The Long View: What's in Your Portfolio?

Ken Mergentime is the former executive editor of Sign & Digital Graphics and WRAPS magazines.

This job just knocks me out. Where else can you come to work and in one day put the finishing touches on a story about a truly compelling inkjet print the size of a building, interview a guy who has spent his entire life hand painting exotic pieces of art on the fenders of hot rods, hear a story pitch from a fellow who has created a 22' playable guitar and visit a shop that specializes in custom-font channel letters, using both neon and LED lighting. OK, maybe that’s not a typical day for us at Sign & Digital Graphics, but the point is I love the range of talent and skills that make up this industry.

One of the best parts of working on this publication is the fantastic work that is submitted for our annual Sign & Digital Graphics Portfolio Sign Design contest. The quality of workmanship and the array of styles and applications are truly astounding.

This will be the 17th year we’ve held the contest, and I hope you will take the time to enter your best work. It’s open to all commercial signage types, including dimensional, neon, LED, cut vinyl, dynamic digital, digital print and more. The world deserves to see what’s in your portfolio.

So, whether your best work is a beautiful hand-carved piece, a one-of-a-kind wrap or other digital application, etched glass, a neon masterpiece, an LED spectacular or some phantasmagorical mixture of all the above, please send us your entries.

Winning entries will be featured in the December 2009 issue. Remember, Portfolio 2009 is free to enter. And you can enter as many jobs as you wish. And with so many first-rate entries, the toughest part of Portfolio Contest is figuring out the winners. Fortunately for me, we have a panel of sign and graphics industry experts who will judge each entry on the merits of design, execution, technique and impact.

Deadline for entry is Oct. 1, so hurry! You can use the entry form on page 91 of this issue or download a printable registration form online simply by surfing to the Sign & Digital Graphics Web site at and clicking on the “Portfolio Sign Design Contest” button.

Oh, and speaking of Web sites, I hope that while you are downloading your contest form you take some time to look around at our newly remolded, highly interactive Web site. It’s truly a thing of beauty.

We put a lot of work into it and have uploaded hundreds of stories on a wide range of sign-making and wide-format digital printing topics — leveraging the wealth of information that we’ve been collecting for the last 17 years. The site includes full-length, searchable stories from the annals of Sign Business, Digital Graphics, Sign Tech and Wraps magazines.

Some cool features of the new Web site include: current and breaking news, the ability to access articles by using the topic-sorting feature or keyword search, a “Get Info” option that allows you to access information on products that appeared in specific issues, a fully searchable Buyers’ Guide directory of manufacturers and distributors, an archive of S&DG newsletters and access to digital versions of past issues of Sign & Digital Graphics as well as the aforementioned Sign Business, Digital Graphics, Sign Tech and Wraps magazines. In addition, we offer exclusive video presentations, interviews and much more. Yes, it’s that good.

OK, back to work.