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How To

WAYFINDING

By LORI SHRIDHARE

Blazing the Print Trail The path to a diversified business model.

All Photos: Cushing.

J

ust a month before the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression of 1929, a former delivery truck driver named F. John Cushing Sr., bought a company called National Blueprint in Chicago. Despite this unfortunate timing, the company survived for ninety years to the present day, keeping up with the changing printing and signage needs requested by a diverse clientele. And the business enjoyed unique neighbors—the office of Chicago Bears was based just above Cushing’s for nearly two decades. Other fun facts in this company’s history include opening the first on-site printing center in Chicago during the 1970s and, shortly after, making available color copying services for the first time to local customers. Today Cushing (cushingco.com) is designated as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), led by company president of thirty years Cathleen Cushing Duff.

signshop.com

Since its early pioneering efforts, the company has moved from specializing in blueprints, Diazo paper, and drafting rolls to offering full sign manufacturing services, including wayfinding. “As Cushing began offering environmental branding such as wall graphics, dimensional lettering, and privacy film, wayfinding became a part of the conversation. Beyond branding the office, customers would inquire about directional signage,” says Color Production Supervisor Julia Kaufman. Cushing’s clients have included hospitals that have requested wayfinding graphics installed on the floors of mechanical rooms and universities that have needed embedded directional signage to complement their vinyl wall graphics. “More companies want to incorporate aesthetics into their wayfinding and give them an element of style,” says Kaufman. “And they are looking for some help in understanding where they

might take the project. “We do our best to offer up knowledge based on past experience.” When considering wayfinding signage, materials that have worked well for Cushing’s clients include acrylic, Sintra®, and Dibond®. “These are the more durable materials used for permanent installations as they hold up to ‘wear and tear’ from employees, tenants, and guests who traffic buildings,” she says. “Mixed media can make graphics look a bit more personalized, though, and often have a more high-end feel.” In choosing the color, style, and amount of text on each element of the wayfinding program, Kaufman recommends considering many factors, including location and the type of business and or/facility. “There is not one set of rules that applies to every installation,” she says. “For example, a new apartment building may

January 2019

Sign Builder Illustrated

15

Profile for Sign Builder Illustrated

Sign Builder Illustrated January 2019  

This issue features stories on digital displays, channel letters, vehicle wraps, wayfinding, service equipment, and a special spotlight on d...

Sign Builder Illustrated January 2019  

This issue features stories on digital displays, channel letters, vehicle wraps, wayfinding, service equipment, and a special spotlight on d...