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Abbey Rout

(February 2009) posted on Tue Feb 10, 2009

Lincoln Sign Co. adapts a painting into creative signage.


By J.D. Iles

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J.D. Iles is president of Lincoln Sign Co. (Lincoln, NH).

Boyd and Sharon Bush contacted us to discuss creating a sign for a new wine and specialty-food store they’d soon open in the Lincoln-Woodstock (NH) area. Nestled in the heart of New Hampshire's White Mountains, our region’s economy depends heavily upon tourism, so distinctive signage represents a key priority.

Lincoln Sign Co. had made signs for the Bushes years ago when they operated other local businesses, and we were very happy to work with them again. It’s gratifying when previous customers return, looking for help promoting a new business venture. Immediately, they wanted a carved wooden sign to hang above the storefront, but I was thrilled to learn that they wanted something unusual and visually engaging. Starting a project with creative carte blanche from the customer energizes my creative juices.

No ordinary sign



Boyd and Sharon had named their business The Abbey Cellars; discerning customers searching for higher-quality food and wine comprised their target market. They needed a strong sign design, suggestive of food and wine, that also projected an aura of style and class.

Years ago, their son brought a painting back from Germany of a monk in prayer; this painting provided inspiration for the Bushes’ sign and corporate identity. They wanted a sign that embodied the rich woodcarving heritage native to the White Mountains, but they also wanted something more than run-of-the-mill, carved signage. We chose burgundy for the background color, which provided a "rich" feel. I wanted dominant white lettering -- not only for the sake of contrast and legibility, but also to suggest straightforward simplicity that exemplifies local signage’s traditional look.

A team effort

Because of the detailed bas-relief carving we planned to develop for the project’s centerpiece, I enlisted the help of James Booth, owner of Vector Art 3D, which specializes in creating 3-D art tailored to CNC routing.

The company offers a library of stock, 3-D-relief designs that can be browsed, purchased and downloaded from their website. These can be carved as pieces to add onto a sign, or, if using software such as ArtCAM Pro, EnRoute Pro or Aspire, they can be used as elements within complex 3-D designs. Vector Art 3D also provides a catalog of 3-D art and custom modeling services.


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