matt partridge


Little Sign

Little Signs



Background & Significance:
Roadside construction and real estate signs are temporary and look so at best.
Juregen Partridge Limited needed a revised frame for their current signs. They take advantage of positioning their roadside sign from the first day a site is measured, to the final day of construction, and sometimes longer. Signs are present for months at a time. Often a site goes unvisited for days as the design is detailed; this often leaves a sign unchecked for many days. Upon returning to sites, signs are often found face down or off kilter. Obviously, disordered signs do not reflect well on the company's image.
The client used sign frames that are very labour intensive to make and often, to set up. They are composed of various stock steel channels and tubes assembled by a counted 32 welds. They are also painted and require repainting every year. Unchecked, the steel frame rusts, staining the printed plastic sign. Their heavy weight and centered ground attachment makes them highly unstable in a gale wind.
The setup involves holding the frame up right and pressing a foot onto the cross bar until the sign is 10" into the ground. One prong usually goes in easier than the other or only partially in the ground. An uncoordinated setup results in reamed holes making the sign's stability flawed from the start.
An inexpensive solution was needed to alleviate the problems of the old sign frames. Stock solutions available that have many of the same problems.
Key criteria identified by the client was to make the sign frame look different from real estate companies and more prestigious than other construction companies.

GimbaledMany forms and novel setups were explored the design that consumed the least material, maintenance and manufacturing one. A notable design, (shown left) was the self-righting "gimbaled" sign; unfortunately, even crude gimbals are expensive; the manufacturing, and transportability and setup of the gimbaled sign makes it impractical for the client's needs.

The client chose the gorgeous frame shown above; its made of one continuous piece of stainless steel rod. It uses bends rather than welded corners. after the stints (used to fasten the signs) are attached, the weld count is 9. Stainless steel was chosen for its durability and aesthetics. Light glints off the frame catching the eye. The material and form undoubtedly gives the sign a unique and prestigious look. Most importantly, the frame showcases the message of the sign, not the frame itself.

Ease of Transport & Setup:
Often many of the signs are carried around in one vehicle; so one sign can't fill an entire trunk. The little sign takes up little space, nests to fit many together and is very light. Dozens can fit in the trunk of an average compact car.
Simple setup: The little sign takes advantage of existing fasteners and methods to fix it to the ground. It uses 4, 8" sod staples on the extremes of the corners to hold it to the ground. The staples are individually hammered into the ground with ease. Alternatively, for surfaces that can not be stapled, the sign can be sand bagged.

The little sign is highly stable. It deflects slightly in gale winds, and returns to shape immediately. The client has confidence in leaving their sign untended.

Leveling and zero configuration. The best case scenario for setting up a sign sees the user simply drop it in place and walk away. The chosen design takes some configuring for aesthetics and stability. The frame has to be set on a reasonably level surface, with the keel of the sign is fine tuned by placing wedges under each staple. It takes a keen eye, or bullet level, a hammer, 4 wood wedges, and 4 sod staples to setup a sign. Setup takes only a few minutes to achieve optimal placement.

Other Considerations:
Vandalism, theft and other mishaps. Little signs have to be cheap to purchase and look prestigious as some will go missing to theft or loss.
Some signs will likely be vandalized or accidentally damaged at some point; in any accidental event; the perpetrator will not suffer serious injury, there are no corners, sharp points or pinch points. The sign also allows a great deal of spring allowing it to deflect a blow and return to shape and will tip or crumple with adequate force. A sign that happens to tip onto someone or something, is unlikly to cause injury as is is so light .

© copyright 2005 matt partridge