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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.

 

 

 

Vehicle Graphics FAQ

So you want to turn your vehicle into a 24-hour-a-day billboard for your business but you’re not sure what that involves? Maybe you want to change the color of your personal car, or add some design elements to your motorcycle or boat? Below are a few of the most common questions we get when someone wants to know where to begin with vehicle graphics.

Fleet of service trucks with consistent brandingBox Truck Graphicsclean branding on the hood of each car in the fleetRetro Vinyl Graphics on a food truck

What are vehicle graphics?

We generally get two kinds of vehicle graphic requests: wraps and lettering. A wrap is created by printing with brilliant latex inks onto a specialized vinyl, then laminating it for longevity before applying it with pressure and heat to large sections of the vehicle. Wraps cover all the underlying paint so they can change the entire look of the vehicle. They’re a lot of fun and highly customizable. You can even cover windows with wrap vinyl; it’s a special perforated vinyl that gives the impression of a solid design from the outside, but you can see out from inside. Some wrap vinyl is created with specialty colors and finishes like color shifts, pearlized, matte finish, metallics, or even textures.

Lettering is done by cutting the designs out of a long-lasting, solid colored vinyl that is then transferred precisely onto the surface of your car, usually on the doors, rear, or windows. It’s a cost-effective way to use vinyl to customize your vehicle without everything that goes into a full wrap.

We can do full wraps, partial wraps, and combinations of wraps and lettering. As a custom sign shop, it’s our job to help you create exactly what you want.

How long do they last?

Most vinyls are guaranteed for two years with reasonable care. In our experience it can last much longer than that, especially if you care for your wrap properly. More on that later.

Can it be removed, and will it damage my paint?

Wraps can be removed and will not damage your paint, as long as the paint is in good condition at the time of wrapping. Most people find that the wrap protects the underlying paint.

Can you create a design for me?

You better believe it. Our experienced creative team will work with you to create the design that speaks your message best. Whether you just want to change the color of your car, or shout to the world that your business is out there and ready to serve, if you can dream it we can create it.

How much does it cost?

It depends! (You knew that was the answer, right?) Square footage, the amount of design, complexity of the install, all these contribute to the cost. All you need to do is call us or, better yet, bring your vehicle on over to our shop and we’ll get all the information we need to provide you a quote. And please don’t hesitate to tell us when you’re working in a budget, because we are happy to offer you what works best for your wallet.

How long does it take to install?

A large van will take about 2 days, where a small van or sedan would take a day. If you have graphics on your vehicle already that need to be removed, we’ll account for that in our time estimate.

How do I care for a wrapped vehicle?

Don’t wash a freshly applied graphic for at least the first week. Hand washing is best, but you can run it through a car wash if you wish. We do NOT recommend ever power washing any kind of adhesive graphics as they may lift and begin to pull away from the surface. Parking inside will help increase the longevity of your graphics, if possible.

Call Signwave at 631-761-9292 or stop by and see us. We’d love to answer your questions in person and get you started with a beautiful and profitable vehicle wrap today!

 

 

How big should the letters in a sign be?

Legibility and Color Combinations Help Make Your Messages Seen

Signs are how a business or establishment conveys its branding to the world and attracts potential customers. Done right, a good sign will project a brand to new heights of visibility and contribute to a bustling business. Done wrong, a bad sign will undermine a brand, diminish people’s confidence in a business or just do nothing to promote it, resulting in tepid or even lessened sales.

How can signs have such an effect?

Because signs send messages, that’s why. Here’s some advice on making a sign that’ll do just that: 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.

Door signs for both wayfinding and information at Long Island location.

Multi-Purpose Signs: Visibility and Wayfinding

What better way to let visitors and customers know how to find your new business than by posting a big beautiful sign on your door? And what if you have multiple doors?

Opaque door signage for privacy inside, information outside Suffolk County location.

Opaque door signage provides privacy inside, important information outside this Suffolk County location.

Recco Home Care in Suffolk County recently moved into a new office suite with multiple entrances to the parking lot. They consulted our sign shop to make sure that not only were they visible to the neighborhood, but that everyone knew which entrance to use.

Signwave recommended printed “window perf” signs on the glass doors. Window Perf is a fantastic material for providing full-surface signage that also permits light to come through so insiders can see through to the outside. It is available in different grades, that vary by the amount and size of the perforations, the color of the adhesive side, and the expected longevity. For Recco, we were able to clearly mark the customer entrance and the Training Room entrance, but also use the other door surfaces to direct customers to the correct door to use.

For extra visibility we added some cut vinyl window graphics that featured their logo and a description of the services they provide.

Grand Opening banner at new Suffolk location

Grand Opening banner at new Suffolk County location aids recruitment.

And to top it all off, a roof banner announced their Grand Opening for all to see. The outdoor signage not only called attention to the company’s arrival in the neighborhood, but also provided the phone number and web address, as well as information about the free training program. Because of windy winter conditions, this was printed on mesh fabric with reinforced webbing all around.

Now the neighborhood not only knows they are there, but knows how to enter. We also helped them spread the word about new employment opportunities in the Long Island community. Welcome Recco Home Care!

Front Door and window signs on Suffolk County building

Consistent branding with variable messaging makes it clear what Recco offers and how to reach them.

Window Perf is a translucent material available in different grades, that vary by the amount and size of the perforations, the color of the adhesive side, and the expected longevity. We’ll be glad to arrange a meeting to show you samples and discuss how this material can be used in combination with banners or other exterior signage to solve your wayfinding and visibility challenges.

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