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1990 Angel Award honoree
Hanley Bloom, the co-founder of ASI Sign Systems (with his twin-brother Stanley) died March 15, 2011 at age 75. Most recently the VP of sales for Neiman & Co., Hanley was the inaugural recipient of the Society for Environmental Graphics Design’s (SEGD) Angel Award. He also served as the principal author of A Guide to Building Signage in California, which was written to guide environmental-graphic designers through complex sign codes.
In 1959, at age 23, Hanley invested $800 in winning from bowling competitions to form Custom Stamp Co. By day, he and Stanley worked in Douglas Aircraft’s reproduction department, and, at night, they produced rubber stamps, primarily for stationery stores. A pantograph machine helped them transition to signmaking.
In 1962, they launched Custom Sign Co., which specialized in engraved signs. By 1966, they recognized architectural firms’ unique signage needs and established Architectural Signage Inc. (ASI). In 1977, the brothers formed ASI Sign Systems as a joint venture with British-based Letraset. Under their direction, it grew to 33 franchises.
Hanley’s innovations included subsurface plastic signs, embedded fiberglass signs and the Panasystem backlit directory. He’s credited with conceptualizing the idea of marketing a “line” of products as a system.
Wayne Hunt, Hunt Design, said, “Hanley, along with John Follis, Deborah Sussman and others, were the early faces of the EGD field on the West Coast.”
In the 80s, the twins acquired Letraset’s ASI interests and built a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Nashville, TN. A New York City-based investor group bought ASI in 1988, and the Tennessee facility was sold to an Atlanta-based franchisee when Stanley retired. Hanley continued to run the Marina del Ray facility until 1992. Hanley later joined Neiman & Co. as a sales representative and rose to sales manager.
Wayne McCutcheon, past SEGD president, said, “Hanley was a born salesman, in the best sense of the word, and his passing leaves a huge void in the SEGD community.”
Obituary published in the Los Angeles Times from Apr. 4-5, 2011
Bloom, Hanley David
January 13, 1936 - March 15, 2011
Hanley Bloom, who pioneered the process of making and marketing architectural signs, died of the after effects of a stroke on March 15.
Hanley, who was 75 years old, lived in Sherman Oaks, Ca. Since selling ASI Sign Systems, then the world's largest architectural sign company which he co-owned with his twin brother Stanley, Hanley had continued to work in the sign industry and was active in the Society of Environmental Graphic Designers, which he helped found.
Hanley and his brother were born on Jan.13, 1936, in Omaha, Ne., to Chaim and Ida Chazan. Upon Ida's death, the family moved in 1940 to Ocean Park, Ca. Their maternal aunt Shirley and her husband Sam Bloom adopted them in 1944. The twins graduated from Santa Monica High School in 1954.
Throughout their lives, the twins were inseparable. Early on they played tennis, bowled, and played table tennis together. Hanley excelled at all of these sports, especially bowling which he continued to do most of his life.
In 1959, while working at Douglas Aircraft Co. at night, they founded Custom Stamp Co., a successful manufacturer of rubber stamps and engraved plastic for personal and business use. The Santa Monica-based stamp business was sold in 1969. In 1966 the brothers founded Architectural Signing, Inc., which became the leading manufacturer of a new field of signage directed at graphic designers. Products from the Marina del Rey-based company were utilized in many major projects throughout the country, including The World Trade Center Buildings in New York, The First National Bank Building and McCormack Convention Center in Chicago, The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Stations, The Honolulu Airport and The Security National Bank Building in Los Angeles and many of their branches throughout California.
In 1977 Hanley and Stanley formed ASI Sign Systems, a joint venture with the British company Letraset. Sales of this combined network of 33 franchisees eventually reached $35,000,000, making ASI Sign Systems the largest architectural sign company in the world. Between 1982 and 1987, Hanley and Stanley acquired Letraset's interests in ASI, and built a state-of the-art manufacturing facility in Nashville, Tenn. ASI was sold to a New York City-based investor group in 1988. A year later, the Tennessee facility was sold to an Atlanta franchisee, at which time Stanley retired. Hanley continued to run the Marina del Rey facility until 1992.
Hanley was very active in sign industry trade organizations, especially the Society of Environmental Graphic Designers. He was well known for his foresight and knowledge of architectural signage and for establishing a systems approach and many proprietary products and manufacturing processes. At the time of his death he was the sales manager for Neiman Signs in Van Nuys.
Hanley enjoyed life to the fullest, kept in touch with and often visited his many friends throughout the country. He played in a weekly poker game and belonged to a bowling league. He traveled and partied and still found time to continue working in his true love, the sign business.
He is survived by his two beloved sons David and Jeffrey, his daughter-in-law Karen and David's two children Kai and Ella Bloom. He is also survived by his brother Stanley, and sister-in-law Carmel Shore-Bloom, sister Judi Bloom, brother-in-law Michael Cieply and their son Sam. His brother Fred Chazan, parents, adopted parents and sister Barbara preceded him in death.
There will be a Celebration of Hanley's life on Saturday, April 9 at 2 p.m. For details contact Jeffrey Bloom at [email protected]
Contributions in Hanley's honor may be sent to the Society of Environmental Graphic Designers. For information contact Pat Knapp at [email protected].
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Apr. 4 to Apr. 5, 2011