Monday, June 22, 2015

Honus Wagner ~ Another Home Run!

Where Legends Are Made...

One of the things that we most enjoy about being involved in the sign and graphics industry, is the variety of interesting projects that we work on. Recently, Vital Signs was approached to work on a very historically significant project. 

Below is a re-post of the article that was written and featured by Dona Dreeland in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

On behalf of the Vital Signs Team, we are honored to have worked on such a meaningful project. 

Honus Wagner Sign to provide fresh look for Carnegie, PA.

This sign, created by Vital Signs of Carnegie, will hang on the Historical Society of Carnegie building and remind visitors that Carnegie is the hometown of Honus Wagner, the legendary Pittsburgh Pirate.

There's plenty to see on Carnegie's Main Street.

New shops and old shops sit side by side. Turquoise-painted lampposts mark the little bridge, and visitors soon will be able to look up and gaze at a giant.

A sign will be installed on the side of the Husler Building that will remind people that Carnegie is Honus Wagner's hometown.
The sign's location couldn't be better because the building is home to the Historical Society of Carnegie and the Honus Wagner Museum.
Inside the museum are treasures connected with the baseball legend, who played much of his career from 1897 to 1917 with the Pirates. The sign is a magnification of the first Honus Wagner baseball card. The sign was designed and created by Vital Signs, a local business, and supported by the Carnegie Arts Initiative, an organization formed to promote arts and artists.
“We want to bring art into public spaces,” said Bob Podurgiel, who serves as the group's treasurer. “Art changes people's perceptions of the town.”
Four years ago, the sunflower paintings were installed on another side of the society's building. Harry Demel hand painted the panels, coated them with acrylic to withstand the weather, and had the pieces framed and bolted to the wall. Demel called it a “movable mural.”
In addition, a sunflower garden nurtured by rainwater runoff from the roof was planted. The project was funded by a grant from Pennsylvania-American Water Co., Podurgiel said.
One project generated the other, and Vital Signs took the Wagner design submitted by the historical society to its staff. It was enlarged, printed on vinyl material, adhered it to a metal backing and laminated to protect it from the sun. Steve Burkett, one of the owners of the company, anticipates its placement on the building at the end of June or early July.
It's a part of Dan McGrogan's plans to attract people to the history inside the building by “freshening it.”
McGrogan took over the directorship of the society when his mother, Marcella, its founder, retired.
The Wagner sign is only a hint of all of the items in the museum, which contains photographs, clippings and cards from the former Pirate's illustrious career. Many of the items had their first home in the Elks Lodge, where Wagner had been a lifelong member. When the Elks found there wasn't enough space to display the items, they gave them to the museum to exhibit. The Wagner artifacts now are in their own room, ready for a morning of browsing by any baseball fan.
That was enough for the five-person arts initiative board to get involved in the sign project. Its membership also supports those involved in film and music. September's jazz concert will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Carnegie, and the proceeds will be used for music lessons for children there. In its third year in Carnegie, The New Works Festival will bring playwrights from all over the world to the borough.
“For six weeks, we're a very cosmopolitan town,” Podurgiel said.

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Venice, Italy... It's A SIGN!

Have Camera, Will Snap!                                    

At the risk of repeating myself (which tends to happen more and more the older I get), I want to talk about signs. Not just any sign, the really beautifully crafted pieces of art that one typically sees perched upon European businesses.

And yes, I have blogged about this once before, but it bears repeating. After just returning from an amazing vacation in Italy, it would be very easy to declare that almost everything that one encounters in Italy borders on breath-taking.

But I am genuinely impressed and inspired each time I see a beautifully designed and crafted sign. In addition to snapping pictures of ancient architecture and every intricately carved statue I encountered, I could not help but to take some pictures of signs. In Venice, we encountered a regal hotel sign. Though these pictures do not do the sign justice, the colors were vibrant and as equally well-chosen as it's design.

A Sign Of Things To Come..   


In most U.S. businesses, signs are viewed as a functional necessity. Yes, the business needs identification, so slap up an aluminum sign or light box and call it a day. In fact, if a sign requires a bracket(s), it is usually chosen based on the selection of already-made bracket designs available.

For those of us in the sign manufacturing industry, it is the rare customer who realizes the true value of their signage and what it can mean to their business's bottom line.

The attention-to-detail that is given to signs in Europe cannot be mistaken. It is true that the signs are produced to fit into the cultural surroundings of their quaint, cobblestone streets, but it's more than that. So many signs in Europe look like works of art.

The signs produced for many European businesses are produced by master craftspeople and it shows. Clearly, these signs are not the cheap, ready-made (or easily made) signs that American businesses are content with. So does this mean that American Sign Manufacturers aren't master craftspeople? Absolutely not. It just means that we produce what we are asked to produce. New entrepreneurs have often forgotten about their signage needs and not planned for signage identification and branding in their budget. This glaring mistake can be reflected with uninspired (yawn..yawn) sign choice(s).

Your Sign Is A Reflection Of Your Business

A sign should be more than a visual business identifier. A sign should send the unmistakable message of what the business inside offers. A sign should very distinctly scream: Creativity; Details: Personality; Elegance; Humor, etc.  To me, a great sign is one that is so well crafted and eye-catching, that one could use it as an art piece or decoration after the sign has fulfilled it's originally intended purpose.

At Vital Signs, we believe that " Our Signs Sell Your Business " and they do. Let our creative design team work with you to craft (or re-design & craft) the kind of sign that is thoughtfully designed to both attract customers and increase your profits.


(412) 494-3308