It’s Signarama Orangeburg’s biggest project we’ve ever done, and the one that made us realize we can do anything: we made the signage for a presidential debate.
It was April 2007, and the first Democratic presidential debate of the 2008 campaign was going to be held at South Carolina State University here in Orangeburg. As you can imagine, it was a crazy time. The debate was going to be aired on MSNBC and streamed on MSNBC.com, so they were going to need a lot of signage for MSNBC and NBC in various locations around the campus.
We got a call from NBC, and worked out the details for everything they would need — they wanted vinyl and cloth banners, Coroplast signs, decals, and even a step and repeat banner (the kind you see at red carpet events, where celebrities are photographed in front of a backdrop with sponsor/event names on it). They sent over all of the graphics, and our Signarama staff went to work.
Of course, when we finished with everything, we weren’t anywhere close to being done. When the NBC and MSNBC staff showed up on site, they found new areas where more visuals could be added. We would get a call for more sign products, produce them, and deliver them. When our staff member was on site, we would get a request for another sign, our employee would call it in, and head back to the Signarama store. Someone else would take that new sign over, get a request for another one, and call it in. It was like that for a couple days.
We spent a lot of time driving back and forth to the Signarama store, making new signs for anything they needed. We made several hundred different signs by the time it was all done.
If you watch the debate video, you’ll see evidence of our work. Not only is SCSU a Signarama client — we did many of the campus signs — the network signage and collateral is ours.
We even did the signs that the TV viewing public didn’t see — the step and repeat banner outside the debate hall, the dressing room signs, and so on. We also did the signage for their show sets, like Chris Matthew’s Hardball, and other MSNBC shows. We even did some work for CNN.
When it was done, that night we were able to sit in the audience. Hilary Rodham Clinton won decisively, and we left thinking we might have our first female president, but history had other plans.
It was an exciting project, and was a reminder that we can tackle any project, no matter how big or complex. We’ve always had a can-do attitude at Signarama Orangeburg, so it was nice to see that we “could-did” that day in April.