Endless inspiration

Even if you aren’t a fan of Disney theme parks I would highly recommend a visit. You don’t have to ride the rides – just bring a camera to record endless inspiration at every turn. You even get to claim the trip as a business expense!

We like to attend at least one Disney park every year. So far we’ve been to Florida’s Disney World (four theme parks), California’s Disneyland (two theme parks), Disneyland Tokyo (two theme parks), Disneyland Paris (two theme parks – although I’ve only seen one)  plus there’s one theme park in Hong Kong and a new one in China that opens in mid-June. (Those last two are still on my list) Add in all of the themed resorts and restaurants plus the water parks in Disney World and there is enough inspiration to last a lifetime.

Each time we go I take a ton of pictures, make some sketches and just generally get inspired. The signs and theme work is second to none. Some might argue that they don’t do much of this kind of signs in their market…  and I would ask why not?

I include a picture of only one sign (of the thousands of great signs I saw) for this blog entry…  it’s a low key sign that identifies the hotel building we are staying at. The sign features laser or water jet cut metal bracket, sandblasted wood (although I would just as easily make it from routed Precision Board) and some shaped sheet metal for lighting. This site also featured a small digital print for the bird logo (I would hand paint it).

Published with permission from precisionboard.blogspot.com. Source.

Gathering ideas

For the next week or so I’m in Disneyland. You can bet we are having the time of our lives sharing it for the first time with our grand daughter Phoebe. It is fun to see a park I love through the wide open eyes of an almost eight year old. Because she spends so much time in our shop, much of what she sees isn’t new to her. She even knows how much of it was put together. But like her we are suspending our disbelief for a while and simply taking it all in – thoroughly enjoying the experience.

But you can bet I am also keeping my eyes peeled for inspiration and new ways of doing things. I took note of how digital prints are now often combined with dimensional work – especially on things like menu boards because they need to be changed often. Long gone are the days when everything is hand painted. We’ve been seeing this kind of work for a few years now. It looks pretty good and is a practical way of doing these kinds of signs – without losing the magic of 3D.

But digital prints are old news these days. More and more I am seeing digital screens for things like menu boards. Changeable in an instant or during different mealtimes in the day I believe they are the way of the future. But they can still retain the MAGIC of 3D – with the addition of a carved surround.  Disney of course ramps it up one more level. The artwork on the digital screen was superb and then they took it one notch higher yet and added animation. 

I of course was busy taking notes – and pictures. Seeing how these ideas could be used tougher effectively put about a thousand ideas into my brain.
Today was only the first of many days here. My brain could well explode before we are done…

Published with permission from precisionboard.blogspot.com. Source.


I often get asked where I get all my ideas. The answer of course is everything I see and imagine. But a reference library is also critical. I love books. If they are full of pictures and illustrations – so much the better. My wife cringes each time I get near a book store for we know it wont be a cheap exercise but it is critical to gathering ideas. If you look in our financial books there is one category devoted to research and ideas. Books I collect fall into this column. To output creative ideas we must first fill our heads with everything imaginable. It is a job I take seriously.

Picking out books does not take me long. I flip the pages quickly and if three things catch my eye it is a book worth buying. Most likely if there are three good ideas there will be more. When I get home (or in my travels I’ll read the book through, storing the images in my head. Then the book is catalogued and placed in the appropriate section for future reference.

Today I head over to Vancouver Island for three days to speak at a tourism conference. The subject I will speak on is signs and how they can create tourism in a BIG way. I’m looking forward to the  trip.

But I am also looking forward to stopping in my travels along the way. There are three bookstores I simply can’t drive by and it has been a while since I’ve visited there. I’m looking forward to adding to my collection.


Published with permission from precisionboard.blogspot.com. Source.