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  • Steve Sult

Anatomy of brand development: The creation of a neon sign is intriguing and slightly mela

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

Sometimes being social-savvy isn't necessarily restricted to the internet, In January, Larry Davis from Daman Products Company called me to put a face on a social club he was building on his property. Imagine a home entertainment room on steroids. The club itself is a freestanding building –complete with a pool room, bar, sports bar accessories designed and decorated like a older style men's club. The technology is restricted to the A/V system (actual conversation without smart phones and other devices).

The assignment screamed for a vintage style neon sign. It's a fascinating craft, but neon signs are dwindling in popularity. There are obvious reasons why, of course. Neon signs are expensive to make and power, they break easily and are hard to replace, and they are fire hazards as well. Even so, it still seems sad that any art that requires this much craft—and gives a city at night so much charm—would eventually die out. It's a reminder that progress often comes with a human cost.

As luck would have it I ended up finding a creative and reliable resource in South Bend, Indiana – tucked away in the old South Bend Lathe building that specializes in neon signs. David Smith, owner of Michiana Neon LLC. was not only creative, he was meticulous and cost effective.

Phase 1: The project including a variety of sketches for visuals that might fit the bill. Each had potential, but needed something beautiful and bold.

Phase 2: The design direction went to what was near and dear to Davis, motorcycles. We tried complicated bending forms and later simplified the entire design to suit the medium. The fonts were created by Sult Mine Creative and designed to be eye-catching and compliment the main graphic. (See the rough working drawings below)

Phase 3: Picking the right color palette for the design was a challenging decision. Typically my work is more understated and the project called for bold and bright. I drew on whole host of lettering designed to emulate the casino style lettering and shapes. The end result (below) evolved quickly and is now prominently behind the bar area. Somebody pass me my sunglasses!

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