Creating the perfect illuminated yacht sign, lettering and nameplate
Last updated: 18/10/2017
Whether a new construction or a pre-owned yacht, its name and custom nameplate, lettering and signage becomes an extension of the yacht itself, and a way for the owner to express his or her individuality and signature style.
Yacht sign design: The yacht's name in lights
With creativity and budget the only limitations to yacht sign design, if you can dream it, it’s often possible!
In new-build design, the owner and his or her representatives will typically work closely with the yacht designer or builder to create the sign that best translates their vision, while updating the signage of a pre-owned yacht will usually see the owner working directly with the sign maker to put their individual stamp on the vessel.
Bastian Kellner of YACHTSIGN® said it best when he explained, “Selecting a yacht name confirms your creativity. Enhancing your yacht name expresses your personality.”
Yacht lettering and signage is typically created out of acrylic or stainless steel materials, in a limitless number of styles and scripts, as unique as handwriting itself. LED and fibre-optic lighting is then added in simple single-colour, dynamic multi-colour or static styles to make it glow!
The importance of lighting and typography in yacht signage
With an infinite number of fonts and scripts available, the sky’s the limit when it comes to creating beautiful yacht nameplates.
Most designs begin life based as an existing font, which is then fully customised depending on the owner’s ideas and requests, resulting in a truly unique design.
For the ultimate personal touch, nameplates can be created from something as personal as the owner's handwriting. YACHTSIGN® has reported receiving napkins with the yacht name penned by the owner’s wife, along with a request to create an entire name plate from just this script.
Adding multi-coloured dynamic lighting allows for a highly impressive nameplate and lighting display. Programmed with up to 40 themes, dynamic lighting can often be controlled by the owner via an app on his or her smartphone or tablet.
Multi-coloured dynamic lighting allows for more creativity, such as in the name plate of M/Y Capricorn, which plays on the name by enhancing the sign of the zodiac with tiny lights that blink like the stars.
Dynamic lighting is also used aboard M/Y MiMu, where YACHTSIGN® worked with the owner’s wife to create a font, which centered on overlapping letters to form the shape of a heart. The nameplate uses dual dynamic lighting which lights up the heart with a heartbeat. Charter guests are known to take a number of photographs, trying to capture themselves stood in front of the sign whilst the heart is illuminated.
Ordering your yacht sign: Five things to bear in mind
Bastian passed on his top five tips to bear in mind when creating a superyacht sign or nameplate:
- Plan ahead The name sign is amongst the most recognisable elements of a yacht. The nameplate becomes the yacht logo; the yacht logo becomes the brand. With endless options to choose from and so many decisions to be made, this is not an item that should be rushed. If you want to get it done right, plan for some time to review artwork ideas, letter styles, colour options with a supplier that you can trust.
- Work with the professionals Yacht signs are a very personal item and something most owners will want to be greatly involved in, and quickly become attached to. You should work with a company that can quickly answer the owner’s questions and follow up on their ideas. Broken lights and damage within a name sign is one of the first things noticed, and there is little crew can do aboard to fix this. That’s why working with a trusted company that can provide prompt, fast and uncomplicated customer service is essential.
- Choose quality lighting and materials Unfortunately, there is absolutely no regulation when it comes to manufacturing yacht signs and illuminated lettering. This allows for inexperienced companies to produce products that were never designed for use on yachts, or near water. These products don’t perform well in the harsh conditions of a marine environment and can quickly become a safety hazard. Always make sure to select marine-grade products that were specifically designed and engineered for use in a marine environment.
- Consider any limitations Many lighted signs use light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which are highly sensitive electronics that don’t play well when exposed to saltwater, salt-spray or moisture. Proper waterproofing technology ensures all electronic parts are completely encapsulated to protect the light system from corrosion and shorting out.
- Look at the bottom price The cost of maintaining a yacht sign goes way beyond the purchase price. Once you have lit your letters, you can’t afford for these to not work. Few things damage M/Y Lady Mandy’s image quite like her entering port as Lady Andy, because she lost the lighting on one of her letters. Having to repeatedly dismount letters for repair or replacement adds to the bill in terms of crew hours, technician labour and equipment costs for man-lifts or scaffolding and shipping costs.