The Sign Depot

Archive for the ‘heritage signs’ Category


Vintage Look Dimensional Signs For Abe Erb

Showing Kitchener Waterloo’s Heritage With Signs

When the owners of Abe Erb first contacted us about their new Pub that would be opening, they mentioned they reached out to us because of the artistic signs we display on our Sign Depot website. They were wanted dimesnional signs with a vintage look and Peter Moir (owner of Sign Depot) said our distressed finished signs would fit the bill.

Custom Dimensional Signs With A Throwback Thrown In

The Abe Erb project included an exterior entranceway sign for the restaurant, a store front sign for their beer shop and copy of historical map of Waterloo Ontario. Because all three signs are for outdoor use they needed to be able to withstand the conditions of all four seasons.  The dimensionalcutout letters and custom crafted hexagons (manufactured to look like bolt heads) for the entranceway and store front sign were cnc cut from high density urethane (otherwise known as HDU).  The HDU items were affixed to an aluminum panel backer.

Dimensional Letters - Abe Erb - The Sign Depot

Dimensional Letters - Abe Erb - The Sign Depot

The signs were given our faux rust finished to achieve the look of a vintage sign.

Dimensional Signs - Abe Erb - The Sign Depot

Dimensional Signs - Abe Erb - The Sign Depot

The map which you can see a detailed look on the CONTACT section of the Abe Erb website, was a fabricated on to an aluminum panel.

Vintage Signs - Abe Erb - The Sign Depot

Building A Brand Buzz

During the weeks leading up to the opening of Abe Erb they used their signage as a means to promote their new establishment.  Brand buzz was built on the Abe Erb social media channels. They ran contests asking future patrons to tweet out pics of themselves with the signs.  This increased exposure for their company and ramped up brand buzz about Abe Erb’s involvement in the community.

For more examples of the types of signs we make for dining establishements, be sure to visit our Restaurant Signs gallery. If you are looking for dimensional signs then contact us first!


What Does Heritage Sign Making Have To Do With Disney?

Timeline of Signs

Sign making is a craft that originated in ancient times according to Wikipedia.  Fast forward to the modern day where the function of signage is described as a means of…

 communication, to convey information such that its receiver can make cognitive decisions based on the information provided. In general, signage can be classified into the following functions: (a)Information: signs giving information about services and facilities, e.g., maps, directories, instructions for use, etc. (b)Direction: signs leading to services, facilities, functional spaces and key areas, e.g., sign posts, directional arrows, etc. (c)Identification: signs indicating services and facilities, e.g., room names & numbers, toilet signs, number of floors, etc. (d)Safety and Regulatory: signs giving warning or safety instructions, e.g., warning signs, traffic signs, exit signs, rules & regulations, etc.

This description makes signage sound like a rather dull concept.  We think the contrary.  Making noticeably unique signs are tasks that professional sign makers tackle every day.  Using heritage sign making techniques like hand painting, carving, routering, blasting, and guilding (gold leaf applications) are just some of the ways that the sign crafters of today create bold looks and eye catching signs.

Behind The Scenes

Finding the best technique to suit what the sign represents can be challenging, but through different methods of design and construction the desired look will be achieved.  Take a look at this behind the scenes video of the Disney Sign Shop

They use several of the same processes we do.  Both traditional heritage looks and modern style sign making processes (and sometimes a mix of the two) make the signage industry a far more interesting concept, while still making signage functional.

Signs of a Great Sign Maker

Choosing a sign maker that has expertise in a variety of of sign making techniques ensures you have the signage that meets your requirements and exceeds your expectations.  The art of sign making requires high attention to detail as well the ability to produce outstanding results.  Make sure your sign maker of choice provides you with the choices you need to suit your needs as well as your sign budget. Taking the time to listen to your preferences and consider the options that will make your sign stand up and stand out is what makes for great sign maker.



Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with our Four Favorite Heritage Look Pub Signs

A Pub’s Presentation

Pubs come in all shapes and sizes.  From the little pub on the corner to the big restaurant/sports bar style establishments.  Signs for pubs need to be just as unique.  The entrance-way to any pub needs to be inviting and reflect the atmosphere inside.

In choosing a design style for a pub here are some factors to think about

  • Will the pub want the traditional Irish feel?
  • Will customers be looking to it for a fun time with friends?
  • Will the choices of ale be a deciding factor for passers by?
  • Will there be a selection of Irish fare on the menu that should be highlighted?
  • Will the pub’s name or logo be the feature of the sign?

Location, Location, Location

As mentioned in an earlier post, where you plan on putting your sign is just as important as what you are putting on it.  Make sure your sign is visible by displaying it where the majority of traffic will see it.   Find a location where your sign can stand out from the rest, but still look pleasing in its surroundings.

Pot of Gold?

Ways you can make your sign be very noticeable are through choices of materials and fine art finishes.  The luster of a 23K gold leaf sign is unparalleled and adding that touch of shine is a decision that might just bring you the Luck of the Irish!

Size Matters

 It won’t hurt to put a big sign on a small pub, but it doesn’t work the other way around.  Make sure that the size of your sign works with the size of your building.  Proportion is key when deciding how large you want to make your pub sign.  Also make sure your sign can display all the messaging you wish to have on it, without the sign looking overcrowded.  There is collation between pleasing to the eye = pleasing to mind = pleasing to the pallet, and when you are in the restaurant business those factors are very important.

Four Favorites Styles of Pub Signs

Take a look at the examples of four very different heritage look pub signs we have constructed.  Each highlighting a different aspect of their pub

  1. Food
  2. Fare
  3. Family Tradition
  4. Fun

 Restaurant Signs - The Sign Depot - Flynn's

Pub Sign - The Sign Depot - Failte

Bar Sign - The Sign Depot - Huether Hotel - Lion Brewery

pub sign - st patrick's - The Sign Depot


Heritage Signs, Traditional Signs, Re-Purposed Signs And Historic Sign Replications

Sometimes Its About Making Old Things New and Sometimes Its Vice Versa

Upon entering our showroom you will notice the newest edition of the Sign Depot crew.  ‘Roman’, as I’ve named him, was created from several rusted gears, scrap metal & imagination.

Re-purposed - The Sign Depot

Projects like this pop up all over the shop, as we have a very creative bunch here.  You never know what materials are going to be re-purposed to create something entirely different.

Sculpture Re-purposed - The Sign DepotSculpture Re-purposed - The Sign Depot

But that’s not always the case.  Sometimes the client needs something new to replicate something old.  This happened recently when Doon Heritage Crossroads required a new sign to match their Historic surroundings.  The local attraction is a replica of a 1914 village where guests are invited to experience A DAY IN THE LIFE…

In order to achieve an authentic look the letters were hand-painted and the script was very basic, as was often the case for that era.  Creating this sign to easily match the other buildings on site would be a challenge for many, but through the use of the staff’s lettering techinques and fine craftsmanship they gave the sign the look of days gone by.  Heritage sign replications give sign makers a chance to use traditional sign techniques with modern materials.  This gives the heritage sign a historic look while making it a low maintenance sign through the use of present day sign materials.

 Heritage Sign - The Sign DepotHeritage Sign - The Sign DepotHeritage Sign - The Sign DepotHeritage Sign - The Sign Depot

Whether you choose Cedar, MDF, Acrylic or HDU these materials when treated properly add longevity to your sign and keep it from looking weathered.  Now if you are looking for the weathered look, we can help with that too.  Once you have decided on the sign finish you want we are able to create it from a variety of custom crafted sign materials and sign finishing techniques.  This will give you a unique, one of a kind heritage-look sign.


ABC’s of The Sign Depot With A Heritage Backdrop

Wandering in the Workspace

While walking in the workshop I happened to notice the “A“starring right at me.


With a variety of sign materials, wood shop machinery, tools and signs being constructed, I decided I could find the entire alphabet within the walls of The Sign Depot workshop. The challenge was on! With a bit of investigation the work space became a cross between a word jumble and a giant bowl of alphabet soup.  Every nook and corner was combed over to spy one more letter to add to the mix.

26 pictures later The Alphabet According To THE SIGN DEPOT was conceived.  In order to share the fun I created a slideshow so you can follow my travels and see how I creatively captured each letter through my camera lens.  The majority of the pics show off the restored heritage building we are in but the letters are signs of the time we have spend in this historic building.

Yes, some were sign letters, but this is behind the scenes look at THE SIGN DEPOT  after all. Turn up your speakers and boogie to the ABC’s of THE SIGN DEPOT

We would love to hear what you think and look forward to providing additional Sign Depot Videos about the type of signs that are created here in our sign shop.  If there is something we do that you wish to learn more about, make sure to list it in the comments and we will do our best to accommodate all of your requests.  We enjoy sharing our work with our audience and would love to hear more of what you enjoy reading about when it comes to custom sign making. In the meantime we hope this video brought a smile to your face and put a spring in your step!


Signs In the Hertiage Area Of St Jacobs Ontario – Two Places At Once

Jacob’s Grill

As the saying goes, you can’t be in two place at once, but in this case two places were there at once.

A few weeks ago I was reading our twitter feed and noticed that GibsonSV was tweeting that they were installing screens inside the new Jacob’s Grill in the town of St. Jacob’s.  At the same time we had our installers taking care of the outside of Jacob’s Grill.


Signs Stationed In St Jacobs

We are very familiar with the Town Of St. Jacobs Ontario.  Over the years we have helped create custom heritage-look signs for the businesses located in the area.  St. Jacobs is a town that is a popular tourist stop in Southwestern Ontario with lots of history surrounding it.  In order to pay tribute to the town’s history, the majority of the businesses have traditional sandblasted signs that add to heritage look surroundings of St. Jacobs.

Making It Modern

St. Jacob’s Grill stepped away from the mould when it came to their signs.  They chose more modern materials for their dimensional signs, but did choose to stick with colours that complimented the area.  They opted for a custom business sign that projected off the building as well as store front sign.  Being that they are located in a high traffic area these are to great options to capture the attention of vehicle traffic as well as walking tourists.

Supporting Local Businesses

Kudos to Jacob’s Grill for choosing to support two Waterloo Region businesses.  This week Gibson Sound & Vision is inviting the community gather for their Wine & Cheese event.    The event will help to connect others in this area, and promises to be informative and fun.   If you stop in make sure to say hi!


 Here at  The Sign Depot Inc. we love making local connections, that is why we’re involved with the WaterlooMIN.  Make sure to check out all the activity happening on their site as well.


How Our Heritage Signs Deemed Us A Museum of Signs


Museum Of Signs

… that was the quote of the day last week at our Designers’ Demo Day/Open House aka #designDAYsd from the one of guests Mr. Matt Scobel

We welcomed the Design community to stop in have a drink from Ridge Road Estates Winery and a bite to eat from Little Mushroom Catering while learning all the different ways they could incorporate signage into their clients portforlios. By reaching out to the design community we found a way to connect with artistic designers looking for unique items that they could offer their clients.  By holding this open house in our workspace we were able to let them know about many sign materials and substrates that we work with along with the artistic sign finishing techniques we use.

There was a Router Table/CNC demonstration, a gold leaf guilding application and a power point presentation highlighting the scope of work we can produce.

Heritage Heirloom Signs

We were so happy that many out of town, as well as local designers were able to make the trek to visit us in January.We received many remarks about our custom signs, but it was our traditonal  personalized wood signs that caught eyes of many.  They appreciated the craftsmanship that goes into making heritage signs and wanted to learn more about the sandblasted sign making process. The process of creating custom wood signs was a popular topic for the majority of design demo day and we were happy to answer all the questions we could in regards to custom sandblasted cedar signs.

First Round Of Feedback

Although we will be following up with the designers to hear the feedback from our first Sign Depot Designers’ Demo Day we were thrilled by the compliments we received on site!

To hear what some of our Designers’ Demo Day visitors thought of what they saw here in the The Sign Depot workspace take a look at this video, where we were deemed a Museum Of Signs.