Indigo Signworks Blog

Indigo Signworks Welcomes John Danio as VP of Sales & Marketing

Indigo Signworks Announces New VP of Sales & Marketing Indigo Signworks announces the addition of John Danio as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. John will work with the sales & marketing team to help lead and support our future sales Read more

Acquisition Expands Indigo Signworks Capabilities and Marketplace Lead in the Midwest

Sign Source Acquisition Expands Indigo Signworks Capabilities and Marketplace Lead in the Midwest Indigo Signworks has announced the acquisition of Sign Source, Chanhassen, MN. Sign Source is a privately-held sign company dedicated to serving regional and national clients with a Read more

Indigo Signworks Welcomes Matt Brasel as GM of North Dakota

Indigo Signworks Announces New General Manager of North Dakota Indigo Signworks announces the addition of Matt Brasel as General Manager of North Dakota.  Matt will be overseeing operations through the Director of Sales and Director of Operations within the region. Matt Read more

Neon Signage – A Unique Solution for Your Unique Business

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Neon Signage – A Unique Solution for Your Unique Business

There’s just something about neon…  Neon lighting provides an unlikely marriage of delicate lines, intense light, and bright colors, surrounded by a familiar gentle glow. The result is a combination of eye catching contrast and gentle nostalgia that is sure to get noticed. 100 years after its introduction in the sign industry, neon still has the ability to make an impression like no other sign medium.

The Creative Process

The process by which neon tubes are created has gone largely unchanged since neon lamps were first invented. A specially trained glass blower, or neon tube bender, starts the process with a straight piece of glass tubing. To give the glass its unique shape, the tube bender uses a variety of torches, and considerable skill to heat the glass and carefully manipulate it one bend at a time. This process is not easy to learn, and can take a decade to master.

To date, there is no other way to shape a neon tube but by hand, and realistically there never will be. In fact, the single biggest technological advancement in the tube bending process over the last 100 years is the availability of computer generated patterns.  Once printed, the tube bender uses the paper pattern as a map to carefully plan the series of bends which will be needed to achieve the desired form. Think of it like attempting to complete a maze using a ballpoint pen.  If you don’t plan ahead, the finished product is sure to be a mess.

While the process of creating the neon tubes hasn’t changed, the industry that made it famous has. The advancement of LED technologies has largely replaced neon as a light form in a number of situations such as architectural borders and channel letters, as well as in products such as electronic message centers. As a result, neon production as an industry, has been reduced to a small fraction of what it once was. 


Neon’s Enchantment

Fortunately, exposed neon still has an impact that is hard to beat. If you are looking to make an impression on your customers and stand out from your neighbors, neon is the way to go. Custom window units feature energy efficient transformers, a large variety of color options, and long lasting reliability. Exterior and vintage neon signage is also available, ensuring your business’s unique identity will shine all the way down the block.

Indigo Signworks is one of the only full-service sign shops able to provide and service these glass gems in our region. If you would like to hear how neon can be incorporated into your business, contact your local Indigo Signworks office today!

View the Neon Gallery



Written by Chris Orth
Neon Technician
Chris is our resident neon aficionado at Indigo Signworks. He’s been working in the art of neon bending for the past 17 years. He has also pursued other artisan trades including stained glass and sheet metal shaping.

Minnesota National Bank Updating their Signage upon their New Branding

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MN National Bank Signage Updates

Minnesota National Bank’s history dates back to 1902 when they were known as the Merchant’s National Bank of Sauk Centre. In 1987, the bank was sold to a group of local owners to become First National Bank. In 2008, they merged with Lake Country State Bank and were renamed Minnesota National Bank, retaining the tradition of being a community bank with expanded offices in Sauk Centre, Long Prairie and Pelican Rapids, Minnesota. MNB is in full-swing updating their signage to match their new branding. MNB, along with HTG Architects, out of Eden Prairie, MN, then made contact with Indigo in early 2015 to discuss fully updating the entire Long Prairie location’s signage needs.

Long Prairie, MN

Minnesota National Bank, Long Prairie began the process of a building renovation, which in turn, evolved into a new branding signage package. (see photos below) During the initial conversation with HTG Architects, we had to discuss the best way to overcome structural obstacles of the existing building to try to implement individual channel letters on an outer wall, as there was no access for wiring behind it. It was decided to move forward with a hinged retro frame LED illuminated cabinet on the building front, and refurbishing the existing cabinet on the back of the building. The pylon sign covered multiple elements of our industry with routed push-thru acrylic letters on the top portion, back to back 15.85mm Daktronics displays, LED illuminated cabinets with rigid dividers and stud mounted PVC address numbers on the base cladding. They were very pleased with the halo effect of the push-thru look night illumination on the top routed aluminum faces.

Pelican Rapids, MN

With the completion of the Long Prairie location, we then approached the image at their Pelican Rapids location. After a number of discussed options, they decided to replicate the Long Prairie pylon for that location. It’s currently in production (see photos below) and hope to see it up before Christmas. With a second electronic message center location, the Daktronics cloud-based control suite was converted from a local access to a shared control for multiple locations. This will allow them to edit and publish presentations already created from branch to branch with the same matrix size message centers.

Sauk Centre, MN

Lastly, their new 3-story building currently under construction for their main branch office in Sauk Centre will have incredible exposure for their new image, located on the entrance corner of the Super Walmart. The pylon will incorporate the same elements as their previously fabricated structures with a few added tenant panels, three large LED illuminated wall cabinets, some directional signage, and two entrance monuments. (see photos below) The completion of this project will tie all the branches together with an updated first-impression and Daktronics software.

It’s truly been a pleasure to work with them as well as HTG Architects on these projects!

Happy Holidays from Indigo Signworks!

Posted on by Indigo Signworks, Inc. in Articles, Indigo News Leave a comment


Isn’t this time of year wonderful? It’s twinkling lights and Christmas cookies, presents under the tree and snowmen (maybe we can do without TOO much snow). It’s online shopping orders being delivered to your door and the packed malls and stores filled with sales. It’s flurry of activity and at times, pure craziness. So much so, sometimes, that maybe we forget exactly what the holidays are really for.

It’s about family and friends. It’s about the time we spend with those we care about, and being thankful for the everyday people and things we forget to stop and be thankful for.

As the year ends, we think about all we are grateful for. Our relationships with each of everyone one of you is a gift. This was a year filled with lots of questions; with it being an election year and all the unknowns that seem to come with that for many. Some great perspective comes from a quote many of you may know, “In times like these, it helps to recall, there have always been times like these” (Paul Harvey). There was a wisdom to Havey’s words that are timeless and a great reminder of the power of a positive attitude.

We thank you for the opportunity to work with each and every one of you!!! We couldn’t do what we do, without our strong customer relationships, the amazingly talented team of sign professionals at Indigo Signworks. and committed vendors that make it all come together everyday.

Those are the reasons for the season.

We want to thank EVERYONE who has been a part of us at Indigo Signworks. Here’s to the New Year. May it be even merrier and brighter than the last!

Happy Holidays from us, to you.


Our offices will be closed Monday, December 26th & Monday, January 2nd



LED Lighting Befriends Cold Weather

Posted on by Indigo Signworks, Inc. in Articles, LEDs Leave a comment

Icy cold temperatures & LED lighting get along well together.

…the seasonal cold is a welcome benefit for LED lighting.

You may not like cold, but LED lighting sure does. LED lighting does well in a cold environment. The cold condition allows the LEDs to dump the heat produced while operating. Heat is bad for LEDs.

LED lighting works by sending a low voltage DC current across a precise gap distance. To jump the gap, plasma forms and is then abruptly halted by the distance the electron travels to the end of the controlled gap. The precise gap distance manufactured in the LED chip, allows a specific wavelength of light to be emitted. A larger gap produces a light shifted to red and a smaller gap shifts the light further to the violet color spectrum.  Heat causes the precise gap spacing in the LED chip to expand. As a result, it shortens the life of the LED chip, as well as disrupting the intended light output color. In addition, if too much heat is retained in the LED chip, the electrical resistance will increase and destroy the chip. As you can appreciate now, the seasonal cold is a welcome benefit for LED type lighting. So just dress warmer if you don’t like the cold

LED Cold Weather


Fluorescent & Neon Lighting

Every winter season, the cold and the fluorescent lights battle it out.

Fluorescent and some colors of neon lighting do not perform well with cold temperatures, since they rely on the mercury within them becoming vaporized. The cold wins every year. The way this type of lighting works depends on heat helping out.

First, and most importantly, the mercury within the glass lamp has to vaporize. At room temperature (+-)70° mercury will form into a vapor and mix with the carrier gas (usually argon). Once enough mercury is vaporized, electricity can easily pass thru the vapor, ionizing the atoms. Light is given off by sending high voltage alternating current thru the lamp, causing the atoms of mercury to become ionized within the carrier gas. The light given off from this now “ionized” mercury vapor is in a wavelength that humans cannot see—ultraviolet.   The powdery fluorescent coating on the inside of the glass lamp converts the ultraviolet light into wavelengths we can see as visible light.  The heat makes fluorescent lighting work better. Cold causes the light output process needed in fluorescent & some neon colors to break down, flicker & perform poorly.

I am sure we have all seen this effect on a cold day.  The colder it gets, the easier it will be for you to notice which signs are LED illuminated & which ones rely on vaporized mercury. If you’re looking up upgrade your sign to LED, or have new signage needs, contact your local Indigo Signworks office today to be sure your sign is winter-ready.

Written by Jeff Douglas:

Estimating Manager / Engineer 


Related Posts:
LED Retrofit

It Pays to Upgrade Energy saving LED retrofits; should you do it?  Yes, of course! The return on investment (ROI) alone says you should. The Cenex sign shown in the picture is about 7’ tall x 8’ wide and it used to be illuminated with eight 800MA high output fluorescent lamps & two ferromagnetic type ballasts.  As […]


Delivering Freaky Fast Signature Service to Jimmy John’s

Posted on by Indigo Signworks, Inc. in Articles, Customer Spotlight, Featured Jobs, Services Leave a comment

Jimmy John’s has Freaky Fast Service, Indigo Showed Them our Signature Service.

When you think of Jimmy John’s Sandwiches, what comes to mind? Tasty sandwiches, of course. But how about those “Freaky Fast” commercials of theirs? They all pretty much share the same theme, a customer has a need, and Jimmy John’s pulls through with their service to save the day. Why am I having you think about sandwiches? Maybe you have a rumble in your tummy, and it’s time refuel your body, I don’t know. What I really want you focus on is this: Service.

“Indigo Signworks is a sign company satisfying the image and identity needs of customers by delivering high quality sign products with exceptional service.”  That is our branding statement, the foundation for what we stand for here at Indigo. Diving in deeper, I want to use a recent sign project between Jimmy John’s and Indigo to give an insight to our “Signature Service.”

Indigo Signworks satisfies its customer’s needs through exceptional customer service – delivering on time, on budget, with a high degree of personal accountability – “Signature Service.”

Jimmy John's Channel LettersA New Jimmy John’s Sandwich Shop

Jimmy John’s Sandwiches was opening a second location in Minot, ND inside the new Southside Plaza strip mall. Having worked with Indigo Signworks on his 5 other North Dakota locations, Travis Vannatta, Franchise Owner of Jimmy John’s, contacted our offices for fabrication and installation of his new signs; a set of channel letters, a directional sign and vinyl graphics for the tenant panel on the Plaza’s main ID sign. There is nothing out of the ordinary about this sign package, but it’s the execution that is worth looking at:

The Minot office received fabrication and installation orders on a Friday. The following Wednesday, Travis & the local JJ’s store manager stopped in to visit with Bob Smesrud, Minot’s General Manager, to check on the progress of their signage. It was essential that the channel letter portion of the package was to be installed that week. Bob had the sense that the customers were set for disappointment. While there, Bob brought them into the fabrication shop and was able to show them that their entire sign package was all but ready to install after only 3 days in-house. They spent some time with them on the details of construction of their product and the customers left reassured.

“We had about a week and a half to have everything done in a short amount of time, I was impressed it all got done and how great everything looked!” – Travis Vannatta, Jimmy John’s.

The next day the channel letters were installed and ready for Jimmy John’s opening day, and the rest were installed just a couple of days later. Shortly after completion, a gigantic platter of Jimmy John’s Sandwiches showed up at the office, enough for everybody! It is such a great feeling to have satisfied customers! This happy ending can be chalked up to a team effort executed without incident.

Oh and by the way, the Southside Plaza sign in the photo below is one of our creations too!

Experience your own Signature Service with Indigo!


Signature Service: Giving our customer assurance of quality, accountability & responsibility.

Contact one of our 6 conveniently located offices today!

Energy Saving LED Retrofit ROI

Posted on by Indigo Signworks, Inc. in Articles, LEDs, Products, Services Leave a comment

It Pays to Upgrade

LED retrofit

Energy saving LED retrofits; should you do it?  Yes, of course! The return on investment (ROI) alone says you should.

The Cenex sign shown in the picture is about 7’ tall x 8’ wide and it used to be illuminated with eight 800MA high output fluorescent lamps & two ferromagnetic type ballasts.  As a result, this lighting method consumed about 800 watts costing $455 a year if the sign was running 12 hours a day, and the energy cost was 13₵ /kW‐h. Due to new LED lighting technology, installed by Indigo Signworks, the sign now only consumes 306 watts costing $175 a year for the same run time & energy cost. Just the annual energy savings alone is 61%!

Energy $ Used Yearly: Fluorescent vs. LED Principal Qwik Stik® Shallow 360°

Energy $ Used Yearly: Fluorescent vs. LED Principal Qwik Stik® Shallow 360°

The old fluorescent lamp lighting has a useful life of 12,000 hours. Because the new LED lighting, it can be as long as 100,000, it makes the average yearly maintenance savings of not having to service the sign close to $450. Adding the $280 per year in energy savings to the $450 in yearly maintenance, benefits Cenex $731 a year! Therefore, the LED retrofit ROI in this case is great; in as little as 35 months the investment will pay off*. The LED products and the labor directly used to retrofit this Cenex sign costs the end user about $38 per sq. ft., or $2128.

Get your Own ROIGet Your Own LED Retrofit ROI Analysis!

Don’t wait….Contact your local Indigo Signworks office today, and we’ll do an LED Retrofit ROI analysis for you! We will take great care in selecting the right lighting to benefit you the most. We have the experts that sift thru the many options available and will present to you the best one.

You will see how it pays to upgrade. If your double face sign is about 7’x8′, in 10 years, you will actually have $7310.00 more**.

In some places, an energy rebate is available too, making the decision to invest in a lighting upgrade even sweeter. In order to find out if you are eligible for a rebate or other incentive program, you can reference the Department of Energy’s DSIRE site

One more benefit…LEDs are much brighter during cold temperatures than fluorescent lighting.

* investment/annual savings

**advice from Jeff Douglas, Estimating Manager/Engineer (always thinking of ways to make your net worth higher)


Shooting Star Casino Custom Sign Package

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Shooting Star Casino Custom Sign Package

It’s always thrilling creating a custom sign package that’s truly unique. In late 2015, Shooting Star Casino announced the construction of a smaller satellite casino in Bagley, MN. This new property offers a fun gaming atmosphere, along with introducing a dining and drink alternative on a local level.

Shooting Star Casino chose Indigo Signworks as the interior and exterior sign design, manufacturing & installation firm due to our ability to offer our services on a local level; along with having a strong tenured history with the Shooting Star Family. In 2014, Indigo began a year-long construction project on the Mahnomen property where we worked closely the Shooting Star Casino team to establish a modern image for the existing site. The Indigo Signworks team worked diligently to create an image that suited the property’s unique architecture and themes. This image was to carry forward in both the Bagley satellite property as well as the upcoming 2017 Star Lake Resort property, which is currently under construction.

Interior Signs

Concentrating on interior signage at this property became a strong focus. Indigo, in partnership with Cuningham Group, an architectural firm specializing in gaming located in Minneapolis MN, took on the task to design an interior sign package that fit with the interior décor of the casino.

The one sign that stands out above all others, is the interior sign for the Little Dipper Bar and Grill. We were asked to provide a “twinkling star” concept to identify the eating establishment. Our team of designers and fabricators constructed a one-of-a-kind interior sign, consisting of a hand-made douglas fir wooden case, amber LED halo lighting, LED illuminated lettering, and individual “twinkling stars” that are operated with a fiber-optic projector. Each individual star in the ‘Little Dipper’ part of their logo shimmers and shines as the fiber optic projector changes. You notice the sign from anywhere on the gaming floor due to the motion of the sparkling lights.

See a short video of the sign in action!

Exterior Signs

The exterior sign package includes a building sign and large pylon sign. The halo and face-illuminated building sign marks the main entrance of the property. There is also a large pylon sign that also consists of both face and halo illuminated letters. The digital message center component while allowing their marketing department in Mahnomen, MN to remotely control, upload and update content. The sign also features hand-carved stone accents in addition to hidden blue LED recessed lighting.

Contact your local Indigo Signworks office today and discuss unique signage opportunities for your business!

To view the work we did for Shooting Star Casino at their Mahnomen headquarters, check out the article in Sign Builder Illustrated.

Prairie Stone Center

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Sign Builder Illustrated: Prairie Stone Center

Checkout the upcoming issue of Sign Builder Illustrated where Prairie Stone Center pylon sign was highlighted!

Placing the design focus on the EMC (by Watchfire), along with a structure complementary to the Shopping Center (with help from Signs by Benchmark), made for a successful and visual appealing final product for Prairie Stone Center in Fargo, ND.

Prairie Stone Pylon EMC

Prairie Stone Center Pylon

Lift and Access Magazine Article

Posted on by Indigo Signworks, Inc. in Articles Leave a comment

4 Bears Indigo Signworks Install

Indigo Signworks is mentioned in Lift and Access Magazine this month discussing truck mounted aerial lifts.

To see the full story and photos online, visit

To view the entire issue online, visit

Introducing Indigo Electric

Posted on by Indigo Signworks, Inc. in Indigo News Leave a comment

We are proud to annouce our newest division!
IE_Color Logo_Primary

For more information, visit: