Designing a neon messages logo requires both artistic talent and technical skill. That’s because the billboards must be readable in both daylight and at night. The message must stand out against whatever background it is placed against and still look good when shot with a wide angle lens. Creating the logo involves a lot of cutting and soldering to create the hundreds of leads for each neon tube. Let’s take a look at how it’s done.
A Billboard Designer Must Be an Artist
The billboard designer must have an artistic sense. That’s because the letters and numbers used in neon sign logos are often not standard sizes. This can make having a computer plot them out difficult.
Well-trained designers are good at making letters and numbers fit together nicely, while still standing out against whatever background they are placed against. They’ve also mastered their craft over many years of practice and study, which means they can draw custom shapes quickly and accurately.
The designer must also have a technical flair. That’s because the designer must be able to use a soldering iron (or hot glue gun) to make connections from between the leads of the neon tubes. The designer needs to be able to cut, bend and solder different types of metal.
The knowledge of how the tubes work — that they contain glass envelopes on a copper core — allows them to create connections that will allow the tubes to light up when electricity is sent through them. This requires an understanding of where exactly each type of glass makes contact with the copper core, as well as what order electrical current travels through each one individually.
A City Worker Must Be a Technician
In order to create the numerous neon tubes that form an actual billboard, the designer must either find nearby glass factories or manufacture the tubes themselves. This can be accomplished by either making a mold of the desired tube shape and cutting them out of plastic, or painting and cutting individual pieces using a glass-working torch.
The designer might also have to buy neon paint (glittery pink paint used on car bumpers) and chips (small glass spheres) in order to cover each of the tubes. Most likely, they will also need to find sources for wire, which usually comes in a range of gauges. The designer will need to use these soldering irons, tools and equipment in order to create the hundreds of leads for each neon tube.
An Electrician Must Be a Mechanic
Although neon signs are usually associated with the lights used in bars, the majority of neon business signs don’t actually flash. Instead, they use steady illumination. In order to create a steady glow inside the tubes, however, an electrician must be able to combine tubes in series. That’s because one tube will pass electricity through all of the tubes connected to it.
An electrician who is knowledgeable about how this works can combine two and three neon tubes using small flashlights called ignitrons, which allow them to both use uninterrupted current and save money by using less electricity overall. They can also make sure each lead is insulated to prevent electrons from escaping.
A Painter Must Know How Neon Signages Are Installed
Although neon signs may look unique, they are quite often installed in a very specific way. In most cases, the designer will have to make sure the tube/s fire evenly from every direction. That’s because not only do neon signs need to be visible for motorists on the street, but also for those in passing cars when they are on driveways and parking lots.
They need to glow in all directions for at least 300 feet, which is about one mile or 2-3 blocks away from any potential viewer. The designer needs to know how to locate where each of the tubes will be installed so that it will look appealing from every angle.
It’s a Job for an Electrician
In order to power the neon tubes with electricity, the designer must find an electrician. That’s because they need to be able to carry out all of the electrical work needed in order to create working billboards. They will have to install transformers and power supplies as well as wiring that is strong enough to hold each neon sign.
This requires them to use knowledge of both electrical engineering and installation techniques. They must also have a wide range of tools on hand, which include everything from a soldering iron and wire snips (for cutting) to flameproof overalls and welding goggles (for working with extremely hot metal).