Tag Archives: signage

What Is Architectural Signage?

Like most things in life, with exterior signage you typically get what you pay for. This means making a decision about the kind of signage you want representing your brand and thinking about long‐term value instead of short‐term cost. There are major differences in commercial vs architectural grade exterior signage. These differences in materials, fabrication methods and lighting components greatly impact cost, durability, maintenance and appearance.

 

From a hundred feet away, it is difficult to tell the difference between a similarly designed commercial and architectural sign. They can both be painted the same color, be the same size and have similar design features. It is when you get up close you can really tell the difference. The commercial sign will usually have exposed seams and fasteners (rivets, screw head, etc.) while the architectural sign will feature fully welded and seamless construction with minimal or no visible fasteners. These may seem like trivial issues for something that most folks will never see close up but they directly impact the longevity of the sign. Seams, misaligned panels and cheap fasteners lead to water penetration. This can cause premature lighting and other component failure leading to a much shorter product life‐cycle and greater replacement cost.

 

Not all exterior signage is created equal. One way that commercial fabricators save on cost is to fabricate their signs from a cheaply made frame and then skin them with the thinnest material possible.  While the use of a thinner panel material definitely saves cost, the result is a less rigid panel that does not create a flat sign surface. This uneven panel surface is called “oil canning” or elastic buckling and can be seen even at a distance in most light conditions.

Similar to a car finish where a $500 paint job will not compare to a professional high‐quality paint finish, the same is true of exterior signage finishes. We recommend using only Matthews Acrylic Polyurethane paints with proper paint prep and primers. While a cheap paint job on a commercial application may only last a few years before fading, chalking and running, a high‐quality finish will last up to a decade even in a harsh environment.

 

What happened to my message? We often see sign messages running, peeling or falling off of cheaply made signs. While you may save a few dollars using a low‐cost vinyl or just gluing on acrylic panels in lighted signs, the result will be a sign that needs constant maintenance and repair. We recommend using only the highest quality exterior vinyl and direct print applications. In addition, any acrylic panels on lighted signs should be both glued and stud mounted to the supporting panel to ensure there is no separation between the materials over time.

 

As part of our name, we take designing and building architectural signage seriously. Exterior signage is the first thing your clients see when they find you and last thing they see when they leave. Make sure your exterior signs represent your brand and, like your brand, are built to last. For more information on how INNERFACE builds architectural signage, check out the videos on our website or get in touch.

Phelps Health

Based in Rolla, Missouri, Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) has just completed a rebrand and changed its name to Phelps Health. 

 

This rebrand was driven by significant growth over the past several years and a service area that has expanded well beyond the boundaries of Phelps County.  With a six-county service area and inconsistent brand application across multiple facilities, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously in late 2018 to rename the healthcare organization and bring all care delivery centers under the new Phelps Health umbrella.

 

Phelps Health selected INNERFACE as their Design+Build partner for all signage and wayfinding needs related to the brand change.  Our experiential graphic design team worked closely with Phelps Health to consistently apply the new brand across a very wide variety of environments. 

 

Planning & Implementation

Concerned with more than just increasing visibility in the communities they serve; we used the brand change to develop a new wayfinding and identification master plan for each Phelps Health campus that focuses on improving the patient and visitor experience.  By creating a more friendly and consistent environment for care delivery, our goal is to best represent the new Phelps Health brand and increase community awareness.     

 

One of the primary challenges of a healthcare system rebrand relates directly to the diverse array of sign types and applications impacted.  From large acute care campuses to small clinics and practices, the needs are highly varied and space is often limited.  Detailed surveys are needed to assess existing conditions and make recommendations related to sign replacement, retrofit options and modifications to existing signs.  We also used the project to either update or replace all lighting elements with LEDs.  This will decrease energy consumption and long-term maintenance costs while enhancing visibility. 

 

Working across multiple counties or municipal boundaries and potentially with multiple landlords requires research of signage codes and detailed communication as part of the planning process.  Understanding size, location and mounting limitations up front save time and money over the course of the project.  Having an experienced team and single point of accountability greatly compresses the timeline and positively impacts the outcome. 

Design & Wayfinding Solutions

 

With a January 1st deadline, INNERFACE worked together with the Phelps Health team to prioritize implementation across two primary phases.  Working through the holidays, we completed the first phase on time and within budget.   Phase two installation will be complete by July 1st.  The result will be comprehensive exterior identification and wayfinding system that efficiently moves patients and visitors and best represents the new Phelps Health brand in the communities they serve.

Future Plans

The initial brand change project focus and most branded elements were exterior applications.  With the exterior signage, wayfinding and brand change complete, we look forward to working on improvements to the interior wayfinding experience next.  

Phelps Health Future Plans

 

Download Phelps Case Study Here!

 

For more information on how INNERFACE can help with your rebrand or wayfinding project, get in touch.    

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  • For more information on how INNERFACE can help improve your wayfinding signage experience, please contact us.

Why You Should Engage with a Signage & Wayfinding Partner Early in Project Development

Do you often have a Signage and Wayfinding Emergency?

 

Signage and Wayfinding Partners are often approached by new and existing clients with signage emergencies.  These are typically associated with a lack of early planning for signage and wayfinding elements, tied to construction and renovation projects. Signage and Wayfinding are often the last items on a project check list. While an effective signage and wayfinding program can be difficult to plan and painful to review, it is required to be in place before a new space can be occupied and will greatly impact the users of your new space and their perception of your brand.

 

How to avoid those Signage and Wayfinding Emergencies

 

In order to avoid those signage emergencies, partners encourage clients to engage in a signage and wayfinding program early in their planning process. An effective partner integrates with the project team and provides coordination for any project items that will be impacted. By development and implementation of an effective signage and wayfinding partner can:

  • Provide accurate initial and ongoing budgets
  • Research local codes related to interior and exterior signage
  • Assess permitting process and timing
  • Provide initial guidance for exterior signage placement that may require power or additional structural support
  • Best understand construction and implementation schedules and possible phasing needs
  • Ensure integration with interiors, artwork and landscaping
  • Avoid installation conflicts associated with construction changes
  • Collaborative and support the development of logical room numbering, terminology and wayfinding
  • Coordinate and support conceptual donor recognition plan development increasing donor engagement

 

Most importantly, an effective signage and wayfinding partner is held accountable for the entire development and implementation process. With an effective partner all points of contact, responsibility, and communication are streamlined and the number of errors and assumptions are greatly decreased.

 

By starting early, Innerface is able to dedicate the time and effort needed to make your project a success and improve the user experience in your new space. For more information on how INNERFACE experiential graphic design team and our local project managers can partner early on your projects and help you deliver a seamless signage and wayfinding process.

 

Contact Us

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  • For more information on how INNERFACE can help improve your wayfinding signage experience, please contact us.

Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta

Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta have been helping children and teenagers for over 75 years. Starting with just one club on Washington Street in 1938, they now have over 30 Clubs in the Metro Atlanta area. The club has been helping thousands of children and teenagers each day to reach their full potential through academic success, healthy lifestyles, character development and leadership programs.

 

 

Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta partnered with INNERFACE Architectural Signage to design and implement new interior, exterior custom signage and wayfinding elements for their new and existing facilities. The new signage and wayfinding design was driven to create a friendly and welcoming environment that reflects their brand and mission.

 

Interior Signage

The design and function was needed to work with children and teens for a dynamic learning environment in each classroom. Therefore, we designed and built a modular system to showcase their artwork.

 

 

 

 

For this application, we used a magnetic rail combined multiple frame sizes that can be arranged as needed. It can change quickly based on the day of the week or relevant activity.

 

For each classroom, we designed the frame and rail system with paper grips. This provided additional display opportunities and reduced the number of items taped to the walls. Other custom items included large format graphics, to further enhance the interior spaces and support their brand.

 

Exterior Signage

The new exterior signage was needed to welcome parents and kids, clearly identify and convey basic information related to the specific club’s operating hours. Each facility will have slightly different applications based on zoning and permitting limitations. We designed and built a consistent design that is correctly scaled and branded. Other design variations include internally illuminated and ground lit signage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our design and project management team will work closely with each Metro Atlanta location to research signage codes and ensure the best application of the new exterior design. From initial design discussion through permitting, fabrication and installation, our Design+Build approach makes projects easy to manage and guarantees success.

 

Future Plans

 

Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta, will continue to expand with both new and renovated locations. We look forward to creating a long term partnership that will help them develop and maintain their environments. that are innovative, cost effective and best support their mission of academic success, healthy lifestyles, character development and leadership.

 

Download Case Study

 

The Key Moment

We’ve all had them, and they’re always memorable.

The key moments, when something clicks, when everything falls into place. All of the moving parts suddenly look like they belong right where they are. For a design process to create that moment, it takes patience, persistence, and a passion for a solution.

 

All Innerface interior signs have a key, and that key transforms them from a collection of different signs into a system.  It makes them flexible and adaptable, capable of changing at any time. It allows them to respond to change quickly, simply and cost effectively. We have a solution. A core value of change, and a way to make it work.  In more than 48 years, we haven’t looked back, and our system is in more than 12,000 facilities across the country and around the world.

 

Before Innerface started making signs, we were a design firm: Rupert Jensen Associates. 

Almost fifty years ago, the principals of RJA Design, John Rupert and Ken Jensen, spent a year of Saturdays thinking about change.  They met weekly with a variety of users and students from Georgia Tech’s school of Industrial Design.  They asked questions: How much do signs need to change? How often?   What is the simplest, most effective way to change them?

 

Therefore, cost became a focus.  Unlike anything at the time, every state-of-the-art interior sign was silk screened, with each message created individually. Signs were burnished, burned, and printed, and essentially created from scratch.  It was a very expensive and cumbersome process, and it produced a sign with a permanent, unchangeable message.

 

Multiply that sign by hundreds of rooms in the average hospital or office building, and obviously it becomes a significant cost.  Not just when the building opens, but also when someone moves or a department changes. What about someone getting married, promoted, or even fired?  The sign needed to be replaced, with the same costs as when it went up the first time, and with the same amount of needed materials.

 

The discussion pointed to an idea: What if the signs and the messages were separate? What if you could change the message without replacing the sign?

That was the problem and there was a place for a solution.

Clearly, the message needed to be somehow removable and a separate component from the rest of the sign.  An insert was needed, with a pocket to hold it, and a way to change it. It needed to be the least costly part of the sign. The first inserts were paper, and they kept getting stuck.  Maybe a thumb hole?  No, too crude and obvious.  The sign needed to look permanent without revealing that it could be changed.  And paper looks like, well, paper.  Temporary.

 

Furthermore, they needed a key.  A way to unlock changeability, a method for change, of everything from a small room sign to a large and complex directory or directional sign.  A successful system solution is flexible enough to address all interior sign applications, and the key enabled the system to work.

 

We tested dozens of different materials before finding a substrate with the right combination of rigidity and thickness.  With a crescent shaped cut, and a bend in the tab, it became a cleat: something that could lock into a slot in the insert, and remove it from the sign. 

 

Words can’t really do the justice to the elegance of our patented insert key system.

Matt Brown
Matt Brown

Send your address to Matt Brown our Vice President of Design Services, and we’ll send you a personal desktop sign with your name and a key, so you can see for yourself.