Photo by Russell Manning
Maintenance issues with high rise signs are the same as any other electric signs: electrical problems in the power supply or wiring, lighting failures, bad sensors, or some type of sign damage stemming from accidents or the elements are the most common. However, making repairs for these issues at closer-to-ground levels versus roof-top levels makes a big difference when it comes to cost.
Dominion Enterprises, based in Norfolk, Virginia, USA, moved into a new high rise building in downtown Norfolk and needed to brand it and make a 24/7 statement for the corporate headquarters. Holiday Signs was selected as the contractor for the project because of our technical expertise with signage for high rise applications.
DESIGNING FOR MAINTENANCE CRITICAL
One critical and overlooked aspect of a high rise sign project is the impact of design on the future costs of sign maintenance and repair. The design and manufacture of signs installed at high elevations is significantly different than signs installed at ground level. Issues of strength, structural integrity, illumination, visibility, reliability, and serviceability are all magnified due to higher wind loads, tougher service environment, much greater viewing distance, and limited or significantly more difficult access to both the front and rear of the sign. Even more importantly, signs installed at a company’s headquarters become a symbol of the company itself and require the boldest designs, best construction and reliable performance to make the appropriate statement high above the city.
Considering all this, Holiday Signs proposed a solution for effective corporate identity signs at this location that included provisions for efficient maintenance. When the architect and general contractor considered our proposal, they liked that our approach used LED lighting and accessible power supplies while a competing sign manufacturer recommended a neon lighting system with transformers installed inside the letters. Neon is a poor choice from a basic electrical cost standpoint, but reliability and maintenance cost concerns from using a neon system for this application far exceeded the concerns about excessive power costs.
Another important element of our solution that set us apart involved our recommendation of gray and red as the daytime colors of choice, considering the building color and achievement of the best possible contrast. We suggested 3M Dual Color Film for the face material so the logo would shine white during the night. The competing firm proposed all white graphics for both day and night setting up poor contrast for the letters during the day against the light-colored cast stone walls which would lead to a pale projection of the company’s corporate brand.
GETTING IT RIGHT ON THE GROUND
To ensure the finished product did its job, we prepared prototype models of the lettering prior to final production with three levels of lighting: one was as specified in the design drawings engineered by others; another was what we recommended for lighting; and a third was a sample halfway in between one and two. By presenting actual lighted samples at nighttime on the wall 32 stories high to the CEO, CFO, and other Dominion executives, we showed them without a doubt how to best illuminate their image and successfully brand their new building to the City of Norfolk.
MORE HIGH-RISE SIGN EXAMPLES
Holiday Signs was founded in 1973 by Henry Moore and makes some of the most breathtaking custom electric signage in Virginia. Since purchasing the company in 2001, Robert Morin has continued the company’s mission of being the leading custom electric sign company in Central Virginia and regularly serves clients in Richmond, plus the close by areas of Tidewater, and Northern Virginia.
From historic renovations like the iconic Hotel John Marshall sign to the breathtakingly modern VCU Siegel Center’s digital displays just a few blocks away, Holiday Signs has the skills and experience to take your brand to new heights! Below is a montage of some more high-rise sign projects we’ve tackled over the past several years:
HJM photo by Jim Smith
Another interesting article about a High-Rise Electric Sign Project in Virginia:
Article about interior high-rise scoreboard installation and its challenges:
Article about restoring a historic high-rise sign:
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