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Neon – It’s a Gas!

The Las Vegas strip. The Pike Place Market sign. Times Square. These words probably all draw up images in your mind that have one thing in common: NEON. For over 100 years, the technology used to create neon lights has remained very much the same, and purists the world over still rely on it for colorful, eye-catching signage. From large, show-stopping outdoor signs to small interior window signs, here’s a little background info you might not know about your favorite gas!

The Discovery of Neon and History of the Neon Light

The chemical element neon was first discovered in 1898 by British chemists Sir William Ramsay and Morris W. Travers, who at that same time discovered two other inert gases: argon and xenon. When isolated inside a sealed tube, the neon emitted a very bright reddish-orange glow. However because so little of the gas was extracted during their small-scale air liquefaction process, it was too costly to use in quantity. It wasn’t until 1910 that Air Liquide business owner George Claude was able to produce enough neon in his larger-scale process to make it practical for use in lighting applications. His first attempt at neon lighting, to be used in home settings, was unsuccessful. But once he was able to channel the neon light’s extreme brightness and unusual tint into signage applications, the demand began to grow. He sold the first neon signs in the United States to a Packard dealership in Los Angeles in 1923.

Just three years later, Jacques Risler of France discovered how to create additional colors in neon. By coating the sealed tube containing the gas with different fluorescent coatings or “phosphors,” the ultraviolet light emitted by the gases inside caused the tube to glow with various colors. Colors outside the red/orange spectrum usually have additional compounds added to enhance the color, such as argon and mercury. By the 1960s there were about two dozen color options available, and today there are almost 100.

Iconic Neon

Here are just a few examples of how neon can be used to create signs that are recognizable the world around.

Classic Texas barbecue neon sign

The grandfather of all neon cities, Las Vegas

The Pike Place Public Market in Seattle boasts one of the most recognizable neon signs in the US.

Neon can be fabricated in a wide variety of colors

Your (Business) Name in Lights

One of the main benefits offered by neon signage is its longevity. A well cared for neon sign can last for years, even decades. But just as in the early 1900s, neon can be very costly to fabricate and repair, making it outside the budget of many small businesses. So what alternatives have come along? Enter LED technology.

Just a few of the color options in LED neon style rope lighting

LED (light-emitting diode) technology is used in just about every illuminated sign we create at Signwave, from lightboxes to channel letters. It’s super bright, cool to touch, energy efficient, versatile, long-lasting, and affordable. There are even LED rope products that can mimic the look of classic neon tubing with more flexibility and color variety. With all the options that LED technology opened up, a classic-looking neon sign with modern benefits is in anyone’s reach.

Are You Ready To Be Iconic?

Whether you’ve been in business for 40 years or 40 days, you can be a neighborhood icon with the right signage. Are you ready? Call Signwave today and we’ll come to you for a consultation and site visit. We can help you stand out in the crowd.

 

 

 

Using color to identify subsidiaries in dimensional lettering

A Perfect Season for Interior Signage

Wintertime is Interior Signage Evaluation Time

Why are interior signs important?

Outside all signs point to more cold weather to come, but inside it’s a perfect time to reevaluate your business’s interior signage. Attractive signs are much more than just bits of information to stick on a wall or door. After all, it’s not just your customers that use them as a visual marker. You and your employees and co-workers see them, walk past them, and work under them day after day. A drab, purely practical sign does nothing to inspire pride or productivity.

Cream and blue ADA sign reading "work room"

Do a site evaluation and make notes

Take a walk around your facility and see where you have a generic, off-the-rack sign, a piece of printer paper, or nothing at all to designate the different areas and offices. What message would it send to your employees and customers if you had a custom-made, coherent signage plan in place to increase visibility, decrease confusion, and create a harmonious work environment?

Where can we make improvement?

Consider these options:

  1. Signage in your company colors to designate workrooms, conference rooms, and storage areas
  2. ADA compliant bathroom signs that also sport your company’s logo
  3. Panoramic wall vinyl with photos depicting scenic areas in your town, or your products in action
  4. Cozy, welcoming signage in your staff dining areas
  5. Clear directional signage for your customers and visitors
  6. Custom nameplates for offices
  7. Long-lasting, custom made floor markings for social distancing and safety

Custom Motivational wallCustom Wall Graphics for Conference Room

There’s no better time than today

Right now is the best time to make those interior changes, before the warm weather calls us all outside again. Signwave can implement your vision, or start from scratch and come up with a full site signage plan to meet your aesthetic and your budget. Give us a call for a site visit!

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Make Establishments Exclusive with Privacy Vinyl

Does your office need to keep its information confidential but doesn’t want to sacrifice the natural lighting that large windows provide? Perhaps you want to insulate your storefront from harsh sunlight or the glare of headlights shining through the window? Privacy vinyl can do that job for you. Also known as “etch vinyl,” it can serve multiple purposes in signage.  Here are some ways privacy vinyl can help your business or establishment: Read more

grand “lightning” logo rendered spectacularly in window perf

Signage Speaks Volumes for a Distributor in Islandia NY

If Your Walls And Windows Could Talk, What Story Would They Tell?

When Helios Tattoo, a manufacturer and distributor of premium inks, needles and supplies to the tattoo trade moved into their new headquarters in Islandia, NY, they wanted to make sure that their lobby, showroom and offices broadcast their brand to all visitors. That’s where Signwave’s specialties lie – in truly custom and unique brand identity designs for corporate environments.

Projects for the Helios headquarters include custom wall treatments

Projects for the Helios headquarters include wall treatments, lobby signage, window and door graphics, warehouse signage, and vehicle graphics.

We started with an overall consultation to understand what they were hoping to achieve with this project. We knew that we needed to provide wall wraps for their tattoo studio, window graphics to make an exterior impression, and a one-of-a-kind lobby wall. We broke the project into separate phases and deliverables to assure that the customer was satisfied with each sub-project before moving onto the next.

Phase 1 was the wall wraps. We worked closely with the Helios designers to create the image files that would show their brand at its best. We selected a matte calendared vinyl for the walls that we laminated with luster overlam to minimize glare under the studio lights but still make the images pop. Only seven days after design approval, their first guest Pro Team artists were cheerfully creating their amazing body art in the newly-wrapped Helios Hideout.

Translucent etch vinyl and white cut vinyl achieve maximum visibility.

Translucent etch vinyl and white cut vinyl achieve maximum visibility.

Next came the doors and windows. The front door obviously needed to present their logo to the public, attractively and with maximum visibility. We used a combination of translucent etch vinyl and white cut vinyl to achieve this. With printed color logos on their other doors, they were ready to move on to the grand “lightning” logo, rendered spectacularly in window perf. Window perf is a perforated adhesive vinyl that is perfect for office window treatments. It permits light to enter (thus not blocking the view from inside) while providing a full graphical brand treatment for outside the building.

Phase 3 was completed last week. We brought a number of samples of various wall textures to their team for selection and they immediately settled on a dramatic faux wall texture of brown stones with grey grout. We needed a lobby sign that would create an unforgettable impression, so we created a PVC sign with embedded red LEDs to cast a halo effect on the wall behind. The result was an eye-popping, dramatic welcome to all Helios visitors.

Signwave’s team isn’t done yet. Additional projects for the Helios headquarters include wall treatments for the offices, warehouse signage, and vehicle graphics.
We’re delighted when customers are pleased with our creations!

PVC sign with red LEDs casts a halo effect on the wall.

PVC sign with embedded red LEDs casts a halo effect on the textured wall behind.

We’d love to help you design your interior and exterior spaces too.

Drop us a line or call 631-761-9292 to arrange a consultation.

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