So you want a neon sign...

When you create a neon sign, you’re creating a piece of custom artwork. Neon is a rarified art, and a neon sign is an investment that can live for several decades. This is why I’ve inserted myself into the equation: you want something special — but neon shops don’t often have in-house designers. 


Neon design is one of my specialties! My role is to create something unique, so you don't end up with something generic.

(Examples here and here.)

Note: I am not a neon bender or a sign manufacturer. 

But I work with neon shops a lot. If you know you don’t need design help, here's a list of independent Portland neon sign makers to get your project moving:

Artico Lite
Neon Distributors
Tiny Spoon

If you do need neon design help, read on...

"I have a sign idea but no design, just words."

WHAT I DO

I act as a bridge between you and the neon shop. I work with you to create a piece of unique artwork with an understanding of neon's limitations and strengths. The amount of liaising along the course of the project will vary based on your needs and budgetOur collaboration concludes with a useable art file sent to the neon shop.


LETTERING

My goal is to create a piece of art that is lively and unique. Lettering is custom drawn, not created using fonts. Fonts are useful as hell for many a design piece, but with neon, relying solely on fonts can deliver a piece that looks generic and boring. Having said that, type can certainly be used as a starting point, customized, or adapted for neon and I'm happy to work that way if needed.


For more on why you should hire a custom letterer, read my page on the subject here.


"Okay, so how does this work then?"

ESTIMATES

I send clients an initial questionnaire which allows me to provide you with a good estimate for design


I generally refrain from offering a neon production estimate, since I am not the one producing (the neon shop will be the producers). Their pricing is dependent on the design based on size, complexity, number of colors, what type of mounting, and if any electrical work needs to be done. Most shops will not provide an estimate without a design file to work with.*


*My advice is to get an estimate from the neon shop about halfway through our design process, assuming the remaining changes made to the artwork will only be minor ones.

DESIGN PROCESS

Based on your questionnaire answers, design options are presented, evaluated, and revised in collaboration with you, the client. Neon can last several decades, and what I'm aiming for is to work with you to arrive at a design that is uniquely beautiful and has longevity, and help you determine what is right for your situation and your space. Allow 4-6 weeks for design.

OPTIONAL SERVICES

Photoreal Sign Mockups: Using one or two photos of the space, I create a photoreal mockup of what the sign will roughly look like in place and illuminated.

Neon Shop Visit: Design and production consult with the neon shop and client present. Usually involves choosing tube colors, deciding on mounting options, installation, positioning on the wall, etc.

BILLING

Signed agreement to begin; down payment required for new clients. Billing for design is separate from the neon shop’s billing.


"What about LEDs?"

AUTHENTIC NEON VS. LEDs

The shops I work with fabricate authentic neon signs (gas and glass baby!). Neons signs are made essentially the same way today as they were 100 years ago: by hand. On a visceral level, a neon sign has allure. Like a naked bolt of lightning frozen in time, the glow it gives off is nothing short of magical. The quality of neon light is unmatched in its beauty and its ability to stir the soul.


I don't work with LED manufacturers (although I do get spam from them frequently!) LEDs are ugly, bad for people, bad for the environment, they have a very short life, and they're killing the neon business. 


Read more about why neon is better here.


"What types of neon signs are typically produced?"

TYPES OF NEON SIGNS
- interior neon art piece
- interior signage/ wayfinding
- window sign
- exterior signage


"Ok, now what?"

Get in touch! 

Use the form below AND get started with the questionnaire if you want to get moving.


The world needs more neon*. I'm excited to work with you on your special neon project!


*See more about my work to preserve historic neon signs in Portland here.