The Method to Meaning: Crafting Epic Made’s Door Sign

A sign’s purpose is to convey meaning at a glance. So when setting out to craft the sign that would adorn the door to our office, we wanted to make sure we got the right message across. To do that we utilized the talent and passion of one of our smiths here at Epic Made, Jonathan “J” Eastman. Here’s a brief overview of his process and methodology.

“The most important thing is diversity in your approach. There’s always more than one way of doing something. It’s all about combining different approaches to get a result that’s superior and efficient. Working with the materials instead of against them.” – J


Creating the Digital File:

J began his process with a 2D image. After cleaning it up in Photoshop and creating a vector using Microsoft Illustrator, he ended up with the main shape of the logo. With 3D box modeling software he turned that vector into a 3d shape and added details with Zbrush, adding depth and form.

3D Printing:

After resizing the image J printed the sign on an ultra-high resolution profile to meet the detail the logo demanded. The detail makes the sign look badass, but to ensure the sign would be functional he printed it as a hollow latticework. Essentially, it uses a grid like pattern internally instead of being fully hollow or solid, providing structural integrity while still being lightweight. After about 120 hours of printing, J had four separate pieces and assembled them to create the main body of the sign.

“For me, the most important thing is the final product. Starting out with a 3D print ensured we could make the most accurate and resilient product possible. We wanted it to be light and durable.” – J


After giving the sign a base coat of Venetian plaster J washed the model in black paint to create depth, then dry brushed the peaks to create highlights. With that the base of the sign was made, but it missed the finishing touch that pushes the sign from great piece to an Epic piece; the plants and vines coiling around the sign. The sprawling connectedness of nature to compliment the boldness of stone.

“The Venetian plaster already lends itself to looking like stone, but I didn’t want to 3D print the plants because that wouldn’t give the natural effect I wanted.” – J

To get that effect J applied yellow flocking and silk plants. With an eye for detail, the yellow flocking was altered with green paint to create something that looked natural and untamed. Applying the silk plant vines and flocking was incremental and experimental, details were added and then judged based on how they altered the piece. If it got too busy or too bare it was shifted. The process was a sort of controlled chaos, mimicking nature, and it resulted in a piece that fits us perfectly. Bold and connected, focused but flexible.

“Creativity, to me, is flexibility. Typically people have a tendency of sticking with their first idea, but that’s too rigid. When you approach something with flexibility you turn the creative process into play. You’re allowing everything to effect everything else naturally. It lets the art develop itself and evolve. You’re not forcing it, you’re letting it flow. I know the piece is finished when what I create ends up being better than I ever expected it to be.” -J