It is hard to believe that it was almost ten years ago I witnessed a CNC router in action for the very first time. I was fascinated and simply had to have one! Although I had been in the creative end of the three dimensional sign business for most of my life I didn't really know what I would do with one of these machines - but I just knew it could do fantastic stuff.

Along with the CNC router I discovered the wonderful material called Precision Board and the glues, primers and other companion products they offer. Since then we have gone through many tons of the material using it in most signs and projects we tackle. This journal will chronicle our many adventures both past, present and future. I'll talk from the perspective of someone who pushes these products to the creative limit on a daily basis. I'll be adding to the stories two or three times each week. -dan

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Exploring ideas with pen and paper

One of the keys to coming up with a great and original designs is to learn to draw. While many may say they simply can't draw I believe it is a skill we can develop to a great degree. The key is to practice, practice practice. I buy inexpensive blank hard bound books (Staples) and fill them with ideas. I keep them handy and stashed wherever I might need one. Rather than work on loose paper I prefer to keep a record of my drawings for later reference. There's one by my bedside, one in the truck, in my briefcase and another by my recliner. More reside on my desk and all handy for when inspiration strikes or when I need to work out an idea.  I've filled more than fifty with another ten on the way to being filled.

So many designers go straight to the computer when they design. Rather than work out the rough or basic ideas they go straight to the details and in the process are limited. Let's look at a project I designed a while back to show my process of design. 

My client wanted a sign/entrance to a large development that was by the ocean. The proposed name was 'Lighthouse Village'. I opened one of my sketchbooks and began work. I wasn't concerned about fonts, nor colors. We were only exploring ideas in the broadest sense. I started with some sign ideas.

By the second page I was refining things a little 

Then I used that same idea in a different shape

Once I was a little satisfied it was time to veer off to explore some new ideas. This was a little simpler, perhaps a little more modern. 

This idea morphed into the beginnings of a monument sign. It had some potential.

Before I went further I decided to explore what the welcome/information center might look like. I explored these ideas for some time before deciding they were far too predictable and common. In my next meeting with the client I showed them these sketches but also some new ideas which were much more fun and interesting.

 So where did we end up when the drawing was done?