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Feldman Signs

My brother-in-law, Danny, is a partner in a sign business by the name of Feldman Signs. It was founded by the late Joe Feldman and, beginning after Danny finished his Navy career, was his place of employment — also working with Joe's son, Mark. When Joe decided to retire, Mark and Danny bought the business and have been partners ever since.

On my most recent trip to Florida, Danny and I visited a number of the many signs that Feldman Signs has installed in the Fort Lauderdale area — our purpose was photography. We plan to use these photos (and more) as the basis for a website for the business. These days every business has to have a website, right?

Some of the signs are simple in appearance such as this window sign at a yacht brokerage. Everyone thinks they could paint such a sign or paste the letters on the glass. Wrong. I know from my photo experience that the placement of these letters is crucial. If the spacing is even slightly wrong, it screams out at you "AMATEUR".


As you can see, Feldman Signs does more than simple logos and letters on glass. This is the sign above the same yacht brokerage business.

(Funny how you sometimes capture things you didn't expect and did not see when you took the photo? The windows above the sign reflect buildings behind me — since they were in the sun, the images are quite bright. In fact, so bright that you might think you are looking through the windows to buildings on the other side of the wall. Ambiguity in photos can be interesting.)

It is also interesting how a company's sign can give you a feeling or impression of the business before you ever step foot in the store, or in this case, the restaurant. This eatery is located in the Las Olas district of Fort Lauderdale. If you have ever been to this area, you know that Las Olas is the upscale (some might say "snobby") part of town. Regardless, looking at the letters carefully, I get the impression of a trendy, inviting, quality restaurant — certainly one that I would like to patronize. It was not mealtime when we took this shot but if it had been, I would have voted for lunch here.

Much the same can be said about the shopping center behind this sign. Sophisticated, fashionable, in good taste. How many times have you seen a shopping center with a junky old sign? You may patronize shops in that center but mostly because you know those particular shops. The center's sign did not cause you stop by.

Feldman Signs has quite a repertoire of sign skills. Besides the elegant signs above, they also do public notice signs. They don't have to stand the test of time — just get folks to the Boat Show during its limited engagement.

Or perhaps it is just the neighborhood pharmacy. In this case, the business really is just a pharmacy — not the mini-superstore that also sells drugs such as Walgreens and CVS have become.

I met the pharmacist/owner, who is Haitian (if I recall correctly), and he displays a number of wonderful watercolor paintings in the waiting area of his shop. It is exactly the kind of shop that I like to seek out.

Some of the signs that Danny showed me are quite impressive. Here is a sign they did for a corporate park — the sign sitting in the middle of a huge waterfall/reflecting pond that was very artistically designed. Kudos to the architects — and to the sign company.

And have you ever wondered who risks life and limb to put up and maintain signs high up on a multi-story building? Well, Feldman Signs for one. This is the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 — AKA Pier 66 to us old timers.

Not only did Danny's company install and maintain the sign, they also change the lights at the end of each of the extensions of the roof on the revolving restaurant. My sister tells Danny that she does not want to know when he is working up there — just do it but do not tell her. She does not want to worry all day about becoming a widow.

Generally, signs need to be seen at night as well as in the daytime. So we went out in the evening with tripod in hand to capture a few nighttime gems. This sign is for an upscale housing development and is interesting due to the use of LEDs.

I learned that the surface behind the lights is critical because it must disperse the light, not reflect it. The wall this sign is mounted on does just that — Danny told me of others they have installed where the business would not listen — and we chose to not photograph any of those.

This looks like a pretty simple sign, and it is. But it is interesting because of the monument which holds the sign itself. On close visual inspection it appears to be concrete with a stucco surface. In fact, it is fabricated metal (usually aluminum) with a stucco-like coating. Very light, easy to install, easy to maintain. Facinating.

This is an example of a high-tech sign that does not scream "high-tech". Here you see the nighttime version which just looks like most lighted signs you see. However, the light is shining through a mesh that is painted black — a mesh which you cannot see when the interior lights are on. However, during the day, when the lights are off the letters appear black. Cool, huh?

And here is the wizard who makes it all happen — my brother-in-law, Danny. I must also say that he is quite talented beyond the sign business — and if I were to list his many talents, you would become skeptical despite the veracity of my statements. He also has a wonderful personality and was even able to convince my skeptical parents that he was worthy of marrying their daughter. He and I have became good friends and I think of him more as a brother than brother-in-law. Way to go Danny!

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com