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The Tools and the Talent

A primer on vinyl-application hardware, tools and equipment

Since I started Media 1 (29 years ago!), I’ve seen firsthand the sign industry’s explosive growth. Back in 1984, if you didn’t know how to drag a lettering quill loaded with 1Shot® lettering enamel across a hand-rolled, 4 x 8-ft., MDO board, you weren’t in the sign business! A toolbox full of brushes, numerous cans of sealed-over lettering enamel, an overhead projector and an Electro-Pounce™ patternmaking system were a signpainter’s trademark equipment. That’s pretty much all you needed to be in the sign business – well, that and a whole lot of artistic ability!

My, my, how things have changed! Now, perhaps because I’m so entrenched in this particular field, I think signmakers have benefited from far-reaching technological advances more than most industries. Whether it’s automated, channelletter benders; flatbed printers; or full-color, LED displays, equipment abounds to make a signmaker’s work much more efficient than our predecessors’ labor a generation ago.

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