It’s rare, these days, to find an industry professional who spends his entire career focused on one medium of design. Dave is one of those few. Yet when you see him talk about signs, it’s hard to believe he’s been creating them for over 25 years. His eyes still light up when he talks about the considerations involved in designing a sign, as if all these years of practice has made the trade even more interesting.
Back in 1992, Dave started out in a loft / work-space off the avenue in Ventura, with paint brushes and a surfboard. He’d often be found intensely focused on his latest design, determined to finish in time to catch the evening glass off.
During that time, trade schools still had programs specifically for “sign guys.” The entire program was around hand-lettering, and covered design elements from harmony and balance to color combinations and creations. Some of you may remember the days when every price in the grocery store could be found on a hand-painted sign. Each grocery store had their own sign-guy in the back, working to make sure these prices were correct.
Of course, these days are long-over. The transition was taking place just as Dave graduated from trade school, and he rode the transition as eagerly as he rode the waves. He found that while the computer made everything he did much faster, his experience in hand-lettering amplified his understanding of materials, layout, and design impact. When Dave approaches a storefront, his mind is already designing.
Today, Dave’s Signs has grown from a loft off the avenue into a complex on Thompson that’s as big as a city block. A full tour uncovers a neon workshop, painting warehouse, a wide-format digital printer, layout tables, a CNC routing table, a metal workshop, cranes and boom trucks, and more. The team of professionals at the shop does everything from design and layout, to hand-crafting neon signs, to installing corporate brand campaigns on skyscrapers.
Needless to say, it takes a lot more than paintbrushes and canvass to accomplish everything the team at Dave’s Signs is up to these days.