Dan Sawatzky Is Looking Ahead to Sign Invitational 2020!

Coastal Enterprises, manufacturers of Precision Board HDU, is proud to host guest blogs written by some of the signage industry’s biggest movers and shakers, posted to the Precision Board Blog.  This guest blog is written by Dan Sawatzky with Imagination Corporation in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.  This month, Dan wraps up his 2019 ISA Sign Invitational victory (making for a three-peat!).  Not one to rest on his laurels, Sawatzky has already designed his 2020 entry and routed the beginning pieces out of Precision Board HDU.  Lucky for us, he’s giving us a sneak peek!

sign invitational

In Dan Sawatzky’s own words…

I was delighted to hear my name announced as one of two winners in this year’s Sign Invitational. It was the third win in a row for me. I won in the large category but from what I hear only squeaked in ahead of Jim Dawson who also had an awesome piece.  Mo Flint won the smaller, table top category with a beautiful piece! The other competitors also had some wonderfully imaginative pieces. I hear everyone is already thinking about what they are going to do next year!

Next years competition is being changed up significantly. There will only be one category. All pieces will need to fit on a 2’ x 2’ table. The theme is ‘LESS IS MORE’ which can be interpreted in countless ways I’m sure. I take it to mean smaller in size but bigger in every other fashion. I’ll be pulling out the stops without a doubt.

sign invitational

Shortly after this years winners were announced there was a quiet time at the show. I whipped out my sketchbook and began scribbling down my ideas for next year. I flew home that night and while I was waiting at the airport for my plane I did a few more sketches to nail down the concept. A couple of day’s later I finished the concept art. I’ll be building two similar pieces for next year’s event. One will be my official entry for the Sign Invitational to be displayed in the Signs of the Times booth at the ISA show. The second similar piece will be displayed in Coastal Enterprises booth. They have promoted and supported this fun contest from the start!

Last week I started building the first of the routing files. I will be using a wide variety of weights of Precision Board HDU throughout my pieces (Ed note: higher densities of HDU are more dense and thus weigh more). My goal is to build the pieces as light as possible. This means using lower densities of the board where possible. But the reality is that the piece has to also survive shipping over 6000 miles return and all the bumps and drops that may happen in between. The folks who handle the freight at the show can be a little rough at times as well. So certain pieces of the fabrication will be made with higher densities of board to add strength to the sculpture.

The first components to be fabricated was the wheels and frame of the truck. To shorten the truck as much as possible and to add to the fun character of the piece the wheels are more of an oval shape than round. With the files finished it was time to actually begin work. I had a piece of 1/2” thick 40 lb (PBLT-40) Precision Board tucked away for just such a project. The wheels were routed in two halves which will be glued together back to back. The truck body will actually be physically supported by a hidden heavy duty steel rod that will go down into the base because even with 40 lb board I wasn’t confident the piece would survive the journey without the extra reinforcement. As the pieces came off the router I glued them together and am in the process of cleaning them off to ready them for paint.

There is still a very long way to go before it looks like much but I’ll be posting progress here from time to time.

If there are other sign professionals who want to get in on the fun of next year’s Sign Invitational competition drop me an email and I’ll send more info.

sign invitational

Sawatzky’s Imagination Corporation is a small family company that specializes in the design and creation of dimensional signs and environments. They tackle projects of any size from small signs to entire theme parks. Their work has garnered numerous national and international awards.

Dan Sawatzky is best described as a creative force and visual storyteller extraordinaire. His art career spans almost fifty years of magic. Dan’s passion is to design and create imaginative places that take people from the normal world to a setting of delight and wonder.

Coastal Enterprises manufactures Precision Board HDU, a versatile, cost-effective and eco-friendly urethane sign material that is particularly effective for making professional-looking indoor and outdoor dimensional signs.  It is a closed-cell rigid substrate that does not rot, warp or crack.  You can request free samplesget a quote or sign up for periodic newsletters packed with helpful information.