Application Spotlight: A Higher Calling

Customer: Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Location: Louisville, KY

Production Shop: FASTSIGNS of Louisville

Flight Date: 2013 to present

Project: Enhance the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary experience and brand

FASTSIGNS Louisville has been working with the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) since 1996, but it wasn’t until 2011, when the account was assigned to their newly hired outside sales person, Judy Miller, that the scope of work and size or orders increased.

“Currently the Seminary is undergoing a renovation of many of its early 1920's buildings. FASTSIGNS is working with the Communications Department to transform its vision into reality,” said Susan Cilone, co-owner of FASTSIGNS of Louisville.

“Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is always tweaking their look and perfecting their brand, thus projects on the campus are ongoing. In addition, the campus hosts many conventions, camps and retreats that require signage consistent with the brand. Programs change, faculty changes, programs are the opportunity for additional visual graphics is always there.”

The SBTS Communications Department has an extremely talented Creative team. Together, FASTSIGNS and SBTS have designed and fabricated extraordinary graphic elements which prominently display the SBTS brand.

Miller’s role has been consultative. She visits the campus often and meets with Jason Thacker, their Special Project Manager. They tour buildings to get the ‘lay of the land’ and talk about potential substrates, lighting, weather, and other factors that might come into play.

“Jason and Judy collaborate on substrates, budgets, and timetables since each element hinges on the other,” said Cilone. “The Seminary works hard to communicate their brand consistently, and with Judy's background in marketing she is able to work effectively with Jason to accomplish that. Often the two will meet and walk through a site to discuss the project objectives and brain storm possibilities.”

"Working with Southern Seminary is a lot of fun. Jason and I collaborate well together," said Miller, FASTSIGNS Account Executive. "He's always open to new technologies and I'm proud of how we have turned their designs into reality."

When working on projects such as this, Cilone explained that it begins with an initial consultation. “The first step is understanding the client’s objectives and identifying what is most important. Once we understand their vision, timetable, and budget we can assist with the means and method of realizing their creative vision. Often times we will have internal creative and production meetings to discuss fabrication, identify the materials best suited, and discuss any challenges which need to be overcome. As we collaborate with the client we may uncover new possibilities and suggest alternatives as a result of this communication,” said Cilone.

This project--which received the 2014 Fastsigns and Wide-Format Imaging Top Project Award--involves a broad mix of products and solutions to enhance the SBTS brand. It includes extensive signs and visual graphics throughout the 84 acre campus including architectural ID and directional signs, digitally printed wall coverings, dimensional and flat logos, acrylic and cast plaques, banners, electrical signs, backlit signs and more. All the elements are focused on enhancing the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary experience and brand. To produce these graphic elements, Fastsigns of Louisville used laser and rotary engravers, CNC routers, UV flatbed and large-format solvent printers, custom paint mixing, HPLV paint spraying system and paint booth, a large-format laminator, vinyl plotters, and photopolymer processing equipment. “It is very common for us to use a wide variety of our equipment and in house technologies on one graphic element,” noted Cilone.

Nearly all visual graphics produced for the Seminary are expected to remain on the campus for years. Boulevard banners are changed out as messages change, office names change, convention and camp signs are reused and most other graphics remain in place for years. Renovation of an 84 acre campus, that is undergoing changes and growth, is an ongoing process. Once sign and graphic standards are developed, they can be replicated as other areas are updated with new program designations and after the interior and exterior decor of these areas have been updated.

“Over the last three years, Fastsigns of Louisville has made great strides in rebuilding their relationship with Southern Seminary and our communications office. Judy Miller has been a joy for us to work alongside. Judy and the team have been able to find new and creative ways to produce our designs and have really helped to change the feel of our campus through signage and environmental graphics. They have been very flexible and have really prioritized our seminary. We are very thankful for them,” said SBTS' Thacker.

Sam and Susan opened their first FASTSIGNS in May of 1994 with one employee in a 2,000 square foot retail space. The company has grown from sign and lettering experts to visual communication experts. As their business and capabilities grew, the company became more than a sign and banner store. They expanded into environmental and architectural graphics, and we began managing larger construction and renovation projects. Sam has a strong background in engineering and construction specifications. He supervises and consults on all large fabrication and installation projects involving technical and mechanical design or engineering. Susan uses her background in Education, and Clinical Psychology as she trains, manages and motivates their talented Creative Team.

“Sam and I had always dreamed of owning and operating a business. After researching FASTSIGNS, we knew that the fit was right. Today, we own and operate two FASTSIGNS locations in Louisville, KY and we still learn something new every day. Advancements in print, paint and engraving technology provide us with an ever refreshing canvas of opportunity. We are truly excited with every new capability and innovation. We are driven to uncover the most creative solution with each project we collaborate on. Many of our top customers have been our clients for 18 plus years; we are honored to have such long standing business relationships. Our business relationship philosophy is two-fold: Always do the right thing and be there when your client needs you the most.”