Category Archives: Signage

PEC team sticks the landing with new sign for Winterset Gymnastics


Winterset Gymnastics outdoor sign mock-up

Winterset Gymnastics sign lettering installed

Top, the Photoshopped mock-up provided to Pella Engraving by Winterset Gymnastics. Bottom, an unaltered photo of the finished sign.

The athletes and coaches at Winterset Gymnastics are flying high thanks to the new company sign created by Pella Engraving Company.

The gym, which offers tumbling and trampoline classes to kids ages 2 to 18, was in need of a sign after they relocated in August 2016. “The building we moved into is much larger than our old space and just turned 100 years old,” explained Matt Floden, who co-owns Winterset Gymnastics with his wife, Holli. “We did a lot of renovation. While we were able to get the majority of the work finished before Christmas and start classes in the new studio in January 2017, we waited on the sign until a mason could come and repair some of the bricks and mortar on the exterior. That masonry work was completed this year, so we were ready to move forward.”

Matt and Holli knew the façade of their building featured a border and two diamond accents in white brick. However, historical photos of the building revealed there was a third diamond accent covered by old signage. Excited by the discovery, they removed the old sign and started brainstorming ways to design their sign around the three diamonds. Matt, an architect by trade, used Photoshop to digitally build a mock-up of the sign they envisioned.

Plasma Cut brown letters for outdoor sign in PEC shop

The brown color was selected from the Matthews Paint System.

Matt and Holli knew right where to turn to make their vision a reality. Holli is the sister-in-law of Pella Engraving Company Co-Owner Cory Vande Kieft.

“We got the mock-up, then chose a color from our Matthews Paint System that closely matched the color of the sign in Matt’s example,” said Cory. “This paint is specifically formulated for signage and performs really well in outdoors settings.”

Next, Co-Owner Jarid Purvis used the PEC plasma cutter to cut the 20-inch-high letters out of 1/8-inch-thick aluminum. He set the type to match the font from the mock-up. Once the letters were cut, he sanded them to remove imperfections and drilled holes for the stainless-steel screws that would secure the letters to the building.

Plasma cut brown letters for outdoor sign in PEC shop

The 20-inch-high letters were cut by the PEC plasma cutter to match the example.

“We painted the letters and the screws with the brown color we chose to match Matt’s example,” said Cory. “After that, we put on a clear coat to give the letters an added layer of protection from the weather. This coat also contains a UV inhibitor to help prevent fading.”

On a clear February morning—less than a week after Matt sent the Photoshopped mock-up to Pella Engraving—he installed the finished sign on the building with help from Toby Tyler, the dad of a Winterset Gymnastics athlete who was also very involved in the remodel of the new studio.

“If you’re looking for a sign I would definitely recommend working with Pella Engraving Company,” said Matt. “They were fast and easy to work with. The end product perfectly matches the vision we had.”

Gymnasts holding letters for new outdoor sign

Athletes from Winterset Gymnastics pose with the letters for the new sign.


Take a campus tour with the help of Pella Engraving

Stadium donor nameplates
 Soccer donors sign
 Douwstra Auditorium sign
 Dedication plaques
 Heritage Plaza cutout sign

Central College features many PEC plaques and signs

When most people visit a college campus, they don’t realize how much they rely on the many signs and plaques that guide them and keep them informed. Central College in Pella, Iowa, has turned to Pella Engraving Company many times for high-quality signs and plaques. Below are just some of these projects:

Soccer and baseball stadium donor nameplates
These Metalphoto® donor nameplates were installed with rivets by Pella Engraving Company. In addition to the plates in the soccer stadium pictured here, PEC also did plates for Central’s baseball stadium—over a hundred for each stadium. The Metalphoto process embeds the dye permanently into the pores of the aluminum, helping the plates endure longer in an outdoor stadium environment.

Central Dutch soccer donors sign
To thank their donors, Central asked PEC to create this customizable zinc sign. The foundation of the sign is one 23” x 35” piece of zinc—the visible silver portions are the natural color of the metal, while the rest is painted. As more donors contribute, PEC will engrave nameplates that can be mounted on top of the remaining silver rectangles. The pillars to display the sign were specially made by Pella Engraving.

Douwstra Auditorium sign
At 6” tall, the letters in this sign create a striking impression. The ¼” thick acrylic letters were cut out on PEC’s laser engraver, then painted. Because Central wanted the paint to match the color of the lighting fixture mounted on wall above, Pella Engraving reached out to the lighting company to obtain a sample. For this job, PEC mounted the letters to the wall with adhesive. If a customer wants to mount cutout letters themselves, PEC can create a printed paper template for $15 to show where the studs should go, ensuring the proper spacing between letters.

Bronze memorial plaque
This memorial plaque for Dr. Maxine Huffman was created with bronze casting, so the raised areas have a natural, classic bronze coloring. The plaque size is 16” x 24”.

Heritage Plaza dedication plaques
Because these plaques were to be mounted on concrete, PEC created specially made square stakes welded onto metal plates. Holes could then be drilled into the plates and concrete for screws. The plaques are bronze castings.

Heritage Plaza cutout sign
This sign created for the Heritage Plaza is more complicated than it first seems—to create a shadow effect, PEC cut out two sets of aluminum letters on the plasma cutter. The top set was left silver, while the bottom set was painted black. The letters were mounted with drilled and tapped studs.

You can view more photos of Pella Engraving plaques and signs at Central College on our Facebook page.

Are your signs up to code?

When constructing a new building or redesigning an old one, there are a million little details that need to be taken care of. This includes interior signs that are governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The act, authored and sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin (from Iowa, like Pella Engraving!), covers wheelchair accessible signs and signs for restrooms, conference rooms, exits, and more.

ADA-compliant signs are not just braille signs, though they may need to include braille. These signs must meet quite a few qualifications, according to the United States Access Board. For example, all backgrounds must be an eggshell, matte, or other non-glare finish. Another requirement: “Letters and numbers on signs shall have a width-to-height ratio between 3:5 and 1:1.” Other rules govern character height, height to which letters can be raised, finish and contrast requirements, and mounting height. There are also international symbols that should be used on some signs, such as the symbol for a wheelchair.

Need help with your ADA signs? Email or call 877-549-5447.

Five ways to make sure your outdoor sign sends the right message

Now that spring is finally here, people might start taking the time to admire outdoor scenery again, instead of hurrying as quickly as possible from their cars into your business’s front door—so it’s an ideal time to freshen up the look of the exterior of your business. One great option is a new outdoor sign.

wiskus-sign-pella-engravingSince your outdoor sign will welcome customers to your business for years to come, you want to make sure it sends the right message. Here are five elements of a perfect outdoor sign:

  1. Eye-catching – Your sign should be large enough to catch the eye and be readable, even to people driving by. Lighting is also important—you want people to be able to read it at night. And while it may seem obvious, make sure you place your sign where it is easily visible to passersby.
  2. Simple and bold – A well-designed sign is critical. It will be read quickly, so keep the text and design elements as simple as possible. Choose a bold font, and don’t be too wordy—just your business name and maybe a tagline. Stick to one or two fonts.
  3. Tasteful accents – Pella Engraving has the capability to cut out intricate shapes, such as in the tree on the Wiskus Group sign to the right , and when well-placed, they can add a lot of personality and prestige to your sign. But use discretion—too many can be overwhelming.
  4. Consistency – Your business sign should match your brand, including colors and fonts. If you have a logo, consider integrating elements into your sign—as again was done with the tree from the Wiskus Group logo on their sign. 
  5. Tidy – A Pella Engraving sign will maintain its fresh appearance and color for years to come, but it still needs regular cleaning. You want to make sure the sign’s upkeep matches your business’s high-quality standards and professionalism.

Visit Pella Engraving’s signage page to view a video about the making of a custom exterior sign for the Wiskus Group.

Plaques with portrait artwork grace stadium for 100th Drake Relays anniversary

“The 100th anniversary of the Drake Relays was a milestone, and we wanted to honor the Relay’s history, legacy, and destiny,” said Drake Relays Director Brian Brown. “The idea to honor the Athletes of the Century who competed at the Relays was a big part of our anniversary celebration.”

Plaques were the perfect way to preserve the contributions these athletes made to the legacy of the Drake Relays. When a vendor referred Brian to Pella Engraving, he knew he had found the right company for the job. “We saw a sample plaque with an artist’s rendering of a picture—it was so much more unique than a photo on a plaque. It sealed the deal,” said Brian.

Pella Engraving Co-Owners Bruce Van Wyk and Jeff Vroom traveled to Drake University’s stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, to photograph the brick pillars and walls onto which the plaques would be installed.

The entire project included 18 zinc plaques—each with a portrait—as well as miniature versions of those plaques that were given to each honored athlete. About twenty other signs by PEC were also installed in and around Drake Stadium.

“PEC wanted this project to be as successful as we did,” said Brian. “Because of this, we listened to them when they had suggestions. And they always listened to us—no matter how many times we called with changes, we never felt like we were a bother.”

The plaques were unveiled, with many of the athletes onhand, at a ceremony after the 100th Anniversary Gala. “The artwork on each plaque is consistent yet representative of each athlete’s individuality,” said Brian. “The plaques make the entrance around the stadium light up.”


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