SignUp Valley Junction

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  1. About SignUp Valley Junction
  2. Project Timeline
  3. Application for Businesses
  4. Call to Artists + Designers
  5. Submission Form for Artists
  6. Final Design Submission Form
  7. Additional Documents + Information
  8. Contact Us



SignUp logo

About SignUp Valley Junction

SignUp Valley Junction is a collaboration among the Historic Valley Junction Foundation, the City of West Des Moines, and the local community to design and install new signage in the Historic Valley Junction business district to help foster economic activity in the community. The signage will be created by a partnership of teams consisting of a small business owner, a visual artist, and a professional sign fabricator, all coordinated through the leadership and expertise of the Historic Valley Junction Foundation.

How Does It Work?

SignUp will facilitate the pairing together of small business owners in the Historic Valley Junction area interested in submitting sign proposals. Business owners and interested artists must attend a mandatory informational workshop session held at the Historic Valley Junction Foundation office, that will give an overview of the economic value of signage, along with important zoning/permitting, and design requirements.

Following the workshops, artists will submit designs for specific businesses of their choosing. Businesses will select the proposal they like best, establishing a partnership between themselves and the visual artist. Business owner/artist teams will then collaborate with expert sign fabricators during a Prototyping Workshop to solidify their final designs. A selection committee will choose 10 teams (and 1 alternate) – based on concept, construction, and context – to move forward to fabrication.

Upon selection, each business owner/artist team will work with a sign fabricator to ensure their designs can be produced on time and within budget. Signs will be installed following a public unveiling event in which all participating business owners and artists are invited to attend.



Project Timeline

Google Calendar Link

8/19 Call to Businesses Issued
8/19 Call to Artists Issued
9/8 Deadline for Business Applications
9/23 Artist Application of Interest Due
9/26 or 9/27 Mandatory Informational Workshops
Valuable information will be presented related to proposal requirements, zoning/permitting, what makes a good sign, etc.
9/30 – 10/23 Artists develop their sign concepts
Artists may prepare as many sign proposals as they wish for any number of businesses. Artists are encouraged to independently explore Historic Valley Junction, to get a feel for the neighborhood, meet business owners, see other existing signage, and discover what makes any particular Valley Junction business unique.
11/3 Deadline for Artists Submissions
11/4 – 11/9 Designs Revealed to Business Owners and Selections Made
11/9 – 11/10 Artists notified
All artists are informed if their proposal was selected by a participating business owner.
11/16 6:00 pm Prototyping Workshop
Artists and Business Owners work together as a team, along with an expert sign fabricator, to refine designs and prepare for selection. Other experts will be on hand during this event to answer questions about permitting and fabrication. Location: Valley Junction Activity Center (upstairs) at 6:00 pm. 217 5th Street, West Dest Moines
11/23 Final, refined sign proposals due to SignUp
Guidelines for submittal will be distributed at the Prototyping Session. Designs will be finalized and prepared for selection.
11/30 Selection Committee picks 10 teams to continue forward to fabrication
12/1 – 12/19 Permitting & Approval Period
Selected designs will proceed to permit preparation and submittal. The project will go for approval before the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council
12/20 – 2/28 Fabrication
2/8 – 3/1 Completed signs delivered to HVJF for exhibit
3/2 Sneak Peek / Unveiling Event
Participating Artists, Business Owners, Fabricators, and other parties involved with SignUp will be invited to an Unveiling Event to reveal the completed signs. Location and time will be communicated in advance of the date.
3/6 – 3/10 Signs installed in Valley Junction



Application for Businesses

For business owners, please read through the information below before submitting your application.

Who Can Apply For A Sign?

Businesses in the 100-500 blocks of the Main Street District along and between Fourth and Sixth Streets are encouraged to apply.

How Much Will It Cost Me?

Each sign will cost on average $5,000-$9,000 for production, fabrication, and installation – depending upon complexity. If chosen, business owners will be required to pay 20% of the total sign cost. This contribution is due at the time the final 10 businesses are notified that they will be receiving signs. Payment will be made to the Historical Valley Junction Foundation. Any sign that exceeds a total cost of $10,000 (Fabrication, Fees, Installation, Artist Compensation) will require the business to cover the difference in cost. A $25 non-refundable deposit will be due at the completion of the online application, payable in person at the Historic Valley Junction Foundation Office or by invoice.


How Do I Apply?

Information needed for submission:

  1. Name and address of your business
  2. Contact information of the business owner(s) and building owner(s)
  3. Include a letter from your landlord indicating that you have permission to install a sign permanently affixed to the building. Not all buildings may support projection signage that adheres to city sign ordinances. You can download the form here.
  4. A short statement (250 – 500 words) explaining how a new sign would benefit your business
  5. Talk about your business and brand! You can submit design or branding standards/guidelines that you currently have. Examples, photos, colors, fonts, logos, etc. may be submitted.

In order to be considered, applications must be submitted by: Thursday, September 8th, 2022 (Update: Applications are now closed)


Businesses applying must be available for the following dates:

9/26 or 9/27 Required informational workshops for all artists and businesses interested in applying to SignUp. Both workshops will be held at the Historic Valley Junction Foundation office. Evening event.
10/24 – 10/30 Meet with SignUp to review design submissions from artists and make the final selection
11/9 Prototyping Workshop. Artist/Business owner teams work with a fabricator to formalize sign design plans. Evening event.
Flexible Meet with fabricator and artist team to follow sign progress throughout the fabrication process.




Call to Artists + Designers

To participate in SignUp, artists must attend a mandatory informational workshop on either 9/26/22 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. or 9/27/22 from 8:00 – 10 a.m. at the Historic Valley Junction Foundation office located at 137 5th Street in West Des Moines. At the workshops, artists will receive the information needed to develop and submit a completed sign design proposal. All design proposals are due 10/23/22.

Once initial proposals are submitted, business owners will select the sign of their choice, then work together with the artist at a Prototyping Session to refine and prepare final designs for judging. Sign fabricators, engineers, and zoning/planning experts will be on hand during the Session to advise.

Where Do I Start?

If you are an artist, designer, or creative person looking to participate in SignUp Valley Junction, please complete the Artist Application of Interest Form no later than 9/23/22.

Artist Application of Interest is closed at this time.

Who Can Participate?

Artists interested in submitting proposals for signage must live or work in the Central Iowa region. No formal design education or certifications are required.

Can I Fabricate My Own Sign?

Artists interested in fabricating their own signs must demonstrate previous experience in sign making or other closely related work. If you are interested in fabricating your own sign, please indicate that during your online submission and we will follow up with you individually to see 3 past samples of your work. All other artists will have their designs fabricated by expert local sign makers.

How Many Designs Can I Submit?

Artists can elect to submit any number of sign design proposals for as many different businesses as they wish. Artists may have more than one design proposal chosen by the Selection Committee.

Do I Get Paid?

Yes! Artists whose design is selected for fabrication will receive $1,000 for their design and will have their fabricated creations displayed in a prominent public location. Payment will be issued at the time of sign installation. Businesses’ signs who are not chosen for fabrication may still choose to proceed with their design and compensate the artist directly. Artists will be required to complete a W9 tax form to be provided by the Historic Valley Junction Foundation office.

How Will I Know If My Sign Meets Code/Zoning Requirements?

City zoning and code requirements will be discussed at the Informational Workshops. Subject matter experts will be on hand to answer any questions you may have. Expert sign fabricators will provide counsel to artist/business owner teams during the Prototyping Session to ensure that sign designs can be fabricated within budget, timeframes, and attached in line with City requirements.



Submission Form for Artists

Artists interested in submitting proposals MUST be available to attend one Informational Workshop (9/26 or 9/27) along with the Prototyping Workshop (11/10). A sign design template will be distributed via email to all the workshop attendees and must be uploaded via the Artist Submission Form.

  • Designs must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on 10/23/22.
  • Designs should be in PDF format and should not exceed 10 MB in size.
  • If you are submitting multiple designs, they need to be submitted separately.

The Design Submission Template Includes:

  1. Name of the business the sign is being designed for
  2. Two renderings – (a) flat graphic, (b) dimensional drawing with measurements
  3. Dimensions and colors proposed design
  4. A list of anticipated construction materials
  5. Include any insight into your design process and why you think your design should be chosen Designs and information should be submitted using the Design Submission template form that will be provided to Artists at the Informational Workshop and is also available online for download on this page.

Design Submission Tips:

  1. Scale your sketches/designs so that they can be seen easily
  2. If possible, provide Pantone or CYMK values for colors used in the design
  3. Label all digital files in an intuitive, consistent manner
  4. If you are unable to prepare the template document, just upload your images as a single image file via the Design Submission link on the SignUp web page and submit a text document with the additional information of the template.

Link for Artist Submission Form for Design Uploads



Final Design Submission Form

Experts will visit with each artist/business/fabricator team, reviewing plans and noting any changes or missing information that needs to be addressed. The Master Checklist is the key document in this process. It outlines the requirements and gives the experts a template for making any notes or referring to the guidelines. The Master Checklist will incorporate the various zoning, historic, architecture, engineering, and fabrication requirements that have been outlined in the Workshop Presentations, Business Handouts, and Zoning and Historic Guidelines. In addition, it also details the information and process for Final Submissions. Using this document, Experts and Business/Artist teams have a clear set of expectations and processes for the Selection Committee review and subsequently the permitting process.

Completed proposals are due on Tuesday, March 14th at 6:00 P.M.

Final sign proposals should show the design of the sign as a flat rendering, detailing the dimensions of the sign including the height above the sidewalk and total projection. Additionally, note the bracket type, weight of the sign, and the material the sign is attached to from the fabrication section of the Master Checklist document.

Upload the following documents through the Final Design Submission Form:

  • Master Checklist Document
  • Digital file of the sign rendering (AutoCAD, Adobe Illustrator, SketchUp, PDF, or JPG)
  • Location Photo: a photo indicating where the bracket will be attached to the building

Upload the following content in the Final Design Submission Form:

  • Proposal Statement: why your design should be selected
  • Collaboration Statement: detail the process between the business & designer

Link for Final Design Submission Form for Uploads



Additional Documents + Information



Contact Us


The SignUp Valley Junction project is a collaboration among the Historic Valley Junction Foundation, the City of West Des Moines, and the Community.

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