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Commercial Signage vs Architectural Signage

The goal of any sign is to announce the presence of your business or to relay information about your business such as a new location opening, a holiday sale, or, as many businesses are doing after a long period of COVID, announcing a grand reopening.  Whether you need a standard commercial sign, or an architectural sign depends on your requirements and what the sign is going to be used for.

In general, commercial signs are designed for a shorter lifecycle. They may be made with less durable materials that are not designed to last a very long time. These signs are generally meant to be viewed from a distance and may even have fasteners or seams showing if you look at the sign up close.

Commercial signs are dominated by a company message and branding, are often mass-produced, and typically include bright colors and styles designed to catch the eye.

Architectural signs, by contrast, are designed to complement the architectural style of the building or environment.  They incorporate brand identity, are made with higher-end building materials, have high attention to detail, and are designed to be able to be viewed up close without exposing fasteners or seams.  Architectural signs are designed to last for a long period, so the quality of the materials used is important.  They should not deteriorate, rust, or fade over time.  They are meant to endure the storms of winter and be baked by intense UV in the summer.

Requirements for Architectural Signage

As stated above, commercial signs are designed for brief use.  They may be in place for a few days or even a few months, but they are not designed to blend into the environment.  Quite the contrary, they are designed to stand out.  While you want your architectural sign to stand out, they are not designed to overpower the area.  Architectural signs follow several rules.

  1. They must match the architectural design of the environment.  Think about high-end malls or shopping areas.  These malls are designed to be beautiful with intricate designs that attract high-end retailers and shoppers.  These places are not going to want any of the tenants placing gaudy, oversized signs with loud colors that detract from the ambiance of the overall shopping experience.  These signs blend into the surrounding environment so the overall aesthetic is not disturbed.

  2. They must incorporate your brand’s identity.  Having a sign that blends into the environment may be great, but the sign must also incorporate your branding, or the sign will be meaningless for your business.  You still want the sign to let people know who you are.

  3. Accurately Portray a Wayfinding message.  We often think of signs are that are directly over the entrance to a location, however, sometimes, signs are either some distance from your location, or the purpose of the sign is to help people to find their way, such as with a floor plan, a map, or simply an arrow pointing in the right direction.

Architectural signs can be made with a variety of materials, but they must all be durable and designed for a long lifecycle.  These signs require proper thought and planning and often incorporate design elements or materials from the surrounding areas.  They also have to be able to be removed and replaced over time so they can be changed in the event they are damaged or if certain details change, such as tenants moving out and new tenants moving in, or a reconfiguration of the area that requires signs to be updated with new information. An architectural sign compliments or even enhances the area.  They help people find their way and they announce the location of a business, or they are a vital part of the overall branding of a building or facility.  Regardless of what the purpose of the sign is, or the material needed, Burhani Signs and Graphics has years of experience in both designing architectural signs as well as making them to your exacting specifications.  If you need more information about architectural or even commercial signs, give us a call.

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