Making a Splash with Pirok Design: Creating Blackberry Farm’s Dimensional Signs

Kevin Pirok founded Pirok Design in 1996 after spending the early stages of his career working with some of the most talented sign-makers in the business. Now in its 22nd year of business, Kevin’s Illinois-based company does logo design, websites, marketing materials and creates distinct signs for area businesses. He uses Precision Board HDU as one of his sign mediums and we asked him a few questions about one sign in particular that caught our eye- Splash Country at Blackberry Farm.

Kevin used multiple layers and materials to give the sign the dimensionality he envisioned.  “This sign was part of a three sign entrance wayfarer system for Pioneer Park and Splash Country, so I wanted to make them as colorful and attractive as possible. For this particular park they are located in a country setting so that’s where the rooster and the barn comes into play as a theme. It was a farm driven activity center for families before it was upscaled to a park, so one sign features a rooster and another features a train. The train would take people around the property.”

Pirok Design's Family Aquatic Center sign

The graphic was printed on vinyl and applied to clear polycarbonate, showing use of multiple mediums and materials in the signs. “We created a sign for Family Aquatic Center which featured a dolphin breaking out from the top. The splash marks the dolphin is making was carved from Precision Board.”

Kevin is a big fan of Precision Board for a multitude of reasons. “It cuts really well. It routs really nice. I can carve it and I think the big features is that it doesn’t wear down your tools as fast. Precision Board is a lot less resistant than wood or other materials. It cuts and sands very well. We can glue it together and create different thicknesses and shapes. You can use it with FSC-88 WB, a water-based primer/filler that can be used prior to paints and coatings.”

Pirok Design's Main Street Pub sign

Don’t be afraid to use Precision Board HDU to add layers and dimensions to an otherwise flat substrate and come up with a fun and interesting sign design.

Things are really hopping at Pirok Design right now as they currently have five projects geared towards electric signage, a skill set that Kevin developed from his early days as a designer.

Kevin also just finished up another dimensional sign for Main Street Pub. “This sign combines reclaimed lumber with lettering cut from Precision Board. We used PB Resin as a doming technique and applied silver-leaf to it.”

If you’re in the market for some amazing sign designs or other company branding, you can call Kevin at (630) 365-9870 or visit the Pirok Design website to see an extensive photo portfolio of their work. We think he’s a great guy and does beautiful work, but call to verify for yourself!


Gibbs Graphics: The Weatherproof Sign Experts

tamerak intalled

It’s no big secret that some sign makers have it harder than others. It’s one thing to construct a sign for sunny, mild southern California, and quite another to make a sign that can stand up to harsh weather conditions and extreme temperatures. So many more factors come into play: Will it resist moisture? Will the added weight from a more durable material make the mounting process harder? Will it need upkeep in the event of weather damage? Luckily, true signage experts know the right techniques and the right material for any job, no matter the weather. Gibbs Graphics is one such team, a full-service marketing source that began as a dimensional sign maker. Founders Rusty and Amanda Gibbs have a stellar track record of crafting signs that are equal parts form and function: Not only are their signs artistically inspired, but they have the structural backbone to weather the snow, sleet, and bitter cold of Northern Washington. Using Precision Board Plus gives them the freedom to design anything they want and still have the assurance that it will last for years. Click here to learn more about Gibbs Graphics and commission your own dimensional masterpiece.


The last few months have been busy for Gibbs Graphics. The word is out that they’re making the best weatherproof signs in town, so they’ve had ample opportunity to use Precision Board in their dimensional sign projects. One is this sign for Tamarack Public House, a new restaurant in Spokane. The owner knew the Gibbs’ reputation for high-quality signs and murals, and turned to them to make an eye-catching display for his new eatery.


The Gibbs Graphics team used two 1” sheets of PBLT-18 for the double-sided sign, glued to either side of a 3’ diameter glue laminate. Using their CNC router in conjunction with meticulous hand carving, they shaped a highly detailed silhouetted tree design, along with raised lettering at the top and a sweeping crescent moon motif. They wet out the surfaces with our FSC-88 WB primer, painted it with both latex and Ronan metallic gold paints, then mounted with a custom metal bracket.

pre finished fresh coffee

Another one of the Gibbs’ recent projects is “Fresh Coffee”, a single sided sign for a local coffee lounge. They chose 2” thick PBLT-15 for the 14” diameter sign, and routed out bold raised lettering along with a jagged starburst background.

fresh coffee

They used Ronan sign paint for the cool shades of green and black, along with Modern Masters metallic for the bright silver border.

let is snow sign

A sign that really meshes with Gibbs Graphics’ expertise in weatherproof signage is their “Let it Snow” display. For this project they used 2 layers of 1” PBLT-15 in conjunction with Plexiglas, vinyl lettering, and expanded PVC. The red ornament was made from the leftover PBLT from the hole in the snowflake, a creative repurposing of extra material.


Winter is far from over, but don’t let the cold get you down. Gibbs Graphics is standing by to make you a sign that can shrug off the bad weather year after year. They’re more than just a sign maker, however: Gibbs Graphics is a full-service marketing conglomerate that designs logos, websites, email marketing, banners, and more. Anyone in the Pacific Northwest looking for a one-stop shop for all their marketing needs should contact Gibbs Graphics at, or click here to see their extensive signage portfolio. Want to make your own weatherproof dimensional signs? Click here for a free sample of Precision Board and get ready to carve those winter blues away.

It’s All About The Smaltz

Vital Signs  in Verona, WI, is a full-service sign company that specializes in all types of high-quality signage including routed, sandblasted, and “smalted” signs. Adding smaltz to a sign is a very popular texture in the signage industry. This venerable technique makes for a beautiful sign, and we have some great pictures of some smalted Precision Board Plus from Vital Signs to prove it!

Smaltz is coarse, colored, crushed or powdered glass or sand. The typical application is to apply a paint that is the same color as the smaltz to the background of the sign, and then select a binder to hold the smaltz in place. Vital Signs prefers a mixture of One-shot lettering enamel and Smith’s Cream for proper adhesion. Once the binder is applied, smaltz is added and allowed to dry.


Adding smaltz adds a very visually appealing texture and sparkle to the background, and when used in combination with gold-leaf lettering is considered by many to be the true “high-end” finish for a sign.  Anything from backgrounds, letters, borders and ornaments can be smalted, and once done, are said to last much longer than a painted surface. According to Mark Kramer, graphic designer and artist at Vital Signs, they enjoy using Precision Board Plus because “the longevity, durability, finishing, and ease of carving make it the substrate of choice that helps set them apart from others.”

You can contact Vital Signs at (608) 845-3766 or at