Cima Network has hired Chris Clark as a technical designer. Chris has extensive industry experience. In fact, you could probably say that signmaking is in his DNA.
“I grew up in my grandfather’s shop, Don Mace Signs, in Pottstown, PA, where I worked through high school and college,” he said. “I learned about traditional signpainting and fabrication techniques – applying goldleaf, tracing patterns and cutting shapes by hand with a jigsaw, for instance — and came to view making signs as a labor of love. Watching him carve and handletter signs had a lifelong impact on me, and inspired me to pursue work as an artist and an engineer in the sign industry.”
Chris earned a BFA from Kutztown University, and later worked for several sign companies, where his duties included operating a CNC router, managing a vinyl department and sign engineering. His experience led him to a mindful design philosophy.
“If sign designs are done well, the spaces they identify can be treasured. Every project connects with users in some way,” he said. “Design sets a tone, and requires a balance of complementing an environment while providing enough contrast to gain attention. Simple, but bold, is essential.”
Chris also stresses the importance of value engineering: “It’s my duty to be environmentally conscious in terms of types of amounts of materials used. I strive to do more with less.” He cited a quote by French author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery, which he read in a book by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard: ““In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.”
In addition to his grandfather, Chris notes others who have mentored and inspired him include architect Zaha Hadid; Evan Summer, a Kutztown art professor; Sean Costik, art director at Projekt Inc., a Philadelphia design firm, and Jim Flannery, a Philadelphia Sign Co. engineer.
To date, Chris’ favorite project has been a Philadelphia Sign project for Southbowl, a south Philadelphia alley. He said, “From completing early concept drawings all the way to final electrical connection, I was fully involved. I did all of the initial design, engineering, and technical design, then closely followed fabrication, and was present for installation and final hook-ups. Through this process, I learned about LED lighting, manufacturing processes, and ways to help installation go smoother. It also helped me to develop better relationships with my fabricators and installers. To this day, every time I drive past that sign and look down at it from I-95, it fills me with pride.”
Chris enjoys taking leisure time to visit new places and explore the outdoors. “My wife and I love camping, hiking, skiing and visiting national parks. We just returned from a mind-blowing trip to Yosemite where we enjoyed looking out across stunning vistas and enormous cliffs. I love places like that, because they fill me with a sense of peace and purpose.”