Design Strategies: Getting the Right Solution at the Right Price
Graphic designers, architects and signage providers are all dedicated to providing the best service and the best solution for their clients. In order to create the right solution that complements the architectural environment, the decision makers must consider the role signage will play early in the overall design and construction process and not wait until the end. The four biggest factors that drive every design strategy and architectural signage solution are:
- Budget (all costs for design, fabrication, installation)
- Timeframe (deadlines)
- Function (updateable, built to last, reorder-friendly)
- Design (brand integration, complement the environment)
Getting the Right Design Solution for the Client is More Important than Budget and Timeframe
Signage is traditionally addressed at the end of a construction project. Because projects rarely stay on schedule, the end result is typically not enough time or money left in the budget to get the signage solution the client wants before the project is scheduled to end. When projects are rushed or not properly planned, the chances that a fabricator will cut corners to meet a deadline increases. The consequence is that the signage program usually does not stand up to the test of time. To get the design solution right the first time, the client and any of the key contributors should follow these steps:
- Consult with a fabricator before a design solution is approved by the client
- Consider alternatives to one-of-a-kind design solutions that require expensive materials
- Consider how challenging future signage re-orders will be before approving a custom design
- If the signage solution cannot be fabricated and installed by a hard deadline, make use of temporary signage to ensure the right solution is ultimately delivered.
Use Standard Systems as Custom Solutions
Taking advantage of the inherent design engineering of a standardized, modular system is a smart move because it allows for easy message updates and makes reordering more efficient. Start with a standard system and consult with the signage provider to explore what design modifications can be made without sacrificing functionality.
Review the system family and take advantage of the pre-defined sign types and sizes and design the custom solution to match the standard sizes.
Improve Delivery Time, Reduce Costs
For custom signage solutions, the biggest challenge and often resulting in increased design costs is the time spent to figure out how to build the solution. By taking a design-lite approach — meaning to make simple modifications to an already built and installed signage solution — clients can improve the delivery speed and reduce the costs associated with a completely custom design, often resulting in the sourcing of several components.
Review existing partner portfolio’s and see select examples of previous design solutions and explore modifications and how that drives budget and timeframe.
Functionality is Key to a Long Lifecycle
When the signage solution is completely custom, the best result and value can be achieved when the designer works in concert with the fabricator.
When working in partnership, decisions can quickly be made based on the best solution for the signage program. Whether incorporating modular components or using alternative materials or finishing processes, clients can see a return on the investment through reduced costs and faster manufacturing times.