Yacht signs: Express your signature style
Whether a new construction or pre-owned yacht, the yacht's name and name plate or signage becomes an extension of the owner’s personality and a way to express individuality.
Almost 100% of new build yachts will have a logo or sign made to a custom design, with lighting, font and materials selected by the yacht designer in close cooperation with the owner and their representatives. On the other hand, updating the signage aboard a pre-owned yacht will allow the owner to put their own personal stamp on the vessel by working directly with the sign makers and bypassing the yards.
Bastian Kellner of YACHTSIGN® said, “Selecting a yacht name confirms your creativity. Enhancing your yacht name expresses your personality.”
Yacht signs: Your name in lights
With extreme technological advancements, when it comes to yacht signs, the only limitation is the budget. From simple single-colour, static lights to multi-colour dynamic lighting and even full yacht light integration, if you can dream it, it is possible.
The importance of typography in yacht signage
With an infinite number of fonts available, the sky’s the limit when it comes to name plates. Most designs begin life based on 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, name plates can be created from something as personal as the owne'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.
Yacht sign design
Leaving behind the static lit name plates, the past two years has seen a dramatic increase in the popularity of dynamic lighting used in yacht sign design, resulting in a highly impressive display. Yacht signs can be programmed with up to 40 themes, which can then 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.
A recognisable example of the use of dynamic lighting within a yacht name plate is that of M/Y MiMu. 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.
Bastian Kellner of YACHTSIGN® recalled, “We worked with a 35m Azimut motor yacht who’s owner wanted to incorporate the meaning of the yacht name into the design; the Spanish slang word for “horny”. We used a font which featured the silhouettes of women within the individual letters and when presented with the design the owner immediately loved it, but asked if we could slightly increase the cup size and make the buttocks look a little more… Latin.
“The creative owner of M/Y Shor wanted a design that resembled his yacht’s name and resulted in a complete custom design featuring bulging letters and jagged edges, illustrating the wind blowing on shore. The name plate also includes a palm tree which, according to the owner, looks as though the letter E blew away and is concealed in the palm tree. All in all, a beautiful design showing how creative customised artwork can be.
“The nameplate for M/Y AMARULA Sun was based on the design of the liquor bottle label and even includes the same elephant, making this yacht’s nameplate more of a piece of art than just a sign.”
Five-step buyer’s guide to yacht signs and signage
Bastian Kellner of YACHTSIGN® passed on these five top tips for choosing the best company:
The name sign is amongst the most recognisable elements of a yacht. The name plate 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, and to find a supplier you can trust.
Work with professional sign writers
Name signs are a very personal item and something most owners will be strongly involved in and become attached to. You want to work with a company that can quickly help you to answer the owner’s questions and follow up on their ideas. Broken lights within a name sign is one of the first things anyone will notice, and there is little crew can do aboard to fix this. That’s why working with a trusted company which can provide prompt, fast, and uncomplicated customer service is essential.
Buy quality waterproof letters
All latest technology lighted signs use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and these highly sensitive electronics 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.
Beware of non-marine grade signage
There are absolutely no regulations when it comes to manufacturing 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. Make sure you select a product that was specifically designed and engineered for use in a marine environment.
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 labor costs, equipment costs for man-lifts or scaffolding and shipping costs.