The making of a neon sign

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Calgary-based Stan Purchase has been bending neon by hand for 30 years, but his career came about by chance. He was working as a truck driver, and one day his boss asked him if he wanted to quit and start a sign business together. Today he owns his own company, Purchase Signs, and works alongside his son Nick.

Watching Stan work in his large industrial space is a pretty fantastic experience. He hovers over ribbon burners, plays with mercury, controls currents as high as 26,000 volts, all while gracefully and artfully bending glass into perfect letterforms. It’s dangerous and requires a great deal of skill, but Stan says he enjoys the challenge. He takes pride in working with his hands and seeing each completed product.

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The typeface we used for our sign is Ne10, which was designed by Corey Holms. Interestingly enough, the typeface itself was inspired by a neon sign. That’s where Corey was in a pizzeria near his Fullerton, California, home when he spotted a neon cerveza sign and was inspired to create the typeface.

Fairgoods is an online shop that sells type and fun gifts that use that type.

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