While Story Land, an amusement park located in Glen, NH, is much smaller than the 300 acre Hersheypark profiled in part one, it also benefits from in-house signmaking capabilities, namely traditional ones such as painting and airbrushing.
“We make most our signs—about 95 percent—right here,” says Jack Mahany, assistant GM, Story Land. “Creating them in house saves time and it is easy to alter the output if a change needs to be made.”
Story Land’s on-site paint shop works closely with the sign production team to complete projects. Employees work together to design, finish, and install signs throughout the park.
Equipped for Sign Production
Opening in 1954, Story Land sits on 35 acres of land and staffs 25 full-time employees as well as 350 seasonal workers. The park is geared towards children between the ages of two and 12 and features 22 theme rides, live shows, and several attraction/play areas.
Signs throughout the park are installed to serve informational and directional purposes, as well as to display safety information. Graphics indicating height restrictions for certain rides are commonplace in parks that cater to young children.
Mahany explains, “We mainly use a Gerber Scientific Products, Inc. vinyl machine to adhere to various types of signboard. If we have to change signage, it’s easy to do.” The vinyl stands up well against rain, human touch, and cleaning solutions.
Large, permanent ride signage is produced using a computer router and painted or airbrushed in the paint shop. “We program our large signs and use a computer router to cut them from substrates such as plywood,” he adds.
While Story Land’s sign shop is equipped to handle a variety of output, they occasionally outsource poster printing to a local printer—Minuteman Press in North Conway, NH—since they don’t have the proper equipment in house for this particular need.
Protect and Preserve
Outdoor parks in locations subjected to the changing seasons typically close down for the Winter months. Since Story Land, located in New England, operates seasonally from Memorial Day through the first week in October, it’s able to take down the majority of its 1,000-plus signs each year, storing them safely inside buildings away from harsh weather conditions. This helps preserve signs for a longer period of time—“our signs last for years,” says Mahany.
Weather is a challenge even during the running season. Signs must withstand rain and even the occasional snowstorm. Story Land makes use of sturdy, weather-resistant substrates such as vinyl and Styrofoam, as well as plywood, Plasticor—thin plastic-like material, and PVC board to hold up against weather deterioration.
Signs for rides such Splash Battle are made of sturdy plywood and take approximately 30 days from design to installation. “It’s very convenient for us to create our signage within as we have complete control of the finished product,” shares Mahany.
Season after Season
Amusement parks like Story Land understand that reusable signs save money in the long run. Creating signs with traditional techniques and safely storing them away for the Winter ensures that outdoor signage will be there for visitors to enjoy each year.
Amusement parks of various sizes find success in multiple signmaking techniques. Whether digital or traditional, the final signage must be functional to assist visitors and also colorful to complement the rest of the amusement park.
Click here to read part one of this exclusive online series, Sweet Signage.