Issuu on Google+

“Everything you need to know to make incredible sign designs that work!� By ChatterboxDesigns.com

Sign Design

Sign companies Architectural firms For... Ad agencies Design companies Marketing firms Branding firms


Legal Notices Copyright Notice Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc. All rights reserved by Chatterbox Designs, Inc. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical. Any unauthorized use, sharing, reproduction, or distribution of parts herein is strictly prohibited and enforceable by U.S. and International copyright law. Legal Notice While attempts have been made to verify the correctness and reliability of the information provided in this publication, the author and publisher do not assume any responsibilities for errors, omissions, or contradictory information contained in this document. The author and publisher are not liable for any losses or damages whatsoever, including but not limited to, loss of business, profits, services, clients, information, or any other pecuniary loss associated with material contained in this book. The information contained in this document is not intended as advice, legal, medical, financial or otherwise, and is provided for educational purposes only. Additional Notice and Disclaimer Any results depicted or implied in this document are atypical of most results. No guarantees, promises, or suggestions of any results are made, whether implied or stated. Individual results from studies in this book vary from person to person. Information contained herein is data in nature. Chatterbox Designs’ authority in the sign industry is based on experience and a working knowledge in the industry. This publication is merely an aid to assist designers and company art departments, and decision-makers streamline the design and drawing communication process within their organization. Use of photos, trademarks, and logos in this book are property of the respective owners. All opinions and comments in this book are the personal opinion of the author, are subjective in nature, and are in not intended to detract or defame company trademarks, names or logos. Personal opinions are solely the authors. Registered Trademarks and Trademarks Chatterbox Designs, Inc. (and CDI) is a trademark of Chatterbox Designs, Inc. CorelDRAW is a registered tradmark of Corel Corporation. Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat, and Adobe Reader are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated. FlexiSign, Composer, Omega, SignLab, CasMate, SignWizard are registered trademarks of their respective owners. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.


Table of Contents SUMMARY INFORMATION....................................................................i i. Contact Information ii. Legal Notices iii. Table of Contents iv. Table of Contents (continued) v. Preface vi. Acknowledgements vii. Sign Designer vs. Graphic Designer viii. Sign Designer...(continued) ix. Sign Designer...(continued) x. Required Knowledge... xi. About the Author

CHAPTERS 1-7: REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE BEFORE DESIGNING SIGNS......1 1. Drawing for Seven (7) Different People...............................1-8 2. What Goes on a New Project Drawing................................9-26 3. Sign Request Process....................................................27-33 4. Material Knowledge & Fabrication Knowledge....................34-47 5. Page Layout, also called Presentation Layout....................48-56 6. Production Files. Production Drawings..............................57-74 7. Sign Industry Terms: Knowing the Language....................75-94

CHAPTERS 8-14: SIGN DESIGN........................................................95 8. Designing Channel Letters............................................95-121 9. Designing Sign Monuments.........................................122-153 10. Designing Pylon Signs................................................154-180 11. Designing Electronic Message Centers (EMCs)................181-201 12. Improving Directionals & Wayfinding (Signage)..............202-217 13. Designing Interior Signs.............................................218-242 14. Designing ADA Signs..................................................243-261

CHAPTERS 15: DRAWING PROGRAMS..............................................262 15. Shortcuts in Drawing Programs....................................262-281

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.


Table of Contents (continued) CHAPTERS 16-19: OTHER IMPORTANT ELEMENTS..............................282 Note: these chapters contain general summary information only. They are included here because of their relative nature to sign design. 16. Master Sign Program.................................................282-287 17. “Sign Survey” vs. “a Job Check”..................................288-291 18. Engineering, Shop Drawings & Sign Codes....................292-294 19. Presentation Elements for Sign Design.........................295-302 APPENDICES.................................................................................303 Appendix A: Sign Industry Breakdown Appendix B: How to Take Pictures for Sign Surveys Appendix C: Square Footage Calculation Chart Appendix D: How to Easily Resize Photos in Photoshop Appendix E: Glossary of Sign Industry Terms

This manual is written as short and concise as possible by utilizing photos, pictorial guides, samples, and examples. It is meant to be read and used by designers, graphics designers, business persons, or sales persons associated or affiliated with business development industries. This manual is designed to be used on a daily basis as a reference tool. Chatterbox Designs Incorporated. Winter 2009.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Preface Inside Sign Design is written primarily for the designer, any designer. It was also written to aid architects with spec writing, where to find information related to signs (that the sign industry actually uses), and some other elemental aspects to signage. This book is written to introduce the graphic designer, new and old, with the basics of sign design, understanding material and fabrication, as well as basic terms. It is a guide, an assistant, that may be used everyday as a reference tool. This book may also be used by decision-makers as a tool to train new employees in sales of signage. Inside Sign Design contains information to facilitate proper sign industry procedures and everyday language usage. Anyone new to the sign industry may find this book very helpful to reduce the complexity of the sign business. Inside Sign Design has elements that will assist even the most seasoned sign company sales persons and owners of sign companies. Sign company owners may explain things to in-house designers, point them out in the book, walk away, and allow the book to guide the would-be sign designer. This book will enlighten and broaden the already knowledgeable design scope of marketing, branding companies, and ad agencies, from sales persons to designers. Even franchise sign companies will benefit from this book showing proper sign layout and format. Some franchise sign companies are involved with sign fabrication and installation. There are elements that would benefit these type of companies, regarding sign design, material usage and terms used in the greater sign industry. The term, “stencil out�, is not used in the sign industry.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Acknowledgements I would like to personal thank the following individuals for their support and business acumen: Dave Flynn, Owner, Flynn Signs and Graphics Incorporated, Long Beach California, for seeing in me what others could not. Dave is the most entertaining guy I know in the business. Maybe 40 years in the sign business makes you entertaining. Frederick M. Oss, President, Gemini Incorporated, for setting the benchmark for quality signage and professionalism in the business. Dave Welch, Marketing Manager, Gemini, Cannon Falls Minnesota, for his quick response to get Gemini into the book. Maureen Sanner, Marketing Director, Watchfire Signs (by Time-O-Matic), Danville Illinois, for her keen sense of the bigger picture. She also contributed valuable marketing information for the section on EMCs. Kathy Wilson, Marketing Director, Advanced Corporation, Cottage Grove Minnesota, for her professionalism. Ed Hunter, General Manager, Kroy Signs Systems, for being smart enough to be placed in the book. Also, Steve Hatcliff, Marketing Director, Kroy Signs, for his quick responses. Chuck Toombs, Owner, and Lisa B. Dukes, Sales Coordinator, Ostrom Glass and Metal Works Incorporated, Portland Oregon, for lending photos to the book. Ostrom creates nice (glass) sign products. Mitch Chemers, Permit Wiz, Van Nuys California, for his open-mindedness to do business with me from the beginning. His business knowledge and insight into the sign industry far surpasses anyone I know. Mitch has taught me a lot about the importance of “value.” Mark Leaf, Owner, Signature Signs, Newbury Park California, for understanding the value of efficiency in design. Mark “gets it” with his point of view of the sign business, and business in general. Don Charbonneau & Michael Tilton, Culbertson’s Signs & Services, Tacoma Washington, for their sign industry knowledge and experience. These guys get it, know it, and could teach it. Tino Lopez, Owner, Sure Signs, Montebello California, for his fabrication knowledge. Tom Chavez, Sales, Flynn Signs & Graphics, for his immense plastics knowledge, and a keen insight into what looks in design from layering material. Tom has a sign designer’s mind. Dina Murphy, Owner, Sign Producers Unlimited, Phoenix Arizona, for her determination to work with Chatterbox Designs despite required adherence to the sign request process and business protocol. Chris Honeywell, Graphic Designer, www.ChrisHoneywell.com, Vancouver Washington, for his professional work ethic and attitude, as well as his exceptional design abilities. Darek Birski, Owner, Signs of the Times, Phoenix Arizona, for “getting it” and understanding the value of professional sign design, proper layout, and client presentations. Tim Nicolaides, Signs of the Times, Phoenix Arizona, for understanding the value of why it is important to know how to design signs and create proper sign layout for submittals. Camberley Morawa, Graphic Designer, CM Designs, MySpace.com/CamberleyArt, Orange County California. Thanks for all the input, editing work, and feedback on the book. It was very valuable. Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.


A. Sign Designer vs. Graphic Designer “There are 10,000 graphic designers in the Los Angeles and Orange County area, but not many are sign designers.” Before learning sign design, I had been designing for 20 years, focusing mostly on original trademark and logo design for small enterprises. Upon learning sign design, my skills as a designer increased ten-fold, not in design, but in understanding. This is a personal revelation. This occurrence may not be true for every designer. Sign design helped me learn how to use the bare minimum in design. With a sign, you have one second, literally, to get someone’s attention. Sign design highlighted the importance of branding. It revealed how and why a good logo works, and why a bad logo doesn’t work. This is an elementary concept that eludes many designers today. Sign design taught me the essentials of boldness and readability. Since boldness and readability are critical factors in sign design, it has become a theme emphasized in this book. Choosing the right font is crucial. There are over 50,000 fonts available to the designer today. Only 40 to 50 percent are any good for sign design. Which one do you use? The trick is using the right font for the right design for the right company. The secret is inherent to all designers. Look at fonts with foresight: “What it could look like?” It’s called designing with imagination-modification in mind. You can take a standard font and modify the narrow elements to create a usable design for signage.

Marketing Material: A 3-Fold Brochure

Marketing Material usually ends up in someone’s hands, and they will read it close up. This is not so in sign design.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.


A. Sign Designer vs. Graphic Designer (Continued) Graphic design is made mostly for marketing material such as business cards, brochures, flyers, banners, magazine ads, and web design, et al. These prints and web graphics are usually designed on a 2-dimensional space for a 2-dimensional space. Even the digital domain is considered 2-dimensional. It is basically, flat. Even flash design, though it looks 3D, is actually 2-dimensional. Every type of graphic design is, for the most part, inexpensive to sample print and proof. Graphic designs may easily be changed and modified for future printing and publishing. Sometimes errors are written off as, “Maybe someone might not notice it.” A bad sign design stays on a building for all to see, everyday, 24/7. In reading this book, the graphic designer must understand the distinction between sign design and graphic design. There is a big difference. It is measurable. A company name, trademark or logo design not suitable for fabrication, will almost always be rejected as, “We can’t build this!” Frustration and loss of time are always incurred. It happens more frequently than the business world is aware of. A sign designer is a graphic designer with an additional skill. Learning sign design will definitely make you a more enlightened graphic designer.

A Design for Marketing Material

Marketing Material usually ends up in someone’s hands, and they will read it close up. This is not so in sign design.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.


A. Sign Designer vs. Graphic Designer (Continued) If you are someone stuck on a title: “I am a graphic designer,” then you will suffer frustration and disappointment throughout your career, if you intend to design signage. Designing signage even extends to digital print banners, company trademark, and products for trade shows and exhibits. These are sign designs also. Although some are printed graphic designs. If you have not come to the realization that you design for the general public, the business community, and the oogling consumer, you’ve missed it. If the public cannot “S-E-E”, or “R-E-A-D” your design, who are you designing for? It is a very important question to answer.

Designed from a Sign Design Point of View

A Sign Design Point of View simply means, designing with the intent to create boldness and readability.

“A good designer should be a good designer. They should not limit themselves to a certain media in any way. That was one thing they encouraged at the design school I went to. They really beat it into you. My education touched on print, video, textile, 3D modeling (3D StudioMax), animation, etc. Never stop learning, ‘experimenting’, as you put in your book. Never stop asking questions.” Chris Honeywell, Designer www.ChrisHoneywell.com, Vancouver, WA

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.


B. Required Knowledge before Designing Signs Someone interested in learning how to design signs must have a basic design background in graphic design, or art, and must know computer software programs such as CorelDRAW or Adobe Illustrator. To be truly effective, you should have a basic working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop. Do not be intimidated, it really isn’t that difficult to learn. Reference to the term “designer� in this book may be any person who designs, especially graphic designers, logo and trademark designers, marketing and copy designers, branding designers, architects, draftspersons, napkin designers, know-it-alls, and would-be sign designers. There is software specific to the sign industry, and unless you are directly involved in a sign company, you do not need to know them. Some of the more popular ones are FlexiSign, Composer, Omega, SignLab, CasMate, SignWizard and all the other sign making software available to sign companies and sign company franchises.

C. A Note on Language and Terms Learning the basic terms used in any industry ensures better communication and facilitates a more efficient process for business. You will learn sign industry terms in this book. Drawing, design package, sign submittal, sign project, print and design, are used synonymously in this book, unless otherwise noted, in referring to specific designs. Reading through this book will immerse you in the terms of the sign industry in a single reading. However, a more thorough list will be set in the Appendices section in the back of this book.

D. The Writing of This Book Humor used in this book is for just that, humor. It is not meant to be sarcastic or condescending. It is meant to awaken the reader, not belittle them. The smart person is learning everyday. After reading this book, you are one step ahead of the competition, and Asia, of which, are quickly gaining on us, Americans, every year.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.


About the Author The author has been designing for almost 30 years, starting in the visual arts of architectural drafting at age 15. Before starting sign design, the author had been involved with graphic design for over 20 years. In 2002, the author went to work at a medium-sized, electrical sign company in Southern California, and learned sign design the hard way, apprenticeship. A year passed before he, “figured it out�. Being an entrepreneur by nature, on his off-time, the author started, and ran another successful freelance graphic design business for 4 years. After that, he has opened and operated a screen printing business. He currently owns a sign design training and instructional business called Chatterbox Designs, Inc. (CDI). Prior to that, CDI was solely for freelance sign design. During its height, Chatterbox retained 10 electrical sign companies in four Western states, including Hawaii. This book is a result of a tremendous need in the sign industry as well as the graphic design world for those interested in the nature of sign design, electrical sign design, and how sign design crosses many spectrums.

A Sign Design for Partial Trailer Wrap

A Sign Design Point of View simply means, designing with the intent to create boldness and readability.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Chapter 1 Design & Drawing for 7 Different People This Section for:

Note: Fabricated means to make or create (usually in three-dimension).

Sign Companies Graphic Designers, et al. Marketing, Branding & Ad Agencies Architects & Contractors

TheFreeDictionary.com

Unlike other design disciplines, including graphic design, sign design requires the sign designer to consider 7 individuals when drawing. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

The customer (the tenant) The salesperson who is selling the sign The sign company estimator The landlord who leases to the tenant The city planner or inspector The sign company fabricator The public eye

The Customer

Sales Person

Estimator

Landlord

City Planner

Fabricator

The Customer The most important person is the customer. Naturally, the customer is buying the sign. So, the sign design must incorporate all the elements requested by the customer. Usually, that includes the size, color, and copy to be shown on the sign. It is the designers responsibility to design a job to sell; a design that works best for the customer. A customer wants to see a drawing with a proposed sign in color and in proportion to the building. A scaled drawing is required. The (Sign) Salesperson A sign project only begins when the salesperson gets a sign project. A good salesperson will get all the necessary information required to begin a drawing: size, color, copy, type of sign, site survey, building dimensions, and photographs of the site. A seasoned salesperson will actually sketch out a sign concept since they are the closest to the customer and understand the needs of the project. A sign salesperson with a lack of experience means a lot of wasted time. The (Sign) Estimator Before a price is given to the customer, an estimate (take-off) must be completed on the sign drawing(-s). Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

1

Chap. 1: Design & Drawing for 7 Different People


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Selling Art (continued) As a business person myself, I am always looking for the better way. So, I created guidelines called “One Sheets� for sales people to help them with their job. The guidelines were designed to streamline the design and drawing process between the design department and the sales department. Hence, reduce wasted time. The guidelines worked only if the sales staff honored them. Most of them did not. The goal of any business is to sell successfully, and generate revenue. It is no different in a sign company. The problem with selling signs is compounded if the sales person knows the sign business on a superficial level. People think selling signs is easy. That is the general sentiment. This is a huge myth. On the contrary. Every sign job is different. Every sign project is custom. The knowledge of signs, the materials available, what works and what does, is so vast, it is mind-boggling. Add a customer to the equation, a city planner, and other elements, and the difficulty is visible.

The Goal of Inside Sign Design It should be thoroughly understood, first and foremost, that designing signs is not easy. It is the goal of this book to present a basis in which signs are designed, and at the same time present a basic design guideline. There are several guideline formats in this book for various sign categories, e.g., Channel Letters layout, Sign Monument layout, Interior Sign layout, et al. The guidelines presented in this book are guidelines sign companies use, work from, and approve. These guidelines are tried and true, for over 10 years with many, many sign companies from across 5 Western States. Sign companies compliment Chatterbox Designs for sign design and drawing layout that are well-thought out, easy to read, presentable for customer/client review (hence, sellable), and may, very well, be established as a standard for sign design layout for all businesses.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

4

Chap. 1: Design & Drawing for 7 Different People


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Graphic designers should design with signage in mind. Eventually a graphic design will become a sign, especially if you are designing a nationwide chain or brand.

Chapter Summary Why is this book written for so many types of designers and artists? As a sign designer, I receive countless drawings from many different types of designers from many different industries: marketing, branding, and architecture firms, just to name a few. I receive files and drawings for the purpose of having signs made for a number of reasons: trade shows, banners, interior wall signs, even exterior business signs. One of the biggest problems I see are trademarks and logos designed for national companies, and the design simply, cannot be made into a sign. Or worst, it is either too difficult to build, and hence cost more. Or worse yet, it is plainly, a waste of money. This is the general sentiment with many, many sign companies. A case example: Black Angus, Outback, and Islands Burgers. All national brands. All very busy restaurants. Look closely at their signs. Black Angus and Outback pay half as much as Islands for their signs. With 100 restaurants; do the math. Simplicity and understanding sign design is key. This is only one issue. The second issue is boldness and readability. Designers really need to get this revelation down if they wish to enhance their understanding in order to create usable, practical, and eye-catching signage. Graphic designers must design with signs in mind. They have to. Eventually, more often than not, their design will become a sign. Period.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

7

Chap. 1: Design & Drawing for 7 Different People


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Chapter 2 What Goes on a New Project Drawing This Section for:

Note: The principle K.I.S.S. applies to every part of business. So, Keep It Short and Simple

Sign Companies Graphic Designers, et al. Marketing, Branding & Ad Agencies Architects & Contractors At each stage of the sign sale process, design, review, estimating, by far the most important person you are trying to sell a sign to is the buyer. There is no rhyme or reason why some designs sell and some do not. One thing is for

The Customer

Sales Person

Estimator

Landlord

City Planner

Fabricator

sure, a sign that is affordable sells. And that is the goal of the sign designer: to keep a control on the cost when designing. This is an art that can be learned through time. Knowledge of material and fabrication is the key.

A Few Important Pointers for Designers and Sign Designers 1. Do not use “Before” and “After” on your drawings to show what is on site and what design is intended. It looks amateurish. Use “Existing” and “Proposed”. After connotes that the project is complete. It is not. The project should show (if there is one) an existing sign, and a drawing showing what is proposed. Nothing more and nothing less for projects of this nature. For standard proposals, only one or two pictures, or drawings should be on the print. In some cases, if it is an entirely new project, only “Proposed” needs to be placed on the page. This will call attention to the new sign location. 2. Use “Before” and “After” when preparing photographs for a new project. Name the files “Before” and “After”. For example: FrontElev_Before, FrontElev_After. You may also get in the habit of naming files, FrontElev_Exist, Front Elev_Proposed. It is more convenient to do the former. Pick one suitable method for your style of file management and stick to it. Consistency.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

9

Chap. 2: What Goes on a New Project Drawing


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

A Few Important Pointers for Sign Designers 3. For a would-be sign designer, no typos, please! It is the mark of a novice. It makes you look really unprofessional. Remember, it is human nature to take the least path of resistence. Being apart of an image-conscious society, most people scan. They rarely read. They surely do not proof spelling and bad grammar. Nor do they catch typos. So, it is up to you, the sign designer to catch typos, and other mistakes. People might see a sign. They might even read the sign. They will definitely see a misspelling. Everyone catches mistakes, more often after a project is completed, then, it is too late. With a big mistake, someone is going to be highly upset. Someone is going to eat the cost. In the sign industry, a typo can mean thousands of dollars, and even your job. Do not rely on the sales person to catch your typos. Catch them yourself. It is easier to ask the simple question, “Is this the correct way the business wants their company name spelled?” I mean, how long did that question take to ask? It is really easy to overlook this very important fact. If it was your business, you surely wouldn’t want the name spelled wrong. People take it very personal. Pay attention and things will go smoothly.

Designer Faux Pas (pronounced fo-,pa) Here is an interesting example of a misspelling of a business name sign. The designer received the sign request which had a misspelling. The designer designed it exactly the way he saw it, “Granit” and did not question it. He assumed that the business owner intentionally misspelled Granite to look different. If you have doubts, ask. It only takes a second. Incorrect spelling

Correct spelling

Horror story, compliments of Mark Leaf, Owner, Signature Signs, Newbury Park California.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

10

Chap. 2: What Goes on a New Project Drawing


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Sign Design & Drawing Submittal: Required Pages for Channel Letters This section covers the basic overall elements involved in a drawing submittal. This page shows the required pages for any type of standard Channel Letters project. Definition Channel Letters: A fabricated or formed 3-dimensional letter that may accommodate a light source.

Page 1: Must have Building Elevation and the Proposed Sign with dimensions. Page 2: The Sign Layout with dimensions, a Side Detail and (written) Sign Specifications. Page 3: An Attachment Detail (for Channel Letters, Reverse Channel Letters, or on a raceway). An Outline Diagram of the Footer for a ground sign (submit for engineering to approve and stamp). All engineer approved drawings must have a certified stamp (e.g., CA.). Page 4: A Site Plan, location plan (optional), scale (optional) and North Compass should be on This page. You should also show the item numbers with an arrow indicating location of sign on plan. In the following pages, we will dissect each drawing page in depth to assist the would-be sign designer of what is required for sign submittals. Remember, you are designing for 7 different people.

Page 1 - Rendering with Sign

Page 3 - Sign Attachment Detail

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

11

Chap. 2: What Goes on a New Project Drawing


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Inside the specifications rectangle is the quantity and the total square footage of the sign indicated by red arrows. Everyone in the sign design and selling process needs to know the quantity of signs being proposed. The square footage must be calculated by the sign designer and placed conspicuously on the drawing. It is used for estimating purposes and for city permits. Property owners of plazas and shopping centers usually do not want tenants to exceed the square footage allowance permitted on their property. Who wants their place to look like a dump? You do not have to put the square footage twice. It is on these examples out of habit. The actual writing of the Sign Specifications will be covered in the section on several chapters on how to design signs. This chapter covers every area of what goes on the drawing page. We will focus on getting you, the would-be sign designer, up to speed. It takes practice, but once you know the formula, you will be in the race.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

17

Chap. 2: What Goes on a New Project Drawing


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Page

4

Site Plan

The last page placed on a newly proposed sign project is the Site Plan. Usually, the title of the page is placed on the print (e.g., Site Plan) and a North Compass showing assumed North. You can use anything for a Site Plan, preferably something accurate: a drawing by the sign designer with information provided by the sales person based on an accurate sign survey. Also, an architectural Site Plan, or an aerial photograph (e.g., a Google satellite photo) will work. Place the item number and indicate “where� the sign(-s) will be placed on the building, i.e., a top view. In most cases, you do not have to put this page to scale. However, once in a while a city planner wants it on the print. They have their reasons. You do not have to place the sign image on the drawing. It is placed on this page to show you an option, as it might help some people viewing a proposed sign package.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

20

Chap. 2: What Goes on a New Project Drawing


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Sign Design & Drawing Submittal: Required Pages for Monuments & Pylons Page 1: Must have a Rendering. If a project is new, only the Proposed Sign is shown superimposed onto a photograph. An architectural drawing will also work. Page 2: The Sign Layout with dimensions, a Side Detail, and (written) Sign Specifications. Showing Option “A”. Page 3: The Sign Layout with dimensions, a Side Detail, and (written) Sign Specifications. Showing Option “B”. Page 4 & 5 do not need to be shown until the project is sold. The only difference between this type of drawing package is that there is no attachment detail. Instead, Page 4 will be made solely for engineering since there is no wall to attach a sign to. Show the ground sign in Outline form. Of course, Page 5 will be the Site Plan.

1

Page 1 - Rendering with Sign

2

2 Page 3 - Sign Specifications (Opt. B)

Page 2 - Sign Specifications (Opt. A)

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

21

Chap. 2: What Goes on a New Project Drawing


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Basic Drawing Components Required for all Sign Projects The end of this chapter outlines all of the most essential drawing Components that go onto the drawing page of each sign design package. “BLUE CLUB� Channel Letters will be used as an example to highlight important Presentation Components.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

23

Chap. 2: What Goes on a New Project Drawing


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Summary Sign Design: A New Skill A graphic designer armed with the requirement basics of sign design can open up a new world of opportunity. Learning an additional skill in any design field, whether 3D modeling, web design, or animation, only adds to a portfolio of one’s design abilities. The same holds true with learning sign design. Inside Sign Design teaches all the basic design components required to get you up and running. In this case, in no time. This book explains sign industry information clearly and concisely. Several chapters break down the necessary pages for a sign submittal, as well as the proper sign design layout most companies use. Like no other book on the market, Inside Sign Design explains how to write sign specifications, the most difficult skill of sign design. There is a wealth of information on the tricks of the trade to ensure you get this hard-to-come-by knowledge. There is no school in America that teaches sign design. There is no formal schooling for sign design. Sign design is handed down from generation to generation through apprenticeship, if you can master it correctly. It is very difficult to learn sign design, even at a good company. Most people do not know how to teach effectively. Most sign companies struggle, in their art department, by hiring graphic designers, and teaching them day by day, month after month, and sometimes year after year. With this type of apprenticeship process, there is a lot of wasted time in art departments throughout America. This equates to a lot of drawing, redesigning, and simply, rejected designs. This is futility that American business cannot afford. This waste of time can be avoided. With Inside Sign Design, this has now changed.

“A definitely think that there is an assumption that designing signs is as easy as designing a logo. I thought if you could do one, you could do the other. Little did I know, they are worlds apart.” Camberley Morawa, CM Designs, MySpace.com/CamberleyArt, Orange County, CA.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

26

Chap. 2: What Goes on a New Project Drawing


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Chapter 4 Sign Material & Fabrication Knowledge Note: The Sign Industry uses tried and tested materials and fabrication. If you want to be innovative with different materials and lighting devices not standard in the industry, you should have the basics down first.

This Section for: Sign Companies Graphic Designers, et al. Marketing, Branding & Ad Agencies Architects & Contractors

Chatterbox Designs, Inc., Torrance, CA.

The number one thing that makes sign design completely different from other types of graphic design disciples, is the sign designer has a unique knowledge and understanding of material and fabrication and how it applies to sign design. A sign designer is first and foremost a graphic designer. It helps if a designer has a background in architectural drafting, but it is not necessary. A would-be sign designer must come to the drawing screen with an attitude to learn. If you undergo the stage of learning how to design signs, be prepared to have your designs rejected, over and over again. This is just the nature of learning. It is very hard to learn sign design. But with the right instruction, it should be painless. One of the statements often heard from sign designers-in-training is, “I can’t get my mind around this sign design thing!� That is the most common expression, and probably because no one is teaching them. Most sign designers have not had the opportunity to have formal teaching or training. That is because, there is none. There is no formal schooling for sign design in America, as of 2009. You learn graphic design, and then you stumble upon sign design somewhere in your life. To learn sign design, it has always been that you learn the hard way, through apprenticeship, and sometimes, with no real mentor. Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

34

Chap. 4: Sign Material & Fabrication Knowledge


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR... Note: As a designer you must learn how to visualize things in 3-D, clearly understand what “catches” the eye, and be set on designing with boldness and readability. Chatterbox Designs, Inc., Torrance, CA.

Some graphic designers seem to have a difficult time learning sign design, even after several years. The problem stems mainly from the fact that no one is teaching them. Anyone can learn sign design. One of the main reasons for this book is the mass amount of improper sign designs submitted to sign companies from companies outside the industry. In addition to that, even designers from sign companies lack the basics for sign design and layout. From an insider perspective, it is easily discernable why there are so many terrible looking signs in the business world. This book is designed to give designers in-depth instruction, as well as the knowledge and understanding of how to begin the process correctly. Remove the mystery, and the designer can do their thing.

2D Design vs. 3D Design To lay the foundation for designing signs, first, it is important to separate graphic design and sign design. Designing signs is not graphic design. Before designing signs, the author had 20 years experience in graphic design with no idea what a real “sign” was. Stop signs, yields signs, speed limit signs was my idea of a sign. These type of signs are road and traffic signs. They are not considered “signs,” per se, as the term is defined in the Sign Industry. While learning sign design, for one whole year, my designs were repeatedly rejected, time and time again. It was so frustrating that one day, I set my mind to figure this thing out. Graphic design is simply designing on a flat surface. Generally, graphic designers create for business cards, stationary, brochures, flyers, posters, catalogs, magazines, t-shirts, banners, and now, the digital domain: websites. All of these media’s are 2-dimensional in scope. The end result of these designs are 2-dimensional which are then placed on products that are 3dimensional in form: t-shirts, banners, etc. Sign design, on the other hand, is designing products that will be fabricated for the real world, likened to structures, cars, and even furniture, as examples, just for the sake of simplicity.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

35

Chap. 4: Sign Material & Fabrication Knowledge


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Signs are designed for everyday use by the human eye. The basis and core of sign design is products have to be made simple and practical for cost purposes. For everyday use, they have to be non-obtrusive to mobile pedestrians and vehicles, but at the same time, “catch the eye,” for identification, branding, and Wayfinding. Lastly, signs have to be designed to be structural sound. Something as simple as designing vertical lightpole banners is very dangerous if you do not know the important factors to consider for design and installation. Making the wrong size vertical banner without the correct banner type can bring down a very heavy lightpole and someone may be seriously injured. Vertical banners placed in parking lots of shopping centers on a windy day pose one of the biggest liabilities to sign companies. No one is interested in liability. Note: In graphic design school, they do not teach designing in 3D. 3D design is taught in architectural and mechanical drafting school.

3-Dimensional Design Concepts 3D design must be started at the simpliest level. In 3D design layout, there are four areas to note: The Front View, the Right Side View (or simply, Side View), the Top View, and the 3D View (which shows the object in 3-dimension). In sign design, you do not need a Top View. In sign design, the layout is similar to 3D design. You need to show a Front View and a Side View (always). The Top View is needed in sign design, only when an odd shape or configuration calls for it. For example, the base of the sign design is circular. You cannot see a circle from a Front View or Side View. You must show a Top View. Another example is sign panels which are curved. The Front View will not show this. The Side View will give a hint to it. The Top View must be shown to allow the viewer to see the shape, or curve of the panel. Without it, in most cases, the customer cannot visualize what you designed. Don’t assume they see it. And do not assume they will read the sign specifications that clearly explain it. Show it: Top View.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

36

Chap. 4: Sign Material & Fabrication Knowledge


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

In order to fully understand the materials used in the sign trade, it is recommended to study this book, and use it as a reference manual. You may also spend a short period doing part-time work for a licensed sign company. You have to get involved with a sign company that has a state contractor license. These companies that have a full grasp of the sign industry. Or even better, you may want to make an appointment and visit a sign company. It helps to have a working relationship with a company. When they are not busy, take a tour, and have a list of questions you want answered. You will walk away with a better appreciation of what this industry does. The national business landscape is littered with signs. That should give you an idea of the scope of importance that signs play in our everyday life. The International Sign Association (www.signs.org) has a informative, eye-opening, 15 minute video on their website called, “Vital Signs, Vibrant Communities”. The link is below. Http://www.signs.org/IndustryResources/VitalSignsVibrantCommunitiesVideo/tabid/518/Default.aspx

“The most interesting part of Inside Sign Design was actually turning a 2-D design into a 3-D design, and how many different combinations of materials there are to create the ideal design for both the customer, and those who view it.” Camberley Morawa, CM Designs, MySpace.com/CamberleyArt, Orange County, CA.

Two General Categories of Signs One of the most overlooked elements in the sign industry is the classification of standard and custom. Of course, standard signs are less expensive and easier to make. Custom signs take longer, and hence, cost more. Interestingly enough, most people want custom signs. The would-be sign designer must understand how this interaction takes place on the drawing window of your computer. Reminder, always ask, “What is the budget?” before you design.

Interior - Custom Designs

Interior - Standard Designs

Courtesy of Advanced Corporation

Courtesy of Kroy Signs Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

38

Chap. 4: Sign Material & Fabrication Knowledge


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Note: Learn the basics first. Everything else will come slowly, day-byday. Be patient. Ask questions. Chatterbox Designs, Inc., Torrance, CA.

Opaque and Translucent Vinyl Design appearance: blue acrylic faces seem to be one of the least eye-catching colors to illuminate at night. To get around this, call out white acrylic sign faces with blue translucent vinyl overlayed. And though not a big fan of neon, call out neon because it gives the most intense white light. More on designing signs will be covered in Chapter 8, “Designing Channel Letters.” Design appearance: it is perfectly normal to call out “clear” acrylic and then have a translucent vinyl color(-s) overlayed on the face. It is less expensive to just spec out the actual color of the acrylic, but some acrylics do not emit light very well. Know which ones they are. Keep a list of them. Usually, this applies to smaller or larger copy faces. Design appearance: here is a debatable topic. Design a sign, and for cost saving purposes, call out a digital print graphic to be overlayed on the substrate (i.e., acrylic, aluminum, or glass). The labor today for cutting and “weeding” out vinyl for a sign can be very time-consuming. Especially a design with multiple colors, intricate graphic designs, or just a plain large surface. Instead, just put a sticker (i.e., decal) on it. With today’s advanced printing and substrate technology, digital print graphics is the way to go. There are exceptions, like road and traffic signs, and other easierto-apply-vinyl-to signs. The UV protection on digital print graphics today is three years or more. The price is very affordable today in digital graphics. It looks good. Always add a note for the graphic to be covered with a protective laminate. Most of the time, it comes with it.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

40

Chap. 4: Sign Material & Fabrication Knowledge


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Note: Every sign job is custom. I learn stuff every day. It is impossible to know everything about signs. Dave Flynn, Flynn Signs & Graphics, Inc., Long Beach, CA.

Channel Letters Design appearance: standard Channel Letters are fabricated as four pieces: the back piece, the sides, also called the “Returns”, the acrylic face, and the trimcap. The back is riveted or welded to the return which is bent and fashioned into its letter shape as one piece. The trimcap is generally glued to the acrylic face. The primary color for channel letter returns is “black”. In some cases, the trim cap color is designed to closely match the face color. Red trim cap, red acrylic faces. However, in most cases, the standard trim cap color is black. You can get really creative with channel letters (if the customer is willing to pay for it) and contrast the return color from the face and trim cap color. The effects are very cool and eye-catching. “White” returns and “blue” or “green” faces look cool. Remember, when designing any sign, “know” what the building fascia or wall color is so you can contrast the color of your design. If not, you will be very, very sorry. You cannot delete signage. It will be a couple thousand dollar mistake, if you don’t watch it.

Note: Neon, although the brightest internal light for channel letters, is costly on energy bills. An L.E.D. Sign reduces an energy bill by 70%. Flynn Signs & Graphics, Inc., Long Beach, CA.

Open-Faced Channel Letters Design appearance: Open-Faced Channel Letters are generally designed for artistic venues, fast-food, and fun-type businesses. Open-Faced Channel Letters are exactly like standard Channel Letters except there is no face on the copy. Everything else is the same. The added design dimension with Open-Faced Channel Letters is you can get creative with the inside color and neon color. Just be sure you know what you are doing. Make sure the neon color jives with the paint color. Other than that, it definitely gets your attention.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

42

Chap. 4: Sign Material & Fabrication Knowledge


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR... Note: Signs are taken for granted. There is a myth that making signs is easy. There are even franchises that tell you everything can be learned in 2 weeks. Nonsense. Chatterbox Designs, Inc., Torrance, CA.

Sign Plaques - Acrylic Design appearance: style and design can be as simple as knowing material, how to shape the design, layering, and color contrast. There is nothing better than seeing what works and taking pictures of every project you complete. Companies and businesses that want to look sharp, and up-to-date usually, go after interior signage that is multi-layered or has shapes with accents. Stand-off signage is also common with new building developments. Inexpensive substitutes are metal finishes laminated on acrylic. Another variation is, acrylics painted with satin finishes plus a metal accent bar or two. Anything shiny gives it the “ooo� factor. Design appearance: a second, very close style and design technique for making acrylic signage look hi-tech is layering, offsetting, and staggering. For highly visual designers, this is not hard to envision. The difficulty lies with graphic designers who may not know what materials are available, the thicknesses, and how they look assembled together. It helps to have samples on your desk, or working models in your office. Of course, it never hurts to go into the field and take pictures and lots of notes. Chrome stand-offs and other design appendages work well to enhance the look of interior signage.

Sign Plaques - Glass There are only a few manufacturers that do glass sign plaques. They are listed at the back of this book. Keep them on hand for sign requests

Braille

of this type. Braille Courtesy of Ostrom Glass & Metal Works, Inc. Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

45

Chap. 4: Sign Material & Fabrication Knowledge


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Chapter 5 Page Layout & Presentation Layout This Section for:

Note: Even sign companies are going green. They have to. The whole nation is moving in that direction.

Sign Company Graphic Designers Graphic Designers, et al. Marketing, Branding & Ad Agencies Architects

Chatterbox Designs, Inc., Torrance, CA.

Often, I see many proposed sign designs from designers outside of the sign industry. The sign industry welcomes this influx of ideas and creativity. The reason is simple, it is an

The Customer

Sales Person

Estimator

Landlord

City Planner

Fabricator

opportunity that may possibly bring fabrication work and business for sign companies. Usually, projects designed outside of the sign industry are usually “missing� sign specification information which brings the project to an immediate halt. Most of the time, there is no name to contact to get clarity on designs. This is very frustrating. Clarity on a proposed design project is required before it is possible to move forward. This chapter simplifies this process. To enhance business and make business less frustrating for everyone involved. There are only a few guidelines to follow in sign design and you are an instant pro. If you do not follow these basic layout principles, you will look like a novice when you submit your proposed sign design.

Sign Design & Drawing Guidelines

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

48

Chap. 5: Page Layout & Presentation Layout


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR... Note: The basic elements for sign presentation are easy to master. There are only a few guidelines to follow. Chatterbox Designs, Inc., Torrance, CA.

Sign Design & Drawing Guidelines 6. Calling out a material(-s) not standard or not used in the sign industry, like exotic wood, specialty metals, heavy marble, specialty lighting devices, special paint finishes, will make Your sign cost more. It will take more time to make the sign including the pain of trying to obtain the material, and in the end, believe it or not, the customer will say, “No! It’s too much Money.” It happens more than 90% of the time. Most of the time, the designer is so far removed from the actual sign submittal and sign fabrication process they never hear that their design was turned down. 7. Once you learn the basics, you can learn where you can stretch the limits. Some people will pay for the high-end and creative design feature. Very, very few will. But some will. You may not make a living out of it, but you might find several jobs, here and there. In comparison to full service electrical sign companies, there is a subcategory of sign company called an “Architectural Sign Company.” These companies specialize in the high-end. Make sure you understand this area of sign design before undertaking this area of the business.

Brief, Explanatory Notes on Sign Drawings Sometimes an explanatory note adds to the communication of a design. A simple, brief note explains a possible design surprise if the designer did not consider how this panel would look from the opposite direction. Notes like this ensure no design surprises when fabrication begins.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

50

Chap. 5: Page Layout & Presentation Layout


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR... Note: Learning what sells and what doesn’t is very important. The most important thing to know is the customers budget. Dave Flynn, Flynn Signs & Graphics, Inc. Long Beach, CA.

Sign Design & Drawing Guidelines 12. Other simple, brief explanatory notes which are helpful to persons viewing your sign design package are shown on this page. The only standard note is the one listed on the previous page.

Explanatory Note

Explanatory Note

The notes used in these examples are intended to bring attention to something, give direction, aide in the presentation, or are helpful in some way or another. Use them sparingly. Your design package should speak for itself.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

53

Chap. 5: Page Layout & Presentation Layout


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR... Note: Learn how to calculate the sign design and sign layout in your head before drawing. This will save you time on the computer. Chatterbox Designs, Inc., Torrance, CA.

Renderings: The Selling Point What does the customer see when they see the first page? Ask yourself that before you draw your first page. Your first goal is to make the presentation picture as big as possible without looking gawdy. You must (in your head) determine how you are going to lay out your rendering as to maximize the look of your sign design. You must make your sign design in proportion to the structure, or environment, where the sign will be installed. If you are doing one sign, do one page

Example #1: Channel Letters

dedicated to that one sign. The big red arrow shows the building picture. The small red arrow shows the sign rendered on the picture to scale. The customer wanted the sign between the building reveals, so a note is placed on the drawing noting that request. This city requires a dimension from grade to the bottom of the sign, so this information is also listed on the drawing.

Definition Reveal: the seam between two adjoining walls.

It is acceptable to place two signs on one page. Some customers would like to see the

Example #2: Post Sign

sign in relation to other landscape elements, like the sample shown here. Most of the time, a picture is cropped and the sign is shown as large as possible. Sometimes it is a good idea to show a sign in respects to passing traffic to show distance, and hence, readability. If there is existing signage, show the signage in comparison to the proposed signage. Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

54

Chap. 5: Page Layout & Presentation Layout


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Chapter 7 Sign Industry Terms: Knowing the Language This Section for:

Note: Whether in architecture, general contracting, marketing, advertising, branding or signs, know the language of your industry.

Sign Company Graphic Designers Graphic Designers, et al. Marketing, Branding & Ad Agencies Architects & General Contractors

Chatterbox Designs, Inc., Torrance, CA.

Although this chapter was originally intended to include a glossary of terms, instead, this chapter

“I know what I am doing.”

“That’s what I said when I started.”

Graphic Designer

Sign Designer

will be a visual explanation of sign terms used most in the industry. A semi-comprehensive list of sign terms can be found in the Appendices in the back of this book. In this book, the title Sign Industry is synonymous with the name Electrical Sign Industry. In California, a company conducting business which intends to fabricate, install, and/or erect electrical signs must be issued and hold a C-45, a designation for a licensed sign contractor. Any sign company which makes non-electrical sign letters, sign panels, banners, and window vinyl, usually a retail front business, does not need a sign contractor license. These companies are in every city. They are not electrical sign contractors. They do not fabricate signs, per se, in the whole meaning of fabricate. They cannot, by law, install electrical signage. Therefore, their knowledge and understanding of signs is very limited. This paragraph relates to California.

California Sign Association In fact, the California Sign Association (CSA) has a statewide program called “Bandit Busters” to stop, and eliminate the illegal activity of unlicensed sign companies. See www.CalSign.org. “Licensed sign companies in California are competing against unlicensed sign manufacturers and installers. The California Sign Association works with the California Contractors State License Board to eliminate the unlicensed companies. If you are aware of illegal and unlicensed installations of signs, you can help solve the problem by notifying the Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) of the CSLB.”

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

75

Chap. 7: Sign Industry Terms: Knowing the Language


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Main Categories of Exterior Signage Here are the major categories which sign companies design, fabricate and install: 1. Dimensional Letters (non-illuminated letters). 2. Channel Letters (almost always illuminated letters). There is also Reverse Channel Letters and Open-Faced Channel Letters. 3. Channel Box or Logo Box (smaller sign cabinets usually made with a trim cap and not a retainer). 4. Sign Cabinet (illuminated). 5. Single Panel Wall Sign, also called a Sign Panel (cannot be illuminated, unless exterior lit). 6. Reader Board (generally illuminated and have manual interchangeable letters and numbers). 7. Electronic Message Center (EMC): Monochrome, Full Color, and Video. An EMC is also called a LED Message Center (M/C), Digital Reader Board, or simply, LED sign. 8. Blade Signs. Almost always mounted perpendicular to exterior walls or fascia. Can be non-illuminated or illuminated. Interior blade signs are usually called “Flag Signs�. 9. Overhead Sign, also called Suspended Sign. May be suspended from heavy duty brackets made in any heavy-duty metal stock, small metal stock or simply by decorative chain or cable. 10. Pole Signs are ground signs without a pole cover. Pole Signs are exposed single pole or double-pole. In some cases, there are more than 2 poles. 11. Monument Signs are ground signs with a wide base cover. 12. Pylon Signs are ground signs which a very large, usually over 20 feet, with a pole cover. Pylon Signs are seen at shopping centers, car dealerships, and along freeways.

Main Categories of Interior Signage 1. Flat Cut Out (FCO) Letters or Graphics on interior or exterior wall. 2. Metal Plaque Signs. Usually cast by a foundry which specializes in casting. 3. ADA Signage always with grade 2 Braille, unless shown as an ISA symbol by itself. 4. Wayfinding Signage.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

76

Chap. 7: Sign Industry Terms: Knowing the Language


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Main Categories of Exterior Signage Dimensional Letters 1. Non-Illuminated Letters are generally called DIMENSIONAL LETTERS. A. FOAM LETTERS are generally 1”, 2” deep and sometimes 3” deep. Depth area, or the side is called the “RETURN”. B. FLAT CUT OUT (FCO) Acrylic Letters are usually 1/8”, 1/4” and 3/16” thick depending on the design call-out. The other materials for non-illuminated Dimensional Letters are Sintra also called “PVC”, Dibond (laminated substrate), Lexan (polycarbonate), MDO wood, etc. C. FLAT CUT OUT (FCO) Aluminum Letters are usually 1/8”, 1/4” and 3/16” thick depending on the design call-out. For aluminum, designers may use a decimal instead of inches, for example, 0.030”, 0.045”, 0.060” and 0.090” thick. D. It is possible to call out any DEPTH for a fabricated letter. Standard DEPTH, or RETURN for non-illuminated dimensional channel letters are generally 4” and 5” deep.

“PAINTED FOAM LETTER” 1. Design is approved. 2. Foam is hand cut on jigsaw. 3. All letters are taped to a backing board to be painted. 4. Letters are painted, entirely. 5. Sign letters are generally installed with double-sided “VHB” tape and silicone.

“FOAM LETTER WITH FCO ALUMINUM LAMINATE”

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

1. Design is approved. 2. Foam and metal laminate are set together with adhesive, dried and handcut on a jigsaw as one piece. 3. All letters are taped to a backing board or rail to paint. Note: all raw material blanks come with a paper on the face for protection which is peeled off last when sign is installed. 4. Letters are painted, entirely. 5. Sign letters are generally installed with double-sided “VHB” tape and silicone.

78

Chap. 7: Sign Industry Terms: Knowing the Language


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Dimensional Letters 1. Non-Illuminated Letters are generally called DIMENSIONAL LETTERS. E. FORMED PLASTIC LETTERS. Depth start at 3/4” to 2” deep. Formed plastic letters are made by several companies in the U.S. F. CAST METAL LETTERS. Depth start at 3/8” to 1-1/2” deep in various aluminum and bronze finishes. G. FABRICATED METAL LETTERS. Start at ½” to 5” deep in various painted colors and different aluminum and bronze finishes. Gemini Incorporated, a wholesale sign company, sells through licensed sign companies only.

Minnesota Plastic Letters

Formed Plastic Letters

LaserCut Acrylic Letters

Metal Laminate on Acrylic

Fabricated Metal Letters

Courtesy of Gemini, Inc. Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

79

Chap. 7: Sign Industry Terms: Knowing the Language


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR... Note: A mmall channel box may be an inexpensive alternative to the more costly sign cabinet. Chatterbox Designs, Inc., Torrance, CA.

(Pan) Channel Box or Logo Box 3. CHANNEL BOXES are made up of 5 components: A. PAN CHANNEL BOX itself, the shell of the sign with the back. B. LIGHTING inside the Pan Channel or Light Box, usually Neon based on its smaller size than the sign cabinet, but sometimes Flourescent Lamps. C. SIGN FACE, generally 3/16” thick acrylic. Lexan is generally used for larger faces. D. TRIM CAP (which has color) usually 3/16” to 1” wide. 1” to 2” metal “Retainers” are used for larger faces. E. TRANSLUCENT VINYL graphics applied directly to the sign face, also called a Sign Panel.

“CUSTOM-SHAPED LOGO BOX”

“CUSTOM-SHAPED LIGHT BOX”

Shapes, color combinations, and correct use of colors make a sign what it is. You do not have to get too elaborate in sign design to accomplish the idea of getting attention and branding a business. Too many colors with too fanciful a design is actually counterproductive. Note: a majority of channel boxes are made with a trim cap to hold the face in. In some cases, a larger channel box will require a 1” metal retainer to hold the face in or to achieve a certain look.

A Note on Writing Specs Channel box, logo box, and light box are synonymous terms. Even subcopy logo box can be written in as a spec. Once you learn how to write specs, you will learn to be very specific, and consistent, in use of terms.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

82

Chap. 7: Sign Industry Terms: Knowing the Language


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Electronic Message Center (EMC): Monochome 7. ELECTRONIC MESSAGE CENTER (EMC) also called an LED sign. Electronic Message Centers (EMC) are becoming more common in everyday use. An EMC is a variable message sign that utilizes a computer program to change and control the message displayed. Most EMCs are LED displays. EMCs come in a variety of levels. Low display technology would be price changes, ticker-type signs, and time and temperature displays. Higher level technology is used in message centers, marquees, and video displays. EMC is a general term referring to any type of electronic programmable sign, often called electronic displays, or simply LED Signs. Monochrome EMCs come in Message Centers and Marquees, Price-Changers, Ticker-types, Time and Temperature Display, and Tote Boards, etc. Monochrome LED Electronic Message Centers are cost-effective, ever-changing signs that can give out bright lights in all weather conditions. Colors of display are usually red or amber. Monochrome signs are energy efficient and have a long life - determined by most LED manufacturers to be 100,000 hours for half brightness. This equates to 10-15 years if the sign is run daily for 18-24 hours. Today’s technology affords low maintenance costs. There are panels for easy access for serviceability. Most importantly, these signs can be manufactured to any size and fit in just about any space, and operated remotely from a computer in an office. MONOCHROME MESSAGE BOARD WITH 35mm “AMBER” LED DISPLAY

MONOCHROME MESSAGE BOARD WITH 19mm “RED” LED DISPLAY

CUSTOM PYLON SIGN WITH LED DIGITAL READER BOARD FLUSH MOUNTED TO STRUCTURE (COLUMN)

SINGLE-POLE SIGN WITH LED DIGITAL READER BOARD ATTACHED TO SIGN CABINET

Courtesy of Watchfire Signs Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

86

Chap. 7: Sign Industry Terms: Knowing the Language


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Blade Sign BLADE SIGNS are generally small signs that project out from a building wall or fascia at a perpendicular angle. Blade signs are also architectural in nature and are designated for pedestrian traffic not for passing vehicles. Blade signs must meet a clearance of about 8’-0” from the grade to the bottom of the sign. Each city code is different. It is very important to know this information before creating a proposal and before any drawings are submitted to the city for permitting. 8. BLADE SIGNS are made up of several components: A. BLADE SIGN itself almost always double-sided. B. LIGHTING inside the blade sign IF it is illuminated. In some cases, a blade sign is NOT illuminated. C. The blade sign bracket or sign support, a wall attachment element. Usually decorative in nature. D. HANGING CHAINS to suspend the signs. Sometimes decorative in nature. E. Because of the nature of blade signs, they are normally designed with a little flare. They are also designed for high-end cities, metropolitan areas, promenades, malls, etc. Blade Signs generally do not follow the same design premise as standard signs. BLADE SIGN W/ DECORATIVE BRACKET DOUBLE-SIDED, NON-ILLUMINATED BLADE SIGN, WALL MOUNTED

DOUBLE-SIDED BLADE SIGN

SIGN BRACKET

NON-ILLUMINATED BLADE SIGN WALL MOUNTED BY STEEL BARS

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

89

Side View

Chap. 7: Sign Industry Terms: Knowing the Language


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Pole Sign (Single-Pole and Double-Pole) Another freestanding sign usually seen on the road is called a Pole Sign. And for obvious reasons, one is called a Single-Pole Sign and the other a Double-Pole Sign. Pole signs are simply that, Pole Signs. They do not have an aluminum fabricated pole cover. This reduces the cost for the buyer. A Pole Sign may have one or more sign cabinets built onto the pole by a metal collar within each sign cabinet. Metal Collars are built into the sign cabinet in the fabrication process. Pole Signs are mostly seen in shopping centers, along roadsides and freeways. 9. POLE SIGNS are made up of several components: A. SIGN CABINETS, one or more. The main part of the sign. B. The LIGHTING inside the Sign Cabinets, always FLOURESCENT LAMPS. C. SIGN FACE, or Sign Panel, usually made of acrylic or Lexan. For larger faces and for faces higher than 15’ in the air, a FLEXIBLE FACE is used. Flexible faces are nonrigid canvas material fastened at the retainers. D. RETAINERS are metal, usually 1-1/2” to 2” wide, are the four outer areas that hold the sign face on the Sign Cabinet. Larger retainers, are used for extremely large faces. E. COPY, Graphics, or Artwork that will be placed on the sign panels. F. STEEL SUPPORT POLE. What determines the size of the support pole is titled “Engineering”. Once a client is ready to go forth and signs-off on a drawing, an “Engineering Stamp” is required. INTERNALLY ILLUMINATED SINGLE POLE SIGN

INTERNALLY ILLUMINATED DOUBLE POLE SIGN

SIGN CABINET SIGN PANEL

RETAINERS

STEEL POLES

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

91

Chap. 7: Sign Industry Terms: Knowing the Language


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Summary The single biggest misunderstanding between sign companies and businesses outside the industry is simply the disparity in the terms used to communicate. To get on par with the sign industry and to appear like you know what you are doing, speak their language. Remember this secret. Most signs are named and designated based on their fabrication type: Channel Letters are called exactly that, a Channel Letter sign. A Sign Cabinet is not a box sign, or a light box, it is a Sign Cabinet. Usually, it is an Illuminated Sign Cabinet. A light box generally refers to a Logo Box. In the Northwest, they are called Capsules. Get to know the basic language from your area of the sign industry in the geographical area you are from. It is not difficult. There are sign companies that will help you. For further clarity, a Sign Monument with a brick base on the front lawn of a church is not called brick church sign. Some have even named it a church sign. It is not called a brick sign either. It is simple a Sign Monument with the church’s name on it. It is called a Sign Monument. Remember, all complex business issues can easily be reduced to simple solutions. This is the primary objective with business and industry. We tend to complicate the issues. Keep It Short and Simple.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

94

Chap. 7: Sign Industry Terms: Knowing the Language


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

ELECTRICAL SIGN DESIGN

Chapter 9 Designing Sign Monuments Note: Stand-alone signs are akin to sign architecture. Most of the time the sign monument is required to match building architecture.

This Section for: Sign Companies Graphic Designers, et al. Marketing, Branding & Ad Agencies Architects & Contractors

Chatterbox Designs, Inc., Torrance, CA.

Ground sign is the generic term used outside of the sign industry and it not used among sign companies, generally speaking. Signs are titled and named based on the way they are fabricated, or in the case of ground signs, based on their size and configuration. Pad signs are smaller versions of sign monuments. In order to give them some type of stature they are set on a concrete pad. Hence the term, pad sign.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

122

Chap. 9: Designing Sign Monuments


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

The Focal Point To reinterate from previous chapters, first and foremost, sign design is NOT graphic design. You must remove the idea that the two are the same. They are closely related, but worlds aparts. With sign monuments, sign design is taken to another level, an altogether higher level. Designing channel letters is nothing like designing sign monuments. Monument signs are akin to sign architecture. Why? In designing monument signs, the designer is creating a stand-alone structure. Signs of this nature are installed on the ground with a concrete footer, just like a building structure. The difference is, there are no inhabitants, and you don’t need a 5 year professional degree to design one.

The Goal in Mind: Designing Sign Monuments Before you begin the process of designing a sign monument, a design request should give you the basis with which to design. Define your sign design goal before you begin. Only after you define your design goal, does the “actual� sign design process begin. Layout all your pages. An illuminated sign monument with tenant panels will have, basically, the same pages required as the pages for a channel letter project. One difference is, Page 3 will be called an Installation Page. Upon approval of a project, this page will be sent to a professional engineer. Structural integrity will determine the pole size, usually in a diameter size. The engineer will also calculate the penetrate depth of the pole into the ground and the type of concrete footer required.

Page 1 - Rendering with Sign

This sign is a stand-alone, double-sided, sign monument with a Center I.D. and 6 tenant panels.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

123

Chap. 9: Designing Sign Monuments


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Recommendations Recommendations for Designing Sign Monuments Requirements for drawing are a little different than recommendations for design.

Recommendations for Design

Important Points to Consider Note areas with red dashes and arrows. These are some of the more significant areas to pay attention to when designing sign monuments. CENTER I.D. LOGO CENTER I.D. LOGO

CORNICE CAP

ROUTED PANEL

SIGN PANELS

PAD, OR FOOT Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

126

Chap. 9: Designing Sign Monuments


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Pre-Design & Set-Up The Required Preliminary Set-Up Procedure Follow this (computer) design procedure for each and every design you begin with to ensure a problem-free design and drawing project. Here is your guideline: 1. Create a new job folder. Name it. I prefer the name of the project. In this case, “Blue Point.� 2. You will need to prepare the photographs (provided), if there are any. For a sign monument photos are usually not required. 3. Prepare the artwork, if provided by the customer or sales person. Actually, take note. Any files provided from the customer must be checked immediately to see if they are compatible on your computer system. The files will need to be saved down to your version of software. All fonts will be required to be converted to outlines or curves. 4. To begin the actual drawing project, create a new file. Save it immediately with a new project name. Create about 2 new pages with this file name. 5. Make sure your company title block is on the page with a new file number, project name, address, sales persons initials and date. 6. Set up the scale you intend to use for each section of the drawing and each page. Since each segment of the page may have different scales. 7. Assess and analyze the design request submittal by the sales person. At this point, you may have to ask the sales person questions about the design, since they are writers-in-training. 8. Begin your drawing. When the project sells, remember to add Page 3 and 4. 9. Determine the installation detail or structural diagram that will go on the third page of your drawing. 10. You should have an address at the beginning of the project in order for you to create a site plan (since addresses are not always provided by your industrious sales person). The following pages will explain, in detail, what you need to do, step-by-step for designing sign monuments. Follow it as much as possible. Remember, these sample projects are basic guidelines. Each project will have minor differences.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

129

Chap. 9: Designing Sign Monuments


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Designing Signs Sign monument is different than a monument. Monument connotes a commemorative structure not a sign of commercial value. Chatterbox Designs, Inc., Torrance, CA.

Sample Sign Design Request Project Each design example will start off with a sign design request, or simply, a design request. Here is a “SAMPLE” sign design request: Design a sign for a retail shopping center. Customer does not have artwork. Design for Center I.D. open for designer. It must be lighted sign (a term not used in the sign industry). The design must stay within 70 square feet for the overall sign, not copy. Customer wants 6 tenant panels and a Center I.D. Customer wants the sign double-sided. Customer wants two shades of blue. The shopping center name is “Blue Point.” Tenants are not known. Just use “tenant” for now. How do you draw it and how do you design it? Here is your guideline: 1. Always prepare your photos first. You want to get a visual of where the sign is going. Create a file folder called “Blue Point.” You will save all files to this project folder. 2. Create another page (for Illustrator designers, another file) solely to the design, its dimensions, the side view and the written sign specifications. Your creativity is on this page. 3. Page 3 is the Installation Detail. You do not need this page until the project is sold. 4. Page 4 is the Site Plan. You do not need this page until the project is sold.

Without effective communication between sales and design, a lot of wasted time eats into a companies overhead. Chatterbox Designs, Inc., Torrance, CA.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

130

Chap. 9: Designing Sign Monuments


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Steps to Designing a Sign Monument Step

1

EXISTING

“Preparing the Photos”

REMOVE AND DISCARD SIGN

A. Open Photoshop or your bitmap-editing program, Corel Paint, or Jasc Paint Shop Pro. B. The reason you need to prepare your photograph is three-fold. C. You want to do some basic color correction for presentation purposes. D. You want to straighten the photograph to make sure your presentation is relatively straight.

PROPOSED

E. You want to eliminate existing signage and make the photo look as good as possible for a rendering and overall presentation. This will take place in Step 2. F. When you save your photo, you will use an adequate compression to lower the file size. This saves time in saving the file, sending the file, and printing the file.

SIGN MONUMENT TO BE LOCATED HERE

Note: For future reference. When you have a 5 page and 6 page sign presentation and it is filled with photos, you will thank me when you file is a nominal size. In preparing a photo, the most important points to consider are: straighten the photo, or make it relatively level, even if it is a perspective photo. Color correct the photo, even if it means only applying the “Brightness/Contrast” feature in Photoshop. Next, crop the photo. You don’t need to show the city block. We are selling a sign. Sell the sign, not the block. Try not to be too artsyfartsy. Make a note to remove the existing sign. It will be scrapped. The sign industry does not recycle signs. If you want to start a business recycling, it’s open for the taking. We show the “Proposed” photo, now, only to show the reader our intent: a new sign monument will be located in place of the existing one. Look closely at the surrounding photo elements in order to photo edit this landscape. Get used to it. You will be doing this with almost each project. Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

131

Chap. 9: Designing Sign Monuments


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Steps to Designing a Sign Monument (continued) Step

3

“Saving the Photo”

The compression of “9” is pretty good in terms of clarity and file size. The objective is to retain a decent looking photograph and reduce the file size as much as possible. Why is a small file size so important? For many reasons. Saving your drawing will be fast. Sending a PDF in an email will be fast. Printing the file will be fast. Remember, not everyone has a top-of-the-line computer like you. We are done with the photo.

Step

4

“Presentation Components”

Chapter 2 covers drawing components required on a sign submittal. Designing signs is not graphic design. It involves architectural drafting layout, dimensioning, call-outs, sign specifications, other detail, and other detail pages. Graphic design is simply, design. Sign design involves more, including the requirement to understand material and fabrication basics. See Chapter 2 for a quick review on Presentation Components. These drawing components will go on every sign drawing submittal.

ITEM 1 (16 point suggested)

SCALE: 1/8” = 1’-0” (12 point suggested)

WEST ELEVATION

FRONT ELEVATION

(18 point suggested)

SCALE: 3/16” = 1’-0”

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

137

PROPOSED

Not like this 3’-6”

B

Chap. 9: Designing Sign Monuments


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Steps to Designing a Sign Monument (continued) Step

5

“Designing a Sign Monument”

Now we have determined that the sign size, based on the dimensions, will fit within the requested 70 square foot requirement. Next, we add color. The customer requested two shades of blue. Just for purposes of this lesson, we will make the Top Piece, “Blue” PMS #302C. The mid-section, called the main sign structure, will be colored “Light Grey” with a light tex-cote stucco finish. The base cover will be a “Watery Blue,” with a heavy scratch-coat, stucco finish. Most sign companies use basic paint finishes (like smooth satin), anodized finishes, and tex-cote stucco finishes mixed with paint colors. There are other finishes available, but it will cost more money. Stick to the basics. Call out are added as needed, “A”, “B”, “C”, “D.” After the color changes, we will add the “Main Tenant Sign Cabinet” and “Center I.D.” As you may have noticed, we have adjusted the size of the Top Piece a few inches to be approximately 8” high, overall. The reasoning is, we want as much visible signage as possible. Signs are signs for a reason. Bigger is better in most cases. Bigger is the number one rule for sign designers. Boldness and readability. If you can’t read it, what is the purpose of the design? FORMULA: 8’-0” X 8’-10 CONVERTED TO SIMPLE NUMBERS IS: 8 x 8.833 = 70.64 SQ. FT. 8’-10” (SIGN STRUCTURE) 8’-7” (SIGN CABINET)

1’-11” 1’-6”

C B

TENANT TENANT 8’-0”

TENANT TENANT

A 70.64 SQ. FT.

MONUMENT ELEVATION SCALE: 3/8” = 1’-0”

TENANT TENANT D E Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

140

Chap. 9: Designing Sign Monuments


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Steps to Designing a Sign Monument (continued) Step

6

“Writing Sign Specifications”

Stay consistent with writing sign specifications and it will become easier, in time, as you practice this easy-to-use format. Get used to it. There is a logical sequence to writing sign specifications. If you follow this sequence, writing sign specifications becomes formulaic. Know the formula and you will get it sooner, more than later. A. All signs are either “Illuminated” or “Non-Illuminated”. This is the very first thing you write. The client wants to see it. The sign company estimator wants to see it. The city inspector wants to see it. Everyone wants to know will it light or not. B. What is the main portion of the sign made of? The main body of a sign monument internal structure may be steel angle iron (which you do not call out), but the outer sheeting is always either “Aluminum Fabricated” or “Sheet Metal Fabricated”. Unless you are told to call out “Sheet Metal” call out “Aluminum.” It does not rust. Nice! Always write the “Fabrication” part of the sign second. Always. This isn’t graphic design. We understand how to sign design. C. How deep are the sides on the sign cabinet? This is the tricky part. You have to literally guess on how big, in diameter, the support pole will be so you can determine how wide the sign monument will be. Simple, huh? This takes experience. Sorry, not everything can be taught. D. What color is the main sign structure? As a natural sequence: fabrication, depth, now color. Call-out the color of the entire sign structure, usually a contrasting color to other main elements of the sign. Sign Specifications line one is complete. You don’t have to be a writing genius. Just make sure no typos.

Follow this order on the first statement of the sign specifications: A. Illumination, B. Fabrication Material, C. Depth of Sign, D. Color of Sign.

B.

A.

A

C.

D.

INTERNALLY ILLUMINATED ALUMINUM FABRICATED 18” DEEP MAIN SIGN STRUCTURE PAINTED “OFF WHITE WITH BLUE HIGHLIGHTS” WITH LIGHT TEX-COTE FINISH. TOP CENTER I.D. TO BE ROUTED FACE WITH ½” THICK PUSH-THRU COPY. COPY TO BE “BLUE” TRANSLUCENT VINYL OVERLAYED. ILLUMINATION TO BE WHITE FLOURESCENT LAMPS

D.

TOP CAP CENTER I.D. MAIN SIGN STRUCTURE TENANT SIGN CABINET

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

144

C A B

Chap. 9: Designing Sign Monuments


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Page 3 - Installation Detail Installation Diagram Prepared for Engineer In summary, every Sign Installation detail will be different, meaning, custom. However, there are standard drawing components to every Sign Installation. Meaning, when you design a sign monument, you should have already drawn one, and you may use it as a template for all future installation details. Build a library of them. You then, simple cut and paste the footer and steel post (dashed lines), and other small drawing components, like the soil symbols, etc. Basically, the one thing that will change from installation detail to installation detail, is the diameter size of the steel support pole, the length of the pole, the footer dimensions, etc. You can simply ask the installation coordinator for an approximate size to place in the drawing for the engineer to use for their analysis and recommendation. Each sign company uses different size and types. Ask!

Remember, you should add this page when it is asked for, or when the project is sold.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

149

Chap. 9: Designing Sign Monuments


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Designing a Sign Monument Custom Design Here are some offbeat designs that deviate from the norm.

Custom Designed

Custom Designed

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

153

Chap. 9: Designing Sign Monuments


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

INTERIOR SIGN DESIGN

Chapter 14 Designing ADA Signs Note: Interior signs covers a large array of signs mostly for identification and wayfinding.

This Section for: Sign Companies Graphic Designers, et al. Architects & Contractors

Chatterbox Designs, Inc., Torrance, CA.

As the reader should have discovered by now, interior and exterior signage, including Wayfinding signage covers a very large spectrum of signs. Designing signs requires a lot more training before one can be titled a sign designer. Inside Sign Design attempts to dispel the myth that designing signs is easy. Once the myth is shattered, new ideas can be learned.

International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA) According to Wikipedia.com, the ISA symbol is known worldwide as the Wheelchair Symbol, of course, for obvious reasons. For a traveler or visitor, the ISA symbol is usually encountered in parking lots. An ISA symbol is always painted on the ground in a parking stall by a striping company to comply with Federal law. Striping companies also make ADA compliant parking signs always posted at the head of a parking stall. The ISA symbol and the ISA symbol “Parking Only” sign (marked as ”Handicapped Parking” in states other than California) are the only “shared” signs made either by a sign company or a striping company. An ISA symbol should also be posted conspicuously along “paths of travel” for guiding physically challenged individuals to their destination. The ISA path of travel gives anyone with disabilities an open and clear path of travel for access to public facilities. ISA symbol white or blue opaque vinyl stickers may also be placed on glass near doorways notifying the general public of an ISA accessible entrance.

International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA) or ISA symbol

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

243

Chap. 14: Designing ADA Signs


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Chapter Outline ADA is an abbreviation for American Disabilities Act. It is a Federal law regulating signage pertaining to people with disabilities. The Federal government requires ADA-compliant signs (or simply ADA signs) to be posted, in specific interior and exterior locations, to enable people with disabilities to move about without the aid of others. ADA signs must be posted at exterior and interior locations throughout public-accessible environments, facilities, and structures.

ADA Regulatory Entrance Sign to Parking Lots All vehicle entrances to parking lots and structures must display an “Unauthorized Vehicles Parked in Designated Accessible Spaces...” sign informing motorists of the consequences of using ADA accessible parking spaces. These signs must be 24” high by 18” wide. The only part of these signs which must be customized is the address and phone number at the bottom of the sign. Pertinent information must be posting on the sign before parking can be made available to the public.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

244

Chap. 14: Designing ADA Signs


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

ADA Regulatory Parking Sign Parking stalls designated “Handicap Only” require an ISA symbol painted on the ground inside each parking stall. These ISA symbols are only done by striping companies. “Handicap Only” parking stalls require a posted sign, an ISA symbol and copy reading “Parking Only” (California only) or “Handicapped Only” (all 49 states) must have Federal “blue” background with reflective “white” copy and border. These signs are 18” high by 12” wide. An additional sign is required for a parking space designated for Vans. A “Van Accessible” sign must be posted on the left parking stall below the “Handicap Only” sign. These signs are 6” high by 12” wide. All signs must be 6’-8” from bottom of any ISA parking sign to grade.

ADA Regulatory Path of Travel Signage For public-access facilities, an ISA symbol should be located conspicuously for persons of disabilities to quickly discern the path of travel leading into an environment or structure. A simple ISA symbol and “arrow”, highly visible on a post or wall directing persons with disabilities should be located near “Handicap Parking” stalls. This is a starter “Handicap Directional Sign.”

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

245

Chap. 14: Designing ADA Signs


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Warning Signs on Posts Other posted signs may be required for areas marked for “Fire Lanes” which must, by law, stay clear for emergency access purposes. These signs must be clearly and conspicuously posted. A county fire authority will have standard requirements for these type of signs, each with small variations in design and placement. The standard “No Parking” symbol is not only used for “Fire Lanes”, it is used in other signage as well.

(Standard) “No Parking” Symbol

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

246

Chap. 14: Designing ADA Signs


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

ADA Regulatory Interior Signs Interior ADA Regulatory Signs come in a variety of styles. Before designing the correct ADA sign you should determine requirement information beforehand. Do not completely rely on others for this information. Not everyone is a sign expert. Below is a easy-to-use guide to start with.

ADA Regulatory Signs

OOM R T RES OM TRO RES

Mounted on wall adjacent to the latch side of the door, 2� from edge of sign to door frame. Where there is no wall space to the latch side of the door, including at double leaf spacers, sign shall be placed on the nearest adjacent wall.

Mounted height of 60� from floor to centerline of sign. Mounted on door centered left to right horizontally.

Mounted on wall near elevators. Mounted on wall near appropriate phone.

Courtesy of Kroy Signs Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

248

Chap. 14: Designing ADA Signs


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Other Symbol Signs There are many symbol that are used on signs which cover signage areas related to airports, bus terminals, metro rails, train stations, public libraries, etc. Below are some common symbols that will not be covered in this book.

Basic ADA Sign Panels What a sign designer is required to know when designing ADA signs starts with the same basic tenets as designing standard and custom interior signage. You must start with height and width, the material used, and the material thickness. What will the colors be? What is the copy and graphics being placed on the sign panel? Once the foundation is laid, the sign comes together.

Sign Panel Terms Backing panel, sign panel, and sign face are synonymous terms. Background is a term used when writing sign specifications, and is not used to describe the ADA sign panel itself. Do not place anything tactile near the copy or Braille, per ANSI and ADA standards. It is confusing to the reader.

Men’s Restroom Sign (1/8” thick photopolymer backing panel)

Tactile Graphics, Raised Graphics must be 1/32” raised Tactile Copy, Raised Copy must be 1/32” raised Copy must be 5/8” high min. And 2” max.

Non-Glare Surface 70% contrast with background and copy and graphics

Grade 2 Braille, Raised Note: technical information on this page provided by Advance Corporation.

A sign designer does not need to know that copy and graphics must be raised 1/32” off the sign face. A sign designer does not need to know that grade 2 Braille is a little raster ball that is pressure fitted into a engraved (cut) hole on the face of the sign. Most of the technical aspects to ADA signage will be taken care of by a wholesale sign manufacturer that makes ADA signs. Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

249

Chap. 14: Designing ADA Signs


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Starting Point: Required Signs for Projects The following is a list of the main exterior signs required for any office building, high-rise condominium complex, library, school, college, university, business, commercial, or industrial structure. Of course, this is not a comprehensive list, it is a starter list, the main required signs. For example, the entrance to a multi-building complex would require a vehicular Wayfinding system of signs. If this same location was open to the public, it would require outside Building Directories, and either Building I.D.’s, or addresses visible from the parking lot.

Exterior Signage (Required) 1. “Unauthorized Vehicles Parked in Designated...” Sign Panel 2. ISA Handicapped Parking Sign with “Van Accessible” Sign Panel 3. ISA “Path of Travel” Sign Panel (as required) 4. Fire Lane “No Parking” (symbol) Sign Panel 5. Address Sign, FCO letters (mandated by Fire Code) 6. Fire Dept. Connection (F.D.C.) Sign Panel at hose connection (by law) with address of building on Sign Panel 7. Any other Sign Panels (required by the project)

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

252

Chap. 14: Designing ADA Signs


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

The Goal in Mind: Designing ADA Signs Designing interior ADA signs follows the same basic tenet as Designing Interior Sign Panels (Chapter 13). With interior ADA sign layout, you will, almost always, use a larger scale because the overall sign is smaller. You will detail the height dimensions on every part of the sign. Showing the sign at a larger scale helps reduce the clutter when you add all the dimensions. Communicating your design, with simple sign specifications, and any other aspect to the sign submittal must be done clearly and efficiently. Seven or more people will examine your drawing.

ITEM 1

Sample Scales

QUANTITY: TWO (2) UNITS

ITEM 4

QUANTITY: THREE (3) EA.

CUSTOM SIGN ELEVATION

INTERIOR SIGN ELEVATION SCALE: 2” = 1’-0”

SCALE: 1” = 1’-0”

SCALE: 2” = 1’-0”

SCALE: 1” = 1’-0”

The Side Detail will show the tactile copy and graphics as well as the grade 2 Braille. Even with a backing panel added, whether designed for looks, or as a stand-off backing panel (usually hidden from immediate view), the thickness should always be dimensioned. Sign design is a drawing plan for a fabricator to make a sign. A sign drawing must be correct and clutter-free.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

254

Chap. 14: Designing ADA Signs


INSIDE SIGN DESIGN FOR...

Steps to Designing Interior ADA Signs (continued)

4

Step

“Add Copy (text) and Tactile Graphics”

At this point, the ADA Sign Panel is about complete. This step requires us to simply add the ADA information and other Identification information on the Sign Panel. Two features come into play here: tactile information and design features. Here we add “555” (tactile text) and grade 2 Braille. There are no tactile graphics on this ADA Sign Panel only text. Note that all tactile text (or graphics) is also shown on the Side View. All tactile information should be shown on Side View.

Add Copy and Tactile Features ADD COPY DIMENSIONS

1/4” 1/8”

ADD COPY AND BRAILLE 10” 9-3/8”

EQ.

1/16”

EQ.

555

3/4”

555

5-3/4”

8-1/4” 4-1/4”

BRAVO TANGO PROPERTIES, INC.

3/4”

ADD COPY ADD COPY

A

ADD COPY DIMENSIONS

ITEM 1 ADA SIGN ELEVATION

TACTILE SHOWN ON SIDE VIEW

QUANTITY: T.B.D.

SIDE VIEW

NOT TO SCALE

At this point, the Sign Panel design is complete. There is one more thing to add. All sign designs must have written sign specifications. A design may look nice on paper. But if it is not designed properly, it is a waste of time. You may impress people with a graphic design, until it comes to the evaluation process of whether the design can actually be fabricated. Then you are called on the carpet.

Copyright 2009 Chatterbox Designs, Inc.

258

Chap. 14: Designing ADA Signs


Sign design is handed down from generation to generation, the oldfashioned way, apprenticeship. Inside Sign Design now makes that knowledge learnable in print.

“Everything you need to know to make incredible sign designs that work!”

“Wow! This thing is chock full of information. This is truly an important tool for people who not only want to learn about he sign business, but to excel in it.” - Dave Welch, Director of Marketing, Gemini, Incorporated

“Chatterbox Designs approach to organizing information about the vast subject matter of signs is excellent. There is not a single page without an instructive message that is appropriate for any level of experience in the sign industry. I encourage you to not only read this book for enjoyment but to utilize it as a tool.” - Kathy Wilson, Director of Sales & Marketing, Advanced Corporation

“Inside Sign Design was informative and insightful. I look forward to using this book as a reference for future design work.” - Barbette Dotson, Graphic Designer, Facebook/Garwood Designs Mike Burke has been designing since 1979. He started graphic designing in the mid-80s. He has been designing signs for almost 10 years. He has been the lead designer for 3 sign companies in Southern California and has worked for more than 20 sign companies with Chatterbox Designs. He is available to train designers, graphic designers, and would-be sign designers for the trade.

CDI

PUBLISHING

Paperback Price: $140.00 US / $150.00 CAN / 89.21 Graphic Design, Sign Design


Inside Sign Design Preview - November 09