign-related, but I do like to go off on tangents. My background is quite varied – I have taught high school Social Studies, and done independent consulting for many years, in New York, North Carolina and San Diego. I have had jobs in large and small companies, doing IT support, developing websites, creating smartphones, launching software products, defining manufacturing processes, negotiating agreements, and managing international teams, always with a keen eye for design and a passion for getting it right.

So I expect the articles on this blog will run the gamut of sign-related topics from how to design and manufacture great signs, to how to make signs an effective marketing vehicle for pretty much any business. We will look at specific sign types and how to use them best, and we will discuss the importance of color management to get the sign right. But I also expect we will spend a considerable amount of time looking at the history of signs, and revel over some exquisite sign designs of past and present.

So thank you for visiting, and please join in the conversation in your comments.