Ray Wissman helped design, with Harrisburg restaurant legend Don Carter, Jr., the sign for Dockside Willies.
Raymond “Ray” Wissman, the talented artist and graphic designer known for his exceptional work in the sign industry, left an indelible mark on Pennsylvania and Maryland’s roads. For over twenty-eight years at Strickler Signs in New Oxford, Pennsylvania, Ray dedicated himself to creating iconic landmarks for businesses, recognizing the significance of their image in reaching and engaging customers. This can be aptly described as “front door marketing.”
Throughout his career, Ray’s creative genius resulted in over 1,200 designs, which were not only conceived but also sold, fabricated, and installed by the Strickler Signs team. His work earned national recognition and acclaim, with awards from esteemed organizations like the International Sign Association, Signs of the Times, and the USSC (United States Sign Council). Despite his numerous accolades, Ray remained remarkably humble and always shared credit with his colleagues.
Ray possessed a profound understanding of the paramount importance of readability in signage and had an innate ability to infuse a “wow factor” into his designs. His true talent lay in making his drawings come to life on the page, often with striking “before and after” designs that highlighted the transformative power of improvements. He consistently challenged and inspired his colleagues in the fabrication shop, displaying a strong commitment to delivering exceptional work that would benefit his clients for years to come. As Ray once expressed, “I am glad the customer liked my idea, and I am sure it will help their business for many years.”
One of Ray’s most notable projects was Dockside Willies, a landmark he co-designed with the visionary restaurateur Don Carter, Jr. His artistic prowess extended beyond signage, as he also demonstrated his skills through airbrushing and ornamental creations. Ray’s home, shared with his wife of eighteen years, Rayne, served as a testament to his creativity, adorned with various examples of his artistic works in metal.
On October 26, 2022, Ray Wissman passed away after bravely battling cancer. Family and friends recently gathered at his home in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, to commemorate his life, celebrate his incredible artistic contributions, and cherish his quick sense of humor. Above all, they remembered his genuine love and respect for all people.
Ray’s legacy endures through his profound understanding of the advertising and marketing value of well-designed signage, and his works will continue to shine brightly for many years to come.
The award-winning 2014 sign design for the Bay City Restaurant.
A Ray Wissman designed sign for the Smile Design Centre.