Building Your Brand

Indigo Signworks
Written by Jen Hocken

Indigo Signworks is a full-service sign company that designs, manufactures, installs, and services signs of all types in the upper Midwest. Its state-of-the-art manufacturing plants and its experienced team of skilled employees enable the company to provide the highest level of service to its customers.
The company was established in 1996 in Fargo, North Dakota and was primarily involved in graphic design until it began to grow and receive opportunities to create signs on a larger scale. Billboards and billboard structures were the first large scale type of signs that Indigo Signworks installed. It purchased more equipment over time and eventually grew into the electrical sign manufacturing and installation business, specializing in custom on-premise signage: pylons, monuments, channel letters, awnings, digital displays, LED lighting, ADA compliance signs and much more.

The majority of the growth experienced by Indigo Signworks has been through acquisitions of well-established sign companies in the area. By incorporating those families of companies, the company accomplished growth by expanding its geographic footprint, adding resources, talent, and customers. Indigo Signworks’ growth first spread to Grand Forks, North Dakota in 2001, then to Bismarck, North Dakota in 2005, Alexandria, Minnesota in 2006, Minot, ND in 2011, St. Cloud, MN in 2013, and most recently in Minneapolis, MN in 2018 where its headquarters will relocate.

“A lot of our employees in those facilities that we acquired were in senior management level positions down to and including all the fabricators out on the floor, so we have a tremendous amount of experience in the sign industry,” says Rick Schomburger, chief executive officer of Indigo Signworks.

Today, Indigo Signworks has seven offices, two of which have manufacturing facilities, with installation and maintenance crews at each location to cover the upper Midwest states including North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and eastern Montana.

Indigo Signworks is proud of this ability to take projects through every step. Its expert sign team works directly with customers to create the perfect signage for their business needs, regardless of their size or budget. It begins with meeting the customer for an initial consultation and putting together a design that interests them. Indigo Signworks’ in-house graphic designers and engineers then design the sign structure and the structural foundation for the ground before the company completes the excavation, concrete work, and steel work. The next step is the production process, where the graphics production team sets up route files for the fabrication department and plotter cut vinyl or digital print graphics for decorating the signs. While that is happening, its skilled craftsmen build, assemble and paint the structure with their full-service sign manufacturing capabilities.

The installation and electrical set-up is the final step. “We have crews, trucks, and equipment at all seven of our offices to do the installations as well as the electrical ability to run the power out through the sign to make the final electrical connection,” says Erik Bagley, the general manager of Indigo Signworks for the state of Minnesota. “From concept to completion, we can do everything, which is pretty unique in our industry.” A high number of other sign companies only finish a fraction of the process and do not have the ability to complete the entire project without having to hire subcontractors.

Indigo Signworks is an expert with challenging custom fabrication requirements for projects that other companies tend to avoid. If an artist can dream up an idea on paper, the company can figure out how to build it in reality. Indigo Signworks has its own in-house graphic artists spread across various locations that have the ability to work together through the company’s network. This allows employees to communicate and collaborate more effectively.

Indigo Signworks has a diverse client base and the company either guides clients along that process or they are expected to meet the specifications set by the company. Customers have different levels of expectations within their own organizations; some have project managers or architects on staff, while others don’t have any of that.

Indigo Signworks’ focus is more than just outdoor electronic sign structures. The company will often take a customer’s logo and can incorporate it into branding their entire facility, fleet of vehicles, and promotional displays. This can include signage out on the street, storefront signs, window graphics, wayfinding signs, interior graphics and lobby displays, and ADA compliant signs. It will feature the customer’s branding across the facility to create a complete unified brand throughout.

The company built the largest sign in its history in 2017 when it assembled and installed the Budweiser sign on the Anheuser-Busch malt plant in Moorhead, Minnesota. Other notable projects include the Bell Bank building letters in Bloomington, Minnesota and the Shooting Star Casino campus package in Mahnomen, Minnesota. Indigo Signworks created all the signs for Shooting Star Casino. “Every sign and custom lighting element inside and outside [Shooting Star Casino] is all Indigo Signworks. We completely revamped that entire campus, and we carried their brand from the road to the restrooms and everywhere in between,” says Erik.

Recently, the company finished a renovation project for the sign at the Park Theatre in Park Rapids, Minnesota. The 1930s sign had caught on fire, so the company took the sign apart and re-created it from scratch while maintaining its antique look.

The company has many new and exciting projects coming up in the near future. It is going to rebrand the Mahnomen Public Schools’ facility with interior and exterior signs, and it is going to create a scoreboard in a sports field complex at Concordia University, Moorhead, Minnesota. Another large upcoming project is Tuffy’s Pet Food in Perham, Minnesota that is building a 270-foot-tall tower system, and Indigo Signworks will be putting forty-by-fifty-foot signs on both sides. The signs will be visible from in town all the way up the highway in Perham.

Proper safety precautions are essential when installing large signs, and Indigo Signworks is always looking for ways to improve its safety standards. The company invested almost $100,000 to ensure that its crane operators were fully certified by educating the installation staff in how to properly operate the cranes. The team completed onsite testing that involved operating a crane in a specifically designed obstacle course and a final hand-written test.

The company also has its OSHA 10 certification, its low voltage certification, and it holds weekly safety meetings with each of its crews. “We have a lot of hardworking individuals out there in the field, and our number one goal is to make sure that they are doing their job safely, so we stress that around here,” says Erik.

Indigo Signworks has had to change its technology considerably as it keeps up with environmental and sustainability trends. Roughly ten years ago, the company was still using neon benders, fluorescent lighting and inefficient high-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs. Today, it primarily uses efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lighting with all types of signs. The vast majority of new signs are built with LED, and the company is working to ensure that many existing signs are being converted to LED.

The design, fabrication, and installation staff at Indigo Signworks has vast experience in the sign industry. “If there has been an issue out there, we’ve seen it; we’ve dealt with it, and we’ve rectified it. Whether it’s soil conditions, a unique sign fabrication process, or a graphics issue, we have the experience to deal with just about any issue that’s identified out there,” says Rick.

The dedicated employees that have either been hired by the company or gained through an acquisition are the strength of Indigo Signworks and are the primary reason for its success. “The employees that we have and their dedication to quality and customer service is really the thing that sets us apart from our competition,” says Rick.



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